DAY OUT AT THE PIKE:  The Camlin anglers recently hosted their club Christmas pike competition on Sunday, January 8th. The boats headed out on Lough Forbes and along the River Shannon with some cracking pike caught in calm, mild and at times, misty conditions. Local knowledge proved to work well on the day and Longford piker Joe McDermott topped the day with a super fish of 21lbs 7oz, 2nd in the competition was Mick Galvin with 20lbs and Pat Healy was 3rd with another fine pike of 15lbs 7oz. Moyvore angler Mick Dalton finished 4th with 15lbs 5oz. Paddy Donnelly of Legan near Ballynacargy caught a few pike, as did Athlone angler Eamon Craven. Eamon and his angling pal P.J. Cunningham, also of Athlone town, really enjoy their days out on the waterways and we captured the lads on camera enjoying their cup of tea. This was my first club to join this season and Camlin have quite a few competitions penciled in for this coming season.

DERRAVARAGH MONSTERS: Some of Irelands top predator anglers are checking out Lough Derravaragh as some huge pike have been pictured and are being highlighted on social media. Reports of pike pushing the magical 30lbs have pike anglers in a frenzy and I met some of the lads last Saturday on Derravaragh. They told me it is hard going and you might only get a few takes but the size and the condition of the pike is breath taking. I had one run last Saturday, the fish was just a few pounds short of 30lbs and the picture was kindly taken by James Norton. Trolling super-sized lures at times or simply drifting with dead baits are working best.

BREAKING ICE: The weather has been unbelievable over the last 10-12 days and on the Monday bank holiday, January 2nd, we broke ice at Hopes Point to get out on the lake. That day was one of the coldest on the waters I have been out on in some time and I had some pals from the Wicklow area who are regular visitors to Mullingar. The pike were very reluctant to play ball and after quite a few hours trolling and spinning we had to go in search of perch to get some action. The perch were a bit more playful and we had some cracking sport jigging in deep water.

REEL IN YOUR LINE: Last week, I got a call from a concerned member of the public who was walking the shore of Ennell near Lilliput with family members. On the day, they came across a young swan who had got tangled up in discarded fishing line. As a rule, most anglers take home their unwanted line but in some cases you might have got caught up in the bottom or heavy red beds and lose you line. Naturally this will end up floating or drifting in onto the bank. In some cases along the River Inny, when bank fishing, baits get caught in trees and over growth on the far bank and you lose the lot. When possible, anglers retrieve any lost line and especially now since we have some new braid lines that come in various colours such as yellow, orange and white that float on the surface.