Tuesday 2nd April 2002

†††† Blood pressure up, pulse rate increasing, I must be ready to go to Ireland. Iíve prepared better than ever before and my expectations are at their highest for years. True, recent trips have been very disappointing, but now Iím confident of a great six weeks. I got up at 7.30 and left Tunbridge Wells at 10.00 to drive to Holyhead. After stopping off a couple of times for refreshment, I arrived an hour before the departure of the 18.30 fast ferry to Dun Laoghrie. I got to Lanesboroughí just after 22.45 and had a quick glass of Smithwicks then drove to pick up Bridie from Joe and Maureens place.


Wednesday 3rd Apri 2002

††† How many can say they get excited at seeing Lanesboroughí power station at 9am on a beautiful spring morning ? Had a walk along the hot water stretch to observe the ďactionĒ Not a lot going on. The three anglers near the gusher were not really up to it but later in the day managed to find some half decent hybrids and a pike which although not weighed, was nearly 3 foot long indicating a weight well above 15lb. Prepared my tackle for a day on the bank tomorrow. The boat won't be launched for a few days, so the cut and its large bream will have to wait for my arrival.


Thursday 4th April 2002

†††† The alarm went off at 05.30 and I somehow managed to get my self out of bed, although it was cold, I was quietly confident of a few fish today. Iíd chosen the peg by the fence and set up a Pike rod and stick float to catch a bait fish. A 2oz Perch became the sacrificial offering for the early morning frenzy which so often happens in April. Steven caught two Pike before Iíd moved the Perch into the gusher. An instant take resulted in a very large fish finding its way slowly to my waiting landing net. Then disaster struck, I lowered the net into the water whilst turning round to pick up my forceps and the Pike (which was about 16lbs) slid out and made a bolt for freedom. Unfortunately the line was tangled around the top eye and we parted company leaving me very angry at losing what could be my biggest fish of the campaign. I caught several good hybrids to 2lbs and eventually managed a small enough roach to tempt a 10lb then later a 14lb 6oz fish taking 15 minutes to land. I packed up at 11.00 having had just over 20lb of hybrids which was a good start to my Lanesboroughí 02 trip. Spotted my first Sand Martins today.


Friday 5th April 2002

†††† The early bird catches the worm and the early worm catches the fish ! but not today, I waded round the gusher but the sport was very slow so after only 3 hybrids (all between 1lb 4oz and 2lb) I went back to the fence. Alas still no better and to make matters worse I couldnít tempt a small fish for Pike bait. I managed just over 10lbs of fish but today was very frustrated all round.


Saturday 6th April 2002

†††† Once again got up early for a session on the hot water stretch only to find Iíd been beaten to it. Put on the chest waders again to fish in the gusher. The sport was slow but I caught eleven fish for a weight of just over 21lbs all hybrids the best going 2lb 5oz. Steven was on the fence and caught much smaller fish but managed three Pike with best just under 18lb. Everything seemed to stop just after 11.00 so I gave up and spent two hours cleaning the ďArk RoseĒ Others continued on the hot water stretch and one man from Manchester, who now resides near Carrick, was catching very well between the trees. Not a lot of tourist anglers arrived today, so I should have the river almost to myself for at least another week.


Sunday 7th April 2002

†††† Went to Roscommon with Bridie, Joe and Maureen last night and as I was the driver, didnít drink too much. I opened the shop at 8.30 as I donít expect to see Bridie much before 10.00 which is normal after she has been out. Went to Joes to pick up the ďArk RoseĒ for launching at 14.00 which went without incident. Managed to start the outboard and run it for about half an hour before watching ceefax for the afternoon. Reading drew with Tranmere which meant Brighton were promoted ! for the second successive year. It was only five years ago they were at Hereford to survive relegation to the Conference. At 18.00 I took Bridie for a trip round the lake and then put the boat to bed. Tomorrow I start real fishing for the big Bream on ďThe cutĒ


Monday 8th April 2002

†††† I was the only angler fishing today and even though I slept until 8.15 I was able to choose the end peg by the fence. I started fairly quickly at 8.30 with a 12oz Hybrid followed by a 1lb 2oz Rudd (my first in Ireland for 3 years) and then Roach, Perch and more Hybrids eventually catching a small enough Perch to use for Pike. I cast into the slack just off the gusher and within minutes had landed a hard fighting 7lb 8oz fish. I was most surprised when twenty minutes later I hooked the same fish which just glided to the net. A steady catch of 8 -12oz fish were caught and then another bait fish. This time it was intercepted by a 16lb 8oz fish, taking a good 15 minutes to land. I caught another couple of jacks which only went about 2 and a half pounds apiece. My total weight was just over 15lbs. I was looking forward to my first session on the cut about a mile downstream of Lanesborough but didnít prepare to well. I never mixed up my ground bait until 19.45 and caught only two Perch and a Hybrid of 2lb. I decided to sleep from about 22.00 and concentrate on getting thing right tomorrow.


Tuesday 9th April 2002

†††† At dawn I woke to the sound of the river birds, which unless you are there, would not believe the noise generated. I started up the outboard and returned to Lanesborough to have a go by the fence again. After an hour or so Iíd packed up with only a pound Hybrid and a 4oz Perch for my trouble. I love the evening sessions on the cut, the ambience of the bird song is truly wonderful. Shame about the fishing, I had pre-baited about 40 balls of pedigree 3 obtained from the local farm feed stockist. It contains calf nuts, maize and corn and mixes well and is far cheaper than crumb. Using the long 20í rod I caught a 12oz Roach before switching to feeder as dusk approached. Two Hybrids on successive casts boosted my optimism, but then nothing for an hour so I retired to my berth. Its easy just to sleep when Iím so relaxed. At least I have the comfort in knowing I have baited the area enough to encourage the Bream to feed when I finally do see a night out.


Wednesday 10th April 2002

†††† Didnít wake Ďtil gone 8.00 then took the ďArk RoseĒ back to Lanesboroughí to find the hot water stretch again deserted. I parked the boat by the fence and had a couple of hours going through the same routine as previous. I caught a small 2lb 8oz Pike and about 10lb of Hybrids and Perch before losing interest.


Thursday 11th April 2002

†††† Got up with the intention of fishing about 09.00 but found four anglers occupying the hot water stretch, then to make matters worse it rained for the first time since my arrival. The man on the fence could have caught far more than he did if he had fished properly, but at least he had a few more than his neighbours. Perhaps it was a good day not to go out after all. The drizzle continued all day so I just got bored and then, in the evening taught Wesley how to play snooker.


Friday 12th April 2002

††† The alarm went off at 05.30 and I made my way to the fence peg. I started as soon as it was light enough to see a float and caught quickly for about an hour. This time the main fish were Perch with some going to 12oz along with odd Roach and Hybrids. Then it got very cold and I couldnít get a bite. As we were going to Dublin today, I gave up with less than 5lb to my credit. Steve from Chorely took over my peg and remained there all day, and caught steadily. I took theĒ Ark RoseĒ to the cut at 19.00 armed with only my feeder rod. After putting in my usual 40 balls of ground-bait I set up and got comfortable for a long session. There was no wind so I really wasnít expecting much at all. My first Hybrid came at 20.20 but I had to wait almost an hour before my second. At 23.00 I was thinking about sleep because I had only 4 fish for just over 6lbs but I carried on and the bites were starting to be coming quicker. I then caught my first Shannon Bream of the campaign weighing in at 6lb 2oz followed by more Hybrids another bream of identical weight and finishing up with a 1lb 4oz Roach at 02.00 when I decided to get half a nights sleep.


Saturday 13th April 2002

†††† Had a great nights sleep on the boat and came back to Lanesborough to find a huge shoal under the bridge. It was unusual to see them this early as they normally appear towards the end of April when they are ready to spawn. Needless to say the anglers on the hot water stretch were enjoying the fresh influx of Roach and Hybrids. One angler caught a small Tench which I believe to be the first of the season but the highlight of the day was Brightonís draw with Swindon resulting in Brighton becoming champions again ! I went to the cut again about 19.00 but after putting in the usual amount of ground-bait, had to wait over two hours before the first bite. I had 8 fish for 11lb 9oz until I had enough and went to sleep. I had bad vibes about tonight when there was very little surface activity, so it was hardly surprising I had such little success.


Sunday 14th April 2002

††††† A day off from fishing as it was the San Marino grand prix and the final round of the U.S. masters. Had a power cut for most of the day so had to watch the race at Joe and Maureens. The anglers on the hot water stretch caught a few fish but not as many as yesterday. it was nice to see a few more Rudd as these have been missing for many years.


Monday 15th April 2002

††††† With all the fish present under the bridge yesterday, I was confident of a good session on the fence. I got there at 05.45 and until 08.00 had the river to myself. Strangely, even after a brisk start resulting in good Perch, Hybrids and a 10oz Rudd, I found the going so hard that I moved to below the bridge to where the shoal were still several hundred strong. I only caught 1 fish in an hour so another early day was called. Total weight for the session was about 6lbs, another disappointment. A westerly wind that was proving to be a little strong for the cut persuaded me to try out my new pole between the trees on the hot water stretch, what a waste of time, I caught 3 fish in an hour before walking down to below the bridge where Steve from Chorley had caught the Pike in a frenzy. Although un- weighed, he had taken 4 fish, 2 of which were estimated at over 20lbs. I borrowed a small hybrid and had a piece of the action. Immediately I had a take before setting up my landing net, but as it was a jack of just under 3lbs, I didnít need it. Shame I had no other bait because as darkness beckoned there were still many Pike to be had.


Tuesday 16th April 2002

†††† I hope I havenít fell into my usual mid April slump. I couldnít rise to my alarm this morning so slept until nearly 09.00 I had a back pain due to yesterdays pole session. Took Bridie to hospital for her eye operation today then decided on a Piking session below the bridge. Steven Herrity helped catch a few bait fish but I could only find a solitary Pike of 5lb 12oz before it got too dark. It rained for most of the evening, so I didnít go out after 21.00.


Wednesday 17th April 2002

†††† The rain continued all night and well into mid afternoon, which was just as well as I had a lot of stock to display in the shop. The anglers who fished all day not only caught well but got very wet until for only the second time in ten years, I witnessed both gusher outflows turned off, leaving the hot water stretch like a pond. Having only had three customers all day, I closed up about 18.30 for an evening stint below the bridge where the fish were going barmy, topping everywhere, but not even looking at my bait. Not wishing to give up, I took the ďArk RoseĒ from the harbour and parked it mid river, giving me the choice of fishing both sides of the Shannon. If there were any Pike about, I couldnít get a fish small enough for bait. I caught a 2lb 6oz Hybrid, then 2 more fish in two hours before heading back.


Thursday 18th April 2002

†††† Had to pick Bridie up from the hospital today so got up early and had a walk along the bank. The power station was still off and the anglers who had tried just below the bridge soon gave up and moved to the Roscommon side finding good quality fish. It started raining early evening so I postponed my evening on the cut and lost my snooker match to Wesley.


Friday 19th April 2002

†††† The hot water stretch was still deserted and like a lake so I took the opportunity to have a wading session looking for features and depth. I walked across the river many times and found things I never knew about. The deepest water was surprisingly only 20 feet out with some deep holes going to 4 foot. The far side was a solid bottom and consistent depth of 3 foot. In the gusher, it was a little deeper. going close to five foot but the in the middle going back to 2 and a half. Anyone watching me must have thought I was mad. I baited up a swim I had not tried on the cut at the far end on the right bank. It was a little shallower than I expected and I caught only about 6 pounds of the usual suspects. The wind and rain made it very uncomfortable and I retired before 23.00


Saturday 20th April 2002

†††† The gusher had started up overnight and some blind anglers had occupied the three pegs below the bridge. It started raining so I was quite happy not to be fishing this morning. There was a huge bait order yesterday which means a lot of tourist anglers are arriving this week. That means the fish will be well fed for the next few days. Worked all day in the shop in what was a very busy day offloading nearly 23 gallons of bait to tourist anglers intent on fattening the best fed fish on the Shannon. In the evening caught a solitary 1oz Rudd which when used for bait, was a light snack for a 15lb 4oz Pike. I have now had 4 doubles, the first time since 1996. It was the first day I spotted the Whimbrel today.


Sunday 21st April 2002

†††† Another day for the shop, and it rained for most of the day. I had intended to catch a number of Pike again tonight but things didnít quite go to plan. We watched a very large fish take a 1lb Hybrid twice from the bridge and about 17.00 a Swiss tourist came into the shop asking for a set of scales as he had just caught a 20lb Pike. I set up under the bridge and while doing so he hooked another fish on his telescopic rod and Toby lure. The fish glided quickly to the bank and I netted it safely. After weighing in at 20lb 12oz some others said it was the same fish as he caught just 20 minutes before easily identified by a blind eye. Shame I couldnít catch a solitary Pike tonight.


Monday 22nd April 2002

†††† Took Bridie to Dublin early this morning to the eye clinic. When we got back, the wind had got up and coming southerly. All the anglers were catching a few fish along the river and a Tench of 6lb was reported. Its been a good few years since I achieved a personal best but tonight I smashed my Perch record with a 2lb 12oz fish. I was using a dead Rudd of about 1oz (it really was dead !) and caught it near the gap on the hot water stretch. It was in very poor condition but put up quite a scrap. I also caught about 4lb of Hybrid but once again couldnít tempt a Pike.


Tuesday 23rd April 2002

†††† A lovely day even though there was still a brisk southerly wind. After cleaning out my van, I had decided on my first visit to the Inny at Castlecore where I was unlucky to find three anglers had beaten me to it. I fished below the tree and caught 8 fish none bigger than 2oz whilst my neighbours were well on their way to 50lb nets. When I returned to Lanesborough, the power station was off again leaving a lack of smiling faces from the few who were there. However an 8lb 2oz Bream was caught, which rates as the largest for a number of years.


Wednesday 24th April 2002

†††† Still no action from the power station although the French anglers were catching very well below the bridge. Started free offerings of boilies between the trees even though the Carp have not been spotted yet. Iím sure they are there somewhere. Mid afternoon saw a downpour and not an angler in sight. There is a concern that fewer tourists are coming this year, but Iím expecting many of the regulars to arrive in the next couple of weeks. It was blowing up a bit when I left the harbour for my evening session on the cut making manoeuvres on the ďArk RoseĒ very difficult, especially when throwing ground-bait in. To make matters worse, I didnít get many fish either, but when the wind died down, it was a beautiful night with an almost full moon. I finished up at 02.00 with 10lb 12oz having lost a couple of Bream. With only a few days before the Inny festival starts, I have very little opportunity to go out on the cut. Even so this still rates a s a good start to April as previous years have always seen some days which are a waste of time.


Thursday 25th April 2002

†††† When I woke up at 08.30 there was still a little wind and I had to push the boat out as it had run aground. Climbing up to get round the cabin, I slipped and suspect I may have cracked a couple of ribs. I managed to get back to Lanesborough and Moore the boat but I was in great pain. Instead of resting, I foolishly went to the Inny with Ade from Liverpool who had never seen the swims at Castlecore and Ballymahon. We got to Castlecore and found the same anglers as were there on Tuesday so we had to go to the meat factory. We started in the pool above Houlihans and I got a couple of Roach, 2 Trout, a handful of Perch and a 3lb 6oz Bream. Ade got about 6 trout, and a few Roach and Perch before we moved to below the hole where it didnít take long for me to give up due to fatigue. I left Ade to catch about 60lb of good Roach so he was a very happy angler tonight.


Friday 26th April 2002

†††† The bait delivery arrived at 08.45 and soon after I departed for Castlecore. It was a typical April day, one minute bright sunshine then a torrential down pour. Ade was catching a few quality Roach and it didnít take too long before I started as well. I was still in quite a lot of pain which hampered my casting and I only lasted a couple of hours before feeling below par. I even caught a minnow today, my first of the species in Ireland. I had about seven and a half pounds before going to Paul Holdroyds to complete the computer work for the Inny festival. It was very grim back at Lanesborough, with not a single angler on the hot water stretch.


Saturday 27th April 2002

†††† Quite a lot af anglers arrived today to find the power station still off and not many fish either. Everyone has gone to the Inny to find a bag of fish and luckily, many will find fish, but as yet, Red bridge has not produced. I continued to feed 100+ boilies a day but still havenít seen the elusive Carp. An angler on a boat caught a Pike of 24lb 10oz today which is the biggest I have ever seen at Lanesborough.The gusher finally started about 17.00 tonight and I decided to have a go below the bridge. I got a few Hybrids and Bream to just under 2lb and then at 20.00 chucked out the bung to see if Mr. Pike was about. To my surprise I hooked another large Perch of 2lb 5oz which fancied my dead Roach. I continued to feed maggots to attract fish on the same line as the bung. Eventually, I tempted a Pike which when landed, weighed in at 9lb 12oz With my 10lb of Hybrids and the Perch, I was more than satisfied with the two hour session.


Sunday 28th April 2002

†††† Dennis and Colin went out early in the wind and rain to catch quite well. The weather conditions were quite miserable. When they came in for breakfast, I went down to look after their tackle and caught 6 Roach to 12oz whilst doing so. I was getting very frustrated with the wind and was glad to come back to the warmth of the shop. A few were fishing on the boat channel but went home early. Did the Inny festival draw in the evening and got home for a good nights sleep just before midnight.


Monday 29th April 2002

††††† Drew B6 at Redbridge and settled for scratching. Perhaps I should have scratched a bit harder as I blanked. I had one bite but dropped a 1oz Perch at my feet which proved very costly as there were 23 blanks out of a field of 48. Again the wind was unbearable and pole fishing was impossible so settled for the lazy feeder approach. I had an evening session below the bridge and restored confidence with 8lb of the usual suspects.


Tuesday 30th April 2002

†††† Another very difficult day, the wind was at its strongest blowing south westerly off the lake. Even so, most anglers caught a few fish on the hot water stretch. We were hoping to get out on the mud island for pre-baiting, but there was no chance of that. In the evening I caught 10lb of Hybrids and an 8lb 7oz Pike. Dennis got a 14lb fish. The wind dropped slightly and went easterly making it very cold.


Wednesday 1st May 2002

†††† I drew C17 today and decided to fish as I had end peg advantage, I wish I never bothered, I blanked again and so did many others. At least it didnít take long to do the data for the results. My only joy of the day was seeing the first Terns of the year. Also had a very poor session on the bridge with only 8lb of Hybrids and Roach.


Thursday 2nd May 2002

†††† The wind finally died down and we were able to get the boat out on the river. We went to Houlihans hole to see if many fish had gone up stream. Caught a few bits and the odd Roach but in general came away disappointed. Colin had 4 trout. A Perch of 3 and a half pounds was taken by A. Tabiner on a worm under the bridge. I had about 10lbs of Hybrids and Roach from 19.00 until 21.00


Friday 3rd May 2002

†††† A10 at Redbridge was as about appealing as a season ticket at Selhurst Park so along with a couple of others I went to Castlecore where in just 3 and a half hours, I had more than the entire field on the match stretch. 40lbs of Roach were very welcome. At the evening presentation, Gordon Simms was presented with 1000 Euros for his 3kilo of hard work for the week. Dennis had an 8lb Bream on the hot water stretch just before the gusher was turned off again.


Saturday 4th May 2002

†††† A very busy day in the shop with over 30 Gallons of maggot and castor going out. I had no time to fish but kept an eye on the guys on the boat channel who were doing very well. Colin and Dennis had one last go on the island and got 4 Bream before going home. Again I was Chauffeur for Bridie on a trip to Roscommon.


Sunday 5th May 2002

†††† The St. Patricks day river parade which was cancelled on March 17th was held at Lanesborough brining a few thousand people to the banks of the Shannon. Quite frankly it was a farce with only a handful of boats taking part. The gusher went on for a couple of hours and then went off at 19.00 Had a miserable session below the bridge with only 5 fish to my credit for a weight of less than 5lb. Went to bed early.


Monday 6th May 2002

†††† The alarm went off at 04.30 and I drove to Castlecore to find a mist covering the water. The fish were very lively and my 5 hours there produced 56lb of good Roach along with a few Perch and Gudgeon. My best weight so far. A few anglers were now catching at Redbridge in the car park area. My first stint on the mud island from 20.00 and hoorah ! a Bream of 5lb 4oz followed by 3 more and some good hybrids for a total of 28lb before sleeping just about midnight. Some others were on the cut camping out for a very long session. This year has seen less Bream than ever before. No one has claimed a bag of slabs either on the river or on the cut.


Tuesday 7th May 2002

†††† Another 11 gallons of bait went out today making it the busiest week Iíve ever known at Lanesborough. The hot water was still off leaving all anglers on the other side catching well. Some who fished at night got a bonus Bream in their nets. Iím worried that not only the Carp, but the Tench wonít show this year.


Wednesday 8th May 2002

†††† Up early for probably my last go at Castlecore. I got in all sorts of tangles for the first hour and my catch rate was down from Monday. I think the Roach were starting to spawn as they were going quite mad all morning. At 09.30 I had enough and on my last trot downstream I struck and was more than surprised to find a 2 & 1/2 ounce Chub on the end of my line. I put it in the bucket and went back to Lanesborough and got on the phone to Brian McManus at the Shannon fisheries board who informed me that to his knowledge, was the first in Ireland. I was requested to send the fish to Dublin for verification but declined as it had to go into the Inny. Chub donít travel too well and sadly it died. So into the freezer it went. Now Iím pondering claiming an Irish record ! The evening on the mud saw a catch of 31lbs 12oz of 6 Bream to 6lb 4oz my biggest of the year but as soon as it got dark the bites stopped and I retired to my bed.


Thursday 9th May 2002

†††† A beautiful warm day saw the Roach continuing to spawn. Took Paddy for a hair do and the power station fired up again. I was expecting a good catch on the island but there were so few fish present that I gave up with only 9lb 14oz of Hybrids and one Bream of 4lb 4oz. Oh dear, it looks like Iím going to miss out again.


Friday 10th May 2002

†††† The bait arrived at 08.30 then after a bath it was time for a trip to Galway. I could have stayed at Lanesborough catching all day but couldnít find any enthusiasm. I saw what looked like a fresh influx of Roach under the bridge. Had a Chinese meal then went to Joe and Maureens.


Saturday 11th May 2002

†††† Another day in the shop and although not as busy as previous Saturdays, still managed to keep the bell ringing on the till. Some Tench were reported on the river which at least gives me hope for the last few day of my trip. Had my computer repaired so spent most of the day re-writing my notes from the past two weeks. From 19.00 to 21.00 tried my luck for a Tench, but of course I blanked.


Sunday 12th May 2002

†††† This is always one of the saddest days of my visit as when Iíve taken the ďArk RoseĒ off of the river, I know that is the end of my trip. Stayed in the shop doing data to make Bridies stock easier to order. Then this computer screen stopped functioning and had two hours of taking it apart. At least now its fixed I can continue to write for now anyway. It started to rain in the evening, the first for nearly two weeks.


Monday 13th May 2002

†††† I really lost interest today, when the alarm went at 04.00, I woke to find the wind and rain had ruined my last full days fishing. There were still are few hardy souls who braved the conditions and caught steadily on the hot water stretch and a handful of Tench were landed. For most of the day I continued with stock control for the shop, to make it easier for Bridie to order from the suppliers when Iím gone. Shut the shop at 19.00 and went to Castlerea. On the way we passed over the Suck which looked swollen and was running brown. I presume the Inny would be similar so another session there might be unwise.


Tuesday 14th May 2002

†††† Another nothing day, got bored in the shop and there was little or no entertainment on the bank. Theses are the days after the Roach have spawned that are always quiet. The end of the week will see Tench in greater numbers all along the Longford side of the river. I havenít fished now since Saturday and have started to clean up ready to leave. Lost 2-1 at snooker leaving Wesley and at 11 frames all for the seven sessions we had. Shame we couldnít fit in a decider.


Wednesday 15th May 2002

†††† So this is it, the final day. Its always so sad to leave and now, when I get home, Iím miserable for a few weeks. There has hardly been a day when Bridie hasnít asked me to stay, but Iíve got to go. Spent all day pottering around and packing for my journey home. I finally left at 18.00 and drove to Dun Loarigh for my 22.15 sailing. After a long drive I made it home at 06.00 driving an average 65mph for the 347 mile journey. If I review the six weeks in just one paragraph, Iíd have about 16 Pike including 4 doubles, a personal best Perch of 2lb 12oz, biggest bag 56lbs on the Inny in 5 hours and a total of 13 Bream for my hard work not to mention all the bait to attract them. Species caught, Hybrids, Roach, Perch, Pike, Rudd, Gudgeon, Brown Trout, Minnow and Chub. No Tench again. The most Bream in one session was 6. All in all, not a bad year, but a lot of the regulars who visit Lanesborough annually did not show. Is this changing opinions of the area, or a knock on effect of last years worst ever returns ? Iíll have to wait until next year to find out