Bob Nudd has the angling world at his beck-and-call but it is Ireland that provides the adrenalin rush.
I simply find fishing in Ireland irresistible. There is no one factor but the amazing waters and the wonderful people have always been an important thread in my travels.
And the fact that I’ve already booked seven angling weeks in Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh bears out my feelings. Obviously match angling is my main interest and that begins with the Waterways Ireland Classic around Enniskillen in early May, before moving on to the top match spring festivals around Cavan in June then returning in late August for a series of major events including the King of Clubs.
In between there are a few days when I get out practicing and that allows me the choice of where to fish and maybe the chance to get a good peg!
I am truly delighted to have detected a renewed interest in Ireland from anglers who have spent almost all of their fishing time over the past 20 years or so, tackling the many commercial fisheries that now cover most parts of the UK. It goes hand-in-hand with a significant drift towards river fishing on such as the Trent and Thames.
“Come on over – the more the merrier”, is what I’d say.
Waiting for you are great rivers such as the Erne and Shannon, miles of improved canal and thousands of lakes across the country and anglers are welcome. If you decide on an Irish break I’d like to recommend three large lakes – Gowna, Garadice and Ramor –that have impressed me over the last few years for sheer consistency and the capacity to produce fish week after week. They have been kind to me during festival time but each has the capacity to produce outstanding mixed fishing for bream, roach and hybrids. They also have a head of tench, perch and pike that can pop up at anytime.
Lough Ramor is the very first sizeable lake you will spot on your route from Dublin to Cavan. It will be on your left on the approach to the town of Virginia and most anglers speed past and don’t give it a thought … yet this relatively shallow lake is overflowing with fish.
There is a festival during the third week of August that attracts around 100 matchman and from then on it simply available to everyone. Last season my best catch was 60lb of roach on the pole and next year it could be 100lb of bream on the feeder. It has been done before!
For sheer consistency, my number one fishery would be Haughton’s Shore on Garadice Lough near to Ballinamore town. Access is great thanks to a purpose made drive right along the shoreline where there must be 50 pegs at least. The better catch returns seem to come from the peg numbers around 25 to 35 where there is a good depth of water for pole fishing at 11 metres. Mind you, while the pole tends to pick up mainly roach and hybrids, the bream can show on any peg for those who prefer to take their chance with a groundbait feeder.
Pleasure anglers covering the same swims over a couple of days – especially making an early start – can expect bream nets to match the best around. Other parts of Garadice worthy of a visit are Church Shore and Connolly’s Shore.
Lough Gowna must be the most famous fishery in Europe. It is massive and broken down in a large number of shoreline’s, some of the many miles apart, but all having similar fishing for bream, roach, hybrids, perch, tench and pike. Access is superb and well signposted. The best known spots are Derries, Rosduff, Stretton’s, Dernaferst, Corfree, Leonard’s Shore and so on. Catching fish is easy and it doesn’t matter whether you choose a feeder rod or long pole, there are always fish to be had and I can’t recall there being a dry net in any of the angling festival held here. Mind you, if there is a stiff onshore wind it becomes difficult to cope though anglers fishing for fun will always find a stretch of bank where the wind will be of their back.
Killykeen, which is part of the massive Lough Oughter system near to Killeshandra, impressed enormously this last season. For the first time ever in Ireland, I staged one of my “Master Class” sessions and picked out Killykeen for its ease of access, comfortable banks and reliable sport with the usual culprits ending up in the net. There were seven anglers fishing and they all agreed that it was the perfect spot with lots of fish to be caught and an unusual option to fish the running water stick-float style in the “cut” between two headlands, or the main lake.
Don’t worry if you are a newcomer to Ireland or returning after a long spell away from the joys of fishing for wild fish, because there is more information about where, when and how, than ever before. I will be delighted to help – simply send me an email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
If you spend a lot of time on the day-ticket commercial waters, your tackle is ideal for coping with Ireland’s quality bream, tench, big roach and hybrids. Method-feeder rods have the power to chuck a feeder from 30 to 60 metres and my only bit of advice would be to ensure you have a selection of tips between one and two ounces. Choose a suitable groundbait and a range of hook baits including worm and corn; something that you probably already use a lot at home.
Carp poles are more than adequate and I’d suggest rigging it with an 8’s hollow elastic and choosing a range of bodied pole floats up to two grammes. Most venues are tackled between 11 and 13 metres and a bait order of two pints of casters for feeding and red maggots for the hook.
Published in Improve Your Coarse Fishing 2011
By Dave Houghton