Competition in Ireland

With the organizer of the "European Pike Angling Challenge" – I already contacted Jim Robinson over six months ago. My proposal to donate "Salmo" lures for prizes for the winners of the competition was appreciated and accepted very willingly. After sending a small sample of baits to his address, encouraging news arrived fairly quickly, both anglers and pikes appreciated the qualities of Polish wobblers.

The final decision about my trip to Lough Derg was made literally at the last minute. Therefore, there were no longer tickets for the flight connection, which 16 On September four members of our spinning team departed for Shannon, Ireland. So I had to be content with a slightly later flight, which, moreover, did not take away his charm. I was there half a day later, around one in the morning. I found my friends over the table filled with lures in which they had made the last modifications.

We rented it the next day 2 boats and we set off for training, unfortunately, the results of the first catches were very poor. It looked like it, that all the fish from the area had gathered in the yacht and boat harbor from which we set off. They were small perches and pikes. Later it turned out, that on the enormous surface of the lake, on which we were fishing, moreover, distant from the competition site by approx. 30 km in a straight line, you had to know the pike places very precisely. Lough Derg is a large dam reservoir on the River Shannon with an area of ​​several thousand hectares. It has a very varied coastline, it abounds in bays and islands. The bottom of the lake is equally varied. Depths from 10 m do 0,5 m intertwine like in a kaleidoscope. The deepest places reach 35 m.

The coastal zone, often dotted with large boulders, is shallow and slopes gently to 3-5 m. In the evening, at the meeting of the participants, Mr Robinson presented the regulations. The competitions are held in days 18,19 i 21 September on lake. Lough Derg near the village of Killaloe. Participants fish from the boat (after 2 persons). Those are – boat owner (most often local) and a second angler "drawn" to it. These two people are to agree on the time of using a particular method of fishing. Unfortunately, in practice this turns out to be very difficult. Artificial baits and dead fish are allowed. Methods – spinning i trolling. Fishfinders and anchors are prohibited (for stopping the boat). You may only fish with one rod at a time. Caught pike (only this species matters) must be delivered as soon as possible (in suitable tanks), necessarily in a live form, to one of the five weight points located on the shores of the lake and release after weighing. The minimum dimension from last year, i.e.. Ok. 62 Cm. This year, even "Jack pikes", as they are commonly called here, counted 40-60 cm "guns". The angler wins, which will be able to boast the largest weight of fish caught in three days. It is also forbidden to catch pike "by eyes", which is considered barbaric here (I think, rightly so!). Each boatman had a landing net in his arsenal, in which he could easily fit himself with the rest of the equipment.

The first day

In the morning 18 September at. 10.00 more than 60 the boat left the harbor at Killaloe on board 122 daredevils to meet the adventure.
On the first day, I got a nice boatman named Sean. We had a lot of fun chatting, but, unfortunately, I couldn't convince him to try spinning. Bite 7 hours with a break for "lunch" we "drove" so we traveled around a small area of ​​the lake at a speed, which I could only call right at times. Sean was mainly fishing with wobblers so he immediately rushed to my box asking if he could try it, or that. I allowed eagerly. Turned out, that the "Salmo" wobblers, that got here 2 weeks earlier, he has already caught some nice esoxes. Sean's gear, and the vast majority of local "specialists" it looked similar: 4-5 m "pała", a reel with a large movable spool and a monofilament 0,5-0,7 Mm. Their favorite lure was a large light spoon loaded with an olive. Initially, I tried to fish with rigs from 16 cm pike and 12 cm perch Salmo (in floating version). These wobblers, designed for the "normal" pace of work, got a fury at this speed. It was a bit better with models specially prepared for this occasion, with approx. 50% the rudder surface. It felt, however, that's not it! In the end, I chose the "idyll."” 13 cm in the blue and silver version, which only vibrated slightly at high speed. Soon I had my first beating too. "Pike", however, was tiny approx. 1 Kg. Sean put on the same thing only in the "green mackerel" version and immediately picked out the fish approx. 1,7 Kg. After weighing and releasing the pikes, we set out to fish again. By the end of the day I had one more bite and one fish "fell" during the haul. Sean caught a slightly larger predator with the same bait and picked one off the landing net. However, these were fish of rather ridiculous sizes for these conditions.

After returning it turned out, that some have caught quite well, towards our common (Poles) satisfaction we heard, that our favorite – Jacek caught two fish - including one above 11 pounds (more than 5 Kg). However, it was not the biggest predator caught that day. (There were a few in between 5 a 7 Kg).

The feelings of all colleagues are similar. Too high "trolling" speeds and little or no opportunity to show off your spinning skills. During the whole competition it turned out, that apart from the well-known mastery of using spinning, it was Jacek who had the difficult ability to convince boatmen” to your suggestions. He was quite lucky in drawing specific people. It became clear beyond that, after the first day, that the reservoir on the other side of the Killaloe bridge is definitely better, closer to the dam. Overall, on the first day of the competition "it rained" 135 pike. Dead fish turned out to be the most effective lures, especially for large animals (herring, perch, mackerel and roach).

Day two

My new boatman – Tim immediately cheers me up by pointing to the area of ​​the planned fishing. The reservoir closer to the dam, he is going in this direction 3/4 the boat. Unfortunately, my companion also has equipment that excludes spinning. So we pull – he spoon like a hand, weighted olive, I am at the beginning of the wobblers. About an hour passes and there is such a moment, that in sight I can see, almost simultaneously towed 5-6 big fish. The tension is rising. At the next relapse on 2 I have a stroke on the water among the weeds 13 cm "mackerel". However, the pike is like that, Tim doesn't even stop the engine (Ok. 1,3 Kg). Fortunately, the fish is fastened well and "gliding" goes to the boat. Jim Robinson comes to the fishery – competition organizer. He is catching a dead roach from a drifting boat. Already after a dozen or so minutes, in place of, where many players were swimming for a bite, it jams and tows quite good art efficiently. I manage to take pictures of the end of the hall in flight. Moments later, we weigh the fish together. His has 11,5 pound (Ok. 5,3 Kg). I take out my camera, but at this point the "flight attendant" (weight here) he is already releasing the pike into the water. I'm screaming "stop" – too late!

Jim asks, what is going on. I translate, and he just goes into the water behind the slowly swimming fish, he grabs her by the neck and pulls her back out! – „No problem” – he says. I cannot hide my admiration. I look over the shoulder of the scale at his notes. There are already quite a few fish, including several 9-11 pounds! I manage to talk my partner into a spinning moment. I am quitting, he sits and watches my efforts with pity. I unsuccessfully push him one of the three prepared sets. It is a fantastic place. On the extension of the headland, on which the weight point is located, it stretches approx. 1 km shallow with several clumps of the lake rush sticking out. Slight drops around to 1,5-2,5 m deep and plenty of weed half way down. Here and there you can see clumps of knotweed under the surface. I literally do a few (maybe three) throwing a floating "perch" 12 cm i… sit! But tiny again, just 1,6 Kg. My boatman stretches and looks significantly at his watch. He is sure, I'm about to get bored of this stupid game. I throw a few more times, I have a bite again. Very far – right after the throw I feel a characteristic soft "snap". I jam and I know, it's a rough art after all. Unfortunately, after a few turns, the fish breaks loose! I swear in the spirit of my misfortune. Tim then concludes, that we must weigh the fish. At the weight point, we meet a small "crowd" waiting for their turn. There are 8 and 10 pounders. Nice Englishman-John Mac Morrow is happy to present, you have caught a dead herring specimen 14,03 pound (Ok. 6,5 Kg). I take pictures of course. We go back to the water. Unfortunately, Tim doesn't want to hear about the next "stop". I change the set to a "cab". We are sailing closer to the dam. Every now and then a boat at high speed rushes to the weight point. He's getting to me slowly, that I can forget about the point. I don't really care about it – I have never counted on being in the lead. However, the vision of calmly "combing" these shallows with a wobbler or a ripper from a slowly drifting boat is annoying!

After a while, Jacek and his companion pass us by (He had a good boatman again – owner of a fishing tackle shop in Limerick – spinning artist!). The laughing mouth shows for itself! Jacek spreads his hands wide in a well-known angling gesture. I already know, that he "got" a nice play! Every now and then I beg Tim to slow down a bit. He insists, it is good speed. However, one has to admit, that it slows down a little each time. We are in the middle of the lake. Depth approx. 6 m. I've been pulling a 28 cm ripper for some time. Now I weight it down with a 25-gram olive. I keep the rod in my hand all the time, so I can feel the action of the lure perfectly. Suddenly I have a take, that puts hair on my head right now.

No, it is not some monstrous jerk. In a split second I just feel something grabbed and spat out my ripper. Some bait 60 m behind the boat, but I have a Spiderwire braid 0,22 Mm, which allows perfect contact even at greater distances. Unfortunately, I'm only jamming for formalities. I roll up the kit, I show Tim the bait in hope, that maybe he would turn back to this place. The ripper has three parallel cuts near the "eye". And then the tail wheel. Actually, the "no tail" wheel, because the entire tail part is gone! But it doesn't bother Tim! So I swallow my saliva and we keep going. Unfortunately, bites are becoming less frequent. No wonder, the pikes must have scared a bit in such a flood of boats. From a distance, however, I can see Jim Robinson struggling with another specimen for a long time in almost the same place as before! Then we found out, that it was over 14 pounds.
Nothing interesting is happening on our boat anymore. We come back.
In the marina, joy in our team! Jacek scored four, including a 14-pounder – the biggest fish on the second day! His boatman let him spin and Jacek "scored" the big one by throwing 7 cm ripper.
After summing up it turns out, that our favorite with the result of z 2 days 36,02 pound (Ok. 16,4 Kg) it's third and I can see, that he is already sharpening his teeth "on the box". Grześ tells about it, like a towed kilowatt” he grabbed a bigger one making it a "tassel". There are many stories about lost large pieces. One of the Belgians (Jean Mainil), with whom I am talking over a glass of excellent "Guinness", tells about the six "broken."” that day the fish! The largest was over 1 meter! Anything for a dead perch (drift float). However, four of them ended up in the boat – including 11 and the 12-pounder! The whole company strongly complains about the inability to demonstrate spinning skills. Fortress, that they do not fish on a carriage at all. Overall on the second day they were caught 109 pike. In the evening, one by the other, we share impressions. We're all counting on Jack – we will keep our fingers crossed for him! There is one day of rest ahead of us and the last round of the competition.

Please rate the article