Heaviest Fish or Heaviest Bag?

Spring League

Heaviest Fish or Heaviest Bag?

In every club there is the same old argument between the “dead-baiters” and the “wobbler’s” about which is more important. Overall bag weight or single heaviest fish?

Traditionally all pike competitions, IFPAC Qualifiers and others, would be focused towards heaviest bag with the possible side pool for heaviest fish. We all regardless of our preference will happily concede that a heavy fish is definitely a target but would you prefer 40lbs of fish in 15-20fish or 40lb of fish in 3-4?

At Dublin Pike Anglers we try cater for every types of angler. In every competition we give equal prize and focus to heaviest fish and heaviest bag. We also in our main winter league have 3 positions for heaviest fish which guarantees prizes of equal value to the top 3 positions in the heaviest bag pool, we do however offer more prizes for the lesser heaviest bag positions. To compensate this we also run a Spring League with the sole focus of Heaviest fish over 2 legs. Since the introduction of this system we have seemed to have a happier bunch of lads on the bank. What are your thoughts? Would you or do you compete differently? Let us know in the comments below.

Our spring league is starting this Sunday 14th of May and there is still plenty of time to join the club to get in on the action!

Twaite and you see what the lads caught!

The lad’s shad a lot of fish!

Just like clock work the first 3 weeks in may brings about the unusual run of the Twaite Shad into the river Barrow. Two of our club men Tony Horan and Joey Bonnie are huge fans of this mini Tarpon (its a close relative) and armed with light tackle and a couple of tazzie’s make it their business to get out and catch a few of these cracking little fish.

joey bonnie shad
Joey with a lovely shad on a cracking day

The lads set out this morning with enough time for Breakie and at the right time to catch the tidal conditions needed to produce. It wasn’t long before the craic started and they were hitting fish hard and fast. This wonderful little fish can be frustrating to hook and the lads found out all too well dropping lots of fish right at the bank. The general experience when lure fishing for Shad is, short periods of intense activity, followed by lulls as the various shoals pass through.

Tony Horan shad
Tony with a nice shad

All in all it was a great day’s fishing and the lads had a bag of 45 fish between them, with a large number of dropped fish also. Although these herring like fish look like a perfect recipe for a huge pike, the lads respected the fish and saw all safely returned to the water. The shad is not as abundant as the huge bag number would suggest. The Barrow is one of the last rivers in the country that experiences a run of this hard fighting species so every effort must be made to return them fighting fit. If you are lucky enough to get the time to fish for them we recommend bringing a landing net and after a quick photo release it back to spawn. There is only a small window of about 3 weeks before the shad are finished their spawn and head back to sea. If you do head out let us know how you got on in the comments below.

The current Irish record was set in 2015 when Thomas Lynch caught his 1.64kg (3lbs 10oz) at St. Mullins, fish pictured below. 

irish shad record

A lot Banked on Bank Holiday Pike Fishing Weekend.

Bank Holiday Pike Success

With many of the club men stuck working or unable to get out over the bank holiday weekend it seems as though we may have missed a blinder.  Club chairman, Joey Bonnie, and club member, Fintan Guihen, were the lucky two to get a chance to get out and brave the less than favorable conditions on Sunday.

The pair fished a very nice stretch of river known to fish well at this time a year and to its reputation it did just that for the lads.  The pair had a staggering 41 pike between them! There were no truly massive fish but the general stamp was good. The largest of the pike was just shy of 9lb’s and was landed by last years champ, Joey. (see below)

Joey Bonnie Pike

Given the nature of the day most fish were returned without being weighed but the lads estimate the total bag weights for the 41 pike was well in-excess of 150lb’s. There were large numbers of fish in the 5-6lb range and on the lighter wobbling gear gave some real good accounts of themselves.

According to the lads It really made a huge difference from the soft winter takes, the fish were clearly over the spawn and were hammering the baits without hesitation.

Having missed this weekend this report has me twitching to get the rod in hand.

Tight Lines


Dublin Pike Anglers next competition is 14th of May and see’s the start of our heaviest fish league.  New members are still welcome as we have small number of places available. Get requests in early to save disappointment! New members fill in membership request form here.