Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Time Fishing in 2014

Fishing season on the River Dodder began the day after St. Patrick's Day. Fortunately for the fish in the river, we were so busy traveling and sightseeing in March that I just couldn't find a free moment on a day with good fishing weather.

Finally, I was able to squeeze in a few morning hours in April. I cycled over to the newly-cleaned Dodder and found my favorite pool. It might not be the very best fishing on the river, but it is conveniently located for me and one of the most beautiful views in all of Dublin.

It is locally known as The Waterfall in Donnybrook. The river cascades down a short stone weir that looks natural, but is actually a carved weir, or dam. Opposite the river is Beaver Row, an interestingly-named Donnybrook street. The street is so named for a beaver pelt hat factory that stood on the river in the nineteenth century. Maybe more on that story in another post.

Below the Donnybrook Waterfall River Dodder, Dublin, Ireland
Below the Donnybrook Waterfall

I was trying some new bait for trout on my first trip out. I have documented before that live bait is expensive and perishable here in Dublin. Maggots are the most popular live trout bait, and are very effective. Unfortunately, the cost and storage problems of live maggots (Honey, what is that bag of squirming larvae doing on the refrigerator?) keep me away from the tackle shop.

As an alternative to expensive maggots, I decided to try a new bait that I can collect for free. Mussels and cockles (of should I phrase it Cockles and Mussels?) are easily collected on nearby Sandymount Strand but are a bit too gritty and sandy for my human taste. If I could collect some shellfish and cook them to firm up the meat, would they be effective as a freshwater trout bait? I did just that earlier in the Spring on the strand. I picked a handful of mussels from the old Victorian Baths foundation and dug a few live cockles (small clams) from the sand at low tide. I steamed them just enough to open the shells and firm the meat, and froze them in hook-sized pieces. I took them fishing on the Dodder to find out if they would be tempting to the trout.

Fishing on the Dodder Dublin, Ireland
Fishing on the Dodder

 Well, the answer is inconclusive. Just because I spent a whole morning fishing with a bait with no bites doesn't mean the bait doesn't work, right? Most anglers I know would agree. Lots of other factors can result in a skunk day. Water levels, weather conditions, time of day, and the always-easy-to-blame blind luck of fishing can all be the difference between bent rods and broken dreams.

...And other anglers will also agree with the old American fishing motto:

A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work.
Too true.

Dodder Pool Dublin, Ireland
Dodder Pool

Donnybrook Waterfall River Dodder Dublin, Ireland
Donnybrook Waterfall

Sunny Waterfall River Dodder Dublin, Ireland
Sunny Waterfall


  1. You should embroider a hat with that fishing quote and wear it fishing :)

    1. I'd need embroidery lessons, first! You wanna teach me over Skype?


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