LOWER RIVER BANN, PORTGLENONE
Portglenone has become one of Northern Ireland’s top venues over the past few years, thanks mainly to a development plan by the local council that has provided over 80 purpose-made fishing stands, all having excellent access. Anyone who regularly checks the match reports in Angling Times will need no convincing about the superb fishing available. Most pegs have between 15 and 20 feet of water close in. Most methods will catch, with pole to hand being best. Anything between five and 10 metres to hand will do, but it is important to match the tackle to the river conditions. It could take as little as a 2gr float right through to a 20gr float to present the bait correctly. Winter and spring are the best times for real bagging sessions, but the River Bann is well worth trying throughout the year.
Target species: Roach to 1lb 8oz and skimmer bream
Best baits: Loosefeed plenty of hemp and fish red maggot on the hook. Groundbait works well when the river is coloured.
Contact: Dave and Sarah Smith, Smith’s Tackle, Ballymoney, County Down, tel 02827 664259

UPPER RIVER BANN, PORTADOWN
Portadown used to be a name synonymous with massive roach hauls during the early 1980’s, but thankfully, after too many years in the doldrums, it is experiencing a revival. Not one of Ireland’s prettier venues, but still worth a visit if you fancy a net full of redfins. This year has already seen 100lb plus pleasure catches of roach to almost 2lb on the Boathouse and Hoys Meadow sections, with both pole and waggler producing the goods. No need to go too light here, when the river is running with colour a 4-8gr float is best. Depths vary with most pegs having at least eight feet. January to April is the best time for roach, but locate the bream shoals in the summer and you could be in for a surprise. The Bann bream run to almost double figures!
Target species: Roach averaging 6oz, bream to 10lb and hybrids to almost 5lb
Best baits: Hemp, caster and maggot, corn and worm in the summer.
Contact: Allan Ball, Premier Angling, Lurgan, tel 02838 325204

DERRYADD/NEW BRIDGES, UPPER ERNE
Derradd Quay, situated outside the Fermanagh town of Lisnaskea, is a venue that almost guarantees a good net of fish at any time of the year. Feeder, pole and waggler all work well, but if your target is a 100lb net of slabs, stick to the feeder. Don’t go too heavy on the tackle – a 2lb hooklength on the feeder rig and light floats are best here. Get to the jetty at Derryadd very early though, because it is a real hotspot and in the summer expect a lot of boat traffic. Be prepared to fish a few hundred yards away at either the bridge stanchions or at nearby Corradillar Quay as these are quieter in summer, but they still produce the goods.
Target species: Bream averaging just over 2lb, plenty of roach, hybrids and perch
Best baits: Casters, worm, corn or red maggot with groundbait is best for the bream. Red maggot and a soft groundbait is best for the roach and hybrids
Contact: Erne Tackle, Lisnaskea, tel 02867 721969. Dave Ensor, tel 01365 387077 (local match angler, accommodation, bait, tackle)

RIVER ERNE, BELTURBET, COUNTY CAVAN
Belturbet is situated on the Upper Erne system and offers fishing on the main river and also from one of several hundred lakes within a ten mile radius. This area is not so weather-affected thankfully and offers good year-round fishing. In the winter and spring head towards the deeper stretches of the Erne for the vast shoals of roach from 2-10oz. Best methods are the waggler or pole, priming the swim with either loosefed maggots or soft groundbait. Size 14-16 hooks are best and they should be baited with red maggots. The large numbers of Erne bream, average size being 2-4lb, are noted for feeding on the milder winter days. The feeder is the best method particularly when cast towards deeper water. With the number of lakes linked to the Erne System ideal swims need to have a slight flow or movement to produce big weights. The main river Erne in the town center is approx 6-9 feet deep and in the spring is solid with roach. Pole, waggler and stick float all do well on this venue. Moving into early summer bream and tench start to show along this stretch. From May through to October the lakes start to produce big weights.
Best baits: Red maggot, red worm, corn and caster
Main species: Bream, roach, skimmers, hybrids, tench, rudd and pike
Contact: Peter May, tel 00353 499522639, (Bait, tackle, accommodation), or Mick Gee, tel 01246 412838 (UK-based guide)

RIVER ERNE, CLEENISH ISLAND
There are over 50 comfortable pegs on Cleenish, a venue situated on the edge of Bellanaleck village, all offering plenty of shelter from the prevailing winds. Every method will catch here, but don’t expect great weights from every peg. There are the odd red letter days when the bream do get their heads down, but this is the venue for the angler who wants to see his float dip and tip bend on a regular basis. Be prepared to scale down to 1lb 8oz hooklengths and size 18 hooks to keep a steady catch rate going, and keep feeding light, little and often. Cleenish fishes best during spring, summer and autumn.
Target species: Bream to 3lb, plenty of roach, perch, skimmers and hybrids to 1lb
Best baits: A dark groundbait is best. Loosefeed caster and maggot, with caster on the hook for quality fish. Try chopped worm in your groundbait and worm on the hook for the bream.
Contact: Home, Field and Stream, Enniskillen, tel 02866 322114

RIVER ERNE, ENNISKILLEN
It seems a lifetime since the Erne at Enniskillen re-wrote the record books time after time with roach catches the average angler could only dream about. While there is nothing to suggest the days of regular massive hauls are back, Enniskillen still has a hell of a lot to offer. Pick the right peg on the right day and you never know, only last May there was a 130lb roach catch taken on the
Queen Elizabeth Roadstretch during a five hour match! Corngrade, Portora, Sligo Road and the famous Broadmeadow sections are all within a stone’s throw of each other. They all respond to both pole and feeder tactics, and all hold a large head of resident fish. In April and May the place goes barmy with shoals of migrating roach, perch and bream feeding freely. A word of advice though, keep a check on the angling press as to when the large angling festivals hit town, as the town sections become quite busy.
Target species: Bream averaging 2lb 8oz, roach to 1lb 8oz, hybrids and perch
Best baits: Nothing beats a bunch of red maggots or a small worm
Contact: Home, Field and Stream, Enniskillen, tel 02866 322114

 

LOWER LOUGH ERNE, TRORY
One of the north’s jewels is Trory. Ask the likes of Bob Nudd and Kevin Ashurst what their favourite venues are and Trory would be on the list. Come April and May, when the water starts to warm a little, this shallow section, no more than 8ft deep, comes into its own. You can drive to almost every single peg, fishing is from 30 purpose-built concrete stands and the venue provides some of the best waggler fishing to be had anywhere in this world. What more could you ask for?
Target species: Bream to 4lb, hybrids to 3lb and plenty of roach and perch
Best baits: Maggot with a soft, regularly-fed dark groundbait
Contact: Home, Field and Stream, Enniskillen, tel 02866 322114

LOWER LOUGH ERNE, ROSSAHILLY
More match and festival-winning catches along with some massive pleasure nets of bream, have come from the Rossahilly Airport section over the last few years than anywhere else on the Erne system. The point pegs on this easily accessible venue on the outskirts of Enniskillen regularly provide anglers on an almost daily basis with 100lb plus catches of bream and big hybrids to 4lb. There is a price to pay though, with the venue’s land owner cashing in to the tune of a £7 day ticket, but block bookings may get a discount. If you don’t mind the extra cash outlay, set up a big feeder rod, pack the feeder with worms and casters, stick a worm on the hook and throw it all to the horizon. You are virtually guaranteed success, that is if you can manage to get to the point pegs before anyone else!
Target species: Bream to 4lb, hybrids to 3lb 8oz, plenty of roach and perch
Best baits: Worms tipped with red maggot for the bream and hybrids. Caster and red maggot score for the roach and perch
Contact: Harry West, tel 01365 323060

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