Lough Derg is a spectacular back drop for some excellent, exciting Pike fishing. The Pike fishing on Lough Derg can be prolific provided the visiting angler is equipped to tackle this large water and is prepared to put in some work to locate fish.
For any visiting angler, boat fishing is the only way to tackle this water. A depth / fish finder is an essential aid and a GPS unit can be helpful to plot hot spots and find fish holding features. The area around Whitegate consists of relatively shallow water between a few inches to around 8-10 feet. Care needs to be taken in some bays as rocks can appear without notice as the depth changes quickly. In such vast waters as Lough Derg, safety is paramount as the weather can change suddenly, so a life jacket is essential.
Pike can be caught most here of the year. In the spring, following spawning Pike will be active in the bays following and feeding on the Roach, Bream and Hybrids. An active approach either fishing lures – casting or trolling dead baits can produce great results. An electric motor can be useful when trolling baits, whereas trolling lures under a petrol engine between 2-2.5mph often produces takes. Any of the large bays either north or south of the cottages will hold Pike, and the key is to keep mobile and search out the large bays until a few fish are located. Successful lures are crank baits, shallow diving lures and spoons, and Pike flies should also work effectively.
Large dead baits trolled or drifted is a favoured method of covering the water. A combination of drifting dead baits behind the boat whilst casting lures to the front of the boat will cover the water and present the Pike with two different bait options.
The size of fish ranges from just a couple of pounds [may need to use length in cm for European customers and/or kg] through to double figures. It is realistic to catch a twenty pounder during a weeks visit, and certainly possible to land a number of fish from 12 – 17lbs range.
The key difference between Lough Derg and waters in the UK for example is the power of the Pike. They fight like tigers and every double feels like a twenty pounder.
Therefore strong tackle is recommended. Strong lure rods with 60-80lb braid and for bait fishing, strong hooks, braid and rods no less than 2.5lb TC. Ensure that the fish is fought on the clutch, as large fish will make a number of powerful runs that are difficult to control and may catch the novice angler out.
It is essential that the proper un-hooking tackle is provided and an unhooking mat to minimize any damage to these delicate fish. Particularly in the spring it is important to minimize the handling of Pike and return them as quickly as possible to the water to reduce the risk of fatalities.