This report in from Dan O’Neill of South East Casting:
With rain forecast and our local haunts already high it was looking like we would be fishing some lakes over the last week. Anthony was very geared up for our trip with Ronan Murray of Irish Pike Fishing Guides. I booked a trip with Ronan about a month ago, I decided to keep it quiet around the apprentice to avoid everyday questions of “how long left now before our trip?”. As the time came near, I felt as though the weather may be a problem for us. It brought back memories of me when I was Anthony’s age. I would be looking out of the sitting room window at bending trees and sideways rainfall saying “it’s not that bad dad, its clearing”, I now feel his pain (sorry Dad).
After a phone call from Ronan a day or two beforehand, I finally told Anthony about the trip and he immediately started asking questions, spending the whole evening reading about pike fishing and looking up tips and tricks; little did he know that the man we were going with has an encyclopedic knowledge of pike fishing tips and tricks.
The drive to where we met Ronan was about 2 hours which added some quality time for me with Anthony as we spoke about fishing (surprise, surprise). I ended up agreeing to several more fishing trips on the way up, no matter how much I turned up the radio to drown out the requests they just kept coming, even a cheeky McDonalds breakfast on the way didn’t stop them!
Arriving at the meeting point it was breathtaking. I love large loughs and no matter what picture you paint in your head of the lough on the way there, the reality always betters it with beauty, it also stamps an image in your mind that you will never forget. As I looked across the lough with my own eyes and not through the screen of the phone or camera, I felt connected to something. Irish Loughs are very special, almost magical, and I think each one connects with you in a different way.
As Ronan arrived, Anthony’s eyes were firmly on the boat, a superb vessel and our platform for the day. After we got our safety briefing, we boarded the boat. Led by Ronan, we went out onto the Lough. We decided to throw lures for a while and had plenty of perch. Anthony had a nice pike of about 7 pounds on the perch gear which made it very exciting for him. We moved around a little more looking for perch, as Anthony had a newfound love jigging for them, and we all caught some nice perch while fishing this method.
After a lovely bowl of soup and a warm ham and cheese roll (compliments of Ronan) it was off to try for something a little bigger. Putting away the lighter rods and getting out the heavier rods and larger lures it was out into the lough again, the wind picked up a little and rain began to start but we are not made of sugar, so we battled on. Surprisingly, it wasn’t long before the rod bent around and we had what was a much better fish.
We hit double figures with this one (or should I say Anthony did – as I was paying more attention to the surrounding area when it hit). Many more pike followed and they were all magnificent and in such great condition. Anthony had the biggest one of the day and he caught it in injury time also just as we were packing up, this made the drive home, let’s say – interesting! Bragging rights can be hard to bear for 2.5hrs. but a part of me (well mostly all of me) was delighted for this young angler – and very proud.
Just to say a big thank you to Ronan from Irish pike fishing guides. He was superb with Anthony and engaged with him through the entire trip, it’s great that in Ireland we have guides and anglers like Ronan that truly has a passion for his sport and supports the next generation.