Friday 03/11/2023 High Hopes

Friday 03/11/2023 High Hopes

P.j with a nice pike from Levalley lough. It took a 23g Savage gear 4D Perch Shad

A nice morning in Foxford, we can even see some blue sky. I mentioned last week that i’d give a little update on the winter fishing. We had made an attempt at Pike fishing recently on a  Sunday afternoon, we were not properly prepared and it was more of an excuse to get out of the house than anything else.We got ourselves organised and had another try. Not at the same location, this time we tried a lough which is a little closer to home. I suppose you could call this a trial run, just to check everything is working and we are prepared for a bigger adventure. The plan was made early in the week. We were going to dig out a boat “High Hopes” and engine we have not used in a long time, give it a quick tidy up and this will be our Pike boat for the winter.

Wednesday afternoon we were on the project. Apart from the expected things like a flat wheel and a seized hitch on the trailer the boat part went well, the engine was a different matter. Not a new but certainly not an overworked four stroke Evinrude which I had been keeping for special occasions. I lifted it from under a shelf in the shed where I had carefully left it.

Oil pissed from the engine, Not good

As soon as I stood it upright oil pissed out from the hood. “Good lad Michael,” carefully left it incorrectly. Four stroke outboards must be left standing or laid on a certain side, not the side I laid this one on. I have not even asked what damage I have done but I am pretty sure it will not be a cheap mistake. Anyway, shit happens and I have a good Yamaha 9.9hp which is bullet proof so all was not lost. Now that I have said that I’ll probably drop it in the water.

A good power washing and High Hopes looked ok, well it looked like it will still float at least. Cosmetically it is a bit rough but it is a nice little boat with a small cuddy that offers good weather protection, something that will be nice on cold winter days. Ratchet straps were added and by Thursday afternoon things were shaping up. After another few shakes and bounces we both agreed that both boat and trailer “Should” be fit for the ten-mile journey (It is important to have agreement from both parties, then no one gets a Bollocking when things go wrong). We might grease the wheel bearings before we venture further and of course a few working lights on the tail board would be a good idea! Sunday was the day we picked to go and the venue, Levalley lough. Levalley is a medium sized Pike Lough that lies west of Conn and not too far from Neiphin. We call it a pike lough but there is the occasional trout in there and off course there’s perch and roach as well. We have fished it a few times in the past and always caught something, a nice place to try.

“High Hopes”


P.J is the sort of angler that could never be accused of been organised for an outing. You know the sort, “Did anyone bring a rod for me” would not be an unusual statement. I got a bit of a surprise when he said “I will organise everything else,” I was not going to say no and let him at it. Sunday morning arrived and if I got a shock when he said he would organise the gear, I got an even bigger one when I saw it.  Shackleton had less when he headed for the Antarctic. I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that he is not working so hard now and has time or if something has rekindled his interest in Pike angling but I have not seen such enthusiasm for a long time. We hooked the boat up and headed for Levalley Lough.

Cyanobacteria, This is bad stuff.

On arrival I was a bit disappointed to see the state of the water. For several hundred meters along the Eastern shore there was a thick bright Green Algae “Cyanobacteria.” That is the bad stuff which kills animals and may not do a humans Liver any favours. Not a warning sign to be seen, I wondered how many water courses that are off the beaten track are in this state. People live in these areas and children play and swim in their local Loughs. The likely hood of an unsuspecting child ingesting this stuff is huge and the consequences are unthinkable, be careful out there!  Anyway, we may discuss the state of our water another time, Pike fishing to be done.

P.J with another Pike


We arrived at about 10.30 and were on the water for 11 am. There were already two boats out, one had two anglers who were drifting and casting lures while the other had a lone angler who was anchored in a bay, dead baiting. This second boat was quite close to an area that a friend had advised we try; he had caught a few pike close to the rushes not so long ago. We motored up the Lough and slowly into the bay so as not to upset the other guy’s fishing. A quick exchange of courteous waves and he signaled that he had already caught one fish. We anchored about five hundred meters away from him and started to organise our rods. I say rods because there was several, Dead bait, Lure, fly and even a dropshot set up, I just smiled quietly. It was not long before we had two dead baits in the water and were trying a variety of lures. I am not going to bore you with details of every move and every cast.  P.J had the first take on a large Savage bait, P.J had the second take on the same bait, P.J had the third take on a dead bait. There is something to be said for been prepared and fishing with enthusiasm. Sometime in the afternoon and after a good lunch of Irish stew,  I got the fourth fish on a bait P.J recommended. I can see where this is going and it could be a long winter if I do not up my game a bit.

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