Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun…

So begins John Keats’ ode to Autumn, and he could have easily written it this week, as the wet and often stormy weather of late gave way, and an Indian summer with morning mists and calmer air enticed people out of doors to enjoy the autumnal sun. Apples and blackberries are ripening, the swallows are leaving, and soon the days of summer (such as they were!) will be but memories. All too soon the winds of winter and long dark nights will return, but in the meantime, there are fish to be caught!

Moonlight & Magic, Lough Sheelin September 7th
Moonlight & Magic, Lough Sheelin September 7th

Sea temperatures are at their warmest by now, and early autumn is a great time of year for sea angling. Fish are feeding hard to fatten up before winter. The king of the sea, the bluefin tuna, is becoming a more common sight off our shores lately, and tuna were caught and tagged this week all along the west coast, from Cork to Donegal.  Good mixed species fishing was reported from around the coast, particularly from Killala Bay and the Wicklow area. Kit Dunne also had good shark fishing aboard his charter boat on a trip to the Celtic Deeps off the SE coast. Not many shore reports but this is the weather and time of year to be getting out there, with a great mix of species available and all feeding hard.

Bluefin Tuna
Bluefin Tuna

Back to freshwater now, and trout fishing has been very up and down on the big loughs, with both Corrib and Sheelin providing good sport at times, and proving decidedly temperamental at others! Some anglers have had great fish too, with some fine fish especially on Sheelin. It is great to see so many anglers practising catch-and-release too.

'Spotted magic' A beautiful 'autumn' 5lb trout caught by Co. Antrim angler Cathal McNaughton
‘Spotted magic’ A beautiful ‘autumn’ 5lb trout caught by Co. Antrim angler Cathal McNaughton

 

There were few salmon reports this week, with the season winding down, but West Cork bucked the trend, with good fishing reported from several rivers, including the Ilen. there were reports of good sea trout fishing on Lough Currane. There was also  a fantastic report from Kylemore, where Eric Logan caught and released a magnificent trout of 8lbs 4oz – either a long-back sea trout or a ferox, but either way a truly magnificent fish. But our Catch of the Week comes from the Blackwater, where Ryan O’Hagan caught (and released) a beautiful autumn salmon estimated at 23-25lbs!

25lb salmon from Ballyhooley Castle fishery on the Munster Blackwater
25lb salmon from Ballyhooley Castle fishery on the Munster Blackwater

 

Covid-19 and travel restrictions have really impacted on the coarse angling festival scene this year. Normally we would have several reports of competitions, but we have just one this week, where Michael Cormican won the Lower Bann competition with a mix of feeder and whip tactics. Young Aaron Reilly wasn’t too worried about Covid when he landed his first bream from the River Rinn. Aaron had 3 other species on the day too.

Aaron and his first bream
Aaron and his first bream

 

September sees an uptick in pike angling, and from now on pike anglers will be getting into the swing as water temperatures cool down and pike become more active. While reports were few this week, we know you’re out there fishing, so feel free to send us your stories and photos! Kieran Lee struck it lucky this week, with two fine double figure pike on spinners and soft plastics from Lough Gowna.

Lough Gowna Pike
Pike on a soft plastic

Other news

The government issued a new strategy this week for living with Covid-19. While angling should remain unaffected for the most part, with travel and sporting events allowed at Levels 1 and 2, anglers are reminded to check the current status and bear in mind any restrictions that may apply if the alert level increases nationally or locally. Above all, stay safe and follow advice on hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing.

And now the weather…

The Indian Summer is set to last through the weekend, with good spells of sunshine and temperatures in the high teens, so this weekend would be a good opportunity to get out and enjoy some fishing. Rain is set to arrive in the west (it’s always the west!) ushering in a cold front and introducing much cooler conditions and bringing a change to more unsettled weather into the middle days of next week. Our advice – make the most of the weekend!

Safe fishing to all this weekend and tight lines, especially here in Ireland.

Kevin Crowley
Catch, Photo, Release

If you have an angling story to share with the Irish Angling Update, please send it to reports@fisheriesireland.ie.


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