With most rivers in flood conditions at the moment, and extremely inclement weather, my angling options are somewhat limited! Despite these problems, Glenn, Andy and I took a chance on the Erne system last Sunday to see what was about. The main lough seems almost devoid of fish, seeing little on the sounder, which would suggest that DCAL’s policy of allowing commercial freshwater netting on this particular water is having a serious impact on our pike and perch stocks.
Having drawn a blank, we ventured into the river system. This is currently offered protection from the commercial guys, and although water levels were dangerously high, it was probably our best chance of finding a few fish. We targeted small sheltered bays and boat marinas, areas that bait fish will drop back into for respite from the strong flow. The pike weren’t far behind them! I must apologise for the poor quality of the photographs. Apart from gale force winds and almost constant heavy showers making photography difficult, the dial on the camera had been knocked, and all pictures were taken on the wrong setting. Nightmare!
We decided to travel light, bringing only a few jerk-baits and a fly rod each. The jerk-baits produced several pike, great fun on the Black Max, but as always, the majority of fish, and the three largest, came to the fly. The beauty with this style of angling is being able to quietly drop a fly between clusters of reeds, almost on top of a pike’s head, without “spooking” it. This is so tempting; it rarely fails to entice a strike.
Travelling from one sheltered mark to another, having exhausted each potential haunt as we went, we were picking off quite a few fish, and despite the difficulties involved in battling the elements, this was fast becoming a very enjoyable day.
Without doubt, many of these areas are potential spawning grounds, and with so many male fish about, the larger females should be along within the next few weeks, here’s hoping! Certainly, after having done quite a bit of groundwork, our new-found marks are definitely worth a return visit as the temperature begins to rise a little.
As we were only minutes away from the slip-way, we fished on until sunset. With our dedicated crew, it is impossible to leave feeding fish, no matter how bad the weather becomes (within reason).
It is all too easy, when the wind blows and rain beats off the windows, to decide on sitting at home with the feet up against the wood burning stove! There are several times whilst out fishing during an un-successful day when I have yearned to be beside that fire with a glass of Bushmills in my hand, but that doesn’t catch fish. Fortune favours the brave as they say, and as long as your risk assessments are sound, it pays to get out there and wet a line.
We ended the day with nineteen landed, two doubles amongst them, several lost fish and countless “follows” to the boat. This was another enjoyable memory to cherish and a superb day’s sport. And to top it all, I had my glass of whiskey beside the fire even later that evening!