I had the very good fortune to spend a day on the Bann estuary at the beginning of June in the company of Leslie Holmes and Mark Patterson both GAIA instructors. It was Leslie’s boat and we met in Colraine boat moorings at 9am shortly after high tide.
The plan was to follow the tide out and locate fish on the shallow sand banks. I had no idea what to expect. The tackle was heavy reservoir tackle #8 with bags of backing, the fish are in shallow water and when hooked just ran for the deeps. Flies were small salmon flies on long shank trebles size 14 and 16. Arndilly Fancy and Bann Shrimps were the favoured patterns.
We patrolled the shore line and when we saw fish pulled the boat ashore and cast to them. The retrieve was to let the fly sink and figure of eight it back making the sand puff up with each pull.
Conditions were bright with a northerly wind not ideal for this estuary. We did see fish shoals of them grey shadows moving across the sand as the boat approached and I did manage to get a fish to take but it was on and off in a flash.
What next? Well I did feel the power of the fish and they strike me as an ideal target species in the summer months when the rivers are low and salmon are just not around. They seem to flourish in hot still conditions with bright sunshine. The Clyde does have them and after research have discovered that they are present in numbers around Erskine harbour and the Black Cart so that’s where I plan to try.
If in Ireland contact Leslie for a day as a guide, he also has a very good rainbow fishery Stone Falls where I managed to finish the day with a 3-4lb fish.