Yesterday, I went with my friend David O'Neill, who I met last time I was in Ireland and had went with before. We left Dublin early in the morning, driving to Lough Lene, in County Westmeath. David grew up around Collinstown there, and has fished this lake ever since he was a boy. Before that, his father fished it, and before that, his grandmother loved to come down while her husband was off fighting the Black and Tans, and throw a fly or two.
Early Morning on Lough Lene
We put in, and we were after pike, so we trolled several different runs that David knows hold pike. Not a minute in to trolling I hooked into our first fish, which was soon off. It was not too much longer though when another hit, and I wrangled him to the boat-- a nice 26 inch "jack" pike.
The action was quickfire all morning-- we hooked into a fish at least every ten minutes, which is some great action when you're trolling for pike! The pike are much more acrobatic here than in Canada I found, with almost every one of them doing some tail walking for us, and jumping on the fight into the boat.
The action was quick, and David doesn't like to have the fish out of
the water too long so it was hard to get too many pictures of
our pike-- David doesn't like to bring them in the boat if he doesn't
have to, so we typically just gilled them and undid the
hook right at the side of the boat-- it certainly adds to the challenge!
Around ten o'clock while we were trolling along the western reed banks, I was hit by a big silver trout on my pike lure, and it was great fun getting him in; jumping, running deep and all. We netted him, and he was a beauty- four pounds, a nice clean silver fish that looks like a miniature version of a King Salmon. We kept him for me to take home and eat, since he was bleeding and such a nice sized fish, but other than that we released all our fish for the day.
Beautiful Silver Trout in the bottom of our boat
Like any good Irishmen, we stopped on the shore for tea and biscuits around noon, with plenty of milk and sugar. We boiled the water with our Kelly Kettle, an old Irish contraption that has an inner chamber for the fire and an outer chamber for the water. After our respite, we returned to the lake, where we hit a few more nice pike along with a few brown trout (I got two and David got one, none were very big).
Our Kelly Kettle, for our shore-side tea
Since we had already landed pike, silver, and brown trout, David said we should try for a full house and land a perch before the day was out. So, while trolling two lines out the back for pike, we cast small rigs out the sides for perch, into the weedbeds. We landed a few nice ones, and they fight hard! They're not like our yellow perch; they are called Red Perch and get bigger on average, and can reach 3 or 4 pounds according to David! None of ours were that big, though they were all between 9 and 14 inches.
The rain clouds and wind came in around 4:00 o'clock, so our fishing ended a bit prematurely for our liking, but we couldn't complain, we had had a great day of it out on the water. None of the big pike were feeding, though David did lose one at the boat that would have reached 15 pounds. Overall though, we had boated 15 decent pike, ranging between 25 and 35 inches. My best was a 33 incher on a Savage bait lure, and David got a 35" beauty on an orange Yozuri. On top of the pike, we had landed 3 brown trout, 1 silver, and 5 perch. It was a great day of fishing in Ireland!
Both our personal bests of the day- A nice 35" and 33" incher. You can see by our outfits that it was neither warm or dry, but with such heated action, it was well worth it!
Bill and Freda and I greatly enjoyed our Silver Trout last night. I gutted it, slitted it along the outsides of both sides and stuffed the slits with fresh thyme, parsley and salt. Rub it with a bit of olive oil on its sides and inside of its rib cage, and throw it on the grill with a bit of lemon. It was delicious!
Dinner is served! Nothing better than fresh fish