Batharnach, clagairt, clagarnach, dallcairt, forlacht, gleidearnach, stealladh, tuile and báisteach are just some (there are plenty more) of the words used to describe rain “as Gaeilge”, and we have surely experienced all of the above in recent months. Last week saw little respite, as rain continued to dominate in all provinces, with some areas getting four times the average for the time of year. At the weekend, the rain was given extra vigour by storm Kathleen, which gave us a good whipping on Saturday before taking a little break and then whipping us again on Sunday. So it’s no surprise that the weather has featured large in this week’s angling reports, as anglers sought to get ahead of, predict, avoid, find a gap in, or just shrug and endure what nature threw at them.

Starting with sea angling, the members of South Shore SAC had been watching the forecast all week ahead of their scheduled club competition at the weekend. A late check of the venue on Saturday produced a green light for the match, and anglers found a 3-hour window where the fish were on form before the rising winds called a halt to proceedings. David Norman of Angling Adventures West Cork decided to get out ahead of the worst of the weather and found a bit of shelter from the mounting winds where feeding mullet took a fancy to his fly. It takes more than a storm to put the Killybegs Mariners off their fishing, but they were slightly unfortunate that their annual trip to Mayo coincided with such inclement weather. However, luck was on their side with the destination: the Mullet Peninsula, one of the rare venues where you can find shelter in any wind direction. And they were even luckier with the fishing, with sea trout being the star of the show, including a new club record specimen of 68cm, which was released back to the sea after a quick photo and wins this week’s Catch of the Week.

A fine sea trout from Belmullet

Charter boats will have stayed at their moorings over the weekend, and there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to put to sea this year, but April normally sees a return of boats to the water after a spruce-up over the winter months, and a number of west-coat charters are now ready for the off once the wind allows. To bass angling now, and Cormac Walsh of the Lure Fishing Podcast talks to Matt Cumbers of Drift Lures about his journey from angler through to lure designer and producer, and Matt gives some insights into the factors that make a winning lure. Last but definitely not least, on the sea angling scene, the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers held a launch event to mark the commencement of preparations for the U16 & U21 World Championship Shore Angling, which will be held on the southeast coast this coming November. It will be the highlight of the shore angling scene in Ireland in 2024, and we look forward to reporting on it later in the year.

Coarse anglers in Munster had to contend with the tail end of storm Kathleen on Sunday as they lined out on Inniscarra for the Munster Teams League. Luckily, Inniscarra is a venue that can produce the goods regardless of the weather, as was evidenced by Adrian Browne landing 38kg+ of good hybrids to finish with the heaviest bag, but it was Munster Polish who topped the team event with a combined 77kg. Anglers in Athy faced similar conditions on Sunday as they turned out for their club match, but they were delighted to see tench arrive back in the Marina, and it was a PB tench of 5lb 9ozs that saw club member Chris finish top on the day.

Tench helped Chris on his way to a win at Athy
Tench helped Chris on his way to a win at Athy

Fishing further north and a day earlier didn’t make things any easier for anglers fishing Ireland’s Feeder King qualifier on Gowna/Rockfield last Saturday. The blustery conditions made fishing very difficult, and bags were a bit underwhelming, with Richard Pratt’s 6.650kg proving the pick of the bunch. On the River Barrow, father and son duo Dan and Anthony O’Neill found the river in an angry mood, so they sought out some deeper holes and were rewarded with some decent roach and nice perch. To wrap up the coarse angling news, the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland has announced that entry is now open for the first of their All Ireland series, the Canal Championships, on the 27th & 28th of April. This year’s venue of choice is the Grand Canal at Daingean, and the planned sections are Millennium Bridge and the Town/Heffernan’s stretch.

A nice brace of perch for Anthony O’Neill

The weather hampered much of the trout fishing over the past week as many rivers remained in flood, and the wind will have made lough fishing precarious on many days. But Dan O’Neill found a few trout willing to take streamers on the King’s River before the water got too high to handle. Some of the lads from Piscari Fly paid a visit to their home territory on the Wicklow lakes and found the water to be cool, but still managed to tempt a trout or two. Anglers fishing on Loughs Conn & Cullin had to wait for gaps in the wind before venturing out on the lakes. They found duckfly, but no fish rising to them on Cullin. It seems Lough Conn was more active, with a few fish coming to the fly. March proved to be a difficult month for Corrib anglers as the weather failed to produce favourable conditions for a prolonged spell of duckfly fishing. However, there was a window of warmer weather in the week after St. Patrick’s Day, and that proved to be the best of the fishing for the month. In our final bit of trout angling news, Eamonn Conway of Táin Flyfishing has produced a short video giving us some insight into the finer points of competition fishing, looking at how best to organise/arrange your landing net.

Brush up on your net skills with Eamon Conway

It was a bit of a mixed bag on the salmon front this week, with some fisheries getting off the mark for the season, and other fisheries seeing little to no angling pressure at all. The River Moy was on the right end of that spectrum, as, in the wake of storm Kathleen, the first two fish of the season were reported on Mon 8th. The River Laune also saw a bit of action despite the high water levels, as three salmon to 10lb were recorded on the river. Anglers in Waterville didn’t fare so well, as the wild winds of Kathleen kept the lake free of anglers on a number of days, and the fish didn’t oblige on the days they did make it afloat.

We finish up with the pike anglers this week, beginning with the Limerick Pike Anglers, who seized their opportunity to fish a river venue and were rewarded with the best fishing session of the year to date. Continental guests at Watermill Lodge in Fermanagh found the fishing to be excellent despite the weather, with plenty of pike landed, and guide Pascal Brissaud also got in on the act with a few nice fish that brought a smile to his face. Lastly, regular YouTuber Stephen McDonagh has posted his latest videos online, both featuring deadbaiting for pike in late winter/spring, just before he packed away his pike rods for the season.

Watermill Lodge, Fermanagh.
Smiling guide- Pascal Brissaud of Watermill Lodge

Other news

In other news, five separate angling regulations, affecting salmon, sea trout, brown trout, and eels, were recently signed into law. We advise all anglers to read through the regulations and to familiarise themselves with them.

And now the weather…

Friday will be dull and wet in the north and west of the country, with the rain moving eastwards later in the day. The rain will fade out overnight, and Saturday will start off dry, but rain will again spread from the west as the day progresses and will be heavy in the northern part of the country. The rain will be accompanied by some strong and gusty winds in places, and the highest temperatures will be 11°C to 14°C. It will be a similar story on Sunday, starting dry before rain spreads from the west, again turning heavy in some places. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be midweek before we see a break in that pattern, with some drier and sunnier weather breaking through the gloom…

Make sure to check the forecast before going afloat and if you’re going to sea, don’t forget to check the tides.

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

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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