IFD: Peter Dowling has been around the Irish carping scene since a young age. At fifteen he set two lake records and went on to win the Abbey anglers, carp angler of the year.
Here we catch up with Peter to talk about Irish carping….
When you started fishing, your father took you carping on Maynooth, what was your first impressions of the scene and the experience in general?
Well I suppose I didn’t really know what to expect as I never had any interest in fishing. For years dad tried to get me to go with him but I was having none of it until one day I said I’ll go as he worked all week and it was a great way to spend time together and see what his big passion for carp was all about. I then went on to have a 18.10 mirror and from then on I was hooked!
It’s funny how something simple as catching a fish can change your whole view on things and drive you to go out and better yourself with experience and watercraft which I came to know a bit about over the past few years and has helped me to catch a lot of fish over the last few seasons.
It’s not all about catching fish for me and in someways I’m lucky, I guess that I catch on most sessions thanks to dad that is for getting me into it at a young age.
From Maynooth you then went on to start fishing Decoy in Tipperary, how did you have to adapt to the new lake?
I was about 14 at the time and like any other lake, I just sit back and take it all in. I watched how my father done things and learned from there as it was more about finding spots with the boat there.
I soon got the hang of things and had a few fish along the way but it wasn’t always a nice lake to me. After I had the lake record, it put me to the test for a long time. But I never give up and after a long few months I did manage to get a 24.12 when no one else had a thing as the fish where covered in arglice and not in any mood to feed but I stuck it out and went on to have a 27.14 a few weeks later.
You had two lake records in two weeks back in 2005 can you tell us about each of those captures?
Well it all began on Decoy at the start of May 2005. I went down with dad for two nights and I found a spot and the 3rd rod I decided to cast as far as I could and said to dad that will do and he just laughed at me.
About 3 in the morning that rod ripped off and I thought the old fox sx alarm was gonna blow it took it with that much power. On hitting the rod I thought my arms where gonna be pulled off and after about 20 minutes, I had the fish close in and had to give dad the rod for a few seconds as the fish was gonna wipe his rods out but once under control I soon was in battle again and dad netted the fish and said it’s a right lump.
We proceed to weigh her and she went 29.10 and put her in the sack till morning after looking at the rig and realising I had not remembered to put on the 14mm pop ups! I thought how did I even get a run on it but guess luck was on my side.
Vinnie Byrne came round to take some pics on his camera while I struggled as you can see by the picture.
Another Saturday morning came and off up the road to Maynooth with dad I went. As soon as we got there the place was packed with only two swims left, so I decided to go in peg 2 and dad got set up in 3 and put the rods out.
Half an hour later the rod close to the island on dynamite baits spicy shrimp and prawn bottom bait was away and and within seconds the fish was in the net.
Big hole isn’t really known for a scrap but in all we got her out and dad lifts her up and says 32.02 and another lake record, to say I was blown away was an understatement to have to lake records in 2 weeks at 15 was something no teenager has done and still hasn’t to this day so am privileged to have done it especially since I was only carp fishing 3 years.
From there you started to fish closer to home on new lakes, how did the learning curve have to adapt again?
I suppose it didn’t really have to adapt in any way as in rigs or bait just more so water craft and trying to do it my way and not copy every other angler on the lake but I was lucky once again. 1st time fishing Brothers I had 3 fish and one known as Broken rib at 14.01
I then went on to another down the road with depths of 18 to 20 foot in places. I knew I had to be on the look out for bubbling and vortexs in the margins on walks round the lake, often doing 20 laps a day looking for any opportunities I can take advantage of which has payed off for me on that lake as I haven’t blanked since September 2012.
You went back to Maynooth for another campaign so how did that go?
I went back in the hopes of catching one particular fish I seen dad catch a few years back and after a few weeks of blanking I finally had a run and to my surprise it was that very fish. It was 6 days before Christmas on a standard blow back rigs on a cell bottom bait and a piece of white plastic corn. That fish went 27.14
The next day came round and at about the same time of around half 3, the right hand rod was away which took me a while to get in, trying to wipe all out as I was playing that fish, dad said I’ll reel this middle rod in, the fish has it f**ked. Little did he realise there was a fish on that rod as well.
I landed the first fish which turned out to be the big grey at 30.04 and had also been my first ever 20 back in 2004 at 24,06
I then went on to play the other fish which was only 13.12, but to have had 3 fish 5 days before Christmas in the freezing cold was unbelievable. I went on to have 7 more fish that winter dad cleaned up with 17 fish with big hole being the biggest at 38.10 and a new pb for him.
I then went back in October 2015 with the intention of catching a new pb and it wasn’t until the 18th of November around half 2 in the morning I had a funny take, I hit into what I thought was only a small fish as it didn’t do much, but to my surprise in looking in the net there was big hole. I’ve had her a few times but to catch her 10 years on was something special and at 35.08 a new pb.
That was me happy but little did I know the next night came and around 4am the same rod was away. I smashed the bivvy table up it took with that much power and woke me out of deep sleep.
With a long battle i I finally got my prize with her was the half lin at 27.07 simple cell bottom bait and yellow plastic done the trick same old blow back rigs again I went on to have a 23.11 on a chod rig and that was the end of my time there.
You like to keep things simple in your fishing so what are your go-to rigs?
Most the lakes I fish are very silty but I still use my ever faithful blow back rigs with an 18mm boillie and 12mm pop up to make it sink slow onto the silt which catches me the most fish in my local area. Another favourite of mine is the multi rig witch I had great success on over the last 2 years any one can tie it up as all it is two loops in your chosen material and push one loop threw the eye of the hook and put on your rig ring and strip a bit back for the putty so it sinks slow as you want it to. I’ve recently got into the hinge stiff rig witch has landed me 5 fish on my last session.
How does your baiting up strategy change during the year if it does at all?
It doesn’t really change as such as I like to keep it going in to try and keep them active in the colder months if I can but I’d normally fish for a bite at a time putting in 30 baits round each rod if you find ur getting quick bites then I’ll bait up
You were recently on the Lough again in county Cork how did that trip go?
I first fished the lough in 2014 with a good friend of mine David Byrne not really knowing how it would plan out. I stuck to my normal way of fishing and it paid off as between us we must of had over 60 runs in 6 nights between us.
I had had the biggest fish a 20.04 common and dave had a lovely chunky 18.12 common on a chod rig funny how one rig got him most of his fish and I had no luck with it.
The last session I done was in October with dad but this time I had to move 3 times to get on fish and in the end I had 9 fish to 17.03 all on odyssey xxx
Going forward what fishing ambitions would you like to achieve?
Am not really to sure to be honest but suppose do as much as fishing as I can and catch a few along the way on the new bait am testing for Carp Baits NI Dave has done a great job and am sure I’ll catch plenty of fish on it as I’ve had 10 fish all ready in two sessions so things are looking good for the year ahead.
Well Peter thanks for talking to us
No problem lads anytime