Mike Quirke is one of Irelands most active carpers. He was out earlier today and had one at Belvelly lake in Cobh! He is most happy when on the bank and like a true fisherman if he is not on the bank he is planning how is gonna get out next. He loves many types of fishing but it’s the carp that he has a special affection for. Not known for shying away from hard to fish waters he travels the length of Ireland in his search for fish. So here are Mikes questions….
Me: Mike what were your first fishing experiences?
MQ: Travelling to Kerry with my dad back in the 80’s fishing the spate rivers for Salmon. Rivers thick with Salmon, it was class. As soon as you we got a bit of rain those rivers used to come alive with fish. We’d often go down and fish rivers like the Kerry Blackwater, The Roughty, The Flesk, I loved Kerry, still do, its a beautifull spot to do a bit of fishing.
Closer to home, I lived pretty much on the banks of the Lee in Ballincollig. I spent pretty much my whole youth by the river fishing for Trout and Salmon. We used to go out with curtains and scoop up a load of Minnow, then salt them down and that was our bait for Trout for the year and it was some bait 🙂
Me: Can you tell us about the salmon fishing?
MQ: I had a real thing for Salmon fishing. From the age of about 12 or 13 till I was in my early 20’s I fished for Salmon pretty much exclusively. When the water was right I used to spin for them or fish the Fly. But what I really loved was sight fishing Shrimp for them. We used to hunt those fish up and down the rivers, I often walked 10 or 12 miles in a day on the Lee looking for Salmon. We’d start down in Town at the first weir by the old Jurys on the South Channel and we’d go along with polaroids looking for Salmon. When we found one wed either hold a shrimp in front of it, if it was below a bridge for instance, or wed run the shrimp down through pools with a float. Ive never seen fish to run like Salmon, Ive had some unbelievable battles with Salmon. What sort of made me go looking for other fish to fish for was the loss of the two biggest Salmon id ever hooked in the space of a few months. I lost one very big fish on the Blackwater in the middle of a flood, it took and just turned round and headed back to where it came from, I watched it empty a reel and there was nothing I could do. Ive never felt so bad in my life. I knew how big that fish was cos I saw it come out of the water, it was a monster. Then a few weeks later I lost another huge fish at Inniscarra Dam on the Shrimp, it took, came clean out of the water and headed for the dam wall, it cut me off on rocks right up by the wall, that fish was 20 plus and the first fish was bigger so ya, that was me and Salmon fishing finished really. I know how rare those fish are, that was two fish of a lifetime lost in the space of a few months! My biggest Salmon is 14lbs, I had 3 fish of the same size and these days I barely ever fish for them.
Me: You also like sea angling do you still do much nowadays?
MQ: I do a fair bit ya. When I stopped salmon fishing I went after Bass for a few years, I still love it and do a load of it. I used to do alot of beach fishing for them but I started fishing soft plastics for them last year and had savage craic, so Ive plenty of that in mind for this year lol
Me: How did your love of carping begin?
MQ: I got into coarse fishing about 5 or 6 years ago and of course the Carp where the hardest thing to catch so thats what I wanted and thats pretty much what Im all about these days. I fish for Carp, and the odd time I fish for others stuff as well 🙂
Me: What has been your favorite capture and why?
MQ: I suppose it would have to be one of the Belvelly fish that Ive had a couple of times, he was my first big fish off the lake. Then I had him again last year and I broke the lake record with him and held it briefly for a week till he was caught again two ounces heavier by the previous record holder! Cest La Vie Paddy 🙂 I’ll get him again this year 🙂
Me: What fisheries abroad would you like to fish if money was no object?
MQ: Cavagnac, Abbey, Dutch Canals, Rainbow, Cassien god if money was no object id fish till i dropped paddy!
Me: What carp past or present would you most like to catch?
MQ: The Black Mirror – it was an absolutely amazing looking Carp
Me: What advice would you give to a beginner just getting into carping?
MQ: Buy the best gear you can afford. Dont be afraid to spend money on bait cos what you put into carp fishing is what you get back out of it.
Me: Most surreal fishing moment?
MQ: Jumping off a bridge after a 12lb Salmon going full belt down the River Lee towards a Weir.. Probably wasnt the safest thing to do!
Me: And finally Mike what are your plans for 2014?
MQ: A few Hybrid sessions soon, then some serious carping for a few weeks, then Ill be fishing soft plastics for Bass and doing a bit of fly fishing for trout and this year I think im gonna pick up the Salmon rods again lol. Hopefull we’ll get some good weather but regardless, Ill be out fishing lol
Me: Thanks a million Mike hope you have a great year
MQ: No problem lads…..