Monday 4th May
Some news at last. Last night a group of three anglers fishing below the disabled section, to amass a mixed bag of nearly 50lb Their catch included Bream to 3lbs. No reports of any Tench yet, but I'm sure someone's going to hit the jackpot very soon?
Tuesday 5th May
I've been with her indoors on and off for nearly 20 years, and this is only the second time we've shared this day together. It's her birthday and she's milking it, so I've fed Dana, made breakfast, changed the nappy, and now mummy wants a cup of coffee. Perhaps I should have gone fishing this morning?
Last night, Tim Collyer was fishing into darkness and had a very rewarding session. Ten Bream up to 6lbs 8oz, but no Tench. A few years back, Tim and I discovered that after a deluge such as we experienced over the weekend, the river will rise in a short space time and the Bream sit in a certain place quite likely to feed especially when a low pressure is overhead. These fish are likely to be around for a few days, even if the 20cm rise in levels may have put the Tench off for a bit, so now is the time to capitalise on the conditions.
Sharing information is easy, it's for the benefit of all anglers and danglers. Just email your results here, then go to the bottom of this page and pay a substantial sum to my good self for a nice present for Teresa's birthday, - I thank you !
Wednesday 6th May
Anyone who has monitored the height of Lough Ree in the last few days would have noticed how quickly the river has risen. At midnight on Saturday, it was 24cm below the concrete at the bridge, and as of 7pm this evening, there is at least 5cm covering. Considering how vast the Lough is, and bearing in mind the seven or so miles up to Tarmonbarry, that is an awful lot of water coming downstream.
I was assured that the trial excavation of the stretch was to commence today, but I have received unconfirmed reports that the mission was aborted due to rising levels. The machinery, which was parked near the disabled swims has since been moved, but every cloud.....
The river was also due to have a make over in the weed department. It is true that the lilies are quite prolific this year, but is this not a fantastic opportunity to manage and shape the swims to make an extremely attractive fishery? If anyone with any weight can sway the decision to completely rid the stretch off all weed, please do so.
Some news has arrived of a catch yesterday. Conor and Dylan Lowry from Tuam, were on their weekly visit and had a good mixed bag of fish. The highlights were a mongrel of well over 2lb and a very rare Eel of over a pound.
Not a monster, but a rarity, - Dylan Lowry with an Eel of just over a pound.
Thursday 7th May
A glorious day, the wind has dropped, a river still rising, and on my recommendation, Peter Wood headed for the lower section in search of a shedload of Bream. Oops, 5 hours later with just two small Perch, an unconfirmed report of a shed seen floating downstream towards Athlone, Peter was on his way home. He sent me this picture, which on closer inspection shows that some work must have been carried out in the last two days. Look carefully for what looks like a black sheeting of some description.
Remember that important announcement I mentioned last week? I'm still working to make it interesting reading, but what with waking up to the general erection on every channel, decided it was a day for DIY (Fnarr, Fnarr) - Teresa likes my shelving!
Why do a trial excavation away from 92% of the Asian Clams?
Friday 8th May
If I were to pick one weekend where Lanesborough should be at it's very best, it would probably be this one. I really can't remember when we had a 'normal' spring, one where every species spawns at a time we would expect. Sometimes I can rightly be accused of trying to interpret nature too much. The simple fact is, nature will always find it's place to accommodate the seasonal reproductive cycle.
Another major question that remains unanswered is the bio-mass of the upper part of Lough Ree. Eleven years ago, I went out a mission with Barry Lister and his late father to seek the shoals in early April before any movement attributed to spawning. Aside from the deep hole of 25' 300 yards below the end of the stretch, much of the next 4 miles or so, which is relatively shallow at a uniform 10-12 feet was devoid of life. But when we were approaching Priest Island, where the trough of up to 50' depths were found, the amount of fish seen on the finder were unbelievable.
OK, so eleven years is a long time, but in those short years, we have seen a demise in Bream, and subsequently the number of Hybrids has also reduced. The Roach numbers have in no doubt risen, and this phenomena is probably mirrored all over Ireland. On the plus side, Rudd have been more commonplace, but who knows what we will see in another eleven years?
So, back to the reality of todays angling news. Peter Wood was the only one on parade and suffered a blank below the duck pond in another attempt to find the elusive Bream shoal. I only hope this weekend will see more anglers, especially the "Bivvy Boys" I honestly believe if about 10 or more anglers do a long overnight session, we would get a fair representation of the current population of the stretch. Please report your catch here and a photo would be nice. The average number of page views is almost 900 so far this month, so a lot of anglers are waiting for good news.
Tomorrow will see the announcement I've been promising for the last week or so. I'll post it early, hopefully before mid-day. As it says on the fireworks instructions, - "light the touch paper and retire" - BANG!
Saturday 9th May
Something for the Weekend Sir?
When the Lough Ree & Lanesborough Angling Hub was being set up, I initially believed the residents of the twin villages of Lanesborough and Ballyleague, had at last realised what a special place they live, and chose to address all the problems that have plagued the area in recent times. I was invited to attend the inaugural meeting on February 10th. It was evident from the outset that some were poorly informed of local issues. This was an ideal opportunity to help everyone in business within the immediate vicinity and put Lanesborough firmly back on the tourism map.
My position was simple, I was elected as “International Angling Consultant” mainly for this angling website and my contacts within the angling fraternity. At the meeting, funding for a major competition was on offer through the angling council of Ireland to the tune of €3000, providing it was held on the late spring holiday weekend and a decision had to be made before the end of the week. It was quite obvious that all involved would have to act quickly to ensure the competition was a success.
Most comments were favourable, but when I asked as to whether the local angling club would assist if they were in the knowledge of the ESB power station being closed for that weekend, I got a negative response. I had previously enquired to one of the engineers who worked for ESB during maintenance, as to any proposed closures this spring, and learned of the dates when the plant would go offline. It came as a surprise to members of the elected executive committee who stayed behind for a meeting in how to implement the Hub, that an Englishman, not resident in the village, had privileged information regarding the maintenance. However, it later transpired, that 28th May was the date for a 10 day closure, which coincided with the proposed competition weekend.
In my position as “International Angling Consultant” I sent a carefully worded email to the committee warning against a two day event, as I believed it would do more harm than good, not just to Lanesborough, but also question the integrity of all involved within the hub. I suggested a one day match instead. The reason behind this was simple, with the power station going off-line on Thursday May 28th (probably at 10pm) it takes about 36 - 40 hours for the water to cool the system before the pump is no longer required and the gusher stops, rendering the hot water stretch a still back water, sometime around 2pm on Saturday. This was confirmed by my source within ESB. When this happens, the angling becomes very poor and the hot water stretch virtually devoid of anything more substantial than 1-2oz Rudd.
The catch rate would be steadily decreasing from the Thursday closure through to the gusher stopping three hours or so into the match, and although not a disaster, the competitors would most probably take the incident as part of the conditions, but if held over 2 day’s in the full knowledge the following day’s conditions would bring, questions would be raised, and the organisers would be severely criticised for promoting the event. Match anglers of the quality expected to compete, deserve some respect and there would be much adverse publicity when weights more attributed to a hard winters league match in sub-zero conditions are recorded. After my email, I was assured by other members of the committee, that an agreement had been made with ESB, that the water would continue pumping until at least Sunday 31st May to ensure a fair and attractive competition be enjoyed by all those entering.
A visit to a major angling show at Farnborough in the U.K. to promote not only the event, but Irish angling in general, and was funded by Failte Ireland and local businesses. The weekend was deemed a success and within just a few days, the match was fully subscribed with a healthy waiting list. All seemed good until the Longford Leader published a story the week before Easter saying the competition will go ahead despite the ESB power station going off line. The story can be viewed here. What was most alarming were the quotes within the piece. The reporter cited Phillip Gordon as mentioning "36 hours to cool the system" This one line in particular, was a direct quote from my email, and I have no doubt that Phillip was not responsible of leaking that information, as it would have had a detrimental effect on the competition.
At the same time, I was being bullied by both chairman Hugh Keane and RTE man Ciaran Mullooly (both executive committee members) with regard to the content of this website. Whilst I acknowledge some of my ramblings are a bit naughty, it is essentially “tongue in cheek” humour and (in my opinion) not too offensive? I quit the committee on Saturday 3rd April rather than sanitise these pages. Amongst the list of things I was asked to withdraw was a photo of a rat, and several of the videos, which although linked, all appeared at www.youtube.com/lanesboroughangling. Spend some time watching these short videos and make your own mind as to how "offensive" they may seem?
As the month gained momentum, it transpired that IFI would not lift the keep net ban for the competition and a suggestion, or a compromise was made by Amanda Mooney, that the Hub should bare the cost of 42 nets for sole use during the weekend. IFI staff would be responsible for dipping the nets after the 1st day and ensuring the same nets used in the subsequent days on the same section. This is because up to 90% of the Asian Clams are in the upper hot water stretch and to avoid any movement across into the navigation channel or downstream.
Whilst some may not agree with IFI policies regarding the bio-security measures in place at Lanesborough, we as anglers, must understand the implications of contamination to other waters, not only in Ireland, but possibly other parts of Europe and the U.K. I for one, would fully support a total ban on keep nets across the whole of Ireland until the Clam issue at Lanesborough is either managed or contained. Of course, a compromise must be made with match anglers, and perhaps all recognised NCFFI competitions, where sufficient bio-security measures are on site, should be exempt? Until then, Lanesborough tourism is suffering through the restrictions.
I believe all anglers who have paid €25 to enter the Lanesborough competition should be made aware of what they are in for. Are they being conned into attending? Perhaps it’s just the inability of the organisers to understand what is required to run a successful event with everyone going home smiling? Of course, that may still happen as Hugh Keane said recently, that he was confident the water would still be pumping for the duration of the weekend.
Time will tell…..
Sunday 10th May
I received 2 emails and 3 text messages regarding yesterday's statement, plus several on Facebook. I just want to put the record straight and wish to reiterate that I have nothing to do with the Lough Ree & Lanesborough Angling Hub for fear of becoming the scapegoat if, or when the forthcoming competition goes tits up.
Pasted below are the two Emails I received
Date: Sat, 9 May 2015 23:24:24 +0100
Subject: No gud deed goes unpunished.....
Reading your latest report, I can't help but feel embarrassed by our TYPICAL response to your efforts in supporting angling in our country....
This is the way we do shit, in every sphere of life... an irish solution to an irish problem... I would like to personally thank you for your efforts Paul... take the positive & leave the negative behind.. as in all of life... tight lines.Peter in Kilmovee, Co. Mayo.
Peter, thank you for your email. It wasn't the first comment I received. One from Tommy in Trim, said much the same and I also had a text from Damien, who shares the same feelings. I am truly embarrassed into how a village and its river that I love so much is treated so poorly by its residents and perhaps the authorities that are employed by you, the good people of Ireland. What can be done? God only knows* I hope this competition goes OK and there are no hiccups, but I believe I was being groomed as a scapegoat and will probably be blamed anyway. That's why I posted my views.
Best Fishes, - Paul
* Other gods may have a suspicion!
Date: Sat, 9 May 2015 08:40:40 -0700
Subject: On your own,
Just read ur firework Paul,
I suspected as much when I sent u the late mail the other night,
We Irish will fkn ride and stiff our own kind , our towns our heritage and god knows what, because its bred into us, from the stupid leprechaun hats at paddy day piss ups and rugby matches, to the bitiching and pure ballsology, of the way we run our country. To the management of our fishery's,
ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE,
NOT NOW THEY DONT, well done Paul ,
And when ur gone , not a one, will pick up the baton,
Tommy, god bless.
Thank you again Tommy, perhaps there is more on the Hubs agenda? I've another story to break soon that will also shock anglers of Ireland.
For one reason or another, the number of visitors to Lanesborough this year has been farcical. I never known it be so quiet. Peter Wood came yesterday to find not a solitary angler. Apparently, today was much of the same with the wind and rain probably being the excuse for some of the casual anglers. Will it get any better if i get back this week?