Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lough Derg - The Way of the Leprechaun

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!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn Day

Lord, it is time. Summer was very grand.
Now cast your shadow on the sundials,
and loose the winds on the open fields.

Autumn - Rainer Maria Rilke

The leaves began to take color, the temperature droped and the days became shorter, signs that fall is around the corner. It also came the time for trout spawning, which also means the end of the fishing season. Only those who dare to go out into the cold will do some fly fishing for grayling or pike during the next months.

On this occasion I thought to go out for some fishing before I'll put the small class rods in the closet. Weather could have been even better, the wind blew from time to time and considering that I did not want to waste too much time on the road I chose a creek not far from home. The water was swollen and slightly turbid, which didn't hold me back from continuing my plan to fool a few fish.

The results were not long in coming and graylings began to show up one by one, not too big but enough to sweeten my soul in a melancholic atmosphere of early fall. I even managed to fool a trout. After several hours, I took a CDC dry fly out of the box even fish weren't rising. Some sun rays managed to sneak through the trees that protected the river, at which point I noticed a shadow about 25 feet upstream. I cast the fly a few hands upstream the fish and during the next second I saw the fish rising. For a split second time froze and my heartbeat strengthened. It was a great take and after a few seconds I brought ashore a nice grayling, ending the fishing after this beautiful moment.

Cold autumn and winter months will follow in which I'll focus on pike fly fishing and fly tying hoping the next season will be at least as good as the one just past. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Backyard In Nowhere - A Fly Fishing Western

It's autumn, slightly it's getting colder, trout is preparing for spawning, so for some of us it's pike time. I managed to watch this movie only a few days ago even it was produced a few years ago. I was fascinated about the landscape and the nice fish in the trailer so I bought the movie.

Four guys from Denmark are traveling to Alaska in search of big northern pike and adventure. They head to the Innoko River, one of the Yukon tributaries, not far away from a native village called Holy Cross. The whole area is a labyrinth of swamps in which you can get lost in a heartbeat without a GPS. Their initial efforts of catching big pike failed till they consult the natives, then they find the big fish. While fishing the best places they get into a hassle with the local outfitter Midnight Sun.

The good point is that nobody was injured, the bad point is they are just leaving their camp on public lands without doing something. Those waters are for everybody, not only for Midnight Sun and even it is far away from civilisation, there must be law. The locals, in this movie, are drinking in every scene, even use firearms while drinking. In my opinion the alcohol scenes are too much for this kind of movie.

After watching it, I had an ambivalent feeling, very positively surprised by the dreary landscape, big fish and great soundtrack on the one side, on the other disappointed by their portrayal of the local natives. I think the movie deserves 3 points out of 5 and it is definitely worth to watch it. Have fun !