Sunday, 1 March 2015

First Springer of the year on the Bandon River

Following on from my success last week on the Drowes, I thought I would be writing this weeks post with a few landscape photos of the Bandon. However, I have a little bit more to write about then that as the Bandon has offered up its first spring salmon of the year.

Opening on February 15th, angling conditions have been favourable for the majority of the month. Brown trout fishing has got off to a promising start, with a good number falling to sunken nymphs. As always for the time of year, the trout are ravenous and will take anything from small nymphs to 2 inch conehead flies intended for salmon.

Further to the good news on the brown trout front, sea trout have also made an early appearance. One angler was lucky enough to catch a sparkling silver tourist on the opening day, estimated at one and a quarter pound in weight. Common place many years ago, its been years since one of these was caught in February. 

Salmon kelts have been less numerous this spring, more than likely due to spawning taking place earlier than usual last year. This is great to see as less will be caught by fishermen thus giving them a greater chance of running the river a second time. Springers are few and far between in early spring on the Bandon, never mind to say February. However, whilst battling the driving wind and rain yesterday with my friend Fergal, I got the surprise of a life time.

Having returned a couple of trout and a kelt to the spinner and fly already, I had another take on the spinner late in the afternoon. Blasting down river and ripping line off my reel, I gave Fergal a shout as I thought this could be something different. Playing the fish for several minutes, we didn't commit to deciding the state of the fish until we had it in the net. As I gained control of the salmon,  Fergal skillfully netted it and we immediately knew we had just landed the first fish of the season. I wouldn't be surprised if they could hear the shouting and roaring of excitement miles away!

Weighing approximately 7lbs, she wasn't carrying any sea lice but was mint fresh. After a quick photo, I set her back off on her way upstream to hopefully spawn the next generation of spring salmon. There's something very special about catching a fresh salmon at this time of year, and its all the sweeter when its on your local river. If conditions offer up the opportunity, I'll be putting more effort into trying to catch a springer on the fly. Using an assortment of tube flies such as Dee Monkeys, Willie Gunns and Green Butt Cascades, hopefully I'll draw a fly close enough to the nose of a springer for him to snap at it.