As is often the case, the weather divided the country over the last week. Many counties on the Atlantic seaboard endured some very wet weather, with up to twice the average rainfall. At the same time, it was much drier than average for those situated on the eastern side of the island, with very little rain falling in most places. All the trees are now sporting their autumn livery, dappled with spectacular hues of orange, gold and yellow, but we’ve yet to endure any really harsh weather, as temperatures remain above average for this time of year, inviting us all to get out and enjoy the outdoors and, hopefully, cast a line or two…

And the mild weather we’ve had this October seems to be just the ticket for the blue shark patrolling our coasts, as Dungarvan Offshore Charters declared that late-season catches were as good as would be expected during the summer months. Dave Edwards from the Silver Dawn in Courtmacsherry seems to concur as he experienced similar success with the blues last week, and they continue to provide good fishing for anglers on days when bluefin tuna have been scarce. Closer inshore in West Cork, David Norman made the most of the calm spell to target bass and pollack from his kayak and some good fish were happy to oblige. John Fleming, skipper of the Brazen Hussy II, was also crediting the recent good weather for bringing the pollack back on the feed in Galway Bay, with the skipper even getting in on the act with a nice triple shot.

Skipper John shows how it’s done, catching pollack 3 at a time!

Down in Caherciveen, it was the return of good numbers of mackerel that got the fish in feeding mode as anglers on the Fuego caught some cracking pollock and ling. Meanwhile, up in Donegal, the bluefin tuna season is still tipping away with some nice catches last week, including one for an 83-year-old angler. Last but definitely not least (on the sea angling front), we have a potential Irish Record reported this week as Cork small boat specialist Jim Clohessy boated a fantastic 13lb 6oz stone basse. With the current Irish record standing at 11.72lb, Jim’s fish well exceeds that and will hopefully be certified as a new record by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee later this year. With a fish of that stamp, Jim easily romps home with our Catch of the Week award.

Jim with his 13lb 6oz potential record stone basse

Moving inland from the sea, it’s no surprise to see that pike angling is dominating most of our reports as October is generally considered one of the prime months for these freshwater predators. Lough Derg has been throwing up a pike or two of late, and a couple of French guests of TJ’s Angling Centre in Ballina enjoyed some fine fishing with pike to 105cm. Also on L. Derg, taking a break from the competition scene, Damien Culliney from had some great sport last Saturday with 12 fish to the boat, including three over the 100cm mark. Further upstream on the Shannon system, a few Belgian anglers staying in Melview Lodge with Kevin Lyons finished a week of fly fishing for pike in style with some great looking fish. And as the Belgians departed the midlands, the French moved in, and, luckily, the pike kept biting, giving them an encouraging start to their holiday. Over to the competition scene, the Romanian C&R Angling Association held the inaugural Pike Master Ireland competition, which was spread over multiple venues around the country. Fishing was tough as anglers had to deal with fog and then bright sunshine but the winners on the day managed 19 pike for 488cm.

Two happy clients of TJ’s Angling Centre

To coarse angling now, and as the season is winding down, there’s still some fish to be caught as the mild weather means that the fish have not yet headed for the deeps. Up in Melview Lodge, eager anglers couldn’t wait to get at their swims and managed some good bags of roach, bream, hybrids and a bonus tench. In Cork, anglers have been testing the waters in Inniscarra ahead of the Feederfest 2021, which will be held there next week. Catches have been steady, which should lead to a hotly contested match for the 70 anglers signed up to attend.

Melview Lodge guest with his catch of bream, hybrids, roach and tench

With the salmon and trout season finally over for another year, we have a couple of retrospectives as anglers look over the season that was. Donavin Brinklow reports on an overly dry season on the Erriff, where lack of rain hampered fishing for most of the year. The dry weather certainly didn’t put Tomi Kurmann off though, as the ferox trout specialist managed 122 trout over 65cm in what was an exceptional year. And staying with trout, long-time L. Mask angler Toby Gibbons sent us a report of his final couple of days on the lough, where he managed to land himself a fish of a lifetime trout of 9lb 5oz on a Yellow Octopus.

Toby with his super 9lb+ trout

In other news, Inland Fisheries Ireland are looking for submissions from interested parties regarding the proposed introduction of a bye-law to protect one of our most threatened freshwater species: the Arctic Char. And finally, we would like to remind all salmon and sea trout anglers that their Salmon & Sea Trout angling logbooks are now due for return.

And now the weather

Outbreaks of rain will move southwards from Ulster tonight into parts of north Leinster and Connacht, but the rest of the country will stay mostly dry. It will remain dry for the most part tomorrow with good patches of sunshine, particularly in the north of the country with temperatures of 10-14 degrees and possibly even 16 degrees in Munster. Saturday will be wet and breezy, but this will clear to a mix of cloud and sunny spells on Sunday. This unsettled pattern will continue into early next week, but temperatures will remain milder than average for this time of year.

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

Shane O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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