Friday, May 30, 2008

Lough Corrib

I'm sorry that there's been such a gap since my last post but I've been trying to catch up since my first visit to Lough Corrib in County Galway, Ireland.

At nearly 42,000 acres Corrib is vast and although tempted to go it alone, we decided to book the services of local guide Larry Macarthy of Corrib Angling (
Larry's vast Knowledge of the lough proved invaluable - on the first day he took us to the southern end of the lough where he said that there were some big fish - how right he was, he suggested that we start with a team of buzzers (apparently buzzers account for a lot of big fish)and I had a fantastic start to the week with a magnificent brown trout of approximately five and a half pounds on our first drift.

The next two days were windy and wet at times, more condusive to pulling wets and fishing dries, so that's what we did and we got fish - mainly small ones with the odd better fish of approximately a pound to pound and a half.
The second best fish of the week for our party came on day 2 - a two and a half pound fish was caught on a dapped natural mayfly by Tim Rowley - we collected naturals on some of the many islands that we stopped on for lunch.

Although we managed to collect good numbers of naturals on the islands we didn't see good numbers on the water and locals reported that sport was slow because the fish weren't on the Mayfly yet .

On day four the wind was up and down and during a flat period we witnessed a shoal of fish cruising around picking midge from the surface but they never really got within casting range - long casting did produce offers but all were missed.
We witnessed the potential of this great lough when a trout that must have been very close to double figures launched itself clear of the water in front of us.
We stayed on the lough late on day four in the hope that we may get an evening rise, something that the boys said was worth witnessing when large trout can be seen working areas picking off midge and sometimes picked off with a carefully placed dry - unfortunately the temperature dropped and the rise did not occur.

Day five brought windy weather and mainly small fish to pulled wets.

For anyone thinking about a visit I would definitely recommend it, but if it's your first time I would also recommend you book a guide, although it is a beautiful lough, is it also a potentially dangerous lough with large areas of shallows and some very large rocks close to the surface to catch you unawares.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Plans based on weather forecasts

You'd think with the technology available today that weather forecasters might get it right on a regular basis - but if you're like me and are constantly checking the forecast on the television and various websites with a view to a fishing outing, then it's quite obvious that they are pretty useless on occasions.
Take this weekend for example, I had a fairly good idea earlier in the week that I wouldn't be working on Friday so I started to check the forecast out to plan a couple of outings - one on Ullswater and one on the river.
The forecast for Friday was for a bright start with light winds in the morning, clouding over with the possibility of rain in the late afternoon - not very good for the lake so we went to the river.
What we got was a cloudy start, quite windy with showers, heavy at times, clearing skies late afternoon and a sunny cloudless end to the day - not quite what was forecast.
We had a decent day on the river, there were a few Large Dark Olives coming off and the odd fish rising, we stuck to the dry fly all day and did quite well.

The forecast for Saturday was originally light rain spreading from the west and hanging over us for most of the day which later changed to a cloudy start with light winds, then for the afternoon, stronger winds, gusty at times and rain, then heavy rain for Sunday - Saturday sounded perfect for the lake, so we were sorted.
What we actually got was light wind and mainly cloudy in the morning with long spells of sunshine and varying winds in the afternoon, wind direction remained south, south easterly all day, not quite sure how that's going to bring rain from the west, and it didn't - not a drop all day.
Despite the conditions we had quite a good day, we caught from a number of drifts in the morning, had a very slow afternoon while it was sunny, then had a good finish to the day when we started to get a bit of cloud cover and the sun started to drop.
Whilst on the subject of the lake, contrary to what some may report - two pound fish are not regularly caught - I first fished Ullswater thirty six years ago and after drifting away to concentrate on rivers and reservoirs for a while, came back to it and have fished it regularly for the last fourteen years and I have only taken one fish over two pounds (pictured below and quickly released after being photographed) and very rarely hear of any being caught - no more than two or three in the last three seasons.
I would estimate the average size to be about twelve ounces (up on what it was some years ago), a fish of fourteen to fifteen inches is a very good fish for the lake and a two pounder is a fish of a lifetime.

Although the lake is quite large, the majority of it is very deep and the actual fishing area is relatively small, and in my experience it will not stand a lot of boat pressure with areas going 'off' for some time after a boat has been through.
Like most wild brown trout fisheries you need cloud and wind, if it's flat calm or the sun is shining - go fish a river somewhere.

Back to the weather - as I write this at 1630 on Sunday afternoon we still haven't had a drop of rain this weekend, not that I want any but as a fisherman trying to plan a day out on river or lake based on the forecast, it would be nice if they were a bit more reliable.