Ireland by Bob Nudd

Bob Nudd is one of Ireland’s biggest fans and says unshakably: “Without a doubt, Ireland has the most natural and best coarse silver-fish angling in Europe”.

“The lake and river fishing is mega, both for the quality and quantity of roach, hybrids and bream that are spread across the whole country. Not only that; but when you look at holiday prices, it is cheaper than anywhere else to travel and stay for a week”. They are fine words and based on 33 years of fishing and staying in Ireland.

Bob Nudd MBE, four times World Champion with umpteen appearances for England on the international match scene, first crossed the Irish Sea in spring 1976 to tackle the famous River Suck bream while competiting in the Ballinasloe Festival. He went back the following year, then in 1978 headed off to Northern Ireland where he began an angling love-affair with the prolific waters of the Erne around Fermanagh and the River Bann near to Portadown. In fact this very day (November 3) he is fishing for big roach and hybrids on the River Bann and next week moves to Ballyconnell in County Cavan to take part in a small angling festival.

Bob has been just about everywhere in Ireland during the past three decades and has now “discovered” somewhere new to test his prowess with pole and feeder.“I spent most of May and June match fishing in Ireland and returned in late summer for a match on Lough Ramor near Virginia in Cavan”, he explained. “That led me into the hectic festival season around Cavan and Leitrim, but this year I stayed on and went to Castleblayney, County Monaghan, and took part in the five-day festival on Lough Muckno. What a terrific lake! This particular September festival has been running for more than 20 years and there have been some great catches and I’m in no doubt that Muckno is the best roach venue that I’ve ever fished. Pleasure anglers will also discover that is has tons of bream and plenty of hard fighting hybrids".

Understandably, Bob moves around Ireland’s match circuit and says there is one constant factor: “The magic of Ireland is created by the terrific friendliness of the people and their laid-back approach to life that produces the world-famous ‘craic’ (a term for fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation). “Local people seem to enjoy having visitors around and whether you are in the local general store or the pub, somebody is bound to ask if you are having an enjoyable holiday and if you are catching a lot of fish; conversations that can lead off in any direction and that have led friendships lasting years”.

Where-and-When to take that angling holiday? Ireland is a big country when it comes to choosing a holiday base and there are waters in all shapes and size, the length and breadth of the island, but Bob narrows it down to a two main areas.

“County Cavan has always been the number one angling holiday destination. The big attraction is the vast number of lakes to choose from, but my recommendation for newcomers has to be Lough Gowna for its consistency and network of smaller lakes. “If forced to narrow it down to specific spots, my first choice is Kevin’s Shore at Rosduff – because there are always bream, roach and hybrids to be caught – then Leonard’s Farm and Leonard’s Shore. The time of year doesn’t matter; you can fish with a feeder, waggler or pole; put a maggot, worm or piece of corn on the hook; cast under hand or wang a feeder 80 metres – there will always be a roach, perch, hybrid or bream willing to have a go. The standard of sport is brought into perspective with my results over a period of five weeks this autumn, fishing six days a week around Cavan and parts of Leitrim, where my lowest weight any day was 20lb and my best turned the scales at 60lb.

“I also have a great love of County Fermanagh and fond memories of the late 1970’s and the roach boom that added another element to the already present bream shoals. Fishing on the River Erne and Lower Lough Erne has changed and sport remains good with lots of good catches. Sport is different, anglers still love fishing from the rocky shoreline at Rosahilly (the Airport) and putting together a big net of bream but it is no longer possible to sit down on some of the well know sections and be sure of a big catch. Local anglers have taken things into their own hands and set about exploring a little wider afield and their efforts pointed a finger at the little known Lough MacNean, two vast lakes on the border of counties Fermanagh and Leitrim. It is has a glut of bream, skimmers, roach, hybrids and while it performed brilliantly in the festival with catches to 80lb, pleasure anglers have done even better on pole and groundbait feeder. What’s more, it is possible to drive close to the water.

“Another water that I’ve always enjoyed and provides a change of style, is the River Shannon at Portumna but only in April and May when the roach and hybrids congregate before spawning. One the right day and in the right swim, is is possible to clock-up huge weights by fishing an 11 metre pole to hand with a couple of red maggot on the hook. While anglers sticking to feeder gear caster, worm and maggot, often include a smattering of big bream and hybrids”.

English-Style Tackle.

“Don’t dash out and buy loads of new gear if you are planning a trip to Ireland for the first time. Most of your normal tackle will do nicely because on average the roach will be up to 1lb and the bream 4lb. A 13ft feeder rod is recommended and you will need to take at least three tips; most pole fishing is done between 10 and 13 metres and your normal float rod will be fine. I’d say the most popular hook sizes for venues in Fermanagh, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, are 16 and 14s, with hook length line of 2lb and upwards. Regular and tidy groundbaiting or loose feeding is the key to catching plenty of fish. There is no point in casting our with a crumb feeder on Ireland’s big lakes and sitting there for 10 minutes expecting a bite. At the start it’s a good idea to make eight casts with the feeder full, wait a minute or so for it to empty out and then cast again. Ireland is a wonderful country with lots and lots of fish”

Published by Improve Your Coarse Fishing 2009
By Dave Houghton

For travel and accommodation call Dave on 0151 324 4744