In a reversal of the norm, while much of continental Europe was hit by a deluge of rain last week causing widespread floods, Ireland sweltered under heatwave conditions which brought temperatures into the high twenties across most of the country. Rainfall was almost non-existent, with the highest measured being 0.7mm in Donegal, which is just 4% of the average for this time of year.
And, as most of us know, prolonged spells of warm, dry weather at this time of year can cause severe complications for freshwater fish, as the increased water temperature often leads to low oxygen levels, which fish find difficult to tolerate. So it is no surprise that the first item in this week’s report is a message from Inland Fisheries Ireland for all freshwater anglers to be mindful of this while fishing under the present conditions. We are asking for anglers to consider refraining from C&R fishing for salmon as many fish are unlikely to survive in the low oxygen water once released. Similarly, coarse fish will likely suffer if kept in keepnets at this time of year, so we are asking all coarse anglers to stop using them until the weather cools. Pike and trout will also struggle to recover in the current conditions, especially the bigger fish, so please bear that in mind if planning to fish over the next few days.
Given the above, it’s no surprise that the weather has severely impacted this week’s angling reports, as fish were generally lethargic, and many anglers preferred to siesta in the shade rather than burn up on the banks. Reports from Lough Currane, the Bandon, and the Lee shared a common theme as the baking conditions and low water saw angling effort and catches plummet. The River Moy fared somewhat better, with some fish being caught in the early part of the week before temperatures really spiked. Similarly, the lower stretches of the River Blackwater were fishing quite well, with plenty of grilse showing, particularly in the mornings before the heat of the day got too intense. Finally, for anglers fishing the River Lee, we would like to remind them that the final round of applications for brown tags closes this evening.
Sea trout fishing in the Moy Estuary was patchy this past week, with the largest fish being a 2.5lber that fell to a mackerel strip fished by Philip Thornton. But local guide Judd Ruane reports that a fresh run of sea trout did enter the system during the week, and he had his young grandson (also Judd) of four years old out with him to take advantage. Young Judd made it look easy as he bagged a couple of nice sea trout on his first-ever try for them.
We have no trout or pike reports in for the past week and only have the one coarse report as CM Lakelands Feeder Club fished a knock-up on L. Muckno last weekend. Despite the bright sunshine, the roach were around in decent numbers leading to some double-figure weights for the top three anglers.
As is usually the case, when the freshwater fishing slows down due to hot weather, the sea angling revs up to fill the gap, and we had plenty of sea angling taking place under fantastic blue skies over the past week. First off, we have the story of young Cassie Bonner from Donegal, who has been taking part in the IFI/Foroige led Go Fishing programme. After spending four sessions online learning the basics of angling, Cassie went for a practical session in Rathmullan, where she beat all comers in managing to land a 35lb Tope. To get a fish like that on your first try is a feat indeed, and it’s well worthy of this week’s Catch of the Week honours. Well done to Cassie and all the IFI & Foroige staff involved in bringing the joys of angling to the next generation.
It wasn’t the only Tope story we had in this week, as they seem to be turning up in good numbers all around the coast right now. Robert Babington had a good session up in Dundalk Bay as he caught and released a total of seven Tope, including a nice one over 40lb. And some lucky Tope anglers were treated to an acrobatic feat as they encountered a massive (and rare for Ireland) Thresher shark, jumping clear of the water four times as they were fishing off the Greystones coast.
Shark of other persuasions are pretty abundant around the coast right now, and they are featuring in many reports from our charter fleet. In Galway, the Brazen Hussy II has had plenty of action, with porbeagles being most prominent. Up at Mullaghmore, it’s Blues that are more prolific, as the Kiwi Girl made the most of the settled weather to target these long-range ocean travellers. And down in Clare, Luke Aston of the Clare Dragoon knew that the settled conditions gave a very good chance of a shark treble (6 Gill, Porbeagle & Blue) for long time client Andy. They gave it a hell of a go, but ultimately it was a case of Fish 2 – Angler 1 on this occasion.
Down in Cork Harbour, well known small boat angler Jim Clohessy got in on some shark fishing too, along with some pretty nifty looking Pollack and Ling caught on lures. Further west in Cork, angling blogger and YouTube-er Marcin Kantor spent a couple of days fishing for Mullet and kayaking with David Norman of West Cork Bass. The mullet were elusive as ever, but the pollock fishing more than made up for that disappointment. Finally, over in Caherciveen, quality Pollock and Ling were also turning up for clients on the Fuego, skippered by Des O’Connell, and it’s great to see some younger anglers getting in on the mix.
And now the weather
Today will remain warm and dry in most parts, but the midlands will see some thunderstorms, which will bring heavy showers in places. These showers will linger in the west and southwest overnight but will clear tomorrow to give a mostly dry and warm day with some isolated showers in Munster and Connacht. The warm weather will continue for the rest of the weekend, but it will become a bit more changeable on Monday and into the early part of next week.
Safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland.
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