On a recent carp adventure down south in County Cork, I took time out on one spare evening to chase Rudd-Bream hybrids, and in particular, specimens over the three pound mark. The evening was humid and calm, almost breathless, the perfect scenario for a specimen or two. My good angling mate, Sid Kennedy had been pre-baiting an area for a few days and the hybrids were apparently queuing up! Although Sid had caught many specimens from this venue already this year, he joined me for a bit of company. It is always pleasant to fish with like-minded pals over a relaxing few hours.
A similar session on this water last year has been indelibly etched on my grey matter, nearly two hundred hybrids for one evening’s angling, and over one hundred specimens landed! I couldn’t wait for a repeat performance.
On arrival, I was surprised to see Jerry O’Connor and Inland Fisheries officer Mike Hennessy on the hot-spot. Jerry had known I was on my way, and drove from Kerry to fish the swim keeping it available until I arrived. The generosity of these guys always astounds me, thanks lads, I owe you one! Fishing just doesn’t come any easier than this, and it was a “fish-a-chuck” from the very first cast.
Jerry and Mike soon packed up, leaving Sid and myself amongst the shoal for the remaining few hours until night-fall. These hybrids are in immaculate condition and the peak of health. They really know how to kick back on quiver-tip gear! This area is unusual in having so many hybrids shoaling together, and most likely many of them have never been caught before. Certainly, they are stunning, fin and scale perfect examples, bream-like in shape, but with an iridescent, metallic gold-bronze hue that almost glows in the evening sunlight.
We ended the evening session with well over one hundred pounds of fish, which was a gentle introduction to my week-long stay in this area of angling heaven. With double-figure carp and specimen mullet only a few minutes down the road, it was a dilemma, as always, as to which species to target next!
To claim a specimen Rudd-Bream Hybrid with the Irish Specimen Fish Committee, there are a few simple procedures that have to be carried out. First and foremost, the hybrid must meet or break the target weight of 1.2 kilos or 2.64lbs, and be weighed on scales that have a certificate of calibration. Scales can be calibrated for accuracy at any local weights and measures specialists.
With hybrids, and the difficulty sometimes involved in accurate identification, close-up photographs are required, of head, dorsal and anal fins, along with a scale sample and a small fin-clip. The two samples are used, amongst other things, for genetic finger-printing carried out by the I.S.F.C. With everything prepared before hand, this whole procedure takes less than one minute to perform, and the specimen can then be carefully released.
Specimen hunting is a life-long challenge, and in pursuing various species, it has taken me to some of the most stunning and isolated areas of Ireland, giving me the opportunity to meet many top anglers and interesting people, and a few genuine angling mates. I wouldn’t give it up for the world!