Mayo

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. That’s because we’ve been so busy doing the paid work that I’m not getting much opportunity to take some photos for myself. I remember a buddy of mine a few years back saying he wouldn’t take his camera out unless he was getting paid. At the time I thought “I hope this never happens to me” and look at me now! I’ve fallen into the same hole and I don’t like it.

So I recently found myself over in the far West of Ireland – Belmullet to be precise and it doesn’t get much farther than that. Of course it was work that brought me there as we were doing a few weddings in the area.

Caution No Entry

Caution No Entry – well that’s an invitation!

Lookout

Lookout

Photographer on the long road

Herself on the long road

The sign on the beach

The sign

Loneliness of the long distance runner

Loneliness of the long distance runner

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

 

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Kayak fishing at Cahore

So early July saw me head down the East coast to Cahore in Co. Wexford for the second round of the Irish Kayak Angling All Ireland Championship. It’s a great fishing venue with plenty of species on offer and not having been out on the salt for a while, I was looking forward to it.

First port of call was our sponsor, Redmond’s in Ballygarret to pick up our competition cards, some bait and the obligatory breakfast roll and coffee. A few more minutes in the car brought me to our launch point at Cahore Bay where there were already a few lads gearing up to head out.

Now the weather forecast was giving it great for the Saturday but apart from a couple of crazy showers of wind and rain, it was quite nice. So to be prepared, I’d brought my newly acquired beachcaster in case we couldn’t get out on the kayaks. It came in very handy, but not for fishing. Pat was there in his home from home with the club flag doing it’s best to be seen, tied to a tiny LRF rod on the roof of the camper. My beachcaster came to the rescue with the help of a few cable ties and the flag flew proudly in the breeze.

Flying the IKA flag at Cahore

Flying the flag

With a target of four species I headed out and off right past the pier and towards the headland. Next I heard Captain Pat on the radio warning me not to go too far around the head as it was a hell of a paddle to get back. He was speaking from experience……..

Decision made (for me) I dropped anchor and set out two rods, one baited with peeler and the other with rag. Within a few minutes the rod with the crab was bending with a good fish. He put up a good fight  and when he eventually came to the kayak it was a nice Smoothie, the first of the species. I gave a quick shout out on the VHF to make sure the bugger wouldn’t try bite me before I landed him and took a snap.

Smooth-hound at Cahore

Smooth-hound at Cahore

While all this was going on, the second rod baited with rag, was also bending over and once that was reeled in I had my second target species, a nice Doggie.

Dogfish at Cahore

Dogfish at Cahore

I stayed anchored in that spot for an hour or so only to be plagued with dogfish, after dogfish so it was time to move on. After dropping anchor again it wasn’t long before species number three made it’s way into the kayak. A little flattie fell to the rag and he too was photographed and safely returned to the water.

Flatfish at Cahore

Flatfish at Cahore

So that left just the Bass to complete the challenge and I reckoned I was in with a chance. It was time to up anchor and move but by this stage the current and wind had gotten worse. I struggled to get my anchor up so in the interest of safety I had to let it go thinking the buoy would stay on top and I could paddle back and get it. It didn’t happen. Buoy, reel and anchor all stayed under and I never saw them again.

So now anchorless,  I paddled the few hundred yards towards the offshore reef where I could see Ian Burton and John Griffin, both with the same idea. Now John was a late arrival to the competition and had just launched and paddled over to Ian at the reef. Of course what do you expect from Mr. Bass himself? First cast! His first f#*^ing cast and he’s in a Bass. The jammy sod! Myself and ian could only laugh and despite both of us trying around the reef, neither of us could catch that elusive Bass. I did manage to pick up a Wrasse and a small Cod though.

Wrasse at Cahore

Wrasse at Cahore

Small Cod at Cahore

Small Cod at Cahore

By the end of the evening John had completed the challenge and won the competition. Well done John! By 7pm we’d all finished up and we were treated to a beautiful evening as the sun went down behind us.

Sunset at Cahore Pier

Sunset at Cahore Pier

After a bit of grub it was time to head up the hill to the pub for a few pints before bed. Actually, we had quite a few before settling in Joe’s caravan for more beer before bed.

Next morning saw another gorgeous day with flat calm water. I tried paddling over to where I’d lost my anchor the day before but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack trying to find the exact spot. So I spent the next few hours on the drift and caught doggie after doggie. I gave up by lunchtime and headed for the shore.

A great weekend was had by all with plenty of fish caught. good company, some new faces and some good craic. Looking forward to the Kerry meet at the end of the month.

Here’s a sort video of some of the fishing.

 

 

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Garmin Fishfinder

Rigging the Garmin Striker 4 Fishfinder

After losing my fishfinder last year in Donegal it was time to get the new one fitted. After Santa fooked up at Xmas and brought me a PS4 instead of a fishfinder, the missus got it right this time round and got me a Garmin Striker 4 for the birthday. This one is actually pretty cool as it features Chirp technology and it has a built in GPS. This all comes is a small neat package that’s ideal for the kayak.

Garmin Striker 4 Fishfinder

Garmin Striker 4 Fishfinder

First up was to find somewhere inside the hull of the kayak to fit the transducer. Now it’s amazing how few flat surfaces are inside the Wilderness Ride 135 which makes fitting anything tricky. I spotted a video on You Tube where a chap put the transducer inside a sealed plastic container and filled it with water, thus eliminating any air bubbles that may form under it and interfere with readings. The space behind the seat under the rear hatch looked ideal but the V shape of the hull meant cutting my container with the angle grinder.

Garmin transducer fitting

The space behind the seat to take the transducer

Using a rough paper template I marked the plastic food container and cut away the base to match the shape of the hull. Two small pilot holes at one end allowed me to screw the transducer into the wall of the container and through the foam block under my seat. Another hole allowed the cable to pass through on it’s way to the fishfinder.

Once the cutting was done I added two thick rubber washers to act as spacers – (the screws were removed once the washers were stuck). I need this bit of space to allow me put the lid on easily.

Transducer container with spacers

Transducer container with spacers

I marked out the outline of the box and put thick two beads of sealer around the markings. Using the transducer screw holes, I fitted the box in place and sealed up the base with copious amounts of sealer. The idea is that I then fill this box with water, put the lid on and we’re in business – obviously with the transducer in place.

Container with transducer inside.

Container with transducer inside.

Garmin transducer box fitted in hull of kayak

Garmin transducer box fitted in hull of kayak

The transducer cable was then fed through to hull up towards where the fishfinder and battery were going to live. This time a big hole was drilled between the Garmin and the Scotty Rod holder and the cables fed up through it.

Hole for power and transducer cables

Hole for power and transducer cables

The two cables were then pushed in through a rubber bung that I found in my tool box. Plenty of sealer was then applied sealer around the hole and the bung pushed into place to seal the hole.

Fishfinder cables fed through grommet

Fishfinder cables fed through grommet

Cables sealed into the hull

Cables sealed into the hull

Plenty of sealer in between the cables should ensure a watertight seal.

Battery for the Garmin in sealed box.

Battery for the Garmin in sealed box.

Next up was the battery to power the fishfinder. Another watertight plastic food storage container was pressed into action. The battery fitted in very snugly with enough room for the fuse. A hole drilled in the lid fitted with a watertight grommet enables the cable to pass through and up to the Garmin. The whole box then wedges snugly inside the hull of the kayak with easy access through the front hatch.

Fishfinder battery inside the hull

Fishfinder battery inside the hull

The beauty of this is the battery is kept dry and can be easily removed for charging. So that’s the kayak ready for fishing again. It’s been a pain the last few months without the fishfinder as you’ve no idea what depth you’re in or what kind of ground you’re trying to fish. All we need now is some decent weather and we’ll be back out on the ocean waves chasing fish.

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Pike – a personal best

An early start saw me up at stupid o’clock to meet up with my long lost cousins, the brothers O’Donovan, in some God Forsaken one horse town in the middle of nowhere. Then it was down some winding boreens that even my satnav had difficulty finding until we came to a beautiful little lake that was just across one little field. Luckily there was a gate and we didn’t have to fling our kayaks over the hedge as Dave thought we might. Thankfully we all had our trolleys so it wasn’t long until we were paddling in the hope of catching some nice pike.
Dave had done his research with the locals and apparently this little gem was holding some nice fish in it’s depths.

Calm day on the lake chasing pike

Calm day on the lake chasing pike

I don’t think I’d ever been on water this calm in the kayak. So with a dead bait under a float on one rod and a small lure on the other I trolled around the edge of the lake in search of the elusive Pike. It wasn’t long before Dave was on the VHF to tell us he was in a fish and it was a “hog” and a “monster”. He landed it into the kayak but had to head to shore to unhook it. I was at the far end of the lake so I didn’t get to see the fish but it turned out to be 13lb, a personal best for Dave from the kayak. It wasn’t long before I too was in a fish. I was turning the kayak and watching my float at the same time. Next thing it disappeared so I lifted the rod and bang, I was in a fish. It felt like a good one so i turned the camera on and started to play him. Just when I got him in near the kayak he threw the hook and was gone. There was just two words to describe how I felt……

Ah Bollox!

Next it was Dave’s turn again to announce “Fish On” and this time it was a beauty. I was a bit closer to him this time and with Karol’s help the monster was landed and we all headed for shore to unhook him safely. This was a big one which weighed in at a whopping 23lbs – outstripping his previous personal best (a mere couple of hours ago) by 10lbs.

Dave with his 23lb Pike

Dave with his 23lb Pike

To say he was delighted was an understatement….

After all the excitement it was back out onto the water to try for more fish and it wasn’t long before my dead bait float took a dive and I was in. Once the hook was set I hit the radio with “Fish On”. Unusually I received no reply but I was too busy concentrating on my fish – this was a big one! I got him to the surface and he leapt out of the water in front of the kayak. He was HUGE! He dived again stripping line from the reel and again I radioed to the lads but again got no reply. I managed to get the camera turned on but it immediately turned itself back off again. The batteries were flat because I hadn’t charged it from the previous weeks pike outing. Up came the pike again and danced across the water. I checked my radio and it too was turned off. I’d forgotten to charge it too so I roared down the lake at Karol and he turned just in time to see my fish tail dancing. He called Dave and they both paddled back towards me. This fish was a monster and each time I got him to the surface he’d either leap out of the water of dive deep with my reel screaming. After ten minutes of fighting he started to tire and we got him into the side of the kayak. He was way too big for the net so I managed to chin him and with Dave’s help got him into the kayak.

At this point we had drifted close to shore so we landed in order to unhook the fish safely rather than try do it in the kayak. We also wanted to weigh him as Karol reckoned Dave’s was relegated to second place.

Monster pike from the kayak

Monster pike from the kayak

Once unhooked we quickly got him into the net and weighed him – a whopping 28lbs of beauty. Not only my personal best but a second specimen Pike in the space of an hour between us.

Beautiful 28lb Pike

Beautiful 28lb Pike

28lb Specimen Pike

Me and my Pike

After a quick photo we popped the pike back into the lake and off he swam no worse for his ordeal.

Releasing the pike

Releasing the pike

After all that excitement we still had a few hours of daylight so it was a case of once more into the breach. Off we headed again in the hope that poor Karol might hit a fish but it was to no avail – he blanked!

Paddling for Pike

Once more into the breach…..

I managed to hit another Pike, this time on the little lure rod but like the first fish of the day, I lost him at the side of the kayak when he threw the lure.

So all in all and incredible day with two specimen Pike and three personal bests. Looking forward to visiting this little gem of a lake in REDACTED 🙂

 

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Another day after the Pike

Pike from the kayak

A midweek break in the weather saw Dave and myself head up north to a good size lake in one of the border counties. The sun was just up when we arrived at a freezing cold lakeshore, but with no wind the lake surface was like a mirror.

Early morning Kayak Pike Fishing

An early start to the fishing

The old church on the lakeshore with it’s little cemetery was lit by the early morning sunshine.

The old Church in the sunlight

The old Church in the sunlight

I’d never fished deadbaits before, so Dave rigged me up with a mackerel under a float on one rod while I fitted lures to my other two rods, one of which was courtesy of Shamrock Tackle, along with my new reel. Now this lake varies greatly in depth depending where you are and not having a fish finder was a bit of a pain. It was impossible to know what depth to set the deadbait so it was all a bit hit and miss.

Well it was more miss than hit because neither of us got a bite all morning. So we regrouped on the shore for a cup of tea and a discussion on tactics. Flasks out, kayaks tethered, we sat down on a comfy clump of grass, poured the tea and of course Dave forgot his grub so he had to share mine……

After a quick (very quick) lunch stop it was back on the water and a troll around some new water. At this point I’d abandoned the dead bait and put out the two rods with the lures. Dave spotted some bait fish on his fish finder which was the first sign of underwater life we’d seen all day. I paddled as close to the shore as I could and before long I hit a fish on my new rod. It’s a nice little light rod and I had a small lure on a 7lb line. Lucky enough the fish was small but still, it’s my first fish of the year and they all count…….

A quick photo and the pike was released back into the water unharmed.

Pike fishing from the kayak

First Pike of the year.

We both trolled around for another hour or so without a touch when I happened to pass by the same spot again and bang! Another fish on in exactly the same place. I thought at first it might have been the same Pike but no, it was a smaller fish and he too was landed and released safely back into the water.

So that was it for our few hours fishing – two small Pike. Still it beats work! It was a lovely day for it even though the wind did pick up as the day went on.

Lovely day for pike fishing

Lovely day for pike fishing

 

 

 

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Trim Courthouse

Shapes and shadows of Trim Courthouse

I’ve always loved the shape and form of our courthouse here in Trim. A lot of people don’t like it because of it’s proximity to the magnificent Trim Castle but I think the two sit well together. It’s a building with lots of sharp angles and on a bright sunny day like today, it makes for some nice contrasty photos. See what you think…..

Shadows on Trim Courthouse

Shadows on Trim Courthouse

Seats in window of Trim Courthouse

Seating area

Sharp angles of Trim Courthouse

Sharp angles

Shadows at Trim Courthouse

In the shadows

Window of Trim Courthouse

Window reflection

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The Boyne in flood

What a year for floods!

2015 in general was a weather disaster with constant wind and rain for most of the summer which only got worse as we came into winter. Storm after storm lashed the country with the west and the midlands bearing the brunt of it. We here in Trim were lucky enough in that we didn’t flood but the Boyne certainly rose higher than I’ve ever seen it.

So grabbing my camera and wellies I set off one day to grab a few pictures. I started off at Newtown and there was a right flow of water under the bridge and around St. John’s Priory.

The Boyne in flood at Newtown Bridge

The Boyne in flood at Newtown Bridge

Over the bridge and looking towards the abbey, the Boyne had flooded the fields.

Floods at Newtown

Floods at Newtown

On the way towards the cemetery, I met these lads loading up their sheep into a trailer. At least I hope they were their sheep and they weren’t rustlers!

Sheep shifting

Sheep shifters…..

On up through the graveyard towards Porchfields I hopped over the wall to have a look back down towards Marcies.

Marcies and the floods

Marcies and the floods

Into Porchie and spotted this lad checking the water levels.

Checking the flood levels

Checking the flood levels

I walked all the back up towards the town though huge stretches of the path were under water even to the point where there was No Access!

No access

No access

Usually at this point I’d walk under the bridge and on up towards the Yellow Steeple. That wasn’t going to happen this time!

Warning Path Flooded

Warning Path Flooded

Wellies were never going to get me through that flood. I thought the previous floods in 2009 were bad, but this was a lot worse. Hope you enjoy the photos.

 

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