Last year we had a very good trip in Ireland, staying at Castle Hamilton. Since the potential of this area is so huge, I’m afraid to say we’ve got infected with its pike virus, and keep coming back, as we did this year.
We arrived mid May, which is generally a very good period, because with a normal winter, the pike spawn quite late in this area. The previous two weeks were full of sunshine, temperatures around 23°C, calm. Our week’s forecast was quite Irish, rain, clouds, wind.
So this part seemed quite good. The first evening, upon arrival, after car rental pickup and shopping for food and beer, we still had some hours left to fish.
We decided to attack the river, which was a pleasure to fish last year ! In fact all of us caught or missed a pike, with Gino opening with a hefty 99 cm river pike ! The target to break was starting with a nice challenge…
The next day, we got really early to be out on the water at 8H30 (after installing our new Vision Keeper float tubes we bought at the lodge. We had some success, but had to realize fishing was rather difficult, despite Johan closing this day with 13 pikes.
Day three saw success for all of us, again starting early at around 7h30 with some really nice pike in new and big lakes. We fished hard and cracked the code at the end of the day around 21h ! Many miles of water were covered, and the spaghetti we made at our lodge tasted very good, and after a couple of beers, we were happy to go to bed.
The next day we decided to meet Stefaan who was staying a little further, and a friend of Gino. A really nice guy, who took us to his favourite lake, were most of us caught in a couple of hours some really nice pike fishing sinking lines.
While Johan and Nicolas did equally well at the other side of the lake tackling undeep water with floating lines. Stefaan was so nice he even invited us to check out his lodge, and join him for a beer, which we politely accepted. Credits go to him for helping us out !
The other day we did just that again, after meeting up with our good friends Gerd, Pascal, Albert and Arnaud : getting up early again, and fish some big lakes which again brought several 80+ and 90+ cm fish, all fighting like a devil, and giving our Big Mamas and Big Daddies some serious workout !
The key to success on these lakes were simple : find a zone with rising baitfish, or a weedbed in the middle of the lake, and hold on for some really savage takes. Mathias even broke a rod on a big fish, which he handlined and managed to eternalize it on a picture.
The next day again some new lakes were tested. It was on one of these, which fished rather slow in the middle, that Johan decided to give the reedbeds a try. He found a big field of lilies, with in the middle a nice opening. After sneaking up to this spot, only a mere 30 cm deep, he made one good cast, and gave one strip.
Before he could give a second strip, he was met with a violent thug, and the next second, the water exploded and his 103 cm pike went airbourne twice in 3 seconds. The battle was on with this seriously fat big mama, and he needed to steer her out of those lilies and reeds where she sought for cover.
By that time, the weather changed, and a hail storm started. Jeremy noticed Johan was fighting a very big fish, and speeded to him to help and take pictures. Some ten minutes later, still under a hail storm, we managed to grip the pike and prepared to take some pictures. We were really happy and in awe of this magnificent opponent.
No matter the hail and wind, we were shouting our happiness to each other and enjoyed the moment. Taking pictures was rather complicated as the lense got covered with rain in hail every time. But Jeremy still could manage some nice pictures, before we decided to reanimate this beautifull lady. We were happy to see her swimming off, left us glowing with happiness.
That evening we enjoyed a nice steak and spare ribs in a Texas style saloon with a great interior, and friendly waitresses (one was a girl from France).
The last day we were joined by another group from Vision Belgium and decided to tackle a big lake, Killy Willy, which we know hold some serious pike. Unfortunately we think that our group of 15 bellyboaters was a little too much… So we split up and set for another favourite lake were Mathias and Jeremy both caught really well with some nice 80+ fish from the start, and a 92cm for Jeremy !
Watch his pics to check out what a fat and impressive lady that was !! So how can we summarize this trip ? Even if the conditions were tough, but when you fished hard and looked for the good spots, we managed scores of 40+ pikes per person in 6 days, with several 90+ and one 103 cm pike, and some really big ones that got away (meter + pike ???).
Add to that lots of friendship, joy, and lots of laughter, even if we had to miss our personal Mister Fun, Romain, some really good food and beers, and you got the perfect recipe to do it all again next year…
Thanks for reading, and go out there, if you need info, just ask us.
Rodtrip team, with greetings of all of our friends we’ve met.