SEPTEMBER brings the game angling season to a close, in most areas, and sea anglers begin to think about tying up their boats for winter but this month can often be the most productive time of the year for both branches of the sport.
Lough Neagh’s big dollaghan begin to run up the rivers as the leaves begin to fall and the Bann always gets a late run of salmon which make their way into the smaller rivers, if water conditions are good. Lough Erne’s smaller rivers also produce good sport in September as big spawning trout make their way from the lake to the header streams. Autumn also produces the best salmon fishing on the Erne and parts of the Foyle system, particularly the Owenkillew and the Derg rivers in Tyrone.
For those who prefer salt water the bass fishing comes into its own along the north coast and in Carlingford Lough while big shoals of pollock come inshore with almost every tide, well within reach of beachcaster and rock anglers. Shark and tuna fishing reach a season’s peak in the south and west. For the last few years bait fish such as mackerel have been shoaling in our seas until Christmas.
So don’t pack up the rods too early.
Meanwhile last week’s extraordinary rains left a trail of havoc, ruined homes and washed-out bridges in the north west visiting misery on many people. But angling clubs have also been counting the cost of the flash floods which saw a month’s rain fall in just a few hours. Banks, paths and styles have been washed away on many popular fisheries and spawning beds destroyed. At least one club is considering an early end to the season in an effort to fully assess the damage and preserve remaining salmon stocks.
Some of Ulster’s finest small salmon rivers were hit hard including the Faughan, Burndennet and Crana. In one case a fish was washed into the nets on a riverside football field.
And finally, young anglers caught and released over 25,000 wild coarse fish, weighing more than two tonnes, during the World Youth Angling Championships at Inniscarra Lake in County Cork earlier this month. France dominated the prizes winning the under 25, under 20, under 15 and individual events. Medals were also picked up by Germany, Belgium, Poland and England. Team Ireland finished 9th in the u25, 8th in the u20 and 7th in the u15. Ulster’s James O’Doherty, Ireland’s favourite for a medal, just missed a podium place. Ireland presented some of the youngest anglers on the bank many of whom were new to international angling.