The 1st time I went fishing in Ireland was with a German man who had been coming to fish Sea Trout for 26 years. I couldn’t understand in my blissful ignorance why someone would return to the same lake every September for so long.
As soon as a fish started to bite, not to pun too much but the scales were lifted from my eyes. The excitement that I felt as I helped land in that specimen Sea Trout (over 6 pounds) left me hooked on angling. For me, it is almost a form of meditation. The intent casting of the rod, drifting the lure and getting the fish to bite. Patience and focus on your casting technique are required and it takes a life time to get the skill to where you want to be.
Everyday worries left go in the calm of it all. However there are also blessed days when you are trashing around in the water trying to land a specimen fish. Every fisherman lives for those days.
Here are 5 record Irish freshwater fishing records and where they were caught.
Record weight: 57lb River Suir.
The King of Fish. Common to most Irish coastal rivers, especially on the West Coast. The River Suir where our behemoth Salmon was landed was a failing fishery for a long time but the last 10 years have seen a return to its former glory. Once more it is spoken of as the place to go to fish big Irish Salmon, especially during Autumn.
Spinners and Lane Minnows and traditional flies are what the locals go for. The River Suir is also a world class Brown trout fishery.
The River Suir.
Record weight: 6lb 6oz Shimna River, Co. Down.
This small cousin of the Salmon is a great game fish and can put up quiet a fight. The best time to wade in to the River is from May to September. A licence is required to fish Salmon and Sea trout on the Shimna and a firm arm as it is very fast and aggressive river. The Tipperary Wood section has a good reputation for giving up big fish. Last time I was there the river rose over 2 feet in height in an hour. I started out with Nymphs and ended up with a Spinner. It was like fishing 2 very different rivers in the one morning.
The surrounding woodland is also an area of scientific interest due to the rare fauna that flourishes there. This is a great river to go fishing with “the lads” with the great towns near-by but pick your stretches carefully, as some are for expert fly fishers.
Shimna River, Co. Down, Ireland.
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Record Weight: 42lb 12oz, White Lough, Monaghan.
The wolf of our Rivers is how the Pike was described to me when I was a child. Fish over 50lbs weight have been caught in nets from Irish waters. It is common in any large river and most of our Loughs. In the great lakes of the West of Ireland such as Lough Derg with its 118 km² there are record setting pike seen that have probably never even seen a bait. For the passionate fisher the Pike is a chance to test himself against a primordial predator in habitats that are completely untamed.
White Lough itself is a small lake at only 30 hectares. If I’m going Pike Fishing I always head to Lough Derg. The one thing about Lough Derg is that you have to go out on a boat to do the fishing justice. That said if you are near a reasonable sized river or lake in Ireland you will have excellent pike in it.
Record weight: 29lb 13oz, The Lough, Cork.
This coarse fish, famed for being difficult to hook had its Irish record set in The Lough in Cork. Most Irish Carp are caught from this little city lake of just 4 hectares. Cork City has a mild climate and the Carp sometimes enjoy suitable conditions for breeding. The Lough is also stocked occasionally. There is a catch and release scheme in place, many of the fish are believed to be over 40 years old.
The local fisherman in Cork swears by Maggots and/or Sweetcorn and float fishing with small wagglers.
Record weight: 26lb 2oz Lough Ennell,
The most widely dispersed native fish the humble brown trout is the back bone of our Angling industry. Out of the 13 most important trout Fisheries in Europe, 12 are located in Ireland. Lough Corrib alone has more sub-species of Brown Trout than the rest of Europe combined.
Brown Trout love the High PH water that Limestone lakes provide and at 7.5PH Lough Ennell is ideal. The richness of this water regularly turns out 3lb trouts. The species of Brown Trout here are shaped like a Salmon and coloured like a Sea Trout, they are more aggressive than other Brown Trout and will put up a hard fight. Wet fly fishing produces the best result.
Lough Ennell, Westmeath.
Enjoy the great fishing that Ireland has to offer. I certainly do!