28 May 2013

Another Early Morning Shad Session...

Its funny the lengths that us anglers will go to at times just to catch fish or two and as I set my alarm to 3:00AM once more for another early morning shad session,the madness of it suddenly dawned on me, but then sometimes a little madness is a good thing. As I began my journey to St Mullins in the early hours of the morning, the last of the drunken revellers were still searching for their taxi home as the full moon lit up the night sky.

The mist hung low over the river as I arrived at St Mullins and everything looked perfect, early morning with a big tide and settled weather, surely the Shad would be here in numbers now... Slowly a small group of anglers emerged from the morning mist and began to line the river bank. Amongst them a familiar face, Ashley Hayden from 'An Irish Anglers World'. By now the first of the Shad had began to appear, I could hear the splashing of a fish being landed further along the bank. Soon my line tightened, rod arched over and I was into my first fish of the day. A short while later I caught a second which leaped clear of the water numerous times before slipping into the net. By now Ashley too had caught his first fish of the day and to be honest we both expected to continue catching. However the Shad seemed to disappear as quickly as the arrived and the stretch of the river soon went quiet once more. It was time to move so we ventured a little further up river to try and locate the Shad once more.

The morning mist had all but burnt off at this stage and the river was alive with activity, plenty of fish rolling and rising however they didn't look like Shad. If they were here, they certainly were not interested in our lures and it was beginning to look like that might be the extent of the mornings fishing. We fished as we made our way back and it was almost time to head for home when Ashley had a good take almost at his feet, after a brief fight and some aerial acrobatics, his second fish of the day was in the net. Two fish each may not have been quite the result we had expected but after talking to some of the other anglers on the river, it seemed to be reflective of the Shad fishing recently.

My Set-up:
Rod: Cormoran TR4 7' 6-28g / MajorCraft Crostage CRS-732 5-18g
Reel: Shimano Rarenium CI4 2500Ra
Line:  Sunline 4x4 Momentum braid with Sunline Siglon FC leader  
Lure: Tasmanian Devil

20 May 2013

Last Weeks Shad...

I arranged to meet up with my friends David, Jay, Tomek and Ronan for a little Shad fishing last weekend. I knew it was going to be an early start, I didn't realise just how early. The plan was to be on the river by 5:00AM which meant a ridiculously early 3:00AM start for me, followed by an 80 mile drive. 

The sun was just starting to rise when I arrived at St Mullins and it looked like I was first to the river. I was a little worried that the rain over the previous few days would have coloured up the water but when I arrived the conditions looked great and I quickly set up my gear and got fishing. The unseasonably cold weather we have had to endured these past few months had led me to postpone my Shad fishing trip for a few weeks and I still wasn't sure if the Shad would be around in any numbers yet. However within a few casts I had my first Shad of the year on the bank. At this stage the rest of the lads had begun to arrive so it was time for a quick chat and catch up before getting on with the fishing. I was hoping that the fishing would continue as it had begun but to be honest it was quite slow. That said over the course of the morning we all caught a few fish and lost or missed plenty more. It was great to catch up with the lads and also to meet Marty and Kuba.

I had arranged to meet up with Ronan in the afternoon so as the fishing died off and the lads headed off, I took the opportunity to take a break and grab a bite to eat. That's one of the great things about St Mullins, there is a lovely little café right on the river, the Mullichain Café. After a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, it was time to have a short snooze in the car before fishing for the afternoon.

Unfortunately the afternoons sessions wasn't as productive as we hoped and although we caught a few other species, the Shad eluded us. Perhaps if we stayed a little longer we would have caught a few but after a long day it was time to head for home.

My Set-up:
Rod: Cormoran TR4 7' 6-28g
Reel: Shimano Rarenium CI4 2500Ra
Line:  Sunline 4x4 Momentum braid with Sunline Siglon FC leader  
Lure: Tasmanian Devil

06 May 2013

This Weeks Trouting...

Everything seems to be running a little behind schedule this year but thankfully Spring seems to have eventually sprung and hopefully the fishing generally will soon pick up. I had actually expected that we would be targeting Shad this week but as everything appears to running a little behind schedule this year we decided to put that off for another week or two and to continue to focus our attention on the trout in the meantime.  

Last weekend saw Sam and I back at the River Dodder for a few hours trouting and again we would be using ultra light gear and an array of hard bodied lures, Mepps and small soft plastics to try to tempt some of the bigger fish in the river. However it just seemed to be one of those days where no matter what we tried, the trout were just not interested in any lure we put I front of them. We tried a number of spots that normally produce a fish or two but without any success and we were fast running out of options. We figured that we would try one last stretch of the river before calling it a day. Its a nice deep section that has fished well for us so far this season. I went on ahead to try one particular pool that has fished well for me recently, as Sam made his way along the stretch. First cast and a fish hit the lure but didn't hook up, this happened again and again. I just couldn't seem hook up with any fish and I couldn't figure out why until I looked at the lure a little more closely and realised my mistake, blunt hooks. I replaced the hooks but it was too late I had spooked the fish and blown my chance. It the meantime however Sam gone on to the next pool and within the space of a few minutes had landed two decent sized trout. They turned out to be the only fish of the day and both fish were caught on some interesting little handmade lures that we have been trying out recently.

On my way back I bumped into my friends David and Dawid who were up from Arklow to fish the River Dodder for the day. As I arrived I saw that David had caught a huge trout, I 've never seen a fish like it caught on the Dodder. After a few quick photos and some bemused looks from some people who had rushed over to see what all the commotion was, this fantastic trout was safely returned. Check out David's blog for the full report.


This weekend I wasn't going to make the same mistake as I did last weekend and made sure that any old blunt hooks on the lures were replaced. I popped out for an hour or two on Saturday evening to see if there was anything doing on the river. Things got off to a good start with a couple of small sea and brown trout on mepps and some handmade hard bodied lures. None of the fish were particularly big but to be honest I was just glad to catch a few fish.

I arranged to meet up with Sam again the following morning and we decided to first try a couple of stretches a little further down stream before heading back upstream to where we fished last week. All morning we were tormented by very small trout nipping at the tails of soft plastic lures and following lures but not hooking up. There were plenty of smaller fish around but the bigger fish remained elusive, so we concentrated or efforts on the deeper pools to see if we could locate any there. It took a quite a while and a lot of searching until eventually one of the bigger fish emerged out of the shadows, chased down my lure and a nice trout soon slipped into the net.

We fished on for a while longer trying every likely looking lie and deep pool but with out any more luck. It was looking like that might be the only fish of the day. I suggested that we try one last pool on the way back to the car and I was glad I did because on my first cast in this pool I was in again. Another nice trout to round off another day on the river.

Sunline Small Game Mono

Sunline Small Game FC Leader

My Set-up:
Rod: Cormoran ULX 1-9g
Reel: Shimano Rarenium CI4 2500
Line: Sunline Small Game Mono with 4lb Sunline Small Game FC Leader
Lures:Handmade hard bodied lures and Mepps  

Sam's Set-up:  
Rod: Cormoran ULX 1-9g
Reel: Shimano Stradic CI4 2500
Line: Sunline 8lb super PE braid
Lures: Handmade hard bodied lures and Mepps 

05 May 2013

Brook Lamprey

Today while I was out fishing for trout on my local river (The Dodder) I stumbled on something that I had heard about before never seen on this river and that is a Lamprey redd. I understand that they spawn during April and May in gravel areas of rivers and streams, excavating shallow nests or redds. I quietly watched them for a few minutes as they busily used their sucker mouth to move pebbles and clear away sand from their redd. Then gently slipped one into the net to have a closer look at this strange and wonderful little fish before slipping it back to continue working on its redd.