Monday 2nd May 2016
12:00 Another slow start with a blustery south westerly breeze. The Ballymun contingent left in the early hours of which must have been an uncomfortable night. I'm informed they had a combined weight of about 40lbs including mongrels to 2lbs. Those now present are witnessing an angry Lough and the lower section is un-fishable in these conditions.
My thanks to Noel once again for his contribution to the running of this site, and of course to others who have also done so.
21:40 Larry Kelly fished the bush and had a succession of mongrels to a pound but with the added frustration of seeing a high proportion of them taken by a Pike that refused to go away. The only highlight of the day was a Pike estimated around 14lbs caught by Blaine Carberry.
As evening beckoned, I intended on showing some enthusiasm. After 15 minutes without a sniff, I knew it was going to be hard. By dusk, I'd had just 8 fish, the best being a Rudd of 6oz, all below the bridge. One positive from tonight, the surface activity was more prolific than in the past couple of days.
Blaine Carberry had the best fish of the day at the gusher estimated at 14lbs
Tuesday 3rd May 2016
12:30 I've just been out for my first walk of the day. I'm really not well and suffering from a chest infection so a breath of fresh air has done me good. There are several anglers on the stretch and what is most noticeable is that the fish are almost exclusively mongrels. They are not as big as what they would like, but some are going a pound although most appear to be 6oz or so. The Pike are still very active, and one at the bush is being particularly aggressive. The wind is still predominantly south westerly, so conditions on the lower section are quite difficult.
Best Pike of the day was this un-weighed low double caught by Conor Lowry
19:15 Lots of capable anglers today and most, if not all caught. The fish were on the small side with the exception of some very hungry Pike. It was nice to see members of the Tuesday club on the stretch again.
I'm just off for my evening session now. As the water temperature has crept up to 10.5c (52f?) I've a sneaking suspicion that some fish will appear overnight. In fact, I'm going to be bold enough to predict a shoal will be under the bridge tomorrow morning.
22.00 Not a productive session for me. A 12oz mongrel on the gusher was the best of 5 fish and then at the bridge could not get anything bigger than an ounce. At Ryan's gate, Greg Matthews built his swim over time and was rewarded with mongrels going over 2lbs. Peter from Dublin also had reasonable success on the bush, again patience and a gradual feeding approach was probably the key.
I was really hoping to see some surface activity and was disappointed not to. However, I'll stand by my earlier prediction of tomorrow seeing a major upturn in sport.
Wednesday 4th May 2016
21:45 No need for an update earlier as there wasn't much going on. We were blessed with two of Irelands finest anglers here today and both had relative success. I understand Cathal Hughes did quite well at the bush swim on a short session, but the day belonged to Dubliner, Gerry Judge who had a catch of +40lbs on the hot swims. His catch was made up almost exclusively of mongrels to a pound and a half.
Earlier in the day, a 17lb Pike was caught by a visitor from Dublin. Another much bigger fish, claimed to be about 120cm!! was lost by the bridge by a German tourist. I hope that fish stays around for a while because I'd dearly love to see it.
The stretch must be stuffed with fish as even myself found it extremely easy fishing this evening. I had 20 between 12oz and 1lb in a little over an hour. I just wish they were a different species, as you can guess what they were. Father Jack may well have called them "Hairy Japanese Bastards" for no apparent reason.
One piece of bad news, a partial piece of a gill net has been found just above the bridge. This is most alarming as the angler who pulled it in was snagged, and may have torn the net leaving the rest in the river. There were two fish which hadn't been dead for long. Before anyone speculates, I can confirm that this was NOT an I.F.I. net. It is most certainly an illegal, very light net used to place across a river and kill whatever gets entangled in it. Anglers are advised to look for any sticks placed in the concrete or discarded line which may be attached to netting. Local I.F.I. officers have been informed.
Thursday 5th May 2016
12:00 Being out at 5:30 is not something I'm used to, especially this year. However, it was worth it as the fishing was easy. Loads of mongrels on the gusher and when I had enough, a move to Ryan's gate produced Roach, although they were not very big. I'd prefer 4oz Roach to a 12oz Mong any day. I may be in a minority though...
I took the Pike rod out for the first time since the last time and was rewarded with a hard fight from a 6-7lb fish. Elsewhere on the stretch, three Dublin lads are doing quite well on the feeder aiming at the far bank and picking off similar sized mongrels.
An update on the gill net reported yesterday. I'd had this in my possession since Monday and was waiting confirmation of its origin before I publicised the news. According to a reliable source, it was found on Saturday, but I can only assume it was carelessly thrown back in the river. Although it was hooked out near the bridge, on Saturday it was dragged in from just above the gap. I hope to get the boat up in the stretch tomorrow, to see if there are any more in place.
22:00 With so much going on today, please forgive me if I may forget a few details, but here goes anyway.... The three Dubliners had a combined weight of about 50lbs with two bonus Roach of about a pound and a half a piece. The German who lost the very large Pike yesterday, had a consolation prize of a superb fish weighing in at 22lb. I've seen the photo and it was a huge fat thing. I hope to get a copy sent so I may publish it tomorrow,
Elsewhere in the area two boat anglers told me the temperature was 54f on the lake and that there were no fish in the deep hole, but a large shoal could be found near Johnson's jetty. Up at Kilnacarrow, six experienced match anglers, most, if not all of whom are entering the forthcoming Lanesborough competition, caught just one solitary Perch between then. I noted two or three weeks ago how difficult that section can be at this time of year. Never mind, when it comes to June, they might catch one Perch EACH !!!
This evening was the first that truly felt like summer is with us, shame the reeds below the disabled stretch think it's still March, but there are green shoots of recovery. There were lots of small fish, probably Rudd surfacing at dusk and I left Tim Collyer there hoping for the seasons first Tench. I'm 100% confident that this weekend will see those delightful brown beauties make a welcome appearance.
Friday 6th May 2016
11:00 For the first time this year, I was able to look from the bridge and see the life below water. Although there are lots of fish to be seen, they are in no way the sort of numbers or quality that I've observed in the past. So where did all the thousands that were here last mid week go? I think they will be in the area adjacent to Hanly's marina before dispersing to their summer haunts, but without a fish finder, I cannot be sure.
For me, the most worrying thing about the stretch is the rapid drop in water levels. Just thirteen days ago, when the Hodson bay monitor station came back on-line, it was showing 2.8 which equates to 10cm above the concrete at the bridge and covering most of the lower level of the hot stretch. Now it reads as 2.468, a drop in excess of a foot!
Regular readers to this site may recall my observations in 2013 when the OPW in association with Waterways Ireland dropped the mean level of Lough Ree in an attempt to protect the 'Callows' below Athlone. Whilst this may seem great for farmers in that area, Lanesborough and its once great angling, has suffered as a result. It is of my belief that those measures (with a few other contributing factors) that led to the excessive weed growth that has blighted the hot stretch. In just the last two days, that very same weed is again showing. It won't be too long before certain swims are un-fishable.
With these problems arising, along with the forecast of a dry May (except for tomorrow) I have cause to worry for the summer, and anglers who have entered the proposed competition here on June holiday weekend, may see some on pegs with barely a foot of water!
Back to more current issues, and welcome to the Irish summer. Anglers arrived at dawn this morning and Pike were again in an aggressive mood. One angler has had six so far, with three of those being low doubles. I think the rest of the day may be difficult with the bright sunlight penetrating all but the bush swim.
A new moon tonight and tomorrow, a dropping barometer, cloud cover, what more could a Bream angler want? Find the shoal and success is only bait away....
02:00 Sorry, it's now Saturday, and due to unforeseen circumstances. I was unable to post todays highlights before I attended a traditional night at Frenchpark. There were lots of anglers here today and Git Brady from Dublin had more than his fair share of 15 or 16 Pike. The best went 21lbs. With at least 3 other doubles, I think the trio of anglers had well in excess of 125lbs of Pike along with 50 mongrels to a pound and a half.
Git Brady had many Pike today including this one at 21lbs.
Elsewhere, Steve and Josh arrived from Chorely in Lancashire for their annual visit and caught steadily at the bridge. Josh had a low double Pike as a bonus. I took the day off dangling, but fed two swims in preparation for a later onslaught. There are anglers present doing a 48 hour session on the upper disabled section. Full news of their captures tomorrow. Who knows, they may have had a Tench?
Saturday 7th May 2016
On this day 20 years ago, Lanesborough suffered a horrific fish kill after a valve was left open in the power station and carbo-tetra-chorine (I think) was able to leak into the hot stretch killing thousands of fish. I was here on that day and still recall the disbelief on a packed stretch as we saw the effect. At first it seemed the fish were going mad but it wasn't long before we all realised something very bad was happening.
A damp start to the morning saw no extra visitors to the stretch. Mr Smithwick's cure for insomnia ensured I didn't wake until 08:30, but the good news is that a solitary Tinca has been landed by Tim Collyer at dusk. It may be a while before the next one......
The first of many? Tim Collyer with a 4lbs 4oz Male. Photo courtesy of Michael Galvin
22:00 Rain for most of the day led me to not go fishing at all, I left that to the diehards who endured some pretty wet weather out there. Steve and Josh caught lots of smallish fish on the gusher with some bigger bonus Perch, two of which went well over a pound. The bridge area proved extremely difficult as Greg Matthews found to his cost. Another Tench was caught by Larry Kelly and tonight, we may well see some more?
Sunday 8th May 2016
11:30 A lot to report this morning and most of the news is positive. William and Kevin arrived on Friday evening and out of respect for the amount of bait they put in, I haven't reported their catch until they packed up. They had a combined haul of eleven tincas to 5lbs 9oz, but for me, what was most rewarding was a baby of barely a pound, proving that whilst we haven't seen any Tench spawning since 2012, they have undoubtably done so.
A sign of a good anglers is leaving no evidence of ever being there aside from flattened grass where the Bivvies were erected. Thank you William and Kevin for respecting the surroundings, not even a tea bag was left!
Jason and (Peter?) left earlier and had a good overnight session, with most of their nine Tench coming just before Dawn. Another group of anglers arrived and caught a 3lbs 10oz male whilst float fishing. I am still not feeling too good an the chest infectious cough kept me awake for a lot of the night. Needless to say, I didn't go out this morning.
On the cut Karl and his friends had a wet frustrating stint on the top end of the 300 yard stretch. Despite piling in the ground bait the Bream failed to materialise but had some Hybrids to 3lbs for their efforts. In days gone, putting feed in and around that area would always encourage the fish to move over the ground bait, but sadly the demise of the more adventurous angler has led to less big bags recorded. The cut and mud island are still likely to produce as good shoals were seen before the weekend.
William Dean with 5 of the combined total with Kevin of 11 Tench.
Ian Dunne had a rare float caught Tench of 3lbs 11oz.
19:00 I'm just off out after my first Tench session, pre-baited with pigeon food, ordered a Chinese 4 in 1 and raring to go as soon as the sun dips over the horizon. It's been a very warm day and catches anywhere other than the gusher have tumbled. Artur caught two Pike earlier near the bridge and there have been some mongrels caught along the stretch. Steve and Josh continued to catch all day at the gusher with slightly larger Mongs and a Rudd of well over a pound.
23:45 I've just got in from an un-eventful evening. On my first cast and after less than three minutes, I hooked and landed my first Shannon Tench for a long time. It was barely a pound and a half, but a lovely little lady she was! It was quite a while before the next bite and that resulted in an Eel. Un-hooked with the aid of a 'slamo' disgorger, it swam away happy. Tim rarely blanks but tonight was one of those occasions when he never registered a bite.