When you get a chance to get out onto the water you take it, even if it is just for a couple of hours. Such an opportunity presented itself today…..
With a couple of hours of free time I decided to head for Connemara for a bit of freshwater fishing. I am right in the middle of exam season but that is no reason not to get out onto the water for a couple of hours; all work and no play makes Gary a dull boy and all that! I wanted to head to an interesting little system that I had found during the winter paddling trips. A maze of drainage ditches that, if you followed them, opened up into relatively small but very deep fishing holes.
I set off with a couple of lure rods, a handful of lures and any other necessaries that I thought would come in handy. I paddled my way through the drains, stopping every now and then to clear back bankside growth with the aid of a hand saw. Some of the channels were quite overgrown and the only way through was to remove the odd branch that was blocking the way.
The drainage channels are quite tight as it is and maneuverability is limited at the best of times. The Wilderness Systems Ride 115X is really ideal for this type of work, being able to turn in an incredibly small space but being more than stable enough to give me support when removing tree limbs. This boat really is ideal for exploring overgrown backwaters in search of fish. The branches removed were few and they were cut very close to the trunk with a clean cut to enable the tree to heal rapidly and avoid the risk of infection.
As I picked my way through the labyrinth of channels I found myself emerging into small but very deep ponds from time to time. With some of these dropping down to over twelve metres/forty feet I was able to identify a few shoals of fish here and there, most likely perch or roach. Numbers weren’t huge but there was an abundance of fry in the shallows which is a good sign for the future.
I was casting lures in the hopes that there may be a few pike about and I struck gold in the form of a small opening that dropped off to four metres. The fish, not a large one, put up a spirited battle and after a couple of minutes it gave me the slip as I was reaching out to grab it. So close and yet so far! Undeterred, I paddled and fished on.
The very next opening saw my perch patterned lure grabbed by another pike of a similar size. No mistakes this time and I took the small pike into the kayak, unhooked it, snapped a quick photograph and then let it back into the water. Seemingly none the worse for the experience, with a quick flick of its tail it disappeared into the depths. By no means a monster, it is still a fish that I was very glad to see, bringing to an end a miserable run of luck I have had recently with the fishing.
Excuses can be made but what’s the point? Things just weren’t falling into place for a while and, with luck, that small pike will be the catalyst for change. With another eight days left of the exam season, I will soon have second year behind me and the intention is to embark on an all out kayak fishin’ mission! Hopefully this modest catch is the start of a busy trend. Now I just have to get back to the books and not disappear off fishing tomorrow!