Monday  3rd April 2017                           

Never say never... until it's too late (you can't keep a bad man down) I'm risking everything by breaking my bail conditions and travelling to Lanesborough, but fuck it, you only live once! I will arrive early Wednesday morning.

It was pimply sissing down this morning when I spied on the hot stretch. Unfortunately, the web cam isn't fully operational yet, so I had to speak to Steve via facetime. He has no further news at the moment, but watch this space... 


   Tuesday  4th April 2017                          

A great weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I'm now on my very long journey to Ireland. As I'm not a threat to national security, Mi5 are nowhere to be seen, but just incase, I set out before dawn and left via the rear entrance. My mobile and computer will be switched off to prevent triangulation (and yes, i did remove the battery)

Some may say I'm paranoid (who?) but I'm confident I will arrive at Lanesborough sometime around 07:48 tomorrow morning. Those Roach will be getting very nervous as I am armed multi cultural pinkees, and hemp in vast quantities.

 'til tomorrow......


   Wednesday  5th April 2017                  

Arrived at 07:47, the river looks perfect. No one fishing as yet, although I have news of a 9lb Brown Trout, caught by Steve Blacklidge yesterday on the hot stretch. I'm not sure, but could this be the biggest Brownie ever caught from the bank at Lanesborough? You may recall last year a pair caught by Artur Rydzak but nothing like this. Unless we see a bigger specimen, I nominate this as 'fish of the year'

 Steve Blacklidge from Chorely with a monster Trout of 9lb

For any anglers travelling here from Dublin, I noted that the fuel was at it's cheapest in the city along the N4 next to the Liffey. If my memory serves me correctly, Diesel was 121.9 with petrol at 131.9. The next cheapest was Ballinalack and then the other side of the Shannon in Ballyleague. - Every pounds  a prisoner!

I took Ralf out for a good walk this afternoon. On the way back we went to the old harbour below the duckpond. From there all the way round to where the lowest concrete rises, there were simply millions of fry. It is of no surprise as to why the Trout are present, they must be gorging themselves. With so much fry between around an inch and a half long, I believe that nature has this last six months had a double spawning, probably in the very warm late October/November.

I had to have a short evening session, so armed with a stick float rod went through my usual early season routine. I eventually totalled 35 fish, almost exclusively Rudd accept for the odd Roach and Perch. Best went about 4oz although most were sub 1oz.

Steve and Josh braved a day in pursuit of Tench on the disabled swims. Whilst the water temperature may be extremely good for the first week of April, I don't think it is quite there for the tincas, It would require 12.5c for two or three days for me to try. That saying, fair play for their valid attempt. Remember 2012? when by this time we had well over 50

We have some high pressure over us for the foreseeable future, so I'd expect lots of surface activity at dusk. Sadly, tonight this simply failed to materialise but it was quite overcast. 


   Thursday  6th April 2017                        

A very drab and overcast day. At least the water temperature at the gusher is significantly warmer than yesterday. Perhaps that'e why Josh and Steve are catching better quality fish around the bush, or should I say where the bush once was, as despite providing nearside cover for fish, it has been removed all bar the roots.

Below the duckpond I noted three Cormorants diving, I suspect they know something we don't. In fact I commented to some anglers yesterday that I believed there were a good head of fish sitting just off the end of the reeds.

This winter has seen no floods of note, so one good thing has happened on the hot water stretch, lots of weeds and grass has taken root and now provides a nice base for bivvies. When wet, those who have opted not to purchase a un-hooking mat, now have some protection for Pike. Far better that the stoney ground which we were used to. I'll post a pic of this tonight.

I've just been contacted by Lanesborough regular Blaine Carberry who sent a photo of what appears to be the very same trout caught just two hours earlier by Steve Blacklidge. I've zoomed in on the area around the pectoral fins, and can confirm the spots to be identical. Blaine tempted his capture on a mackerel tail. Why a fish wants to be caught twice in such a short space of time is beyond me. 

Blaine Carberry with Bekki the Trout caught just two hours after Steve had her first!

We used to have a girl in my home town we called Bekki the Bike, she was very popular, so I'm let to believe, especially on a Saturday night. I suppose this Trout must like the same attention as Bekki? I'm not fussy, I'd be quite happy having a go on Bekki the Trout.

The fishing today seemed far better than yesterday. Josh fished near the bush and had lots of Roach to about a pound whilst Steve had the only Pike of the day at 15lbs. The bites dried up towards the evening, just as I arrived of course. I struggled to get bites at the gusher so moved downstream. A couple of nice 4oz fish were caught before a Pike interrupted the session by taking a larger fish. I thought it was a Tench or Bream at first, but as soon as I saw it, my hook length gave way. The swim never recovered and although I had loads of smaller Roach below the bridge, an early bath was called.


   Friday  7th April 2017                                

 

Two graphs showing the height and temperature of Lough Ree at Hodson Bay. Although a few miles downstream, I use this data on a daily basis to help me understand fish movement. When the temperature hits 10.3c (51f) that's when the river will be alive with Roach. The height on the right shows that the water under the bridge to be about 2 inches at 2.773m. To understand this in depth go to www.waterlevel.ie/0000026088

If I got out of bed early this morning, I would not have produced this latest piece of information. I woke up very stiff in all departments except for the ones that matter. I blame it on Ralf....

It really was a beautiful afternoon, I saw my first Swallow, a day earlier than last year. Was it the same on John Fryer saw in Gosport last week? A few guys were piking, but as far as I'm aware, none were caught.

In the evening, there were quite a few out on the banks, and whilst most were Piking, one sat it out on a feeder near the bush. He only had two fish in 4 hours. I think if he'd tried the float he would have caught considerably more. I set up above the bridge and found the Roach most obliging. Averaging 8oz with several around a pound, it was a wonderful two hour session.

Below the disabled section, Philip Gordon was catching lots of very small Roach, with 4oz or so being the best. 

If anyone wondered why this is being posted later than usual the reason is shown below,-

 


   Saturday  8th April 2017                         

Brrr... That was a bit nippy at dawn, and with a thick mist seemed very quiet. First on parade was Frank Carty who opted the feeder on the bush. Fishing was slow, but his reward was the first tinca of the season. It was weighed at 3 lbs 9 oz and was followed by another of 3 lbs 2 oz - both were female.

I started at the bridge, but after 15 minutes with just a pair of sprats to my credit, decided to move to the gusher where not only did it seem warmer, but the fish were easy to catch. I had nothing over 6oz and although they were mainly Roach, there was the added bonus of several chunky Rudd and two small Perch.

It looks like being a glorious day and I expect the stretch to have many anglers present this afternoon. As the sun goes overhead, I think Noel from Co. Cavan who is fishing the stick float just above the bridge will do very well as the fish retreat to the the shade.

Has anyone noticed the moon phase? I'm going to make a bold prediction by saying that Sunday evening after the rise at 17:30, we will see a huge influx of fish coming off the lake as the evening progresses. Some people may think I'm talking shite as usual, but let's see, time will tell....

Frank Carty had the first TWO Tench of the year at 3.09 and 3.02

Noel had a frustrating, yet satisfying session. It was hard work as he was pestered by Pike too many times. The warm weather brought a lot of anglers to Lanesborough with at least five doing an over-nighter.

My evening session was in the same swim vacated by Noel, I was sure the Pike would have been well fed and not be a problem for me. How wrong I was. In total I had three fish snatched off, one followed right to the bank and one holding on to a 12oz Roach for a couple of minutes before letting go. I had well over 20 fish to a pound, but could easily have doubled that if it wasn't for the Pike.

Larry Kelly had at least two Pike by the time I packed up, alongside a lot of Rudd around the disabled swims. Above the gusher in an area only accessible by boat, Connor Lowry and his boat partner, Aiden had 10 Pike between them in the last 90 minutes before darkness although none were over 8 lbs or so.

The lake temperature at Hodson Bay has nudged over 10c, so it's only a matter of hours before the main Roach run hits Lanesborough. I'm very confident it will happen tomorrow evening. However, there was nowhere near the amount of surface activity that I would expect.

It was five years ago today that I caught my Irish P.B. Tench weighing in at 7 lbs 1 oz. I wonder if I'll ever beat that?

Don't get too excited, this was five years ago, 7lbs 1oz


   Sunday  9th April 2017                            

10:15
I overslept this morning, finally rising at 09:45 my first proper nights sleep in ages. So, I took a walk to find only the overnight anglers still there. Does no one read my reports? You should be here now!!

Connor Lowry had the best of the action with two Tench weighing in at 4 lbs 13oz and 5 lbs 5 oz both were female and caught in the same swim as Franks fish yesterday. 

We discussed has to why these Tench have 'appeared' so early and came to the conclusion that as the Shannon never really flooded to excess this winter, thus resulting in the hot water stretch staying at a higher temperature than normal, some Tench stayed resident without disappearing into the reeds out on the lake.

I learned last week, that several Tench were caught all through November and December with one being caught on Dec 23rd!

Connor Lowry sets the 2017 benchmark with a 5lb 5oz fish

15:15 - It became very overcast today, but that will probably work to my advantage even though the ambient temperature has dropped considerably. The water temperature on the lake has remained at 50.5f or about 10.16c for the last 20 hours or so, which is marginally under what I'd like to see to trigger the mass exodus of Roach we are all waiting for.

Maybe it's happening as I write? Larry Kelly had some very large specimens this morning, even though he was only after smaller ones for dead bait. He eventually found some of a size perfect for sacrifice, and was rewarded with eight Pike, although none of these were huge.

More Pike were caught as the afternoon morphed into evening, the best was around 12 lbs below the bridge. As there were no coarse anglers aside from myself it was hard to ascertain as to whether the run had started. Earlier, Connor had quite a few Roach without any large females, so I was left to see what was about.

I was set up by six o'clock and started briskly, with most fish being hens of about 8 - 12 oz, but as the evening progressed, there were far more cock fish and of course, these were much smaller. I finished at 20:15 with 29 fish including two Perch. Lots of the hen fish were ready to spawn, so I believe it may be done and dusted by Thursday. There was an amount of surface activity which may suggest the Roach are moving with several fish turning in the navigation channel.

Anyone who can, should get here tomorrow as the forecast shows an overcast day which may see feeding all day.