Well, there’s no need for me to go into great depth about the weather for the past week, as the high temperatures in Ireland and beyond have been making headline news across all forms of media. Ireland was relatively ‘lucky’, only catching the edge of the warm air mass, which brought us sweltering heat for a couple of days and reasonably pleasant weather after that. Other countries had to struggle with record-breaking temperatures, which brought wildfires, drought and all manner of other problems.

Much as last week, sea angling features most prominently in our angling reports this week, as anglers headed to the coast to wet a line, and possibly enjoy the cooling sea breeze… Shark angling, in particular, seems to have been kicked into gear, as these long-distance travellers tend to congregate around our coastline during the summer months. Many anglers and charter boats that fish for shark species contribute to the Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme, in which the shark are tagged, and their movements are then recorded as they carry on their ocean-going journies. The programme has been running for over 50 years, and is a great example of how ‘citizen science’ can contribute valuable knowledge to the scientific community. Over those years, we have seen evidence of a decline in many of our shark species due to a range of threats, not least of which is an increase in commercial fishing pressure. So it is important that anglers fishing for shark species ensure they catch and release them without causing undue stress or harm to the fish. IFI has produced this leaflet with some guidelines on how to fish for shark using the right tackle and proper release & handling techniques.

So, to the fishing… and we’ll begin our roundup in Cork, which seems to have been a hotbed of angling in the heatwave! First off, we go to West Cork, where West Cork Charters had a couple of family trips which produced great angling for all involved, the highlight of which was a super 130lb + specimen-sized blue shark for Conor Ward. Next, staying in that locality, a kayak trip for Neill McKay fishing with West Cork Bass produced a memorable first-ever bass which brought grins all around. Next up, Jeremy Smith, AKA West Cork Fisher, had a frantic session chasing gilthead, where he managed to land a few good ones but lose a couple of others. Moving to smaller species now, and anglers fishing with Tom Collins of Sea Angling Charters were hoping to add some hard-to-get species to their species list for the year, and things worked out well on the day, with all four anglers getting a hat-trick! And in our final Cork report, Jim Clohessy had difficulty finding mackerel in Cork Harbour, which made his sharking trip a bit tricky. But he had far more success when targeting pollack on a reef he hadn’t fished before.

Conor Ward’s Specimen Blue

Moving away from the rebel county, we start to see porbeagle shark emerging as a theme. Sean Maguire of the Lady Gwen had his first sharking trip of the year, and they found the porgies in a biting mood, hooking seven and getting three to the boat, all firsts for the anglers involved. Also in Clare, porbeagle featured for anglers onboard the Clare Dragoon with Luke Aston. This time anglers were fishing and catching a good range of species when a porbeagle followed a pollock right up to the boat. A quick switch to sharking gear saw a couple of porgies caught in quick succession. Meanwhile, in Galway Bay, John Fleming of Blue Shark Angling decided to give the porgies a go and was rewarded with a monster fish estimated at 370-400lbs for Thomas Markey, breaking his boat record for the second year running. As the largest porbeagle recorded this week, Thomas wins this week’s Catch of the Week. To wrap up our sea angling reports, we head to the East coast, where some unexpected engine trouble didn’t cause a crisis for anglers onboard Wicklow Boat Charters, and they made the most of some spring tides to keep the specimen haul ticking over.

A real monster of a porgie breaks the boat record and wins this week’s Catch of the Week.

Moving to freshwater, the hot weather took its toll this week as angling reports were few and far between. In coarse fishing, the second round of the All Ireland Method Feeder Championships was held at Oakland lakes, with Donatas Zemaitis coming out on top with over 32kg. Meanwhile, Belmont Anglers enjoyed fine weather and fine fishing at a recent club competition that featured tench in the catches. This Sunday will see the 4th qualifier of the Irish Feedermasters on L. Muckno, and any interested anglers should sign up on the L. Muckno Facebook page. Finally, a notice that this week’s NCFFI All Ireland Championship around Ballinamore has been postponed as several committee members have come down with Covid. New dates will be announced in due course.

Belmont Angler with a nice canal tench

There’s little enough to report in salmon angling as low water and hot weather combined to make life difficult for most anglers. Even the mighty Moy saw a fall-off in numbers last week due to the conditions, but there were still 251 fish reported on the catchment. In other salmon news, the final draw for Brown tags on the R. Lee will be held in early August, and interested anglers should register before 5pm on Thursday 4th, August.

Hilbe Stefan, Austria, about to release a salmon on the Cathedral Beat of the Moy Fishery

We have only one trout report in this week, and it’s no surprise to hear that the few anglers that ventured out on L. Conn during the week struggled to make anything of the fishing, with only a handful of small trout reported. For those who enjoy sea trout fishing, the new episode on Ireland on the Fly remembers the glory days of Connemara sea trout fishing before the unfortunate collapse of the stock in recent times.

An angler about to land a trout on Lough Conn

And now the weather…

It will remain largely dry today, with sunny spells turning more cloudy towards the evening. Outbreaks of rain will spread from the southwest overnight, and winds will strengthen, becoming fresh to strong in the west/southwest. Saturday will start wet, with some heavy bursts of rain in places, but it will remain mild with the warmest temperatures in the midlands and east. It will continue unsettled with breezy showery weather on Sunday before changing to drier settled weather early next week.

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

Shane O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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