The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, but in Ireland, it falls mainly on the west… at least that was the story last week, as Connacht received double the usual amount of rain during the week, while the rest of the country was more towards the average. Temperatures are on the rise, and we are enjoying a mildish spell with most areas experiencing relatively warm weather over the week, but the sun has remained a bit elusive, poking out from the clouds here and there but rarely staying for long before retreating behind a haze of grey.

Anglers on the River Moy were making the most of the wet Connacht weather last week as the rain seems to have got things going on the river, with many of the fisheries recording improved catches and the Ridge Pool getting off the mark with a few nice fish landed. A total of 67 salmon were caught throughout the fishery during the week.

The Ridge Pools’ first salmon of the season, caught by Garrett Ruigrok on a Bann Special

The rain also triggered some activity on the Erriff system, as it too managed its first fish of the season, a fine wild fish of 12lb, which was released back to the river. And the same rain caused a nice looking flood on the Finn, and fishing has been steady as a result.

Some proper wet weather hit the Finn last week

Elsewhere the fishing was more patchy: Currane threw up a couple of salmon to 11lb as well as a good sea trout, but elsewhere in Kerry, the much-needed rain missed the Owenmore. Any salmon on the Blackwater were confined to the lower parts of the river, while on the River Bandon, the river was very low, and no salmon were reported for the week. Up in Mayo, Judd Ruane reports that anglers are continuing to enjoy good sea trout fishing on the Moy estuary in what seems to be a bumper season for them up there.

The fishing continues to ramp up on our loughs as we embark on the yearly Mayfly frenzy. It’s a period that can test the breaking strain of relationships, test the patience of boat partners, lead to pitched battles on the slipways and anti-social behaviour on the water…

The mayfly is in full swing on Lough Arrow with good hatches of fly and some falls of spent when conditions are favourable. Fishing is also improving on Loughs Conn & Cullin, where anglers are catching well on both dry olive and dry mayfly patterns. On Sheelin, things hadn’t quite switched on by the time we got the latest report last Monday, but anglers were catching well on the buzzer. For those looking for some last-minute tips on how to fish the loughs, listen in to competition angler Stan McArt on the Ireland on the Fly podcast. Away from the lakes, Dan O’Neill lost himself in the rapture of angling for an hour on the River Nore, picking rising trout out from their lairs.

Nathan Creaven released this trout over 2 lbs., caught on a dry Olive in Inishlea Bay.

Cavan seemed to be the epicentre of a lot of coarse fishing last week as a number of angling clubs headed to various venues in the Breffni county to hold club competitions. On the Erne system, the 4th qualifier for Ireland’s Feeder King was held with young angler Charlie Richards coming out on top. The month of May is usually the best time of the year to target tench, as they really come on the feed ahead of spawning. A couple of anglers from Edenderry found them to be in biting mood when practicing for this weekends club match on the canal. Con Heavey racked up a very respectable 39+lb of fish, mostly tench by the looks of it, and because we don’t often see bags of tench like that from the canals in our reports, we are happy to award it this week’s Catch of the Week.

A great bag of canal tench for Con Heavey of Edenderry Coarse Anglers

Three Dutch anglers had a fine time casting hard and soft lures for pike while staying at Melview Lodge. They managed 62 pike over five days of fishing and went away with smiles on their faces. Meanwhile, anglers fishing with Angling Services Ireland guide Bodo Funke also had some excellent fishing with both lures and fly. Fly fishing for pike also proved to be bountiful for Travis Petrie from the Isle of Man, who spent a couple of days fly fishing with Pikeonthefky guide Stuart Wylie. IFPAC held the first round of their qualifiers last week, and 55 anglers turned out in sunny conditions to battle it out for the top spot. Peter Sheridan was way out ahead of the field with ten pike for 52lb. Pascal Brissaud of Watermill Lodge had a group of anglers in for the week, and they made the most of their stay by landing a whopping 380 pike. Angling guide Brendan Sharkey brought a friend out fishing over a couple of days last week and guided his friend to breaking his PB with a lovely fish of 111cm.

Smiles all round for Melview Lodge guests

Cork Harbour has seen a slow start to the fishing year for Jim Clohessy as wind has hampered his efforts to get some consistent fishing in. But he took a blast out to some of the reefs last week and found the fishing to be slow but steady, and he landed a decent stamp of fish while trying out some new tackle. Staying in Cork Harbour, Richie Ryan of Eirebass was also trialling some new kit, this time a switch rod, which he was a bit sceptical about. That view might have changed now, though, as the aforementioned rod managed to land him his first fly-caught bass of the season. In Kerry, French anglers fishing on the Fuego had 12 species on their day out, while another group from Killarney had a busy day at the pollack.  On the west coast, John Fleming had one group of anglers out targeting wrasse and another group out targeting pollack, with the pollack anglers having slightly the better of it. In Donegal, the Killybegs Mariners have been busy, fitting in some pleasure angling, a boat competition and a round of their club league, all in short succession. Specimen anglers will be glad to hear that Kit Dunne of Wicklow Boat Charters has reported that the hounds are back on the east coast, as he managed to boat his first hound and first tope of the season last week.

A decent stamp of pollack about. This one on a Black Minnow 60g
A decent stamp of pollack about. This one on a Black Minnow 60g

As the bass season starts to swing into top gear over the summer months, IFI are asking bass anglers to take part in their National Bass Programme by sampling scales of any bass they catch and/or tagging bass to try and determine their mobility around the coast.

And now the weather

The rest of the day will see sunny spells in most parts of the country, and it should remain dry overnight. Tomorrow will bring sunny spells with temperatures rising to 19 degrees in places. Sunday will be much the same, but the east will have the chance of a shower or two. Monday will see a change, as rain will spread from the southwest bringing heavy and sometimes thunderous downpours across parts of the country. This unsettled pattern with heavy showers and blustery winds will continue into the middle of the week.

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

Shane O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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