Autumn 2022 officially kicked off last Friday, Sept 23rd, and while the exact dates for the beginning and end of the seasons often spark some debate, it seems that this year the natural world can’t make its mind up either, as much of our flora and fauna have been experiencing a prolonged ‘false autumn’, brought on by the late season warm temperatures. However, sitting here writing this, with wind and rain lashing against my window, I’ve little doubt that autumn has arrived, and the slightly lower than average temperatures we have seen this week have certainly brought the nip to the air we expect from the changing season.

This change of season normally coincides with a tapering off of fishing activity across a range of angling disciplines, but it’s good to see that the quality of the sea angling around our coasts has been very consistent over the past week, with plenty of reports from both boat and shore. Up in Donegal, the tuna season shows no sign of slowing down, and several boats reported catches in the past week, with some of the same boats also experiencing good ground fishing as well. In Baltimore, things are only getting going on the tuna front, but they got going with a bang, with three fish tagged and released during the week. And it seems the tuna have hit the south coast in force, as Dave Edwards of the Silver Dawn also had his first couple of fish for the season last week, and a fine stamp of fish they were too. On the east coast, Greystones Ridge Angling Club held a tope festival recently, and despite some challenging sea conditions, 14 boats landed around 100 tope, proving that the east coast is still the place to be for tope. Staying on the east coast (and challenging sea conditions…), Wicklow Boat Charters had to call off five angling trips last week, but when they did get out, the fishing was top-notch on the wrecks.

bluefin tuna
Starting the bluefin season with a bang in Baltimore

In Galway Bay, anglers fishing with Blue Shark Angling hit the inshore reefs and had some exciting fishing for pollack, most of which were taken gilling with sandeels. A bit further south along the west coast, anglers fishing out of Carrigaholt with Luke Aston and Sean Maguire had steady fishing, with a good range of species on the go, despite a change in the weather. Tom Collins of Sea Angling Charters has been having a good time with the blues of late, but it was a lantern that caught the eye last week, as one of Tom’s crew had a fine megrim, otherwise known as a lantern fish. Anglers fishing on the Osprey in Cork Harbour also had a good mix of species, including some ray and turbot. And staying in Cork Harbour, but switching to small boats, bass, wrasse and mullet all hit the lures for Jim Clohessy and Andrew Davies, with pink lures proving to be a winner.

Pink proves deadly in Cork Harbour

On the shore scene, the ever-present Killybegs Mariners had a landmark week, as they saw four club records broken in quick succession, as new records were set for garfish, corkwing, saury and sea scorpion. Elsewhere, the Dingle peninsula welcomed back a host of UK anglers who travelled to the Kerry venue last week to compete in the Daiwa Pairs. After a two-year Covid hiatus, the anglers were raring to go, and it was familiar faces that came out on top, as Ian Hewitt and Jim Gross won the trophy for a 4th. time.

To wrap up our sea angling reports, we have a bit of armchair fishing for you, as two impressive YouTube videos were posted during the week. First up is prolific angler and YouTuber Marcin Kantor, who gives tips and tricks on targeting large bass; and also shows you how it’s done by landing his first ever double-figure bass. And on a slightly larger scale, Carrigaholt Sea Angling hosted a couple of well-known angling journalists recently in search of monster 6-gill shark. Needless to say, they were successful, and have this super video to prove it.

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On the freshwater scene, today is the final day of the season for most of our salmon and trout fisheries and anglers will soon be putting their rods away for a few months. Luckily, on several of our fisheries, the fishing has had a bit of a bounce over the past week, and anglers have enjoyed some decent sport. Waterville often puts on a late-season spurt, as September is usually one of the better months down there. This year is no different, and a number of angling parties reported good catches of both salmon and sea trout over the week.

In West Cork, 16 salmon were reported on the Ilen for the week, and further east, the Munster Blackwater had fish reported along its full length as the season draws to a close. Unfortunately, low water levels led to a slow week on the River Moy, as salmon were lethargic and difficult to tempt. However, on the Moy Estuary, Judd Ruane has wrapped up his angling season after what can only be described as an exceptional year for sea trout.

Sun sets on the Blackwater Valley Fishery

To wrap up the salmon section, we want to remind all salmon and sea trout anglers that their logbooks and tags are due to be returned soon, and we are asking all anglers to ensure they are returned by the 19th of October.

On the trout front, Brendan Murphy from Cloghans had a double success winning both the Chris Downey cup and Lough Conn & Cullin AA competition by catching a trout in the same place with the same fly…a week apart. September proved a lively month on Lough Arrow, with some good fishing when the weather suited, but the last week has seen the fish become less obliging. In the midlands, Mick Flanagan of Midland Angling made the most of a mild spell to tempt some trout to the dry fly on Lene. Meanwhile, ferox expert Tomi Kurmann finished off his season with a nice ferox of circa 15lb, and had a couple of decent pike as well. And saving the best till last, Edmund Corry ventured out on Lough Mask yesterday, hoping for a bit of late-season action. Little was he expecting what came next, as his size 10 mayfly was engulfed by a humungous trout, which after a 25-minute fight on a 6-weight rod was finally boated, and there were gasps all round at the size of the trout, which was estimated to be between 17 and 19lbs. With a fish of that stamp, Edmund romps away with this week’s Catch of the Week accolade.

What a whopper. Late season monster from Mask.

On the coarse angling scene, the Cavan Autumn festival is in full swing at the moment, and we have a round-up of the main events that have been taking place. And, after a number of qualifiers during the year, the final of Ireland’s Feeder King was held over two days last weekend, with Robert Zilaitis coming out on top with a 26kg total.

Decent bag from Belturbet Festival

Unusually for September, pike angling reports were thin on the ground last week, and we only have a couple of them to wrap up this week’s angling update. Nevertheless, the Leinster Pike Anglers got their winter league off to a start last weekend, and some anglers managed impressive bags on the day, with numbers rather than size being the order of business. Up in Roscommon, however, it was a different matter, as Bodo Funke of Angling Services Ireland produced numerous 100cm+ pike for his Italian clients, all of whom went home happy after their successful fishing trips.

100cm + pike on the fly for Angling Services Ireland client

In other news, Inland Fisheries Ireland opened a new footbridge over the Owenea River in Donegal last week in a ‘welcome boost’ for angling development which will improve access to the fishery.

To wrap up, we would like to ask all specimen hunters to get their 2022 claims into the Irish Specimen Fish Committee as soon as possible before the end of October close-off.

And now the weather

Today will be wet and windy in most areas with risks of spot flooding and dangerous road conditions. The rain will clear eastwards during the day, providing some sunny spells in places. It will remain breezy overnight, and Saturday will have a mix of sunshine and showers. Sunday will be mainly dry, as will Monday, before the weather turns again on Tuesday, bringing a return of the rain with some heavy downpours expected.

Safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland. If you’re heading to the coast, don’t forget to check the tides.

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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