Friday, 24 April 2015

Sun Baked April Hampers Fishing

Given reasonable fishing conditions, April is a month to get excited about on the Bandon. However there has been no appreciable fall of rain and the fishing has all but dried up as a consequence. The current reading of the river gauge suggests the river is now only 6 inches above its lowest height last summer which is astonishing. With just the odd salmon grassed at the beginning of the month, the Bandon really needs a good flood now to get her back into the swing of things.

Back in late March, I caught my biggest brown trout on the fly whilst searching for a salmon. Taking a 3 inch conehead monkey fly, the trout measured 51cm and I estimated it to weigh 3lbs. Many trout succumbed to big salmon flies, such is their hunger at the start of the season. All going back, they will hopefully provide more sport during the summer months when in better condition.

On the sea trout front, I made my first nocturnal cast this week. Noting that a few sea trout had entered the river on the big tides, some pools held a smattering of fish up to 4lbs or so. Even though the nights were freezing and cloudless, this was too much to ignore. Equipped with a sink tip line, short leader and an array of flies, the first casts were made over where I had hoped a few sea trout would be settled. After changing flies 3 times I finally had that unmistakable wallop as a fish struck. Several jumps and runs later, I slipped the net under this sparkler measuring 38cm and weighing around 1 1/4lbs. Not the biggie I was hopping for, but it sure was nice to be out fly fishing for sea trout on the Bandon at night again.

With the water temperature now exceeding 10 degrees Celsius, brook lamprey have been busy spawning along the river. The smallest and most common of the 3 species found in Ireland, they do not have a parasitic phase and die after spawning. The Bandon is noted for its populations of brook and river lamprey, with one survey recording one of the highest ever numbers of juvenile lampreys in Ireland.

Finally, catches of bass around the south coast have been extremely encouraging recently. Must get out for a cast before the ban on May 15th! The Irish Bass Festival, run by the lads at Absolute Fishing in Tramore Waterford, will be held from the 17th to 19th of July. For more details on this great event click here.