Back in May of this year, the guys from Inland Fisheries Ireland asked if I wished to take part in the Twaite Shad survey again, similar to the one I was involved in last year. This would involve two days angling sampling on the River Barrow and the River Nore, a large tributary of the mighty Barrow. The Nore, notable for salmon, brown trout and sea-trout also receives a run of Shad through the May-June spawning season, although little is known about this.
We fished long and hard on the Nore on day one, and drew a blank I’m afraid to say. However, the day wasn’t totally fruitless as I hooked and landed my first ever fresh-run salmon. It sounds strange to have caught almost every species that swims in Irish waters, except the mighty salmon, but until now, I have rarely had the interest or opportunity to fish for one in earnest. This was a complete “fluke” it has to be said, taken on eight pound line and light spinning rod, but what an eye opener! These kippers can go when they want to, and I now understand the hype that surrounds these fresh run bars of silver. Better still, I am now no longer a salmon virgin!
Our second day was spent on the Barrow at St.Mullins, an area I know extremely well, and although fishing was tough, we finished the session with a total of fourteen fish. A bonus specimen over the magic 1.2 kilo barrier sweetened the day considerably. Every one of our fish were carefully handled, weighed, measured, had scale samples taken and finally returned, fighting fit and strong. A little bit of attention in this area makes the world of difference to catch and release success. The scale samples will help in identification, age and genetic research concerning this endangered and protected species.
The highlight of our two days, apart from my bonus salmon, was watching Mark’s expert attempts at fly fishing for the Shad. He’s not too shabby at putting a fly out! Until this point, we were having a large proportion of “follow ins” where the Shad were interested in the “spinner-bait” but not enticed enough to grab it. We thought that a delicate approach with the fly may be the answer and we were right. His persistence eventually paid off, landing his first River Barrow Shad on the fly rod, nice one.
The Barrow River rarely fails to produce the goods, but the River Nore was a disappointment, as far as Shad were concerned. Hopefully, we will be back to the Nore in May 2013 for another shot at locating and landing samples for further scientific research.
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