When you think of monster Pike or Rudd you would not normally think of Lough Cowey near Portaferry which is better known for it's hard fighting Rainbow Trout.
However that didn't deter Millisle angler Tony Waugh who was determined to try for the huge Rudd to 2lbs that were rumoured to inhabit Cowey's waters.
The weather conditions weren't in Tony's favour with onshore winds and bright sunshine prevalent and after fishing for two hours all he had to show was one small Rudd taken on the maggot.
Fishery owner Ken Legge then suggested that Tony take a boat out to try for Pike on the fly so off he rowed to a secluded spot, surrounded by reeds to get away from the wind.
Beginning with a few casts to get used to the extra weight and dynamics, on his third cast he felt two dull thuds and then everything went ballistic!
Even though it was just a small Jack Pike of 3lbs, it felt like a 7lb trout.
It fought like a demon, tail-walking and taking off in high-speed bursts!
Two more Pike followed shortly after that, both were only half the size of the first, but still felt amazing on Tony's Greys size 7 trout rod. Soon after something big flashed past the lure close to the boat too!
Although Cowey is normally known for its game species, including land-locked Salmon, it does hold large amounts of Rudd and Perch. Pike, not the Salmon, is rumoured to be King in these waters with double figure fish common due to their high protein diet. The largest recorded so far is a leviathan of 36lbs!
Along with Tony I think that if the Irish lake record for Essox is to be broken, it might very well come from a Fishery like Cowey. In today's climate of depleting stocks if you want a chance of threatening the record you're gonna have to hand over some cash and come to a place like Cowey.
Ken charges £15 for a full day's coarse fishing (early starts by pre-arrangement) which includes a boat (pike fly fishing only). You can use it to get to other designated spots on this 96 acre water which is set in spectacular surroundings on the shores of Strangford Lough.
All usual methods are permitted from the shore, but the use of particular groundbaits is banned as this is a working reservoir.
Be sure to check out Ken's beautiful paintings inside the clubhouse too!
You can contact him on 07724382525.