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Lough Erne - 29th Feb(lots Pics)

JammyJ

Active Member
Nov 27, 2009
42
0
Belfast, (but from killyleagh)
Well…my mate Chris who I’ve known since we were Babies is getting married in 5 weeks time so the weekend past weekend was his “stag do”, which was a weekend on Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lough_Erne) which is a 26 odd mile long waterway… an amazingly beautiful place I hope to explore a lot more in the coming years.

There were about 10 of us – 6 of us very keen fishermen and the others at least give it a go.

I traveled down on Friday night – 2.5hours from Belfast, got there about 10:30the last half hour visibility was down to about 50feet so driving was slow. We had booked to cottages right on the lake shore.
The guys had been there from morning time and had got a few pike that day.


After getting to sleep at around 2:30 am , I managed to get up for 6:45 am and make everyone Bacon Butties to get us up. :D

After putting on quite a few layers we headed out to start fishing.
My pirogue was still on the car roof – with the straps frozen so after I had got it off the roof I had to go indoors to get my fingers warmed up again.
It was seriously cold, with a freezing fog, the small 5 acre lake beside the cottage had frozen over so it was down to the main lake.


The others were either going to fish from the jetty or in the 2no. 19ft boats provided by the cottage
Chris.. the stag managed to get a nice one off the pier - at least the fish were feeding.
Due to the fog, I stayed in sight of the near side bank and paddled down the side. It was amazing to to see all the trees frosted over… a kind of winter wonderland.
The rod holder I had made, didn’t really work, it needs a few adjustments so one of the rods was just propped up behind me.
My friend Leighton managed a 4lbr in the boat so I got a pic and then headed off further down the shore.

You can see the frost on the rail of the boat.
I managed to get a nice one which put up a good fight on the fly rod…. And give me a little tow… my first fish out of the Pirogue!!! fantastic.

The guys came over and took a pic… nice one… again about 4lb.
I was using a small fish imitation fly I actually tie for fishing in the sea, but the pike liked it too. It swims great, sinks very slowly, almost neutral buoyancy so is great for fast or slow retrieves or even trawling behind, which I did a bit and helped keep me warm.
I was using a single paddle that I had made for the kids, I still haven’t made a double or my single yet due to time but it did the job and My J stroke is coming along nicely for a beginner.
Surprisingly I could take my gloves off as the paddling kept my hands active and warm… toes were freezing though…should have put my neoprene waders on.
Another hour or too, with no other bites and we headed in to the cottage to warm up and get some lunch.
Some sausage sandwiches and a cup of tea did the job, and we headed out again – this time upstream.
Also... the spacers down the side are working out great - with little pieces of velcro its really easy to attach stuff.

The lake floor is covered with strings of small muscles which I kept hooking, almost as it they were biting on the hook, this was new to me.
The fog was starting to clear, although still very cold, every now and again I had to break the ice out of the rod rings which kept freezing up.
My mate James thought is would be good to “Buzz” me in one of the boats with an outboards, not realizing I was trawling a floating line behind me….. you can guess what happened next……
I shouted – "watch my lines"…. And he veered off course.
All of a sudden by reel began to scream and I was soon into the backing…… is this what a tuna on the fly is like?
Well James managed to cut the engine…. As I was deciding – “do I let the rod go, what if it then breaks off”…etc”
With only a few yards of backing left, the 6 eyed 83 on board) 19fooot monster that had grabbed by fly thankfully ceased to pull out line.....phew.
The reel screaming stopped…a and I slowly reeled him in…. and yes of course the last 6 foot of my fly line was wrapped around his propeller.
Could have been a lot worse, so after a few minutes surgery with my filleting knife… I set the 19ft monster free and went off to fish some more.

Headed around to a bay that would be fantastic in the summer – shallow and full of lily pads.
An hour here produced no results…just caught the bottom alot. For 15minutes I lay out flat in the bottom of the pirogue and had a well needed rest. Very stable and comfortable... should have brought my sleeping bag!

The others headed back for more food – and I followed slowly.

I had brought my flask with me and a pot noodle which both warms your hands and gives you some warm food and drink. :wink:
The current was taking me slowly back to the cottages and just as I had poured the boiling water on… the reel came to life as line started to be taken.
Pot noodle quickly wedged between the foam blocks between my legs (dangerous stuff!!)… I lifted the rod into another nice pike of about 3 to 4 lbs.
Landed and photographed, he went back and I got stuck into the pot noodle… good stuff...



In the afternoon I managed a few more… 5 in total which was real good on such a cold day.
The others only managed a few.
Here is one with teeth marks from something bigger…





I Had great fun paddling about and improving my paddling stroke…and at least it kept me warm witht the added bonus of good fishing - 2 for 1 :)
Cant wait to get the kids out now in the summer so they can experience the tell tale shake of a fish taking the fly.
I’m sure they will catch with a fly trawled behind.
I need to pretend to be a fish in the garden I think so they learn how to fight and land it… which should be fun.
I remember being about 5 and my dad teaching me to cast a spinning rod by trying to cast an old float over the neighbours back fence…. Still remember that clear as day.
The 50mm foam blocks kept my bottom up out of any water in the bottom… and also well insulated… the foam seats will be staying. I put a stap across the width with a piece of foam for a back rest.
Despite the early morning snow fall and getting to bed 3am….I Got back Home at 10 on Sunday morning… the boat stays well on the car roof … even on the motor way. (60mph)
The double webbing straps made a bit of a whistling noise – which I found twisting them around 4 or 5 times soon cured.
Home and back out the door, heading out to church... we lost my wifes car keys for about 15minutes.... but found them in a pot outside... think one of the kids had carried them out.
Looking for keys is one thing I dont think I will ever grow to like.



A fantastic time in my new fishing machine…. The float tube remained in the car boot all weekend.
Bring on the warm weather. :wink:
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,341
104
77
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
Looked like a cold trip but the good fishing should of keep you warm. It's always more fun when the fish cooperate and are willing to give a good fight.

There is one question I have ...... What are Bacon Butties or better yet how did you make them for breakfast.

Chuck.
 

JammyJ

Active Member
Nov 27, 2009
42
0
Belfast, (but from killyleagh)
oldsparkey said:
There is one question I have ...... What are Bacon Butties or better yet how did you make them for breakfast.
Chuck.
Hi chuck.. yes real cold weather...never had the rod rings on the fly rod freezing up before.
This has been the coldest winter i can remember.

Bacon butties.... well not too sophisticated. :)
We call anything here between bread and butter a"Butty".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacon_sandwich
Just bacon sandwhiches... lots of fat in the pan and bread dripping with butter. same goes for chip(french fries) Butties.
For taste on a cold morning...they are hard to beat.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,907
155
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Your northern pike look the same as ours. Lotsa bones in ours, and yours too, I expect.

Out ice fishing, I've filleted fish, laid bacon on aluminum foil over the charcoal grill, and fish on the bacon. Toast the buns over the coals and put it all together (minus the foil) and it's JARVIS good eatin'!

Oh, by the way, I LOVE the sounds of your local names. They roll around on your tongue like good single malt.
 

JammyJ

Active Member
Nov 27, 2009
42
0
Belfast, (but from killyleagh)
Bellybuster said:
JammyJ, what a great report. I love Ireland, spent 3 weeks in Cork a couple years ago.
I'm gonna hazard a guess that you have visited the cloch na Blarnan by the eloquence and rythym of your post

that injured pike looks like prop damage to me
Hi Bellybuster.. thanks for you comments.
Not been to the blarney stone yet though :wink:

The wounds could be prop damage as this is a well used waterway......although i have had fish with marks like that before from lakes that dont have any boats.
May be he has been caught before and mishandled or a cormorant (a sea bird that regularly fishes and raids freshwater) or an otter has had a go at him.

Maybe i'll catch him again in a few years when he weighs 20lb+ and ask him :D