Last week’s weather in Ireland was pretty average as rainfall mixed with bright sunshine, warm mingled with cool and winds veered from gusty to flat calm, sometimes all in 24hrs… After so many weeks of rain it’s been good to see the sun peek out from between the clouds and with much talk this week of children returning to school we can no doubt look forward to the sunny weather which invariably accompanies that event.

While the weather may have been average, the sea fishing certainly wasn’t as the seas around the Irish coast seem to have exploded into life over the past week. Reports of top quality sea angling came in from all quarters and they dominate this week’s Angling Update. Many of those reports contained the welcome news that mackerel shoals had turned up in good numbers and it’s likely that this has stimulated much of the good angling. These fish have become notoriously patchy in recent years and, as they are an important part of the food chain for our predatory fish, it can have a negative effect on fishing when they are scarce. So it’s great to hear reports of their return to our shores in decent numbers and let’s hope it bodes well for the weeks to come.

Treble shots of mackerel.

Beginning with the charter fleet, there were some mighty hauls of fish from the wrecks in Cork where specimen Ling were a prominent feature. We don’t see a lot of specimen sized Ling in our reports these days and there were none reported in the ISFC Specimen Report from last year so this catch deservedly wins this week’s Catch of the Week.

Haul of Ling on Silver Dawn wins Catch of the Week

Blues & specimen Skate also put in an appearance in Cork along with plenty of other species as charter boats all over the county experienced good fishing. Up along the west coast there was some great general reef fishing in Clare and further north, there were good reports from two of our Galway Bay skippers with steady general fishing and some great sharking. In Sligo, specimen Smooth-Hounds put smiles on angler’s faces and in Donegal, Killybegs Mariners SAC broke their all-time species record for a day by boating 25 species. Not to be outdone, the east coast produced its usual crop of specimen hounds during the week for a group of seasoned specimen hunters. So, with fishing as good as that and with many of our top boats having spare days due to the Covid-19 international travel restrictions, now is a great time to get out and spend a day afloat. See a list of our charter skippers here.

It wasn’t all charter boats that featured this week as a number of smaller boats got in on the action too. The Shock-Waves small boat crew had a bumper day out targeting specimen tope off the Wexford coast. Things started slowly for them but as soon as they dropped anchor the tope switched on and it was pretty frantic fishing for the next few hours. This resulted in a couple of nice specimens to the boat and a few others just shy of the mark. Meanwhile, back in in Cork, bass angling guide David Norman managed to get that magic first Irish bass for a couple of his clients which sent them home with smiles on their faces. And, in another first, young angler Amy O’Brien continued her extraordinary angling year as she managed to add another species to her list by catching her first ever Megrim.

A first Irish bass aways brings a smile.

While the saltwater was alive with fish of all species during the week it seems to have been pike that were most active on the freshwater scene with reports of good pike angling from a number of spots. Newbridge pike anglers held their first post lockdown competition and decided to make up for lost time by running back to back competitions. In a marathon double session they finished one competition at 12 midnight and started the next one straight away. 21 hardy anglers took part and a total of 154 pike were landed. Simon Gibson of Guided Predator Angling Enniskillen also had a good day out with some clients as they boated 24 pike to 18lb in one session. Meanwhile, further east, Aaron Maughan of A.M. Angling has had a lot of success targeting perch and pike on lure and fly with a nice 112cm pike featuring in their catches. And last, but definitely not least, Garreth Maher had an epic battle with a pike that very nearly got the better of him in Lanesboro but pike, angler (and rod) managed to survive to tell the tale.

One that nearly got away

On the trout front there are reports of sedge beginning to stir on many of our loughs as hatches of Peter and Murrough are starting to tempt fish. These big flies which hatch out in late evening are known to bring the bigger fish up from the depths and Midland Angling guide Mick Flanagan is predicting some great evening fishing in the weeks ahead. Lough Arrow anglers are also seeing some good fish caught on sedge while the Western Lakes are still throwing up a fish or two as late Mayfly hatches continue to produce some good fishing on Conn & Corrib. The sedges are active on the rivers too as Dan O’Neill of Mount Juliet reports on some good fishing on the River Nore.

Lough Lene trout.

While the word from the riverbanks over the past few weeks has indicated much improved grilse runs on our salmon fisheries this year, actual reports and photos have been hard to come by. We can only conclude that everyone is out making the most of this welcome news and they don’t have time to put pen to paper and let us know about it… We have some brief reports in from the Bandon and the Moy but one man who rarely fails to submit an angling report is erstwhile Lough Currane correspondent Vincent Appleby who’s popular angling blog reached 1,000,000 views this week. Well done to Vincent.

Finally, lest we forget, we are all still living in the shadow of Covid-19 and while we have done well to keep the levels of the virus low over the past few months we should maintain vigilance in all that we do to ensure we don’t take any backward steps. IFI have published updated guidance for anglers which is available online or for download here.

And now the weather

There is a band of rain due to cross the country from west to east on Friday afternoon as the weather remains quite humid for the evening. The rain will pass overnight and Saturday will be a bit brighter but with a threat of showers. That changeable pattern will continue for the rest of the weekend and into early next week as rain and sunshine intermix in below average temperatures.

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

Shane O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

If you have an angling story to share with the Irish Angling Update please send it to [email protected].

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