Thursday 11 May 2023

The Blackwater River

 I did a day's fishing on the Blackwater salmon fishery beats at upper and lower Kilmurray  yesterday. We knew that the salmon catch reports were low but any day fishing on the river is a bonus especially the Blackwater River. We met up with Glenda and Noel and had a nice chat regarding the river etc and Glenda informed about her new project Fish-Live-Learn, I honestly think it's a great way to bring new people into angling and outdoor activities. When I'm fishing I immerse myself in my surroundings and I'm very aware of what's going on especially the flora and fauna as I'm a very keen photographer etc. Even if people aren't interested in the fishing, walking in the countryside seeing nature, visiting old architectural sites, climbing hills getting out, breathing fresh air and getting exercise relieves the everyday stress of work, computers, mobiles, TV etc.

I've put information regarding these events and contact details for Glenda if anyone is interested at the end of the post..

We decided to fish two different approaches, I went deep and Alex went midwater. I used a triple density line and a fly rather than a tube as the water was only 0.38m on the guage and even then I was rubbing bottom halfway on the drift. We moved through the beat towards the bend and fished it hard, wading down I did rub bottom so I knew I was definitely covering everything and if a fish was there I'd definitely have moved it. Wading at the head of the island we again fished in tandem, Alex going first fishing midwater and me covering the deep. I had to change my set up to a floating line, 10ft 4ins per second sinking versileader with a cascade fly and I was still rubbing bottom especially at the end of the island where I got stuck and had to use my retrieval tool ( picture below) to get my fly back as it was really well stuck.

At this stage the wind was very blustery making casting awkward but nevertheless we covered the water well and didn't get any takes or see fish. The temperature dropped in the heavy showers and it was definitely more like March than May plus the water was cold especially when wading up to ur nether regions...

We moved back upstream and fished the upper kilmurray beat down to the island and back to the hut. I decided as the salmon were absent I'd give Alex a lesson in Czech nymphing as the trout weren't interested in dry fly, there was little or no hatch and no rising trout so it was better to go down to them. I set up a czech nymphing cast and met a few brownies but even they were slow on the take, plenty of smaller trout but the big ones were hard to come by. We ended up leaving at about 8.30 as there were some more heavy showers coming through but sadly no salmon seen or caught. Pictures below of the beats and also Glenda's contact details for any upcoming events, guiding, casting etc. The good side to fishing in hard conditions is that you learn the river, pools, rocks, holding areas, wading areas and especially casting strokes because I tell every salmon angler use both hands or practice with your weak hand to deal with the bad winds or high banks etc....

End of day. 

Saturday 8 April 2023

Short salmon spinning set up.

 Just a short salmon spinning rod set up for early season salmon fishing. I use braid so that I'm in touch with the spinner at all times, as braid has no stretch I feel every rock as the spinner bounces bottom and in early season salmon fishing if you're not hitting bottom you're not covering fish properly.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

fishing Ireland 2023

 Well it's all a load of balls........ foam balls to be precise..Look at the video below of water height etc....

The dam was discharging a huge amount of water way higher than I've seen it in a long time.. The three sills were open adding large volume and speed to the water. I had fished it hard for a few hours without any action, not seeing any fish head and tail or even jump. I was using my Abu 10 to 30gr rod with a 5000 penn spinning reel loaded with hi viz 12kg braid and a black/silver size 5 flying C.

 I hit the fish from the far side and all panic ensued, knowing it was all or nothing I had tightened the drag to almost full tension knowing that I couldn't let it get below me and with barbless hooks in that height of water it would be practically impossible to bring it back up. I played the fish hard even for me this was just full brakes on and bully it back over to calmer water. I estimate the fight was all of 5 minutes, I was allowing the fish to move upstream but as soon as it tried to go down clamping on and with loads of low side strain forcing it back up into the current. I saw an opportunity as the fish rolled on its side and pulled it in to the bank and beached it on some grass, holding the fish by the tail it was over. I rested for a few seconds looking at the salmon, bar of silver, sea lice, hatchery fish and a multi spawner. It was short and stumpy about 11lbs weight appropriately. I fumbled in my pocket for my phone and was trying to get the bloody thing open for a video release when it fell into the river, grabbing for the phone the fish sensed my hand relaxing and jumped and bucked like mad shooting through my legs to freedom, it wasn't to know that it was being released anyway but I missed my chance for a video release and photo. Luckily I was able to get the phone back but it was wet, it's not waterproof so I spent ages drying it out and it seems okay so far. We'll I'm off and running even slightly earlier than last year, hopefully it's the start of another good season and here's hoping for a brown tag. Unfortunately video wouldn't upload on blogger go to my MrKingfisher3 Facebook page to view short video. 

Monday 6 February 2023

Salmon season 2023 " Blackwater river ".

 Carrying on from the previous post I headed down stream to Ballyduff Bridge beats 1,2 and 3 to give them a short run through with fly and spinner as I had only an hour or so left before I had to head off for home. I walked up to the start of Beat 1 and spun the far bank catching a couple of small hungry trout which I quickly released. Wading down on the nice gravel I fished the fly all the way to the bend using my 10ft 7wt Switch fly rod and floating line with a 5ins per second sinking 10ft versileader and a bullet tube. Looking at the water height and speed it would have been better bringing my 13ft 9in, 9wt scandi double hander and dredging it with my treble density line but my shoulder was still sore so I opted for the lighter option. Its absolutely beautiful water for fly which can be seen in the following pictures below, I've thrown in some pictures of beat 2 from the small hut to below the bridge nice spinning water with access to fishing with ladders etc. Beat 3 far bank from bridge upto the bend is again beautiful fly water as its shallow fishing into deep from that bank and that big pool on the bend is definitely a hot spot to slow down travelling fish. My shoulder was talking to me again to give it a rest so I just spun beat 2 under the bridge down to the bottom of the field and decided I'd had enough. Luckily as I was walking back up stream to beat 1, I was thinking maybe another cast at the bend but looking off into the distance I saw an ominous sight, dark clouds and the wind was just starting to pick up so I called time on the fishing. Having geared off the rain started and luckily I was all packed up and ready to go at that stage. I'll show the beats in order and from 1 to 3, not having fished beat 3 I'm just showing pictures from bridge up and far bank etc.

Beat 2 starting at the small hut. 

Looking downstream beat 2 end of beat. 

Looking over to beat 3 from bend

Looking upstream from bridge beat 3 right bank

          Looking across at beat 3 bend. 

        Looking across to beat 3 ballyduff. 

Some of the pictures are out of sync because blogger keeps mixing them up unfortunately it picks at random and not as selected. I haven't fished beat 3 yet and that's why it's not fully photographed, I'll definitely get around to that in the coming weeks as it's a lovely bit of fly water and as I said it'll slow running fish up for a while. 


Thursday 2 February 2023

Salmon season 2023 " The river Lee".

 Normally on opening day of the Salmon season in Cork I'd fish the Blackwater River in the morning and then head back to the Lee River for an evening session. But due to my shoulder injury and also the fact of being in good company with the lads from Blackwater Valley salmon fishery I stayed on and had a look at a few of their beats upriver and didn't make it back to the Lee in time.

I woke up this morning still a bit sore in the shoulder but the anti inflammatory did take the edge off the stiffness and pain. My shoulder had a quick chat to my elbow, wrist and hand and all decided we were okay to do a short evening session on the Lee. Got my permit at the petrol station and headed over to woodside beat 1 just below the dam and yes just as I arrived they put the bloody water on, I'm sure they can see me coming down the trail and turn it on for a laugh.

I just set up the spinning rod and covered all the lies hard, cursing the fact I wouldn't be able to fly fish it due to heavy current and very fast rising water. I gave beat 1 half an hour and then headed down to beat 3 and 4 again covering all the salmon lies with the spinning rod using barbless hooks due to the ongoing brown tag restrictions ( no I didn't get a brown tag again, got mine last year before the hot weather so didn't fish then either ). The current was really fast so I changed over from a size 4 to a 5 which held better and was definitely taking bottom but nothing, not even a trout.

Went back up to beat 1 finished out there till it got dark and thanked my lucky stars that at least on all the opening days I fished this year I didn't get wet....waders, jacket, boots etc all nice and dry going back into the boot of my jeep. Realistically I knew it was a long shot....really, really long shot of meeting a fresh fish on opening day at the dam but over a  decade ago it was possible and almost definite down river to get an opening day springer. I'll keep an eye on the Lee this year but really I'm fed up with the tags, water management issues etc so for this year I'll be fishing other rivers for salmon, at least when you check water levels for other rivers you can see what you're getting not like the dam it's a lucky bag at best. Before you say oh! but you can ring and find out their discharging times, you can but they don't even keep to those either....... Anyway like I said I'll do the odd session there but this year after over 4 decades of salmon fishing on the Lee I'm hunting new water. Photos below of beat 1 and 4 in high water again.