Portumna Weekend Matches – Cathal Hughes Match Diary

cathal_shannon_2Due to unforeseen circumstances my magazine feature was put on hold, so I decided to fish a small knock up on the River Shannon at Portumna instead.  Portumna is definitely in my top five all time favourite venues. I was a little disappointed to find that I can’t fish this year’s Portumna spring festival as its clashing with the Classic which I’m booked in to.

The first match I fished was on the Town Stretch, where I drew un-fancied peg 7. This put me in the deeps, I suppose when you have a count 35 with a 50 gram feeder you could say its deep!  The set up was as simple as you could get. One feeder rod fitted with a 2.5 ounce tip clipped up at 30 turns.  The river was still showing the affects of the wet winter months and was pushing through quite hard.  This didn’t do my confidence any good, but the locals reckoned that we’d get a few bites and hopefully they’d be right.

My plan in this deep water was to fish for big roach and hybrids and my groundbait mix reflected this. Once again, my now favourite base mix of Pro Natural and Crushed Hemp was mixed with CSL and liquidised hemp. I also added some vanilla flavouring and a small bit of black dye to darken the mix.  Along with this I planned to feed through the feeder, some chopped worm, dead maggots and casters.

cathal_shannon_3The match as expected started slowly with only 4 small roach coming in the first hour. This was about par for the area, but rather than cut back on the feed so as not to overfeed the fish I did the opposite.  My thinking was that if I was going to stand any chance of framing I’d need some better sized fish.  It was a case of putting all of my eggs in the one basket and fishing one line with big baits and keeping the feed going in.

I would like to report that the swim came alive, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case, I did however keep the odd fish going in the net and finished with 21 roach and one hybrid for 11lb 11oz. While walking back to the car park the anglers on the fancied shallower pegs told me that they had caught well so I assumed that I’d blown out and that there’d be no beer tokens coming my way today.  Ha! How wrong was I!  As expected the lads on the lower numbers did catch but they were small, very small in fact. Steve Grogan caught over 13lb of bits to win, but no one was more surprised than me, to find that my net of monsters was enough to come second on the day.

Another knock up was planned for the following weekend, this time on the Salmon Run stretch. This is another beautiful stretch of river, which is made even more beautiful due to the road running along its length.  Not having to walk with the gear is a massive bonus and luckily there are more and more venue developments taking place across Ireland with this in mind.

With no bait ordered for this match I made a call to Cathy at Irish Bait and Tackle on Wednesday to see if she could send me and a few others down some.  First thing on Friday morning a box of perfect bait was delivered to my door. Cheers Guys!

cathal_shannon_1The Salmon Run doesn’t seem to hold the same number of bonus fish as the town stretch so the plan for this match was to just fish for bites and see what happens.  My draw on the day put me on peg 1 which was the only peg that required wading.  I wasn’t too bothered as an end peg always has to be an advantage.  What was bothering me though was how my stomach and head were acting, to say I wasn’t feeling the best would be an understatement.  I felt terrible and to be honest would have gone home if it wasn’t for my friend Arunas who was travelling with me. Sick or not there was a match to be fished so I set about the task.

This week’s mix comprised of Pro Natural, brown crumb crushed hemp and vanilla.  This combination makes a superb fluffy mix perfect for the feeder.  My rig was also changed slightly this time instead of the paternoster setup I fished a sliding loop bolt rig. This I hoped would give me a better chance of hitting the fast bites from smaller fish.

To give myself the best chance of getting the most from the peg I decided as I often do to fish two lines.  One fed with chopped worm and dead maggots and the other with hemp and caster.  I was hoping that if there were any bigger fish about they might settle on the worm line.

The first 30 minutes were spent feeding the bonus fish line at 35 turns. While doing this I managed to catch a hand full of roach. A switch to the near line at 25 turns produced a nice run of fish but they were very small. Because of a big tree I couldn’t see what was happening along the section and wasn’t really sure if I should continue catching these ‘baby’ roach.  A cunning plan was needed, so I decided on swapping between lines every twenty minutes.

cathal_shannon_4It was noticeable how much bigger the fish were on the far line but you had to wait much longer for a bite. Trying to work out which swim would result in putting more weight in the net kept my thoughts away from my now near death condition. I was really looking forward to the end and getting home. By the all-out I’d caught 60 odd fish of varying sizes for a total of 12lb 15oz. Much to my surprise this was enough to win the knock up by over 3lb and with 4lb being the average weight my plan had worked a treat.

After a terrible night, where it was touch and go at times I think I’ve have pulled through, so roll on Muckno at Easter, another, ‘No walking’ venue!

Tight lines,

Cathal Hughes


One Response to Portumna Weekend Matches – Cathal Hughes Match Diary

  1. julian kendrick April 10, 2014 at 6:33 am

    A great couple of days on the river what could be nicer well done , hope your feeling better

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.