Tuesday 28th March - Friday 31st March 2006

     This year I travelled to Ireland almost a week earlier than usual to mind the shop whilst Bridie takes a holiday. I’m really not looking forward to my stint as the power station is off ‘til April 12th, - the day before I fly home for Easter ! Also, the previous weeks rainfall has seen the river rise almost 18” since my last short visit at the beginning of the month. The drive to Holyhead was un-eventful and after disembarking I arrived at Lanesborough just before 20.30 and was glad to get to sleep by 22.00. From Wed. to Fri. I had but one customer taking just €1.80 for a pack of swivels. The rainfall was torrential and still the river rose and I didn’t contemplate fishing. By late Friday evening I’d completed the shop decorations and its looking better than ever before.


Saturday 1st April 2006

     Perhaps I was the April fool for coming so early this year and so it was destiny to suffer a boring day in the shop. My maggots were not looking too good but I decided to try a couple of hours above the bridge where after 20 minutes I was lucky enough to catch my first Shannon Trout which must have weighed well over an ounce. I followed this with 3 Roach of between 1-2oz. So the initial outing was far better than I’d expected and although I know its going to be tough for the next week, I must remain optimistic for a good season.


Sunday 2nd April 2006

    Most of the day in the shop was slow with just a handful of customers. I closed around 16.30 and went between the trees for an hour. The conditions were not great with a gusty wind and showers, but I persevered and had 26 Roach mostly just over an ounce with a Rudd of similar size. A lot of foreigners were aimlessly casting their lures, but thankfully none of them caught as far as I could tell. A total weight of just under 2lbs was a fair return.


Monday 3rd April 2006

     The river showed no sign of dropping with only a few feet of the lower concrete level visible. It was here that an hour was spent that saw me catch 30 fish made up of 25 Roach, 2 Rudd, a couple of Hybrids and a Perch. One of the Rudd was around 3oz but everything else was of the 1oz variety. In the afternoon I took a drive around the Suck and found the water was extremely high with all potential pegs under water. Its going to be at least three days until I will be able to fish anywhere except Lanesborough. On returning I decided to try the same spot as previously and this time the fish were slightly larger with an average of about just under 2oz. I had 30 fish in 45 minutes before putting my wellies on to combat the still rising river. 10 minutes below the bridge proved fruitless so I went back to the only dry spot on the stretch and caught another 35 fish but at a much slower rate. In fact as dusk fell, it became quite difficult to get a bite. The catch was mostly Roach with quite a few Rudd, a couple of Hybrids, Perch and a Gudgeon. I think the evenings weight would have been around 4lb.


Tuesday 4th April 2006

     Drove the van onto the hot water stretch with the intention of doing my first Piking session of the campaign. A problem arose when I was unable to catch any bait-fish and the sardines were still frozen. After an hour of trying, I gave up and returned to the warmth of the shop. I had a short session in the evening and had a dozen small fish.


Wednesday 5th April 2006

     The water level just refuses to drop and despite a beautiful spring day, I was only able to get a dozen fish in an hour before midday. I decided to take a trip to Lara on the Suck and found the river easily manageable and caught a few Roach to 6oz from below the bridge. I had never tried the deeper hole 200 yards upstream and opted for a change of scenery. For a while it was easy picking with some of the Roach knocking 8oz. I finished with just over 6lbs and then added another two fish near the old school at Ballymoe. Before driving back, I took a walk around the field where the two rivers meet for tomorrows session. Saw my first Swallows today.


Thursday 6th April 2006

     There’s probably the best part of a mile of bank to fish upstream of the bridge at Ballymoe but despite lovely looking swims, I was only able to find Minnows. A return to yesterdays relatively successful session at Lara found more Roach to 6oz. I was tempted to try upstream for half an hour and had three more to end with a total of just under 8lb.


Friday 7th April 2006

     A cold miserable day and not a soul to be seen on the banks. This has been a very quiet 1st week of April although the shop has at least seen a few customers. I drove to Clondra to find Dave Henry who was catching Perch on the navigation canal. Some other were fishing the basin and had Roach and Perch. With the wind getting stronger I decided not to fish.


Saturday 8th April 2006

     This would normally be my first weekend in the shop but as I came early this year, so boredom has come too. I stayed in and dealt with only a few customers and by early evening couldn’t resist the temptation to fish. An hour later I was walking back having not registered a single bite.


Sunday 9th April 2006

     I’m so looking forward to going home next week. It’s so depressing with so little activity.A few diehards tried the stretch but caught very little. The station off until next Wednesday at the earliest. At least I had a few more in the shop today to boost Bridies till. I watched the final round of the Masters and fell asleep before midnight.


Monday 10th April 2006

     The water levels have dropped by 3” since last weeks high so at 10.00 I ventuerd out towards the Suck where previously I have had success in the Pike department. My swim was over 15’ feet deep and it was difficult to control the float even though I chose my long rod. It was well over an hour before my first bite from a Roach of about an ounce swiftly followed by another smaller specimen. A Pike picked up my sardine bait twice, dropping it on the strike. I put out the other rod with the Roach as bait and hooked a fish of 5lb 6oz. Within minutes the sardine was taken by another Pike this time is was a bigger fish which weighed in at 10lb 9oz. As I was packing up the float rod, a take from the same spot produced another Pike of exactly 5lbs. I had a short float session at Lanesborough and had 5 Roach of up to 2oz and a bonus 4oz Perch. Its still very cold and really dosen’t feel like April.


Tuesday 11th April 2006

     My first venture to the Inny of the spring and I chose Ballinalack on the N4 where a number of Chub have been caught in recent years. I walked upstream and found some nice swims with six feet of water but no fish anywhere. Below the bridge was more of the same. I have seen plenty of fish here in the summer months. I drove round the scenic route to Coolnagun and then onto the Float bridge. Between heavy showers I tried again but to no avail. Then I saw a large fish swirl on the far bank which I suspected to be a Trout. I could only lower my float from the bridge and here I had my first fish of the day albeit a very small Roach. This was followed by another six but only one was bigger at about 6oz. Back at Lanesborough another shorty produced a dozen 1oz Roach before boredom saw me pack in before dusk.


Wednesday 12th April 2006

     I wanted to get up early and catch the Pike having breakfast but I couldn’t muster enthusiasm and so didn’t arrive on the Suck until well after 10.00 All sorts of problem arose such as forgetting my landing net pole and cage feeders. To make matters worse I failed to register a bite in two hours but did fluke a Jack Pike of about 3lbs on the sardine. A trip to Dunammon saw two young lads having a catch of Hybrids to 2lb from peg 9. I borrowed a Perch from them as they packed in and had an immiediate response from a Pike of around 6lbs. On the feeder I had just two bites, a Perch of 4oz and a Roach of an ounce. The showers got the better of me and I gave up early and drove back to Lanesbough. The usual evening session produced a blank but I did spot a large fish rolling near the trees peg.



Thursday 13th April 2006

     Woke up at 02.30 and found it very difficult to sleep. I dozed off before dawn but was awake again by 08.00 The power station is still not running so I decided on a short session at Lara as it was on my drive towards the airport. I started off with six Roach to 6oz in as many casts but the sport slowed considerably. I had over 3lb in the first 30 minutes but only another 2lb in the next 90. The wind made conditions difficult but the showers were short. It was much warmer today. I arrived at Knock airport at 14.00 and flew home for a much needed break.


Monday 17th April 2006

     The flight to Knock arrived early and I drove the 50 mile journey to Lanesborough in a little over an hour. When I got there I had the terrible news that Brighton had been relegated. A few anglers were on the stretch as the power staion was now running and reports were good with one angler claiming 40lbs. I couldn’t wait and was fishing on the fence peg by 18.30. I introduced a ball of groundbait by the post and was rewarded with a Hybrid of 2lb 6oz within seconds. Unfortunately the going was hard for the next two hours despite catching a Roach of 1lb 2oz and a few other Hybrids. I was just thinking of packing in when I hooked and landed my second largest ever Roach weighing in at 1lb 12oz. I followed this with a Bream of 2lb 12oz so ended with around 15lbs.


Tuesday 18th April 2006

     I was so looking forward to getting up at 05.30 in anticipation of an excellent session but I only had a 4oz Perch, a 10oz Roach and a 4oz Roach in the first hour. A 2lb Hybrid was the first real fish and then a Roach of 1lb 2oz. A couple of smaller fish followed and then I had a Bream of 3lb 6oz. Another lull in sport meant a change of tactics and I had two Hybrids of 2lb and 1lb 10oz on the feeder. It was very slow so I packed in at 11.45 with about 13 and a half pounds. An evening stint on the same peg produced only two 3oz Roach and a 2lb Bream. I should have stayed in and remained dry. The river has dropped so much over the weekend, that I can now walk under the bridge.


Wednesday 19th April 2006

     Bridie went to Dublin and I had the mis-fortune of looking after the shop for the day. Trade was very slow though I did sell a reel and a pair of wellies. By early evening I had to escape. The fish were few and far between but I finished by 20.30 with a couple of good Hybrids and a few small Roach. The first of the Whimbrel flew past tonight.


Thursday 20th April 2006

     There was no one on the stretch this morning. Not surprising as yesterday was so poor. I decided to go to Castlecoote on the Suck. The river here is very fast and shallow but I was advised to walk and seek some deeper swims. The first place I stopped at looked good with some slack water to the side with a depth of about three feet. I had about 5lb of Roach to 6oz in 45 minutes. The fish were so keen thet they even took my fake maggots that previously had no success at all with. The next swim was slower and deeper and after a few minutes some nice Roach to 8oz were being landed. I tried further downstream and had more of the same along with a few Minnows. I walked back to my first swim and took a few more. The last swim was shallower but the fish were easy. I had two Perch here and even more Minnows to finish with around 17lbs. An evening session on the hot water saw a Roach of 8oz first cast with a few smaller fish for the next hour before landing a good Bream of 3lb 2oz. A lad fishing on the fence packed up with a little daylight left but when I filled his vacant spot, I had two Bream of 2lb 6oz and 1lb 12oz to end with about 10lb for the night.


Friday 21st April 2006

     An early start on the fence peg where I found a few fish on the float once dawn broke. Most of these were Roach with two going 1lb 7oz. With only a couple of Hybrids, the rest of the catch was made up of Bream with the best weighing in at 3lb 6oz. I lost another good one at the net which I think was foul hooked. The hour before 10.00 was very slow and I was disapointed to finish with barely 15lb. Another evening session was less than last night with a few Roach to just over a pound.


Saturday 22nd April 2006

     This was the first Saturday of the “mad” three weeks where most of the tourist anglers arrive. The shop was very busy and the river was not fishing too badly. I saw the first signs of moving fish in the main channel this evening indicating a up turn in propects for the coming days.


Sunday 23rd April 2006

     Another busy day with a lot of anglers on the bank. The fence fished well with a Dublin angler getting a good bag. I had a walk along the Camlin River in Longford town which looks promising with some very inviting swims. I had my first snooker match with Wesley, with the 3-0 result going my way.


Monday 24th April 2006

     Another very early start on the fence. I started about 05.15 on the feeder and had an Eel but couldn’t get any proper fish. As soon as I could see a float, I started catching. An influx of Hybrids boosted my weight but I would have preferred Roach. From 09.00 ‘til 10.00 I didn’t catch so gave up with around 32lb. others struggled above the bridge whilst a few did very well. The first reported Tench was caught. I went out at 18.30 and caught a couple of Roach, A Bream and a few Hybrids and Perch for a miserable 12lbs whilst at the bridge, Shane and Rory Dunne had a combined Roach Haul of over 60lbs including some very large fish.


Tuesday 25th April 2006

     I couldn’t respond to the alarm so slept on ‘til gone 08.00 By nine I was fishing below the bridge. The first bite produced a Hybrid of about 2lbs. I had a lot of problems with my hooklength whilst fishing with braid as mainline and lost at least 5 hooks. A few Roach all over a pound with the best going 1lb 8oz followed but I gave up after 11.00 with only just over 10lbs. An afternoon on the Camlin in Longford. I started in the Mall but failed to find any fish so decided to walk to the town section. It wasn’t long before I caught my first Roach which was about 3oz. After this it was easy with lots of fish to 6oz. I then drove to the bridge downstream and found even more Roach to end with nearly 7lbs. A very enjoyable if not too productive session. The highlight of the day was my first positive sighting of a Dipper.


Wednesday 26th April 2006

     An 09.00 start above the bridge on a blustery day. I fished the second arch and was very dissapointed with only two fish in two hours, a Hybrid of a pound and a Roach of just under. After a brief break, I walked across the bridge and tried the old slipway. Only two Perch of 4 and 2oz were the small reward so I went above the bridge and had a brief period when I was catching a Roach a chuck. A boat turned in mid stream and the fish were all lost. The next hour failed to produce a bite. Quite a few Pike were landed on the stretch with the best reported at 13lbs. I saw my first Terns of the year today.


Thursday 27th April 2006

     With so few maggots left, I couldn’t fish and feed in my normal style which was just as well because the hot water stretch was awful. Tony and Carl had just bits and I lasted no more than 15 minutes on the fence catching tiny 1oz specimens. I took the opportunity of launching the “Ark Rose” and then had a trip around the cut to test the engine. I had an un-productive short session before dusk on the quay side catching just three fish, - a 2lb Hybrid and two Roach of 1lb 6oz and 14oz.


Friday 28th April 2006

     The bait arrived with not a single order coming in so I’m not too sure how the weekends trade will be, especially as the fishing seems to be very poor. I went to Castlecoote at 11.30 and fished the same swims as last week. The river has dropped a further 3” but I was still able to catch Roach to 10oz with the average going 3-4oz. A solitary Perch and a handfull of Minnows amounted to my weight of 20lb in three and a half hours. In the evening I took the boat across from the harbour to moor on the quayside. I only had five fish, all Roach with the best going 1lb 9oz. I fished ‘til 22.15 on the feeder without registering a bite.


Saturday 29th April 2006

     Up at dawn to start a short session on my boat from the quayside. I started on the stick but didn’t get a bite but a change to the feeder produced a string of good Roach with a 1lb 11oz the highlight in a catch consisting of all Roach with two Hybrids. 15 and a half pounds was the total before opening the shop at 08.30. A number of Tench were caught below the bridge. Bridies guests from Stoke enjoyed bags of up to 60lb on the quayside employing feeder tactics. The shop had one of its busiest days and I was glad to get out after 19.00 I fished from my boat again but the going was particuarly hard with only a few bites producing a Bream of 2lb and two Hybrids of 2lb and 1lb 4oz. An early night was in order and I was asleep by 22.30


Sunday 30th April 2006

     Laid in bed ‘til it was time to open the shop where trade was brisk through to lunchtime when the rain started. The hot water stretch fished well with lots of Hybrids making the bulk of the recorded weights. The quayside fished well again for a few whilst others struggled. I didn’t feel up to an evening session so had an early night watching the snooker.


Monday 1st May 2006

     Another dawn start on the gusher where I initially struggled. The first bite produced a Bream of just under 3lbs and the second a 5lb 9oz fish. After this I had a few small Perch, Roach and a Rudd and then hooked some bigger Hybrids. Boredom set in before 09.00 and I had a weight of around 15lb. I manoeuvred the boat across the river onto the island but failed to catch and a move to under the bridge found only a solitary Roach of 14oz so I gave up very depressed at my result.


Tuesday 2nd May 2006

     It rained almost all day but I decided to take my first trip to Castlecore on the Inny. The date would suggest the Roach to be present but nature has decided otherwise. It looked promising when a 4oz fish was caught second cast but after that I had just Perch, Gudgeon and 1oz Roach. Although I was getting a fish a chuck, the rain contributed to my boredom and an hour was about as much as I could take. On returning to Lanesborough the rain ceased and the sun came out. A group of four were packing in by the gusher claiming 200lbs between them with 82lb the top weight. I fished for an hour catching odd small fish and a Hybrid of 2lb and then a brief moment of excitement as a 2lb Pike took my 1oz Roach bait. Had an hour on the quayside without a fish.


Wednesday 3rd May 2006

     Stayed in the shop all day whilst Bridie went to Castlerea. Dennis and Colin arrived as did the Swifts. In the evening I sat on my boat for two hours catching just a couple Hybrids. Again the gusher fished well and the angler claimed over 130lb including two Bream over 7lb. I don’t know wether they were weighed. Anglers who guess weights of large Bream are usually at least 2lb out !


Thursday 4th May 2006

     I started at 09.15 below the bridge and had a mixed catch of Roach and Hybrids before a giant Pike lunged and took a 1lb fish. I then hooked what I initially believed to be a Pike but after taking me thirty yards downstream, was relieved to see a large Tench which weighed 4lb 12oz. I had a break at 11.00 whilst Bridie went to the dentist and then resumed but really struggled. My total for the two sessions was around 25lbs. In the evening I had but three fish and wondered why I bothered. Colin had a 6lb 2oz Tench and a 6lb Bream. The stretch possibly saw its best day of the year with everyone catching well.


Friday 5th May 2006

     I was stupid enough to get up at dawn and fish the gusher. It was unbelievably slow. Only a couple of Bream to just under 3lbs and odd Roach and Perch. I hooked a giant which moved slowly around my swim without making any runs. Either it was a big foul-hooked fish or did I tempt an elusive Carp. Anyway, we parted company after 10 minutes when the hook slipped. I never had a great chance with a 16 hook and 2.5lb line. After seeing in the bait, I struggled and eventually packed in with barely 9lb to my credit. I was fed up foul hooking and failing to land fish. Two others tried the fence and also recorded very poor results. In the evening I blanked whilst on a Tench mission losing a Euro to Damien in a bet I would catch.


Saturday 6th May 2006

     My last weekend in the shop where trade was brisk but bait was far down on expectations. Dennis and Colin blanked out on the island. The bridge swims fished well again but other pegs were extremely patchy. Damien caught the biggest Bream of the year at 7lb 8oz which was caught just above the gap. A few Pike showed again. I had a shorty on my boat but with the mid-week rain seein a rise of three inches, the feeder had problems with presentation and 90 minutes of nothing was more than enough.


Sunday 7th May 2006

      I had set my alarm for 02.30 to fish below the bridge but I was relieved to oversleep. The stretch completely turned off with very low weights. Damien fished 8 hours to record just 7 fish for 10lb but did include a 1lb 12oz Roach. The shop was slower than I expected and at 19.00 I shut up and headed out for my first night session of the year. I off loaded a lot of ground bait to add to the sack Dennis and Colin put in yesterday. Ther was no surface activity and it came as little surprise that only 1 Hybrid of about a pound accidently hooked itself. By 22.30 the boredom saw me tucked up in the cabin.


Monday 8th May 2006

     The alarm went off at 04.15 and I woke to find many fish over my feed. It was a while before my first bite and I caught only 2 Hybrids and a Bream of 2lb 10oz by 06.30. Then three Bream in 45 minutes weighing in at 5lb 8oz, 4lb 11oz and 4lb and finally two more of 2lb 8oz to boost my total to 27lb 10oz. Killian McCormack had a similar weight fishing from the bank below the duckpond of hybrids and a Tench. After breakfast I caught a few fish by the bridge and then went to find the mouth of the Hind river. I never caught a fish and still failed to find my goal. The river had flow at the bridge but flattened out completely 200 yards down stream. I had an hours sleep and then it was time to go to the Mud Island. We introduced another large amount of feed and within half hour started catching. My first 6lb 9oz and then a three pounder. Then a brace of seven pounders at 7lb 10oz and 7lb 6oz. I finished with a Hybrid of 1lb 10oz and a bootlace Eel for a total of over 26lb for just 5 fish. Killian had two Bream of 6lb 6oz and 5lb 8oz whilst Damien had just a solitary Hybrid thus forfeiting a Euro but more importlantly having to bow and worship “The Bream Master”


Tuesday 9th May 2006

     It was hard going at dawn although there were plenty of fish up in the water causing liners. Nearly two hours had passed before I hooked my first fish, a 2lb 15oz Bream followed by a 3lb 9oz and then a couple of Hybrids and a Roach of about a pound. I had a brief moment of excitement when a fish toor off 40 yards of line before shedding the hook. Killian and Damien both blanked. We made our way back at 07.30. Dennis and Colin went to Roosky and had a few fish on the lake. In the evening we went out for a curry.


Wednesday 10th May 2006

     I’d like to have got up early for my session on the Inny but resisted the alarm and had breakfast instead. Eventually I arrived at Castlecore at 10.30 There was little evidence of the Roach mass which in previous years had been so obliging but I persevered for a couple of hours getting a Perch a cast and odd Roach with a few nudging a pound. I hooked a Trout which too some time to get close to the bank only to have the misfortune of a Pike take it by my feet. After this I opted for a move and travelled to the west bank behind the meat factory. It was a long walk before I found some Roach but had another brace of 1lb fish and a few smaller Perch and Roach. Another long walk found a Trout of under a pound but nothing else. I made my way back to the van and was exhausted in the heat of the years hottest day so far. We had an evening session on the mud with the others choosing not to join me but fishing from the big island where they blanked and I had just two Hybrids. I took them home before 23.00 whilst I retuned only to blank in the morning.


Thursday 11h May 2006

     I took the “Ark Rose” out of the water today as Killian and Damien were fishing at Roosky. Barrys help made the job easier and it went without incident. For an evening session I chose to paddle out to the island above Lanesborough bridge in an attempt to present my bait in a superior fashion. Unfortunatley, ther were not too many fish present and about 5lbs of mixed species was about as much as I could manage. I had expected the warmer weather to encourage the mass of fish in the hole outide the harbour to move but they were still there and as tomorrow is my last day, I have yet to see the river in top form.


Friday 12th May 2006

     I was up at 07.00 to start cleaning and packing my gear and after breakfast it was time to go. We stopped off at Maynooth in an atempt to catch a few Tench but the heat must have put all the fish off feeding. A storm came just around 17.00 and we were glad to be in the van. Driving conditions were the worse I have ever experienced. The ferry left at 21.15 and I slept for most of the journey to Holyhead.

     This year has been so frustrating with the river not seeming to hit a peak. My catches were poor compared to last year although I had a few more Bream. The temperature was always going upwards so I cannot place the blame there but am confused as to why the shoals remained in the Lake. I suppose it would be my mis-fortune to hear of bumper catches when I’m home. The shop mat have seen good trade but the number of tourist angler visiting Lanesborough were again down. It would take a miracle to regain the lost business of large parties who used to come to Ireland