Big scoop for journos

 

ANGLING NOTES:NESTLING at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains lies the sleepy village of Annamoe, a hidden jewel in one of Ireland’s most scenic counties. Interesting attractions abound, including the sixth-century monastic centre at Glendalough, historic ruins and stunning landscape which attract more than one million visitors every year.

Annamoe Trout Fisheries sits on the banks of the Avonmore River and it was to this lovely corner of the Garden County that a media angling group gathered last Friday week to compete for the coveted Dublin Crystal Perpetual Trophy.

The day started with coffee at 11 in the log cabin. The mood was relaxed as the scanty rules were relayed and score-cards issued to the 17 competitors, all eager to wet a line.

Now in its eighth year, the outing is considered to encompass all media hacks with an interest in angling. However, from time to time new faces do attend and are most welcome. This year was no exception.

Within minutes of start time, renowned author and fly-casting instructor Peter O’Reilly brought in a good fish of about 1.4kg (3lb) and this trend continued for him throughout the morning session.

Dave McBride from Southside Angling was also quick off the mark with some great fighting rainbows. Intermediate line with minkies and buzzers were the order of the day.

But, alas, it was left to the brilliant angler John Buckley of Emerger Tackle and Total Fly Fishing Magazine to continue his winning ways and finish with an astonishing tally of 21 fish. How does he do it? Also in with good scores were first-timers Ashley Hayden, Wicklow and Wexford People; Ed Carty, Press Association of Ireland; Chris Sandford, Celebrity Chef and Brian Cooke, Irish Angler’s Digest.

In all, 85 quality rainbow trout were caught, recorded and released, and perhaps as many “lost” because of the barbless one-fly system in place. There were just two mortalities.

Thanks to Brian Nally for providing a delicious lunch, the three main prizes and use of his fishery for a most enjoyable day. “My thanks to all our sponsors and Josie Mahon and Des Chew of Inland Fisheries Ireland for helping out and I look forward to seeing you all again next year,” he said.

Annamoe Trout Fisheries is open all year from 10am to dusk. Fly-fishing tuition is available. A separate children’s fishing pond is open from May to September. Enquiries to 0404-45470 or annamoefishery@eircom.net.

Reports to date from the three big western wild brown trout loughs of Corrib, Mask and Conn, suggest we are in for a really good angling season.

On Mask, Ronan Cusack reports the lake exploded with fly life over the weekend, and plenty of anglers took full advantage of the bonanza.

Duckfly, olives, sedge and even the odd early mayfly were very much on the menu. Local anglers Michael Vahey and Kevin Egan had a lively afternoon last Monday with seven good trout on a variety of wetfly patterns.

Many anglers enjoyed success on Conn, with Ronnie Chambers, Belfast, reporting 10 trout for a day’s fishing on buzzers. All were released. Harry McCafferty had four and Mick McNeeley and Brendan Breslin, Knockmore, had two each, off Brankwansha shore, best 0.9kg (2lb).

On Corrib, Eamon Walsh reports duckfly hatches continued and anglers were out in good numbers for the first time this year.

Colin Wilson, Northern Ireland, fishing out of Molloy’s, had two trout for 1.4kg (3lb) on dry flies, while a Swiss angler had a great week, keeping three and returning many more.

Water levels and conditions were excellent for opening day on the Newport River/Lough Beltra Fishery on March 20th with three rods fishing. The following day, Clive Burrows, a return guest from the UK, took a fresh spring salmon from the river of about 4.5kg (10lb). Later, regulars Jonathan Murray and Richard McDowell boated three excellent fresh salmon from Beltra – all taken on the fly and returned.

angling@irishtimes.com