A few months ago, making a review of the picture folders on my computer, I got a hankering for the water that gave me the biggest pike until now, Lough Derg. I contacted my buddy Andy and we decided to make a foray on the water in cause mid of September. Soon everything was booked. The idea of fooling some big pike especially with the artificial fly haunted me for some time.
Moment 0 arrived, bags were ready in the morning and we went to the airport. The flight to Dublin went smoothly, then we rented a car and in the evening we reached the lake. The weather was not exactly as we expected but there were no obstacles to get out on the lake for fishing during the next days.
We prepared our rods for the next day and went to sleep, dreaming of huge Esox. In the morning I was a little bit concerned about the fairly strong wind and waves. Their amplitude didn't increased during the first morning hours so we went out on the lake.
We went to the places known by me, some lagoons about 10 feet deep, where a few years ago I managed to capture a female Esox with a length of 41 inches and a weight of 19 lbs. Our casting was hampered by the strong wind and after a few hours of fishing without any fish contact we decided to change strategy. On the way back to the base camp, we trawled big lures in deeper water. The vast lagoons we explored with the fish finder proved to be fish empty. Very curious, though water was about 16 degrees Celsius, pike would have to be found in shallower water but it wasn't like that. After a missed take, Andy was able to capture a beautiful Esox about 40 inches long. The first fish caught during our stay in Ireland, was also the biggest. Happy about the great capture but frustrated cause of the wind who made the fly casting very difficult, we ended the day in the company of our neighbors from Essen with some beers.
There followed two days with bad weather during we caught only a modest trout. We started to look for shoals of roach and bream with the fish finder. We suspected to find big pikes in the area where food was abundant. After long searching we found the fish. The fish finder was signalising huge shoals at depths between 26 and 85 feet, a depth at which the chances of catching a fish with the artificial fly were almost 0 without a fast sinking line. I only had a floating line with a few sink tips with whom I had no chance to reach the desired depth. We spent the evening in the pub enjoying a few Guinness pints. I had the opportunity to drink again a combination discovered a few years ago in Ireland, Guinness with black current juice, a true delight.
Cause of the situation I mentioned before, we gave up completely fly fishing and focused more on heavy bait trawling. The penultimate day was also the most prolific. Weather improved, the sun was shinning and at the end of the day we caught six pikes between 30 and 37 inches long. During the last day of fishing results have been weak compared to the previous day and we caught only 3 fish about 30 inches long.
Time passed quickly, too quickly to be able to put into application everything we wanted within a week. There still are open chapters. We learned some new lessons from this vast expanse of water and the Irish weather but the desire of bigger pike can lead us only to say: We'll be back!