w/e - Sunday 3rd April 2011         

    Tuesday 29th March 2011                   

Are you sitting comfortably, - Then we shall begin.

Today sees the my first leg of my spring campaign after what has been the hardest winter since 1963. Surprisingly, it was the mildest February since 2003 and although we still have two day of March remaining, I'm convinced the statistics will prove that March is probably the warmest since records began. So how did that effect nature? Only time will tell if there was to be any lasting damage. At home during the final days before my journey, I counted hundreds of bees, two ladybirds and an ants nest in my front garden. Birdlife didn't seem to change. The kingfishers, whose numbers apparently drop during extreme conditions, have been very active, whilst the early summer migrants all arrived at or around the usual time.

On my journey to Holyhead from Kent, I couldn't help but notice the amount of green on the trees and bushes, but at the same time there was no rape seed flowering. Wether this was because the crop took a bashing from the conditions or it's just late, i don't know.

That's enough of nature for the moment, I should get on to what you have probably logged on for, fishing news. Some anglers have tried the stretch in the last two weeks and have no success whatsoever. On Sunday, the first reports of significance were caught by Chris Ganley. Although unweighed, the photo of two Roach would suggest they were close to 2lbs. On Monday Leigh Maitland had a bag made up almost exclusively of Rudd to 8oz.

At 07.52 I arrived to find the levels alarmingly low. For reference, I use the concrete on the lower level near the bridge so everyone can relate to the height. It was about 6" below, so the river had very little flow. I headed for the gusher at around midday and had quite a few Roach and Perch, almost all were around the 4oz mark. When moving to below Ryans gate, I found the Rudd, losing a whopper at the net before having many of 8oz or so. My short session ended at 2pm when I had a Pike in my swim. Needless to say, when I returned at 4pm armed with the heavy gear, I was unable to tempt it.

The evening session itself was, for me hard. I was suffering from fatique and was completely trounced by Andy Burnett who caught nearly 20lb of mainly Roach up to 1lb 6oz or so with a bonus Hybrid close to 3lb. Altogether, I had nearly 50 fish for the day, so it has been a reasonable start. A lot could change before I go home in May, but I have the consolation of expecting Brighton and Hove Albion to be crowned league 1 champions very soon after thrashing Dagenham 1-0 tonight. My only other target is to finaly get a 2lb Roach from the Shannon. 

Dream on......
    Wednesday 30th March 2011           

We were supposed to get some much needed rain today, but it never really started. A group of six fished for most of the day and whilst they all seem to start briskly, the sport gradually deteriated as the sun came out. There appeared to be a lot of smaller fish though the windy conditions made anything but a feeder difficult. A Roach of around 1lb 12oz was claimed but not weighed. The same angler also hooked but lost a "monster" Roach at the net. I dabbled with little success on the gusher, at the bridge and also on the navigation channel.

The evening saw some cloud cover and I was rather hoping for some action, but as with yesterday. I struggled with just a few fish and nothing of note. I must remember, this is still March and not to expect too much.

Check out the 2004 reports to see how bad it really can be! Could be worse though, if I lived near Croydon.....
    Thursday 31st March 2011                  

Todays report will not be a happy one. An extremely strong westerly wind saw waves over one foot high making conditions impossible along the stretch. because of this I opted out for the duration of the day until 6pm. The wind had dropped a wee bit, but for the stick float angler is was still very difficult. Despite this, the fish were easy to catch, with a bite a chuck. A few larger fish needed the net but in general they were all in the 1-2oz range. I had about 20 from Ryans gate until deciding to move to the gusher where I lost my first float in Ireland for two years. If anyone finds it, please return to me, its got a red tip.

After setting up again and catching more fish, I returned to my original swim and first cast hooked a very large fish. I almost had it under control until the ducks spooked it. Then when it cruised near the bank it turned and I saw it to be a carp. I was using a size 18 B560 Kamasan hook with two maggots on a 3.6lb Fox hook length, so there was no way I could bully it. The fish was in total control. I walked downstream with the rod but there were so many ducks that the fish spooked again and took a run towards the middle of the river where we parted company.

As Basil Fawlty once said, - If you don't like duck........
    Friday 1st April 2011                                 

A little overnight rain did not dampen my enthusiasm to be up at 06.45 ready for action. The wind was still blowing but the direction had changed to south-westerly and it was already quite warm as dawn broke. The cloud cover suggested a good session but it was 30 minutes before my first bite just below Ryans gate. The resulting 1oz Rudd was sacrificed and placed midstream above me. When the wind was favourable, I changed from ground bait to loose feed and almost instantly the fish started feeding. There were no big Roach but a Perch of about a pound was more than welcome. It was a bite a chuck for the next 45 minutes with mainly Roach of 2-3oz along with a hybrid of about 12oz and a slightly smaller Rudd. I was just about to land a Rudd of possibly a pound when I heard my bait runner going. After swiftly releasing the Rudd, I struck into the Pike which I knew was a 20 as I saw just how long it was. It was 15 minutes before I slipped my net underneath the monster and eventually settled for a weighed of 9.400 kilos which is 20lb 11.5oz in old money and a new personal best. After this, I packed in and headed back for breakfast. 

In the afternoon I had a sticky session but only caught 30 Roach, mostly at the gusher. Leigh Maitland and Rory Dunne were also present but didn't last too long in the steadily worsening conditions. I couldn't be bothered in the evening and the three pikers were gone by dusk. I expect a full house tomorrow, so anyone wishing to travel, should be there early.
    
I've just heard that Eddie Stobbart has died and a film of his life is being made, should be a good film if the trailer is anything to go by.
What a good looking chap? Click image for larger photo 
    Saturday 2nd April 2011                        

There was a lot of rain during the night but thankfully it had stopped by the time i was on the bank. The wind had dropped to a minimal as well but there was little surface activity. Already on the stretch were a couple of Kodaks and Seamus Moorehouse who was after some specimen fish. He was rewarded with the first reported Tench of the year at about 3 and a half pounds along with a Bream of 5lb 5oz and a number of Hybrids and smaller Bream. My session was a waste of time, with only a handful of tiny Roach and a Rudd of 8oz. I was surprised to see so few others in attendance. Paul and Daniel shared a bag of 18lb with 90% of the fish being taken by Paul. The only other angler was Michael Beirne, who at least had the consolation of a superb Roach of 1lb 14oz.

This year I have donated another tacky trophy for the largest Roach caught at Lanesborough. The rules are simple, it must be weighed and witnessed on my scales. I'm never far away and my number is 0879419988. In the evening, I travelled to Ballymahon to have a look at the Inny. Back at Lanesborough two anglers were out for a night session, their reports will be published tomorrow.
    Sunday 3rd April 2011                            

I mentioned yesterday that there were two lads doing an overnighter on the hot water pegs, when I visited them just before 11pm last night, one of them had claimed an estimated 6lb Bream. They had probably not expected the night to be as cold as it was and were absent at dawn.

A last minute match was planned and the lads that fished suffered with some low returns. The winner had 6.800 kilos and the runner up a shade less. Seamus Moorhouse was out early again and caught three Tench, each around the three and half pound mark. I was out at 07.00 but was so cold I only fished for a few minutes before retiring.

In the evening I went to Roosky but caught just 5 small Roach. The wind being the main reason prohibiting bait presentaion. All in all though, a satisfactory end to my first week, but I have major concerns about the number of Roach between 8 to 12oz that are normally present during this period,- where are they?