Monday, 7 May 2018
The water was just starting to come on as I arrived for an evening session, it seems to be the norm now to run the water at 4pm just as the lads arrive to fish the evening ticket. I really would like to fish the fly in low water but I have to make do with spinning in high water. The water was quite clear and moving at a good pace so I put up a size 4 flying C and started spinning upstream working the salmon lies when I got a small bump quickly followed by a hard pull and then a few head shakes and we were on. The salmon took off downstream very fast but having set a strong tension I was able to turn the fish and bring it in close for a look to see where it was hooked, luckily it was only hooked outside the mouth so I decided to play the fish fast and control the fish close in keeping the salmon away from the large boulders. Running the salmon in circles I turned it towards the shallows and tailed the fish, removing the spinner I rested the fish for a few seconds allowing it to get some strength back before I released it back into the river. It was a very fresh wild sealiced salmon of about 11 lbs and in cracking shape as you would expect at this time of year. Hopefully the main run will start now and we will have some low water which will allow me to fish the fly.
Sunday, 6 May 2018
Here is a simple video outlining the way I set up my salmon, bass and pike spinning outfit, basically the tackle is the same in all set ups except for the addition of wire traces for pike fishing. The rod is a 10 ft 15 to 60 gr casting rod, the reel is a 6000 class spinning reel and loaded with 13 kg high visibility yellow braid. Firstly I load 50 meters of nylon onto the spool which allows the braid to bed down well on the spool and stops slippage when the braid is under tension. I attach the braid to the nylon using a double uni knot which can be seen in this video https://youtu.be/NLYX1qwoO-0 . The braid is then reeled under tension onto the spool and filled to capacity to ensure very long casts when spinning. Before I start fishing with new braid I will always cast very far down stream and spin under tension allowing the line to bed down while wet and this also stops tangles from happening when fishing. Every 10 casts I will cast long and just reel up under tension allowing the line to rid itself of kinks thus making sure I have better fishing and no knots or tangles. I use size 4 chrome swivels and these work well for me also helping to stop the kinking and tangling of the braid. The spinners I use are Flying C's in sizes 3,4 and 5 Black / Silver or Black /Gold. In coloured water Yellow can be very productive and also Red but mainly the vast majority of salmon are caught on Black/Silver fished upstream. The size 3 spinners are normally used in medium to low water, the size 4 in medium to high water and the size 5 in high fast or very high water. It's easy to know when to fish the different sizes because if you are not rubbing bottom or taking weed then you need to put on a heavier size and if you are getting stuck constantly then you need to put on a lighter spinner. If you are not fishing at the right depth and covering the salmon lies properly then you are not going to meet fish so achieving the optimum depth is crucial to catching spring salmon in the early season because with cold high water salmon rarely move far to take a spinner or fly. The benefit of using braid is two fold namely direct contact with the salmon at all times and extra sensitivity while spinning allowing me to feel rocks and weeds before I get stuck, if using mono with the stretch capacity it has you are stuck in the bottom before you know it and less feeling during the fight. If you have any further questions on spinning tips just message me below.
Sunday, 22 April 2018
Having been out only a few evenings since the start of the season I decided to give the Dam salmon fishery a cast due to the fact that it was very high water running onto a very high tide so I knew that there had to be some fresh fish moving through the system. Using a size 4 black and silver flying "C" I began to spin the water but found it difficult to reach bottom so I changed over the a heavy size 5 and started taking weed straight away. I knew that I must be covering fish but the speed and clarity of the water were going to be an issue. I changed tactic and fished the center run because when the sills are open it clouds up the inside run with debris and mud, the middle and far bank can be clearer water as the flow is coming from under the dam so I concentrated my fishing to this area.The salmon hit very hard and screamed upstream but I was able to gain control very fast over the fish and guide into calmer water where I began to play it out. The fish kept (hand standing) fighting vertically head down and rubbing the line on the big boulders so I had to finish the fight fast and glide it into the bank. I soon discovered that the spinner was very deep and on removing it the fish bled badly so I decided to take the fish rather than allow it to die upon release. I normally release my first salmon but unfortunately early spring salmon especially in very high water can engulf the spinner so badly that it is almost impossible to get out without harming the fish. Hopefully we will get a break from high water soon and that will allow me to cast a fly for the first time this season. I will be putting up a video soon on the set up I use when spinning for salmon showing my choice of tackle and equipment.
Thursday, 1 February 2018
The opening day on the Blackwater river 2018 was a bit of a let down, the water level was dropping to about 1.3 m on the gauge on the 31 st of January and then we had a bit of rain in Kerry overnight and the river rose to over 1.8 m for the opening day but all that could have been okay if only it hadn't coloured up so badly. The best visibility I could get was upriver and at best it was about one foot, that was around 1 o clock and it just didn't seem to be getting better so I decided to head back to Cork and try the Lee for a few hours . I had spun Black/ Silver, Yellow, Black/Gold flying "C"s, even large Abu Toby's but still had issues with water clarity so knowing the Lee would probably be somewhat clear I knew it was better trying there at least if there were any fish about they would at least see the spinner. Here are some photo's of the Blackwater river taken just before I left showing clarity and height, if the rain stays away it will drop and improve the clarity making it ideal for fishing over the weekend.
Sunday, 21 January 2018
While filming the high flood water levels on the River Lee last week I was just about to get a sweep shot of the footpath which was completely submerged by water when I heard a shriek behind me and as I turned and raised my left hand I was hit by a Falcon or Kestrel which after making contact just flew away none the worse for the encounter.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Looking up to Beat 1 from the Bridge
Looking downstream from the Bridge
Upstream from the Bridge fields flooded
Looking up to Beat 1
Nobody fishing the far side of Beat 1
Well it's started again a new season for salmon fishing, this year I really dodged the bullet as I was able to get out fishing for a few hours between storms compared to the last few years. There was only a small band of about eight anglers that braved the elements to fish Beat 1 & 2 of the Laune river, a big drop on previous years mostly due to the decline in early salmon catches but also due in some part to the permit price and low bank maintenance. There was a new hut on Beat 1 which was a welcome sight but walking downstream the bank vegetation was really bad with loads of brambles and blackthorn bushes running wild blocking access to some of the fishing. There was one kelt spotted throwing itself near the far bank and a seal was seen swimming up around the lake by some of the anglers but no fresh fish were met during the time I was there. I moved downstream to the bridge and Beat 2 to try and fish the bend but there were a few trees down in the water and the bank was in a bad state with some of it having fallen into the river. I fished it hard for an hour or so and decided to call time due to the fact that Storm Fionn was just starting to show its ugly head with heavy rain and strong winds. The weather forecast said it would move in around 3 o' clock ish and they were spot on as the mountains disappeared under the heavy rain cloud's and that gave me just enough time to take off my fishing gear etc. and head on up the road just before the heavy stuff started. Beat 2 is well sign posted with warning signs signalling slippery banks and fallen trees etc so BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN FISHING OR WALKING THIS AREA.
The overgrown brambles etc.
The board walkways going up river and down river from the bridge have been replaced or repaired and that was good to see but there definitely needs to be some bank strengthening work done or it will eventually all fall in during the next big flood. This flood was below medium flood height of (2.91m ) and at about 2.44 m was dropping but with Storm Fionn arriving it's definitely going to rise again. The gauge is correct with the data that I found on Water level's .ie. Here are some more photo's of Beat 2 and the damaged banks.
As I have said be very careful when walking or fishing the lower part of Beat 2 it is very deep close in and has a lot of undercut bank ready to fall in.