Gerry Heapes

Gerry Heapes has had a huge hand to play in Irish carping. Gerry started off fishing in the UK before moving to Ireland where he continued his carping and helped set up some of Ireland’s top fisheries.

He now runs his youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/oddysanglingtv where you can get carping tips and tackle reviews. You may also find Gerry on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/oddysanglingtv and also http://www.youtube.com/mainirishanglingtv

So now over to Gerry…..

 What was your introduction to fishing?

I was born and raised in South London till my late teens before moving to Ireland. I started fishing when I was 5 or 6 with my Uncle who was an avid angler. He was happy out, lashing a feeder into a lake or river and sitting back waiting for a tip to pull round or a bobbin to rise. Back in those days it was a washing up bottle cap that served as a bobbin, and that was considered ultra-cult and tarty!!! I think my first memory of actually casting a line was probably around 1975 (how old do I feel?) on a section of the Thames at the famous Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed. We fished for Gudgeon and Dace and typically of that age I bored very quickly and entertained myself by climbing trees instead. As time went by, I got more and more involved with fishing and by the age of 9 I was a paid up member of the famous Frimley lakes run by the then Leisure Sport Group in Surrey. We would get up at 3 am and drive to the lakes to be there for first light and Tench would be the order of the day. Many a morning we would fill our boots with 3-4 lb red-eyes, which fought like demons and in a child’s hands looked like veritable monsters. Whilst my Dad was never really an angler, he would naturally accompany us on these excursions and try and catch up on some well-earned shuteye in his chair. When I was 10 I became a member on a local lake, which was set in a public park and doubled as a boating lake.

All the gear and no idea – South Norwood Lakes and me in a full winter fishing suit and waders in blazing sunshine!

All the gear and no idea – South Norwood Lakes and me in a full winter fishing suit and waders in blazing sunshine!

South Norwood lake became my home for many years to come because I had reasonably good access to it and spent every bit of available free time up there honing my skills.

Like my uncle, I started out fishing for anything that swam until one day I witnessed a capture of a Mirror Carp of over 10lb by a local guy fishing with Luncheon meat. Needless to say I was there the following week armed with Luncheon meat and a prayer, fishing the exact same spot. The result was an 8lb Mirror and a youngster with a newfound obsession! Every penny I could raise from birthdays or Xmas was spent buying the best of tackle that I could afford. Matching rods and reels were a must but budgets would not allow a teenager acquire such extravagance. In vogue reels were the Cardinal 55’s with matching fiberglass rods as carbon hadn’t really got going within the carp scene but there were whispers!

Did you do much carping in the UK before you moved to Ireland?

As I have said I spent all my time chasing carp, fishing as many venues that I could persuade my family members or friends to take me to. I fished a lot of the ponds and lakes found on the Commons like Mitcham, Crystal Palace and Tooting etc., and also some of the bigger Leisure Sport waters like Chertsey and the Frimley complex. Rivers also got a good look in, as did many of the local canals. I read as much as I could and books like Kevin Maddock’s Carp Fever and Hutchie’s Carp Strikes Back became my Bibles! Most of my waters contained low stocks of small carp and double figure fish were the Holy Grail. Some of the waters contained larger fish to low twenties but these were regarded as near mythical creatures!

When you moved to Ireland, where did you fish in those early days?

Moving to Ireland was not by choice, well not for me anyway and I was 16 going on 17 years old when I moved here. It’s an awkward age for a teenager to move, you are leaving your mates behind and my biggest problem was the little research I had done on fishing in Ireland, Carp were not on the list which made the move all that more painful. But here I was and determined to make the best of my situation. I had read articles of big Bream coming out of Lough Na Glack in Monaghan, with anglers employing carp like tactics to fish for them. That would do me; it was my kind of fishing even if the old Cypry weren’t involved. Also Pike would allow me get my specimen hunting hat on. I think that was the nub of it, I love to fish but my passion has always been to try and target the larger fish that swim in our waters. I spent a few years fishing for other species but always felt something was missing. Eventually I got to hear of whispers of Carp coming from the Mullingar area and on further investigation found out about Gaulmoyelstown Lake. So started my love affair with Irish carp and friendships with some really great characters.

My largest Lough fish – one of the A-team at 24lb8oz

My largest Lough fish – one of the A-team at 24lb8oz

Naturally an interview of this type will lead to large portions of the past being omitted but needless to say that the natural driving force of any carp angler led me to other waters and even more Carp fishing friends, with the Cork area getting most of my attention.

The Lough was a water that could enchant you and yet grab you by the nuts and make you cry! Home of the Irish record and some truly ‘mahoosive’ lumps, this lake was a ball breaker in every sense of the word. I don’t think I have ever fished a water that gave me so much heartache and yet captivated me so much. My most memorable session on the Lough was one particular May Bank holiday weekend (1993 I think). I had taken the train to Cork with all my fishing gear in tow. At Cork station my new best friend and Cork fishing buddy Ernie McGrath, met me. We had met on my first trip to the Lough and remained good friends talking via phone or by letter discussing all things Carp related. Remember this was before emails, smart-phones or even the InterWeb!!!!!

Anyway he dropped me to the lake and on his advice, I pitched my Nash Oval Brolly between the Swings and Island. It was Friday morning and Ernie left me to go to work, set to arrive later that evening. Now I need to put this into context. At the time the Lough was a low-density big fish water. A good hit of fish for a full weekends fishing would be 2-3 fish. An exceptional hit, I mean a once in a lifetime hit might be 5-6 fish. That Friday while I fished on my own I had what can only be described as an out of this world session. From 9am till 9pm I had 22 runs, 20 carp landed and two lost with hook pulls! Maddest thing about the captures was that the largest was a fully scales at 19lb 1oz with the rest of them mid to high doubles bar one single figured fish that looked very old and very sick! Not one of them made 20lb, which was quite surprising considering how many big fish were swimming around the lake!

19lb 1oz fully scaled - part of my epic 20 fish capture

19lb 1oz fully scaled – part of my epic 20 fish capture

At one stage I had all 3 rods going at the one time!!!! Amazing fishing and probably one of my most favorite Lough memories. It was about the same time that Ernie had found out of a new water up the road that had been stocked by Noel Hackett, a real pioneering Fisheries Boards officer who single handedly put carp on the map in this country. Ballincollig was born and we spent the next few years fishing what many considered to be Ireland’s true carp jewel. Ballincollig was everything that the Lough wasn’t – picturesque, quiet and with unknown potential. Research showed us that the carp were of a different strain to anywhere else in Ireland as they had been imported by a big Dairy producer in Charleville to help de-weed ponds that they used for some part of their process. Naturally their experiment failed and they gave all the fish to Noel who stocked them into a number of lakes – Ballincollig, two lakes at WaterGrass Hill, Ballyhonack and Ballybuttler. The fish were solid growers and soon were spawning in Ballincollig creating a mixture of year classes. They had been in the lake 8-9 years prior to us finding out about it. A couple of local guys from the Lough had got wind of it before we had, and supplemented the existing stock with about 10 Lough carp that were all high doubles. This made Ballincollig an interesting proposition. I fished the water as hard as I could, taking into account the distance from home. Remember this was back in the day when the roads were crap and Cork was a 4-hour plus journey from Dublin. It takes a fair amount of commitment to tackle a water like that! My biggest from the water was just over 19lb but Ernie took the lake record at 22lb and as far as I am aware that record was never broken! It was also around this time we heard about a water in Tipperary that had the potential to make the waters we were fishing look like poor ‘cousins’!

Around the time I was writing for the Irish Anglers Digest and penned an article about a recent trip to Cork. At the end of the article I mentioned that I was on the trail of what could be the Irish equivalent of Redmire. I mentioned it was in Tipperary and that I was going to seek to put a syndicate on it. Shortly after the publication of the article, I was contacted by one of my old Pike fishing buddies, a chap by the name of David Overy. Now David was one of Ireland’s premier pikers and had a shed load of 30’s to 38+ to his credit. He asked to meet me for a coffee with the agreement that I would buy the drinks and he would furnish me with details of this elusive hush, hush water. Turned out that David who was in the Insurance business had done some work for the Estate where this particular lake resided and had access to free fishing whenever he wanted. He had caught carp there 8 to 10 years previous up to low twenties and had seen fish, in his words – ‘as large as Guinness kegs’. He told me that in the first couple seasons fishing there it was all big fish, high doubles to low twenties but as his trips were infrequent and he was a carp novice, he never got to grips with the bigger fish. Now let me state that Dave was no ‘bull-shitter’ – what he said was the truth in his eyes and I for one believed him! Another point worth noting was that in the last two seasons of him fishing there, there was a massive explosion of carp fry and soon the lake was stuffed with hand-sized pasties! He used to take a few for Pike baits!!! (Perish the thought).

At the same time I had made contact with the Fisheries Board who confirmed to me that the unofficial Irish record Carp had come from a private Estate lake in Tipperary in the shape of a 34lb mirror to an English angler named Tom Coster. Now Tom not only had the 34, but in the same week long session had 10 carp over 26lb including another 30 plus. These fish were weighed and verified by the Southern Region Fishery Officers. The reason for the fish not being claimed as records was that the owner of the Estate wanted it kept private for fear of poaching! This was in 1977 – now lets put that capture into context. In 1977 fish of that magnitude were as rare as hen’s teeth in the UK, let alone Ireland.

Now I knew where the venue was it was just a matter of finding an

‘in’!

My largest from the Lough in recent times – 18 plus - 2013

My largest from the Lough in recent times – 18 plus – 2013

How did you get involved with Decoy and can you tell us a bit about the place?

It took me two full years of sending letters to the Estate before I even got a reply. I offered them money, contracts, the whole 9 yards! And then one day out of the blue, a letter arrived at my house inviting me to the Estate for a meeting. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement.

Myself and my fishing buddy Greg Matthews met with the Estate owner Jessica Wilkinson and farm manager Liam Hayes and we had lift off. We were allowed to put a 20 man syndicate onto Decoy at a cost of €425 each. The jungle drums started pounding and next I knew I had ‘friends’ in every part of the country all vying to be part of the 20-man group. This was a ‘pig in the poke’ situation as we had no idea what was in it but myself and Greg had managed to fish it for a couple of overnighters in October 1998 and had fish to mid-doubles so it looked promising. The 20 places were filled and Decoy was set to open January 1999 – I can remember that first weekend – 20 anglers arrived to start a work party on the Saturday and then we would all fish Saturday night into Sunday. It was a veritable ‘whose-who’ in Irish carping! Greg and myself naturally got first dibs on swims and Shane Kavanagh dubbed it the ‘Royal Box’ accordingly. I managed to get first blood with a 14lb plus mirror and so the seasons rolled with many fine fish gracing nets! There was a massive head of doubles and an inexplicable amount of scamps! We worked through the records and it became apparent there were as many as 300 double figure fish and the Fisheries Boards were used to remove the small pasties. In one netting alone, involving 9 fyke nets they removed 20,0000 small ‘uns’ that were then relocated all over Ireland. I am unsure of how many fish actually left the lake but I can tell you that it was in excess of 100,000. They also managed some stonking eels in the nets well over 10lb in weight! Some fishery and some biomass, this lake was unreal and to top it off was probably the prettiest lake I had fished in Ireland. For those of you who do not know it, Decoy is 10-acre lake with an average depth of 4ft with lilies and snags, a huge island and loads of trees overhanging the water. Due to the biomass of fish we soon deducted that the big fish were no longer present. Well that’s not quite strictly true. The fish in the upper double category were all the same – massive heads, long bodies and huge tails. They weren’t all like that though, and we had some real fat, short ones that looked like footballs. In my opinion these fish were once much bigger creatures but due to old age and huge competition for food, they had just lost the weight that their huge frames belied! If you get a water that has a huge biomass and little or no predation, problems will occur and one of ours was that little critter Arglus. This is a small opaque/green parasite that clings to the body of the fish and multiplies rapidly. It got to the stage that anglers didn’t want to pick up fish due to the amount of these water born blood suckers, pulsating over the bodies of the fish.

Around 2001 we had held an Irish Carp Society meeting in Dublin where we invited carp angling legend, Tim Paisley to attend and give a talk. Tim kindly invited myself and Mark Kelly to fish with him in France at a water run by Simon Horton. Simon went on later to become a friend. Now Simon is a fishery manager and carp breeder of some magnitude, what he doesn’t know about carp is not worth knowing. After extensive talks with Jessica and Liam on the Estate, it was agreed to employ Simon to fly over and do some management on Decoy. Simon treated the lake with a bunch of chemicals to kill off the Arglus and gave us a bit of a lesson in carp genetics. By just looking at the pictures of Decoy fish he was able to not only identify the strain of carp, but also let us know in no uncertain terms that the fish were seriously interbred and that the future for the water was not very bright without a massive depopulation and introduction of new strains to reinvigorate the genetic pool. In March 2003 after numerous meetings with the owners/management of the lake, it was decided that an introduction of new stock in the shape of French fish should take place. The Estate were aware that fish were being ordered by Maynooth and their concern was that the new water full of French lumps could knock Decoy from it’s slot as Ireland’s premier Carp water. I am under no illusion that this was the real reason for the Decoy stocking – it had very little to do with them trying to improve the water! I insisted that the only way the Estate could proceed, would be to have the full agreement from the current members or at least a majority of them on board. A meeting of the syndicate was organized and held in Nagles Pub in Kilsheelin village in March 2003. We had full attendance and the cards were laid on the table. Everyone was made fully aware that it was Simon Horton’s opinion that if we introduced ANY fish from ANY source, we could see a considerable fish loss of the indigenous stock. After much debate and some of it heated, we had the majority vote favorably. In fact out of the 20 members only two voted ‘no’. Their belief that importing big fish was the wrong route but were agreeable to French fish under 5lb being stocked! Unfortunately this made no commercial sense and even today I still can’t follow their logic! So as stated after much talk to the owners/management of Decoy and ALL of the present members, it was agreed to bring fish in from France (part of the Maynooth consignment) and ‘restock Decoy with new genetic vigor’.

In November 2003, a large truck rolled up to Decoy with garlic smelling carp with full vet certs and legal documents, and 53 carp were stocked into their new home. Unfortunately there was a lot of confusion between the Department of Marine and the Fisheries Boards who were pretty much caught with their trousers down, seeing that a 3 ton truck had rolled into Ireland full of livestock and not one Official met it to check their legal documents. (Which may I add were available and complied with the EU law and the present Irish Law that allowed the fish transfer)! After much legal wrangling’s and red faces the Fisheries Boards closed both Maynooth and Decoy under quarantine laws until they could work out what to do next.

You see the problem was there was no legal precedent for fish being imported into Ireland and the Fisheries Boards AND Department of Marine probably felt we wouldn’t go through with it. Foina Geoghan on behalf of the Dept of Marine had contacted Simon Horton and given him the criteria list of Vet tests and documents he would need for the fish to come. Simon on his arrival with the fish had all those documents requested with him! On the week the fish were to come, I personally rang Fiona Geoghan of the Department of Marine to let her know the ponds in France were being drained and Simon would be with us within the week, and asked her to contact Simon to make sure the paper work was in order! She didn’t!

Fiona Geoghan announced at the famous carp review meeting in 2005 that the carp stocking we undertook was in fact illegal under the 2004 freshwater importation legislation – funny that, the fish arrived in 2003 and it is my understanding it is in fact legally wrong and unconstitutional to retrospect a law – and also defamatory/slanderous to publically incline that someone has broken a law when they hadn’t!

The bottom line is they panicked, realized there was no actual law in place to stop what we did and put in emergency legislation to close the gaping loophole in the current laws.

Unfortunately things became sour for all those involved with a lot of finger pointing and it got to the stage where I walked away from carping – I had had enough! Fishing is meant to be a hobby where you remove stress from your life and here I was being threatened with prosecution, threats to sue me personally and take my home and even threats to my own personal safety. What killed me most about the episode is how quickly my so-called friends disappeared. What really pissed me off was where Decoy was concerned was that I actually had nothing to do with the actual stocking process of the French fish. I had refused to help Liam or Jessica with it because the only reason the French fish were coming at all was because Maynooth was bringing them in, and I had been brought in on a retainer by Maynooth to help set it up so there was a conflict of interest. I still got the full 100% blame for Decoy though!

Eventually the powers that be backed down and the quarantine was lifted after several fish tests had been carried out. I walked away from Decoy and returned about a year later through an invitation by Liam the Farm manager. Now there is a whole lot more to this story as you can imagine but I think it is better to let sleeping dogs lay! In truth I am still to this day very bitter, angry and upset by my treatment in this whole event. When ‘shit hits the fan’ everyone looks for someone else to blame. Unfortunately that became me! Difference is I know EXACTLY what went on and who was EXACTLY responsible so I can hold my head high!

Anyway enough of my rant! Decoy changed rapidly after the French introduction. As feared a large portion of the resident fish died, their immune systems were far too retarded to deal with an influx of the new strain – a bit like white invaders in the Amazon killing whole sections of indigenous tribes with things like the common cold!!! When the dust settled Decoy had become a very big fish water with some proper lumps to go after. The Decoy strain was still present and enough fish had been removed to the four corners of Ireland to ensure the survival of our ‘heritage’ fish.  We all enjoyed our time there catching big fish to just shy of 40lb. Before the end of Decoy, when otters devastated the place Decoy had produced no less than 11 different 30lb fish up to 39lb! No other lake in the country could compete with it including Maynooth – a stunning venue in every way. When I walked away from Decoy after the import fiasco, it had been taken over by Gary McDonald, Aj and Declan Haverty. They were members from the start and were solid guys who would do the right thing for the lake. Unfortunately they too hit the brick wall with regards to dealing with the owners and eventually walked away to do there own thing with Finamores and Little Bog Lough. Like me, they had pleaded for an otter fence to be built around the lake but the owners refused point blank to invest any money. It’s funny, the very day I walked onto Decoy all those years earlier, I had asked them to do this because we knew that once the winter floods came, otters from the near river Suir would enter the lake. It was only a matter of time before a catastrophe would occur. Let me also put this into context. In the first year of Decoy being run by me, the Estate pocketed over €20,000 from syndicate fees and fish sales. That was just year one! Liam would often brag to me that per square acre, Decoy Lake was the most profitable commodity the farm had! Greed will always undo good – and boy were they greedy! The water now lays desolate! No fish, no syndicate and no income! If it wasn’t such a loss to us anglers I would nearly be glad in seeing Karma bite away their greed. But I just cant muster up those feelings and always feel a great sense of loss for what truly was a magical water. Decoy was the very first commercial carp venue in Ireland. It opened up the doors in so many for future venues. I am very proud of what I achieved with the lake and have very few regrets.

What was your favourite session on Decoy?

I had so many good times there that no one session stands out. I caught the very first 20lber from the original syndicate pre-French fish, which was special.

The first ever 20lber from the new Decoy Syndicate

The first ever 20lber from the new Decoy Syndicate

I also went on to hold the lake record with a fish known as Molly at 23lb. Bit of a mug fish but nice to get her at a top weight nonetheless! I remember getting her of Hutchies’ Chocolate Malt and Regular Sense Appeal – what a cracking combo that was!

Old Decoy lake record – Molly at 23lb

Old Decoy lake record – Molly at 23lb

When the Frenchies went in I suppose my first 30lber stands out. I had two thirties in on day – one mirror and one common. Yep that was an epic capture!

Also taking a 28lber from under the ice one very cold January was pretty cool too, -9 at night froze the lake solid and I woke up to something bouncing my rod tip but the line was frozen in the clip. I had to smash a whole in the ice and play the fish with my tip sunk – Scary fight, but great result.

When the Frenchies went in I suppose my first 30lber stands out. I had two thirties in on day – one mirror and one common. Yep that was an epic capture!

Also taking a 28lber from under the ice one very cold January was pretty cool too, -9 at night froze the lake solid and I woke up to something bouncing my rod tip but the line was frozen in the clip. I had to smash a whole in the ice and play the fish with my tip sunk – Scary fight, but great result.

Lake frozen solid and a lump from under the ice, maggots doing the biz!

Lake frozen solid and a lump from under the ice, maggots doing the biz!

To be honest just being there was special enough for me, and the captures became quite irrelevant.

31lb 8oz – my first thirty from Decoy

31lb 8oz – my first thirty from Decoy

Second part of my 2 x 30 plus brace – 30lb1oz Common

Second part of my 2 x 30 plus brace – 30lb1oz Common

You were also heavily involved in setting up Maynooth how did this come about?

A chap called Grant who was running a small trout lake in Maynooth contacted me. His idea was to take one of the nearby fields and turn it into a lake and after hearing about the success of Decoy, thought that carp would be the way to go. So he asked to meet and requested me to help design the lake and stock the water – for free! I agreed and the carp lake was born. Now I am not going to get into details here but the lakes plans that I had designed and drawn up bore little resemblance to the lake that he dug. For a starter, my average depth was 10 ft down to 15ft or so – the lake has an average depth of 2-2 1/2ft now. Somewhere along the line something was lost in translation but I am fully aware that my depths would have been much more expensive to dig, you can read into that what you will. The new lake filled up with water and was manure’d and left for 6 months to settle. After that a consignment of Decoy fish to low doubles were purchased and the lake was run as a day/season ticket water. It was a fiasco! Grant couldn’t care less about the place and ran it, against all advice into the ground. I walked away wanting nothing more to do with it because I wasn’t going to have my name associated with that! A few years later a lady named Julie Gerry, the new fishery manager, again contacted me. She was desperately trying to turn around the fishery and needed my help. I met with her and Roger (the owner of the complex) and they told me that they wanted to reinvest in the complex and make it Ireland’s premier angling center. It was agreed that they would pay me a fee and for that they would utilize my extensive contacts and knowledge of having successfully run Decoy. One thing that I made clear in a meeting in the lake’s Lodge between Roger and Julie, was whilst I would introduce them to Simon Horton so that they could bring fish into Ireland, I would have absolutely NOTHING to do with the actual transactions, financial matters and legal documents of said imports, and they were to be handled by Julie on behalf of Maynooth. There was a very clear reason for this and I explained to them why (to stop any price gazumping accusations further down the line) which they both agreed too!

Maynooth or Lyreen as it now known has matured into a pretty water

Maynooth or Lyreen as it now known has matured into a pretty water

The fish came, fiasco ensued yada yada yada, you get the drift, and yet again I was blamed for it all.

The one area that I had made clear to both Decoy AND Maynooth – was that I would be having nothing to do with the importation of the fish, and it is the very thing that everyone blamed me on!!!!! Such is life. Needless to say I did not take a fee and due to threats of legal action, had to walk away from something I had invested an inordinate amount of time and passion in.

Whilst I was away from Maynooth, Julie continued to ruin it her way – sorry I mean run it her way, with the help of members of the carp lake. Eventually she parted with the lake and the future of Maynooth looked bleak! Thankfully two well-known and accomplished anglers, Mick and Darran took on the lease to the whole site and invested a huge amount of time and effort into the water. They have done a real stand up job and the fishery has gone from strength to strength. Now its not going to be every ones cup of tea but there is no water in Ireland presently that can match the fish size. It’s really funny but I have stood talking to regular anglers on Maynooth and they have no idea of my involvement or indeed the history of the water!

My largest from Maynooth –  ‘Bubbles’ at 30lb 11oz sadly no longer with us!

My largest from Maynooth – ‘Bubbles’ at 30lb 11oz sadly no longer with us!

You have been carping in France and the Canary islands, what were the sessions over there like?

I have fished abroad a little bit. My first experience was in Lake Chira in Gran Canaria.

gerry 13

I had read about Kevin Nash and Dave Plummer’s exploits over there and they had both released videos. It looked awesome fishing huge, wild waters. When my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to go to the Canaries for a holiday, I had to act as casual as I could but the inside my mind was doing summersaults – how could I wangle her in going fishing! That was the summer of 1994 and we were engaged and in love, I needn’t have worried. She agreed to a week up the mountains staying in Jürgen’s Finca El Osso (a hotel of sorts at the lake) as long as we had a week back on the beach. I have been with my wife for nearly 20 years and she is still as cool as ever, fishing has never been a problem as long as I don’t get too selfish about it – life is always about balance! I brought so much gear on the plane; I mean rods, reels bait, tackle – in truth I don’t know how I got away with it with the airline.

Everything but the kitchen sink – it was amazing just to be there!

Everything but the kitchen sink – it was amazing just to be there!

To cut a long story short the fishing was tough with only a handful of anglers on the lake and everyone blanking. Through plenty of water watching, I was able to pinpoint an ambush spot along a route I had observed the carp taking. The net result was 3 fish – 35lb 8, 31lb 8 and a 26lb. Job done we went back down from the mountains and had a brill holiday. I have been back to Chira a few times on organized day trips – I absolutely love the place! 

My now wife and a 35lb Chira carp – 1994.

My now wife and a 35lb Chira carp – 1994.

I have visited France a few times fishing on the famous Les Quis complex which really was not my cup of tea and then later there was a couple of trips to Margot in the company of Tim Paisley, Alan Atkins and Micky Sly on one trip and John Lilly and his mate Russell on the other. Brilliant memories and so much learnt watching these boys in action. I don’t take too much stock in what I catch on waters like that, for me its not real fishing. I mean commercial waters like that are not like the big open public waters. Their stocks are kept artificially high and the fish are dependent on the angler’s baits. Give me big, wild waters like Chira any day!

37lb of Margot carp

37lb of Margot carp

 

A boilie munching machine

A boilie munching machine

You also fish for other species, what else do you enjoy fishing for?

I suppose I have to say I like catching all fish and enjoy them for their own merits. I love large Rudd as well as large Perch! I do class myself as an all-rounder and have enjoyed time fishing in matches with a pole or chucking a buzzer to a showing trout with a fly-line. In truth whilst I do love all fish, Carp are hands down my favorite with big Tench a close second!

I love Tench almost as much as Carp!

I love Tench almost as much as Carp!

What has been your favourite catch over the years?

Honesty – don’t have one. Catching new fish from new waters always makes it special. Also getting that first fish after a lean spell is real nice. For me fishing is far more than just catching. I don’t judge my success against anyone else’s results because these days it’s just not a level playing field. There are too many single, full time anglers out there who trade off skill for being a time bandit. Carping is probably the only sector of our sport that lets relative novices look like angling giants. The skill factor has been lost due to the fact that little or no apprenticeship has to be served for an angler to amass large numbers of big fish to fluff out his CV. For example I have a friend who whilst fishing for other species for a good number of years, just started carping a year ago. He cannot tie his own rigs relying solely on shop bought gear, same too with bait! He joined Lyreen and struggled big time but one day got lucky and put Big Hole on the bank at 38lb. He then went and booked a week to France and managed to winkle out a couple of 40’s from a ‘Commercial’ Carp water. Now I am not detracting from his captures and fair play to him but these fish do not make him a great angler, they do not elevate him to the ranks of a top carper. He is still a novice fishing for carp and has a long road ahead. There are too many instant carpers who buy all the gear and invest lots of free time to the bank space and by the laws of nature, get lucky once in a while. I also see a trend where guys are swapping real life – you know, wife, mortgage, kids etc. for the single life spent fishing. I think they are missing out – I think life is about balance. I would not trade my life for theirs and as I said I try to ignore the catch reports or at the very least put them into some context, so that I can look at my own results in a more balanced light. You cannot equate the captures of a guy who fishes 14 hours a week with someone who is fishing over 86 hours – it’s all about perspective!

April 2014 and a new fish from a new water – this is what lights my fire!

April 2014 and a new fish from a new water – this is what lights my fire!

Big Carp –what’s not to love about em?

Big Carp –what’s not to love about em?

What are your fishing hopes for the rest of 2014?

I have been very active in filming and editing both review and tutorial/in-session videos for my channel on YouTube – OddysAnglingTv. In tandem with that I have been working very closely with Main Irish Angling and have helped the owner Derek to establish a dominant position within the Irish market via the help of the media networks. What started off as an association has turned into a real solid friendship and I have the utmost respect for Derek, he is a top bloke and top angler. Derek had the foresight to utilise modern techniques to advertise his buisness and it has gone from strength to strength with his own channel on YouTube – MainIrishAnglingtv

So for the rest of this year I plan to keep working closely with Main Irish Angling. My desire is to be able to create high quality content for both the channels. As far as I am aware OddysAnglingTv is the only Irish Fishing channel out there and MIATV  is the only commercial fishing channel by any fishing company in Ireland – I think that is something to be proud of!

On a fishing front I just want to get out there and enjoy myself and if the Carp Gods look favourably down on me – winkle out a whacker or two!

That said, I would like to get a fish or two from Finamores and I have seen a lump in my current Club water that really got the juices flowing. I reckon its is a mid twenty maybe pushing closer to thirty, who knows. There are a couple of other twenties knocking around in there so I reckon I will be kept busy with the challenge. Also, I want to get back to Lyreen. I really like this water and the fishing is spectacular when you are on the fish.

Derek(owner or MainIrishAngling) and myself having fun on the Lough, Cork 2013

Derek(owner or MainIrishAngling) and myself having fun on the Lough, Cork 2013

There is a bit of a leg pull between us all on who is the biggest tackle tart. In truth I love owning quality tackle and working with MainIrishAngling has allowed my sift through the tackle currently available so that I can cherry pick what I consider to be the very best gear on the market today.I will run through my main tackle for you:

Rods are all FreeSpirit – I have a set of custom built 13ft Hi-Sives with matching Spod and Marker Rods. I have married these up with Shimano Technium 12000 XTB MgS – pure indulgence but what a reel. This is my long range set up and the photo below is me casting a 4oz lead with .40mm(23lb breaking strain Fox Exocet line) straight through to a distance of 148yrds. With the right gear you can achieve the impossible!

For my shorter range set up I have a set of FreeSpirit 12ft Hi-S 2.5tc rods married to the Shimano Ci4 5500 XTB reels – perfection personified!

Alarms are Fox NTXr’s and furniture is Jag stainless and Taska. My favourite bivvy system is my trusted Fox Supa Brolly System – awesome piece of kit.

On the bait front, I am currently using a lot of the Sticky Baits range and also still use a lot of Solar bait because it’s simply awesome! Particles are part of my armoury and for me, the easy to use Dynamite range suits me to the ground.

One of my biggest edges in the last while is paying attention to my hook’s sharpness. Ace hooks are superb but I still give them a check with my Jag hook sharpners or a Taska stone!

FreeSpirit rods are an incredible edge in my fishing - love em to bits!

FreeSpirit rods are an incredible edge in my fishing – love em to bits!

For years we Irish specialist anglers have had to use mailorder for our tackle usually from the UK, because Irish retailers refused to sell or stock the items we required. Thankfully this is no longer the case. MainIrishAngling carries everything I need and if they don’t have what I am looking for they will move heaven and earth to get it in, all at a cheaper price than if I was to get it in the UK! I think it’s imperative for us Irish anglers to support our local fishing industry.

Well Gerry thanks a million for your time…

Anytime Paddy my pleasure

 

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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