It’s not news to most of you reading this to hear that Ireland is slap-bang in the middle of an unusually long spell of fine, settled weather due to a ‘blocking high’ aka ‘Azores High’ weather system stationed over the country. There was almost no rain last week, with only the far north of the country at Malin Head getting a slight sprinkling. Temperatures and sunshine levels were also well above average for much of the country, with most areas remaining a couple of degrees above the norm and some areas getting 233% of normal sunshine levels. And with the settled spell set to continue for the foreseeable future, we are likely to see increasing impacts on our fishing.
So, aside from the obvious high temperatures and lack of rain, how does a high-pressure system like the Azores High impact fishing? As anglers, we often look for anything that might give us an edge in catching more fish or, just as often, a creditable excuse as to why we are not catching at all… Such questions occupied myself and some friends as we floated around a midlands lake, struggling to catch fish, in the sweltering summer heat of last week. A quick consultation with Google threw up numerous conflicting theories, but most pointed to changing barometric pressure being the time when fish are most active (there, we thought we had our excuse). But other theories pointed to a settled, fine spell being generally good for fishing (we quickly rejected that one). Reading through some of the reports in this week’s Angling Update, the current high-pressure system has been sometimes praised but often blamed for its impact on fishing over the past week, so it seems the conflicting theories will remain in conflict for now. And it brings to mind an old Irish saying: ‘
Dá mbeach soineann go Samhain, bheadh breall ar dhuine éigin’,
‘If fine weather lasted until November, somebody would be complaining’.
No doubting, that somebody would be an angler…
The recent weather has been a hot point of discussion for many trout anglers, as it has coincided with the annual mayfly bonanza, a heated time of year at the best of times… On Lough Sheelin last week, it seemed that the blazing sun put the fish down during the day, while the clear skies made for cool evenings, which made a mess of things for the spent fishing, a contrary diagnosis if ever there was one. On the other hand, anglers fishing Lough Arrow were jubilant, having had one of the best mayfly seasons in recent years. Swinging the pendulum back to the negative, anglers on Conn and Cullin also blamed bright sun and cool winds for relatively poor fishing on the lakes. The report from Corrib seems to have balanced it up nicely, with patchy fishing being the order of the day, as some anglers did very well while others struggled.
Moving to our rivers, Dan O’Neill fishing the river Nore, predictably found fish to be holding in the shadier pools as he guided a number of guests over the week. Meanwhile, Keith McDonnell proved that it’s not all about lake fishing during May, as our rivers can also throw up some fantastic catches at mayfly time, as evidenced by some of his stunning photos of river trout. And to wrap up our trout news, Vartry Angling Club in Wicklow is hosting a ladies’ and family day this Sunday, which promises to be a great day out for all.
Salmon fishing reports are thin on the ground this week, as the recent lack of rain has begun to severely impact many of our salmon fisheries. Salmon anglers in the southwest of the country are all complaining of low water, and similar conditions afflicted the River Moy, but anglers there did see an improvement in catch numbers, with 122 fish registered for the week, a considerable number of which were springers.
It is usually the sea anglers that benefit the most from long spells of settled weather, and such was the case for Silver Dawn skipper Dave Edwards who took advantage of the settled seas to head to far-off wrecks for some quality ling. Similar reports from boats in the Clare area indicate that the glorious weather has been great for deep-sea angling over the past week, with good catches of huss in particular. In Galway, skipper John Fleming had clients fishing with light tackle for quality pollack under blue skies. Over on the east coast, the tope fishing has picked up for anglers fishing with Wicklow Boat Charters, and there have been a couple of notable specimens featuring in catches. In our final boat angling report, Ulster came out on top in the recent Inter-Provincial Boat Angling Competition, which was fished at Mullaghmore.
Switching to shore angling now, and sounding a bit like a 90’s rap song, West Cork Anglers headed to an East Cork venue for their latest club competition but found they were plagued by spider crabs, leading to some frustrating fishing. The Killybegs Mariners SAC held their final league outing of the year on Narin in west Donegal, where Gavin Dorrian won on the night under a spectacular sunset, and John Cunningham won the overall league following some consistent winter fishing. And a special mention goes to Killybegs SAC junior member Cormac Duddy who broke the club record Ballan Wrasse with a fine fish of 49cm which also qualifies as a specimen fish. Cormac wins this week’s Catch of the Week. For aspiring competition anglers, the long-running Daiwa Pairs competition is still open for entries for anyone who fancies a trip to Dingle this September. And for anyone looking to target smoothhound from the shore, well-known competition angler Chris O’Sullivan has posted an excellent video of some smoothy fishing in the Waterford area.
For coarse anglers, the month of May is usually associated with tench fishing, and long sunny evenings watching a float dip and bob in the margins. Anglers fishing at Melview Lodge last week found that tench were a welcome fallback when other species failed to cooperate. Tench also bolstered catches in the Ballinamore Festival during the week, where quality roach were also featuring prominently among catches. The roach were largely absent from Inniscarra though, as they had vacated the normal haunts for their spawning beds. So anglers fishing for the Ottewill Trophy had to concentrate on hybrids, skimmers and bream, and that worked out well for the joint competition organiser Dave Carter who ended up the competition winner.
To pike fishing now, and Newbridge Pike Anglers swapped the bankside for boats last week and headed out on a midlands lake for a club competition where fishing was a bit slow, but the anglers enjoyed the fine weather. The Go & Catch Lithuanian Fishing Club were also on the lakes last week as they headed to Lough Gowna for a competition. Fifty anglers turned out, and Mantas and Simas won out on the day with a total of 441cm. And staying on the competition scene, the Romanian C&R Angling Association held the fourth edition of their Lough Derg Predator Challenge last week as 70 anglers battled it out to catch the biggest combination of pike, perch and trout. Our final pike report takes us to the Boyle area, where a duo from Germany had some fine fishing with local angling guide Bodo Funke.
We have a couple of podcasts to round out this week’s angling news. First, Ireland on the Fly takes the latest episode of its podcast to the River Boyne, where the lads talk to Pat O’Toole about the fishing and the work being done by local angling clubs to keep the river in good order. And in sea angling, the latest episode of the Lure Fishing Podcast speaks to wrasse expert Damion Fryer about tips and techniques for targeting these widespread species.
And we will wrap up this week’s update with a note of caution to all anglers. Unfortunately, the continuing hot spell will make life difficult for many of our inland fish species due to increased water temperatures and a decrease in oxygen levels. IFI is warning anglers of the dangers of thermal stress to fish and appealing to anglers to report sightings of fish in distress.
And now the weather 🌞 😎 🌞 😎
This is one of the easiest weather reports I can ever remember… So it will be mostly dry, mostly sunny and pretty warm for the next week or so. A little cooler in the east than in the west. And that’s about it! So enjoy your bank holiday weekend, and don’t forget the sunscreen when venturing out.
Safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland.
Catch, Photo, Release
If you have an angling story to share with the Irish Angling Update, please send it to [email protected].
Trout Fishing Reports
- Caenis up, mayfly over as Corrib basks in the heat
- Ireland on the Fly talks about the River Boyne with Pat O’Toole
- Lough Arrow Anglers look back on this year’s great Mayfly season
- Anglers still struggle on Loughs Conn & Cullin
- It’s not all about lake fishing when it comes to mayfly season…
- A busy weekend’s fishing for Dan O’Neill with clients, friends and son.
- Vartry Angling Club hosts Ladies & Family Open Day this Sunday 4th June
- Ephemeral ecstasy for Lough Sheelin anglers
Salmon Fishing Reports
- Ireland on the Fly talks about the River Boyne with Pat O’Toole
- Challenging conditions but still some nice fish reported from the Moy
Coarse Angling Reports
- UK Anglers have some good Tench fishing at Melview Lodge
- Dave Carter wins Ottewill Trophy on Inniscarra
- Great fishing as specimen roach and tench feature in Ballinamore Festival
Pike Fishing Reports
- German Duo enjoys great week with Angling Services Ireland in Boyle
- Go & Catch LFC hit Gowna for pike competition
- Newbridge Pike Anglers swap bankside for boats
- Romanian C&R Angling Association hold Pike-Perch-Trout competition on Lough Derg
Sea Angling Reports
- Specimen wrasse for junior member Cormac and successful last league outing for Mariners SAC
- West Cork Anglers plagued by Spiders on Ballybrannigan Beach
- Lure Fishing Podcast talks to Wrasse expert Damien Fryer
- Tons of tope for anglers fishing with Wicklow Boat Charters
- Ulster come out on top in Inter-Provincial Boat Angling Competition
- Daiwa Pairs still open for entries
- Good weather, good fishing in Galway Bay
- Big spurs and huss in West Clare
- Settled sea makes specimens on distant wreck accessible for Silver Dawn