BUGGY HITS THE JACKPOT: Our good friend from Kilkenny and member of Lough Lene Angling Association, Tommy Buggy, hit the jackpot last Sunday here in Westmeath. Tommy is nuts on angling and travels the country fishing for all species of fish, be it game, coarse or sea. Last Sunday Tommy spent a day with Barry Darby of Mullingar and caught his personal best pike of 32lbs, which is over the Irish Specimen weight set at 30lbs. I spoke with Tommy Sunday night and I reckon he has not slept a night since landing his prized catch. Tommy has had many high double figure pike on both the troll and fly and reckons there are even bigger pike to be caught in some of Westmeath’s larger lakes. I reckon we will see a lot of Tommy and some of his pals out & about on our lakes and rivers this season.

PIKE ON THE FLY: Jimmy Murray from Lanesbourough, who we have featured from time to time, was back over from Queens in New York recently. Jimmy was just over for a few days for his daughter’s graduation from college in Limerick, and managed to squeeze in a day fly-fishing for pike. The river Inny has been dropping fast with the cold frosty spell of weather but we did manage to drift along towards Lough Iron. It was a tricky run getting back up river as when we hit some of the fast flowing stretches it was quite low and there are some huge clay banks and large rocks dotted across the river. Not to worry though, we motored on and also had 7 lovely pike on the day. The fish were in mint condition and Jimmy was very surprised with the power of the river pike in the fast current.

HEIKO BACK IN KINNEGAD: Our friend from Bavaria in Germany was back over in Westmeath for a few days, staying with friends in Kinnegad. Heiko keeps a close eye on our angling reports and when back in Ireland always drops into Brian Conlon in ‘Wild Total Outdoors’, where he got my contact details last season. On this trip, Heiko wanted to do a day at the pike and perch and we had some mighty sport catching plenty of colourful perch. Heiko is also a keen fly angler and told me he had some beautiful trout from the Mullingar stretch of the Brosna in 2016. We tried some of his eye catching river flies which he tied himself on the perch and they worked a treat. Some of his trout lure fries were very impressive looking and some are on their way from Bavaria, hopefully in time for the opening of the trout season here in the Shannon Region, which is March 1st.

It’s competition time as we drift into the 2017 season. The trout season kicks off on February 15th on the Western lakes and Hugh O’Donnell of Clonbur Angling Center is all fired up for opening day. Clonbur is situated in the narrow isthmus between Lough Corrib and Mask. Hugh is slap bang in the middle and runs the Lake Shore Holiday Homes on Lough Corrib as well as the Village Apartments in Clonbur Village and has boats and motors for hire on both lakes. Hugh has sponsored a weekend away in his Clonbur Village Apartment’s for one of our readers and angling pals in the Irish Daily Star, see the Irish Daily Star on Wednesdays and the Midland Angling facebook page for more details on how to enter. This competition will run into March as on March 1st the trout season will open right across the country and the winner will be announced at the end of March. Hugh can be contacted on 087-0537791. Check out the website at www.clonburanglingcentre.com.

MONTHLY COMPETITION: Brian Conlon of ‘Wild Total Outdoors’, here in Mullingar has come on-line for the 2017 angling season and each month we have a 100 Euro tackle voucher for one lucky angler. Also up for grabs are some guided trips across the midland lakes in the coming months. The above competitions are quite simple to enter, just send us in a quality photo of your most recent prized catch with detail’s and contacts below. Check out Wild on www.wildtotaloutdoors.com.