As we reach the last week of January, the relatively dry spell has continued, giving waters a chance to recede and hopefully opening up more fishing opportunities for anglers. Most areas of the country recorded less than 10mm of rainfall, well below average for the time of year. We have also had some nice bright days with little wind, a welcome break after some very blowy months. And all this seems to have spurred anglers on, as we are starting to see more reports filter in, and some good fish being caught.

So, we begin with pike angling, and the Limerick County Pike Anglers were back on the banks last week for their first competition of 2023. The are a very active club, holding regular competitions and welcoming anglers from beyond the county to their events. And it was one of those travelling anglers that performed a smash and grab, as Kevin Flanagan caught a 15lb + pike followed a little later by a whopping 25lb + pike to make it two pike for over 40 pounds. Needless to say, he walked away with the competition and set a high bar for his fellow club members to aim at for the rest of the year. Kevin wins this week’s Catch of the Week for his exploits.

A new PB of 25lb + and a great start to the year!

In other pike angling news, Carafin Lodge welcomed their first angling group of the new year last week. The weather was against them for their week, with hard frosts and high water levels making fishing tricky, but the lads knuckled down to it and landed plenty of pike, with a couple of decent trout thrown in too, all on deadbait. To the midlands next, and Mick ‘the fish’ Flanagan was testing his home waters around Mullingar during the week. He opted for a bit of drop shotting, which attracted plenty of perch, along with a well-stuffed pike. To round up our pike angling news, the Romanian Catch & Release Angling Club are another active club with plenty of events throughout the year across various angling disciplines. They are putting the word out there to invite new club members for the year, all nationalities welcome!

To sea angling now, and the ever-active Killybegs Mariners were out for a few sessions during the week. They had one competition for the longest flattie, but found the flatties hard to find until the evening was drawing to a close. Some of them also tried a few shore marks during the week, landing a nice mix of fish, including a fine double-figure conger.

Double figure conger for Killybegs Mariner

Angling guide Richie Ryan was out chasing some early season mullet this week, and managed to bag one on the fly. These notoriously shy fish are hard to tempt at the best of times, so to get one on the fly this early in the season is a real feat. And, in a strange coincidence, he realised that the first mullet reported for 2022 was caught on the same date, Jan 22nd. Is it a coincidence or is there an interesting trend there…? The Irish Federation of Sea Anglers are holding a couple of shore angling sessions for anglers between the ages of 16 and 21 who want to brush up on their skills. There’s always loads more to learn about fishing, and it helps to get shown the ropes from expert anglers, so any young angler looking to up their skills should apply.

On the salmon front, a few hardy anglers are venturing out on Lough Currane in search of the first salmon of the season. There have been some kelts and brown trout landed, but that first bar of silver remains elusive… Elsewhere, the draw has taken place for the first round of brown tags for the River Lee. Anglers who participated can check to see if they have the winning numbers here.

To trout fishing now, and while we have no reports to share, we do have a couple of social media titbits that might interest you. The Ireland on the Fly team have been busy again, this week chatting with one of Ireland’s top fly tiers, Ryan Houston and questioning whether the art of fly tying improves your angling. In another post, Jackie Mahon looks forward to the 2023 season and decides that April is the month to get the best fishing on Lough Arrow.

This was one of a couple of nice trout landed by anglers fishing for pike at Carafin Lodge

We wrap upthis week’s angling reports with a single coarse angling report, where Munster Coarse Anglers revisited O’Briensbridge, which resembled a battlefield the last time they were at the venue. Luckily order had been restored and the banks were back to normal. Fishing was patchy, but some anglers managed a bit of consistency, and 11lb was the top weight. Staying in Co. Clare, Tulla and District Coarse Angling Club are holding their AGM in the Court House, Tulla tonight at 7.30 and new members are welcome.

A decent haul from O’Briensbridge

In other news, the Irish Specimen Fish Committee have announced that their awards ceremony will be held on 11th March at the Clayton Hotel Leopardstown. Please note the change of venue to Leopardstown and not the Clayton Airport, where the event was held in recent years. Finally, it’s been great to see and report on the return of bluefin tuna to Irish waters in recent years. It’s really been a rare good news story, and that story is well told by Dr. William Roche, in the latest episode of Tommy’s Outdoors podcast.

And now the weather…

Friday will have some bright sunny spells, particularly across the east and southeast, but some outbreaks of rain will spread from the northwest overnight, and it will be a chilly night, with temperatures between 0 and 5 degrees. Saturday will see bright spells in the west, but it will be duller in the east as cloud and mist linger. It will remain cold on Saturday night, and some rain will affect Connacht and Ulster on Sunday, with the rest of the country mostly dry. This mix of sunny spells mingled with light rain in places will extend into Monday before more blustery conditions arrive on Tuesday.

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

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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