Monday 25th April 2016                       

07:00 Some things in life are easy to predict, others are not. The weather has been truly awful so far this spring and across the country, catch returns have been poor. There is no use moaning, nature does what nature needs to do when she knows it's time, and at Lanesborough, that time is now.

Traditionally, the hot water stretch has produced good bags of fish earlier in the perceived season, but the cold water, higher levels and low ambient temperature has led some to believe that Lanesborough is finished as a prolific angling venue. Think again ye of little faith, this will be the week of the Roach.

Three years ago, the undesirable weed growth had one bonus, the fry had places to hide away from predators and this year, those fish will have matured. 4-8oz fish will be easy prey for the angler willing to feed the shoals that, all winter have resided in the deep hole waiting to do their dirty deed. There may even be some mongrels amongst them, and of course, some very large Pike.

So if you are a casual dangler or a hardened specialist, get here this week or lose out to your cost. My one hope is that some big hen Roach will oblige?

    Tuesday 26th April 2016                      

11:00 I arrived back in the very small hours this morning. As soon as I was able to do so, I walked along the stretch to review what's going on. I found Arnie from Rooskey who hadn't had a bite, but then he pulled in a Roach of well over a pound. The gusher is alive with fish, and there is evidence of spawning. On the main channel there is also a lot of fish although I can't see any spawn in the sunlight, they may well have done their thing! Sorry for doubting you Jason!

22:00 I would not be exaggerating in saying there were more fish present today than I've ever seen before at Lanesborough. Tens of thousands, probably the majority being Roach, all in the process of spawning. Catching them was a completely different matter. There were several quite capable anglers around, and all went away with some success, but at the time felt quite frustrated. The best Roach I saw was at the bridge where Andy Burnett had one of about 1lb 12oz. There was also the welcome* addition of a few mongrels near the bush.

Into the evening and I believed I was going to have a shed full. How wrong I was, after setting up on the bush I soon realised that the cold downstream wind hampered presentation, so a walk across the river to the slipway was the preferred option. In two hours I had just 2 fish despite the river going mad. Tomorrow will be very interesting....

*Not by me obviously!

    Wednesday 27th April 2016               

14:00 I had every intention of getting up to see the morning splash. It was only laziness that prohibited me. Two anglers arrived just around 9am and were catching steadily enough to warrant hiring keep nets from Bridie. They are available for use after paying a €20 deposit returnable after dipping and drying. 

There was far less surface activity on a bright but blustery day and the amount of spawn in the gusher has increased overnight. No sign of the Carp hoovering up an easy meal as yet.

I've spent a couple of hours launching the "Ark Rose" in preparation for the 'Bream Master' event between myself, Captain Cock-up, and able Semen, 'Staines and Sucker' So be warned chaps, I'm on a winning streak and the proposed competition will be in two week ends time.

21:30 I knew today would be productive although I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. Paul and Richard from York, who are staying at Melview Lodge in Drumlish, amassed a total weight of just over 100lbs, I tried to take some photos, but my camera gave up again. The best fish was a Bream of 5lbs 15oz. When I weighed the nets it came as a surprise to see they both had 23k so I declared a draw.
Paul or Richard? from York with the first big Bream (5lbs 15oz) I've witnessed on the stretch this year. Photo courtesy of Liam Sweeney

Over on the Roscommon bank Peter Wood claimed between 30 - 40 lbs made up exclusively of male Roach, some of which were touching a pound. Upstream of Peter was Philip Fox who had a similar weight but with bonus females. Of course, when I relieved Peter at the slipway, the fish vanished. At 20:30 I gave up having 30 Roach, all cock fish.

So, heading towards the holiday weekend, things are looking good. Can we have some better weather please?

    Thursday 28th April 2016                    

08:15 A damp, miserable start to the day saw just one idiot on the bank. I'm surprised there wasn't more. There were still plenty of fish to be caught, but strangely no surface splashing any where on the stretch. I had around 20 Roach and Rudd of varying sizes with 3 going around the pound mark. It was really very cold, so this soft southerner decided a cup of tea was needed at 08:00. It looks a lot brighter now and despite the forecast predicting a high of 6c, I would expect some visitors after yesterdays superb catch reports. It may well turn out be a beautiful January day...

18:00 I'm just about to venture out for my evening session. So far today has been very eventful. On the Roscommon bank, Geoff Wood (no relation to Peter) from Tarmonbarry had a memorable morning catching quality Roach of both gender with some fish going very close to that elusive 2lb mark.

On the hot stretch Andy Burnett caught a Bream initially considered to be a specimen, but on weighing went a plump 7lbs 1oz Aside from the Bream, he caught a fantastic bag estimated at 90-100lbs including several big Roach. His travelling partners also caught well on the warmer pegs.

Andy Burnett with the seasons best Bream of 7lb 1oz caught on a waggler.

21:15 It really is very cold out there this evening, and not surprisingly, there were not too many anglers. Peter and Mick from Tallagh were above the slipway on the navigation channel and caught some Roach. I fished just above them and was disappointed by the overall stamp of fish tonight. I only used the net once on 25 fish, as most were around 3-4oz.

Around 19:15, a strange phenomena occurred. The Shannon stopped flowing and our floats started going upstream. This has happened to me on a few occasions at Lanesborough and I've no explanation as to why, perhaps it's the moon?

The current temperature outside is 3c and I cannot understand how the Hodson Bay reading is showing the water temperature 10.3c and has done so for the best part of this week. To keep an eye on how warm Lough Ree is click here.

    Friday 29th April 2016                            

10:30 Another very cold night so I didn't get up at dawn. Richard and Paul, the visitors from York arrived early on their last day and were fishing by 06:30. Like myself yesterday, they are catching much smaller fish than in previous days. I suspect the cold weather may have put the fish back a bit. That is good news if it means we get a prolonged period of catching.

21:00 After reviewing the river this evening, I'm afraid my earlier suggestion that the better fish have all but disappeared. But every cloud.....

This afternoon started off bright until a heavy cloud came from the north-west bringing very unseasonal weather. There were hailstones for a good five minutes and I was on the Ark Rose at the time doing some maintenance. Thankfully, I was able to retreat to the cabin for a while. When I opened the door I could hardly believe what I saw. The boat was full of hailstones and even when crushed, I filled three bowls full, enough to build a snowman. What a welcome to the Irish summer!

I returned to see a lad having a great battle with a big Pike, he would never have been able to fit it into the small landing net, but luckily Michael Galvin was not far away on his boat with a bigger net. The Pike (plus two other smaller fish) were all taken on a Savage 19cm 4play which is available at Bridie's for €15.95

Kamil Rosel with a fine looking 17lb fish, and yes this was caught today!

In addition to Kamil's 17lber, he also caught a smaller fish as did his friend Kacyper Martniak. Damien Rooney and Michael Galvin shared a combined catch of 6 Pike with nothing over 6lbs.
This evening didn't look too promising so I had the evening off. This was mainly due to a rather large Chinese meal purchased at "Pings" Ireland's best oriental take away, situated not 50 yards from Bridie's. Honestly, if there is a better one, I'd like to know about it.

On the bank there wasn't much action. Much to my annoyance, the entire downstream section of the Roscommon bank is now un-fishable. I'll post some photo's tomorrow, but essentially here's how I see it, - 

The area from the bridge to the slipway has been fenced off as some works to the bridge are due to start (on Tuesday) I could actually climb over the fence and fish the slipway but I would be in a select minority who are able to. Sorry, Peter Wood, your favourite swim is now out of bounds. Below the slipway where we enjoyed many evenings fishing from the wall, there is now a picturesque promenade.

True, it looks nice, but there are two or three designated areas reserved for disabled anglers. Not withstanding the three meter drop, there is also a line of clearly visible rocks, so landing any sizeable fish will prove impossible. In fact, here is my challenge, I will donate €100 to a charity of choice if any ABLE bodied angler can land a fish in excess of  2 lbs using a conventional 3m landing net. 

I think there is more chance of Tottenham winning the premier league title......

    Saturday 30th April 2016                     

11:45 It looks like it may be a slow start to the weekend. There are several anglers in the area but my fears look very likely to be true. At least there is little wind and a bit warmer. Just a reminder that angling on the downstream Roscommon bank is now prohibited for about six weeks until bridge repairs are completed.

I think you'll see a pattern here?
19:45 An early report this evening as I can't see anything of significance happening before dusk. Although there have been plenty of anglers and danglers, coarse fish of any quality have been few and far between, but on the pike front, there have been so many caught, I've lost count. I wouldn't be exaggerating in saying that well over 20 have been landed in the area, plus Robert Cilindz had 9 on his boat. To my knowledge, only one of all those banked today was a low double.

Robert informs me that the river temperature is barely 9c so we may have to wait a few days before the next influx of larger fish. I forgot to mention earlier that a big Roach was foul hooked and landed near the bush and whilst unhooking, deposited an amount of spawn. I hope this means that there are many more fish to come in the next week or so.

Late update, With Robbie Cording and his father catching lots more Pike on the boat, I vastly underestimated just how many were caught today including this one below the bridge.

Oskar Mrozik had this 8.5kg (18lbs) fish below the bridge this evening

    Sunday 1st May 2016                              

10:30 I can't believe how warm it is outside, after freezing my bits (small bits) all last week, it is actually quite pleasant even with the light rain. After dark last night, some better fish appeared and although the photo isn't of the best quality, I'm sure you'll agree that this is a fine looking Rudd. Just to prove Pat is no stranger to big Rudd, click here to see two bigger specimens caught in 2014
 Tuam angler Pat Lowry with a large Rudd and Mongrel caught last night.

22:00 Not the best of days, but some fish have been caught. One angler, using a sidewinder indicator seemed to be doing OK albeit with 3-4oz Roach. The wind grew as the day progressed and a group with intent of fishing the lower area, opted for the relative comfort of the hot water stretch. It's going to be a wild, wet night, and so I expect those bivvies will be needed by 01:00 

And now for some bad news, I reluctantly caught my first mongrels of the year this evening below the bridge. Some went nearly 6oz. They were, of course humanely dealt with....