independent

Tuesday 24 October 2017

South East silver bars

with ASHLEY HAYDEN

WHETHER A game or sea angler, June heralds a productive time to be on the water in Ireland's south-east counties of Wicklow and Wexford.

Silver is the predominant colour as sea trout start to run the rivers in earnest, and of course by the time this column has been published the bass season also will be in full swing. As I write, much-needed rain is falling which will freshen up the rivers nicely, however while the strong southerly winds currently blowing outside will hamper lure fishing for bass, surf casters could be on a winner.

Over the past week I have fished the Slaney on a number of evenings, and while I have encountered sea trout up to three-quarters of a pound, the main run is still lying up in the estuary. A welcome diversion though was an evening encounter with a large very fresh salmon which took my size 10 butcher, point fly on a six-pound cast, and proceeded to thrill me for the next five minutes with an awesome display of power.

My single-handed rod was up to the job and the fish was calmly played, but for no apparent reason while sulking in a deep run on a tight line the hook fell out.

Disappointment was tempered by the fact that catch and release rules currently apply to Slaney Salmon and also to sea trout over 40 cms., but it would have been nice to see the fish, take a photo, and estimate its weight. That said on hooking, in that split second explosion before it fizzed across the river with my reel screaming, its tail appeared vivid silver, lateral line, black spots, scales, and fin bones now seared in my memory, one for the hearth and a wee drop on those closeseason evenings.

Sea trout run the main Slaney river channel being encountered right up to Kildavin, with tributaries such as the Boro and Urrin also noted for their runs. A fly to not leave the house with is the Kill Devil Spider in various sizes from 10 to 14. Why this pattern is so unlike traditional sea trout flies, being predominantly brown and sedge like as against its cousins who are more colourful and bright containing blues, purples, yellows, silver, red, and black, escapes me.

Could it be an in-built memory from the sea trout's youth when it fed in the river before going to sea? Who knows, but the fly definitely is a must along with the Butcher, Alexandra, and Teal Blue and Silver.

Out on the coast, bass will be quartering rock marks and beaches for sand eel, crab, and other tasty morsels, with dawn and dusk coinciding with the right stage of tide a good time to venture out. Surf casting generally requires a rolling sea, with lure or fly fishing ideally needing clear water.

Good bass marks and their locations are well guarded so you will not get any tips here. However, my experience regarding best bait hints at lugworm on Wexford's south-facing beaches with crab a must in estuary and rocky locations.

The eastf a c ing beaches also fish best with crab, however lugworm certainly scores so don't rule it out. Long casts are not essential with evening and night sessions far more prod u c t i v e . Tight linesâ?¦.