Barry Darby is one of Ireland’s top pikers. A native of Mullingar, he knows the waters in the locality like the back of his hand, which just happens to be one of Ireland’s top areas for piking. Barry has been prolific in the Irish Pike match scene winning many of the most prestigious awards which he will no doubt continue to do. Also a guide, you can get in touch with Barry for pike, trout or perch fishing. So here is Barry’s interview….
What were your first memories of fishing?
One of my earliest and most memorable experiences was trolling for pike on derravaragh with my old man.I was 7 or 8 i guess at the time and that was the day i got the pike fishing bug bad!We had a lot of pike that day it was great craic for any man let alone a child of my years.The count at the end of the day stood at 21 fish and as many lost,no monsters but two low doubles at my age seemed to be just that.Tho i had fished before this none of the days are more clearer in my mind than this one.
What was your first ever pike?
Honestly i cant remember exactly but i’d say it was a jackpike from the royal canal that runs through Mullingar or from Derravaragh!
You live in Mullingar, an excellent base for pike fishing. Can you tell us about piking in the area?
Well paddy you have it in an nutshell,not only for the lakes on my doorstep but also the vast amounts of prime pike waters i can be afloat on in 40 mins from my home,i truely am spoiled for choice.I can be afloat and fishing on ennell,owel,derravaragh in 10 mins from my house just to name a few.The pike fishing on these waters can be magical when you time it right,with derravaragh and ennell being two of my favourites.
You have won many of the big pike competitions in Ireland, whats the secret to consistency?
I have been lucky enough to win and come runner up in some of the bigger pike comps and very happy to have!The secret in my opinion is knowing your target species and the depths of water it inhabits and feels comfortable in at the different times of year.Pike are a ferocious predator but don’t feed all day everyday and when fishing this should be at the forefront of your mind!just cause you have fished an area for an hour or two and not had a bite,this does not mean there are no fish in that stretch of water.I have often spent 6 hours of a 7 hour competition fishing a hole in the lake no more than 200 yards in diameter without a bite and then in the last hour have landed 5 fish in a row into double figures and over the 20 mark.With this in mind i like to fish a spot i know is likely to hold fish and fish it thoroughly until the fish switch on and it has not served me too bad to date!
Are you mostly a lure man or do you fish much with dead baits?
I have done my fair share of dead baiting mainly from the shore and often 4 to 5 days in a row camped out with great success.Those long trips are behind me now with a young family of 3 boys!As for boat fishing i would be mainly lures for the simple reason i find they catch more fish and hold onto more fish too.
What have been your favourite pike catches over the years?
I have been very lucky over my pike fishing career and can remember a lot of special days.The first to spring to mind was a magical day in april 07 on lough ennell,myself and my best pal john had a huge haul of fish with 7 over 20lbs and 1 over the magical 30,goin 31lbs 1oz and numerous doubles.It certainly was a red letter day and still gives me goose bumps when i think of it!
What would be your top tips to someone starting off piking?
My only advise would be that you try fish with someone who has experience with pike fishing and knows where to fish,how to catch handle unhook and release the fish safely!
What would be your dream catch?
A pike over 40lbs,next question;)
Where else in the world would you like to fish and for what species?
It has long been a dream of mine to fish lake Victoria for the nile perch and some of the never before fished lakes in Canada for pike!
And Finally whats your fishing plans for 2014?
Same as the previous years the answer to question 8 a 40lbs pike and i know where there is 2 fish very close to it,that i hope to interview soon!!