Tuesday, January 29, 2013

River Report.


A miserable day to be out, incessant rain with some real downpours and a constant southwesterly wind just to make it even more unpleasant. These two photographs were taken earlier today. Safe to say the Barrow is in good winter flood. I have seen it much higher over the years but having said that its still rising. Many sections of towpath are submerged with heavy flow and now rendered dangerous. The river has burst its banks in many locations and a number of the local roads are flooded. The forecast is not looking great. Still raining with more to come. Time for another stick on the fire.

Latest radar predicts more rain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The WaterWolf is coming to town.

Where do I start? In reality the last fortnight or so has been a complete wash out...... in more ways than one!

The river rose quickly after the rain and was up a good five feet, heavily coloured too. On top of that I caught the most miserable bug going, in short I felt like the proverbial "sh!t on a stick". You know your not well when you can't even be bothered spool up a new reel. So, there's been large amounts of sitting by the fire, drinking tea whilst cooking up endless plans on how to snare a Barrow monster.

On a lighter and more positive note the Ireland Angling Show 2013 is just around the corner, less than a month away. The weekend of Febuary 16th and 17th to be precise at the National Show Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin. It promises to be a great weekend, almost as good as fishing itself! A chance to restock or upgrade some gear, maybe bump into a few old riverbank friends or just wander around window shopping the latest (must have) items that the industry reckons we can't do without.

If you make it to the show try and take a moment to check out the WaterWolf Lures Stand and meet Mark  "Archie" Andrews.
Mark "Archie" Andrews of WaterWolf Lures.

Archie as he is better known, owns "WaterWolf Lures" He's also a Middy 30 Plus consultant  and a regular contributor to regional PAC talks in the UK. His fishing from bank and boat has seen him all over Europe, the U.S.  and New Zealand from big wild waters to off the beaten track venues is search of Pike, Bass, Giant Eels and even Carp. Archie has a great range of lures, is very helpful, informative and a great man for a few tips which may just help increase the catch rate.

The junior piker and myself have been using some of the WaterWolf range since last summer and the results have been great, the Barrow pike can't get enough of Archie's swimbaits. He was only telling me the other day that he's got some new stock ready for the Dublin show and a few surprises too!

WaterWolf range of Pike floats.
WaterWolf hard swimbaits & large soft plastics.
Right, thats it.... I'm off. All the talk has got the better of me. I'll be back on the Barrow tomorrow even if its snowing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three Hours.... Double Figures.

I got a text yesteday from a good friend inviting me to fish another venue today. It was somewhere we had discussed on a number of occasions and would involve a full day. Due to time constraints, it was not to be and I had to decline - maybe next time.
However I did have a few hours available to fish locally on the Barrow so I met up with Frank the plasterer after the school run for a morning session. We headed to what over the last number of months has become my favourite swim, its by no means a "hotspot" or even a "dead cert" but it has quite a number of different characteristics which means that you can employ any number of methods in an attempt to achive a result. I suppose you could almost say its three swims in one! Besides all that, its a great part of the river to spend time.

We decended into the morning mist which in truth was more like a freezing fog. It was laying heavy in the Barrow valley this morning, the sun fought to light the sky from behind the endless veils of moisture. In short, the whole place looked like something from a ninteeen fifties B horror movie.
I decided on two static deads, a Roach (popped up) and an Eel section hard on the bottom. Frank dropped a half Mackerel in the swim and proceeded to set up his feeder rod.
Just over an hour in Frank got a very gentle pick up, a fish took the bait and moved very slowly downstream towards the near bank, He struck and was hooked up well. The fish took some time to realise what was going on but then it put the boot in, giving Frank a serious run for his money! It never ceases to amaze me how agile and powerful river pike are, to see a double figure fish tail walking on a misty January morning is a sight to behold!

For Frank this is a special day, his first double figure Pike and a new PB all in one. Congrats and may it lead to many more. The fish came in on the scales just under 13lb.

ps. Needless to say my almost endless run of blanks continues, think I'm up to five in a row, almost lost count at this stage. The law of probability must soon say things will change, so I'll fish on!


Monday, January 7, 2013

A not so glum face.

This is not so much a post about piking on the Barrow (I'll  tell you about that bit in a while) but more about fishing in general and the pleasure and satisfaction it can bring. Without sounding too much like the doting father I brought the junior piker out today to test his new pole...... whip.......or whatever its called! As you can see, I'm a real coarse fishing expert (not). The fishing industry call them pole's and whip's however I couldn't quite help but notice that it was really a  modern day version of a stick.....  allbeit with a string and float set up. I thought to myself, how difficult could this be?
The previous day I bought a bag of ground bait, it looked more like a small bag of cement. Turbo black they called it. Sounded more like an additive that some snotty nosed boy racer would put in a Jap import rather than something you'd throw in the river to attract fish.  The obligatory can of corn, a few of the gardens best worms and a quick covert op. to sneak my own pike gear along for the ride. We were all set!

Expertise from my good friend Frank the plasterer was our GPS to the local hotspot, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Dace and a selection of hybrids were all in our grasp, any wonder the Barrow is deemed a mixed fishery.
So the "bag of cement" (well about half of it) was mixed with some corn, a few chopped worms, a drop of water and chucked in the swim. We plumbed the depth and got under way. Watching my son sitting there waiting for action reminded me of my own youth, helped by my father, watching a small cork float working its way downstream as it searched out wild brown trout in the small rivers of the Wicklow mountains.
We sat there for a bit, then as if by magic the float started to twitch...My son's eyes light up in astonishment. The float twitched again... just a bit, there was a nudge, another twitch.... then it zipped under the surface as if,  all of a sudden, it had a life of its own. He struck and hooked up. The fish had arrived in the the swim!

Not wanting to be left out I brought the pike gear and slung out a couple of deads. I figured that the silver fish activity in the swim may get the attention of any patrolling pike, I've heard and read numerous stories about pike moving into swims and grabbing feeding prey fish.
We kept feeding the swim every so often when it went quiet. I don't know how many he caught (we just released them as we caught them) in the few hours we were there. It wasn't match standards but he must have landed  fifteen to twenty fish and probably lost another half dozen. Maybe a keep net could be arranged if he was to get serious about this.
As he caught fish after fish I was left to ponder this famous theory about pike moving into anglers swims during coarse or match sessions as they prowled around for easy pickings. None of the pike were taking advantage of the activity we stirred up in our swim. I brought the deads in and tried a variety of lures.....still no takers! It didn't really matter, it was his day, he caught plenty of fish, had some great sport and I was thrilled for him. The Barrow pike may rest for another day or two!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A new years revolution

Christmas and the new year scuppered all my best intentions and plans of a festive Piking spree. I had thoughts of pre and post Christmas sessions, frost crunching underfoot, screaming runs and floats sliding away into the early morning mist. Needless to say, between decorations, lights, visiting family, extra shifts at work and a constant stream of TV repeats........it never happened. Christmas Eve to New Years day just flew!
So today after a few quick calls a not very much planning a new year (revolt) visit to the river was on the cards.
Frank the Plasterer, Alan Burkie Burke, myself and the junior piker! Were enlisted.
The rough plan was to fish a secluded cut away from the main flow in the hope that some fish may have retreated to the quiet depths to ambush any shoals of prey fish that made an appearence. After some time in the cut things were looking bleak, the two lads groundbaited a swim and worked feeder rods whilst Alan and myself twitched lures and deadbaited..........the swim appeared void of fish.

After a lengthy debate (all of two minutes) a move was decided, upstream to the main river, just above the mouth of the cut.
RESULT! We were there less than an hour when Alan met up with two fish to static deadbaits in the space of twenty minutes. The first about 7 or 8lb a real scrapper, the second was good deal smaller. Two great fish none the less!

Alan saves us all from a blank!
Another brave jack comes to the bank.
 With our enthusiasm renewed we fished on but had no other takers. On a more curious note, the two lads on the feeder rods did bait up the new swim yet never met a fish! Where have the shoals gone?

 Thats it! The lines are wet again after the festive break. We're back out piking on the Barrow, welcome to 2013..........Watch this space.