Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Rainbow Trout at Ballinlough Lake, Leap, West Cork

Finally all the stormy conditions that we experienced in the last month have fizzled out. Now that the weather has calmed down the prospect of going out fishing once again has become more realistic. A buddy of mine has grown increasingly more enthusiastic about fishing lately and invited me to come and join him at Ballinlough Lake last weekend. Needless to say I jumped at the offer!

I've only fished for rainbows a handful of times and on each occasion I enjoyed it immensely. You often hear stories of how stocked trout are terrible fighters and come to hand like a drowned bag. Well, this is definately not applicable to the trout in Leap!

Tactics for the day were to fish relatively deep and slow. Rob used a slow sinking line and a team of 3 flies to start with. Patterns included a black booby, zonker and shrimp pattern. I opted for my Guideline 4cast sink tip line (5 inches per second) matched with a conehead black wooly bugger. On our second drift my fly was engulfed and we had our first fish of the day in the boat.

Every couple of drifts I managed to pick up a fish but they weren't exactly jumping onto our flies either. This was good though and added to the challenge because the novelty can soon wear off if your quarry are overly forthcoming! My last fish was my best fish and no exaggeration it took me nearly 10 minutes to net after all its jumping and long runs.

Enough was enough at this stage for Rob and I suggested he change his approach. Off came his cast of 3 flies and I gave him one of my conehead wooly buggers, this ones colour being olive. Taking the oars, I set us up to drift over the area where we had our best trout so far. With renewed confidence in his set up, he was putting out a lovely line, letting his fly sink for a few seconds and slowly retrieving it back to the boat. 5 minutes into the drift and BINGO the line went tight and I eventually slipped the net under Rob's well earned trophy trout.

We ended the day with a nice few fish between us, not a bad way to get 2014 rolling! As you can see from the photos the trout in Ballinlough are in great condition and they really are fit and powerful. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a winter fix and as an added bonus it is set in a stunning location. Details for permits are on the photo below.

Finally, for anyone interested in taking up lure fishing for bass, the lads at Absolute Fishing are setting up a course on how to get started, free of charge. The course will cover everything from the gear you will need, tides and safety to learning how to read the water and work your lures effectively for optimum results. For more information on the course click here and if the notice is too short there is no need to worry as they will be doing more in the future.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Salmon Spawning on the River Bandon

First of all I would like to wish everybody who reads this blog a happy new year and tightlines for the new fishing season! Here is a fish we will all be aspiring to catch in 2014! It weighs 28lbs 3oz and was caught on the Bandon in 2008. The specimen can be viewed in the Munster Arms Hotel.

In my last post I touched on the spawning activity which had just kicked off. Since then, there has been a huge amount of spawning especially in the main river. Until the break in the weather on December 12th, any streams I walked seemed devoid of salmon due to low water. To give a picture of how much spawning occurred in the main river a certain stretch which had been observed from 2008-2010 yielded a redd count high of 17. However this year, while walking only half of the same stretch I clearly counted at least 70 redds which is over 4 times the amount counted in previous years. Whether or not this is good news is hard to say. Due to the amount of storms and high water we've had since my count, there is no doubt that a number of redds have been washed away in the main river. Thankfully, there were still a lot of unspent fish present. These floods will have enabled salmon to ascend any tributary, where their subsequent redds will be safer. Nature always has a way of looking after itself!

Below is a short video I put together of a couple of clear photos of salmon redds that I managed to capture. The footage shows salmon held up in a pool in low water. The fish are actually holding station over previously dug out redds.

Over the last couple of days I've been tying flies in preparation for the new season. I'm waiting on new material to arrive for my salmon flies so I've decided to sharpen up my skills by tying small size 14 sea trout doubles.

The new angling regulations for 2014 have been published and a summary can be viewed here. Bandon is open for business with a quota of 752 and it is great to see the Argideen is fully open again after a couple of years of catch and release.