BAI day out, Rapala, Lough Swilly, Co.Donegal

Mon May 29, 2006 6:18 pm

People:BAI Meet

Duration:Sat and Sun


Weather:Steady deterioration


Rigs:Running Legers off plastic booms

Results:There were 9 tope over the weekend, some thornies and countless doggies. Full details on other site.

Ya, good crack alright, some nice fish there lads. I should have made the trip again on Sunday but a few too many pints in Letterkenny on Saturday night put paid to all thoughts of that Im afraid! After what happened to us aboard Rapala on Saturday, I am convinced there is no problem that we cannot surmount....

Started off badly after sleeping in and not making it to the slip at Buncrana until 10.30 to be greeted with lots of empty trailers and no sign of anyone. We got set up anyway and prepared to launch in somewhat blustery conditions so once backed in was going to have to be a fairly speedy exit from the slip with waves washing the back of the boat. Buddy was doing the driving and I was on board, as soon as boat floated up away I went to perform the loop around the pier and await Kearys return. I had just left the slip and was performing a holding circle in the strong wind whilst waiting for him to park up when all of a sudden I noticed the level of water in the back of the boat caused from waves on launch instead of dropping with the bilge pump in operation was in fact rising.......the 3 bungs from the hull were in the glove box of the jeep.... Cue one very panicked phone call followed by a speedy reverse and me virtually hammering the boat back onto the trailer to get the hell back out! (come on lads, I'm sure we've all done it...havent we....)

After draining off undeterminable gallons of water, take 2 went relatively smoothly and we were on our way to join the rest of the group. Dropped anchor close to Clarion and set up the gear, discovering then that 2 rods and reels were still in the jeep . Keary in his own style of fishing proceeded to hang his socks (soaked from the earlier speedy retrieve..) off the frame at the back of the boat and esconce himself in the cabin with the coffee and the sandwiches leaving the 2 rods in my hands. Ill have to phrase this carefully so as not to create the wrong impression but it was "frantic (ooer...) doggy action" all the way for Rapala. Not a sniff of another fish, just a constant stream of LSDs coming to the side of the boat including 2 on one single hook trace, bottom fish on the hook, a foot above it was another with the wire trace I was using passed through its mouth...stupid bugger, all he had to do was let go After several hours of this, staring jealously at Clarion and how steady and comfortable she looked, with deteriorating weather making life a tad uncomfortable in a 15 footer the decision was taken to head back to shore.

So, off we went, back to Buncrana and pulled in at the side of the pier to let the trailerman off. He shinned up the ladder without incident so I pulled away from pier wall to get in position for retrieve. Poor sod after climbing up there realised he had left the keys on board and called to me to throw them up to can see whats coming.... swung back around and gave the bunch of keys, (car, shop, house etc) an almighty chuck onto the pier. I have been waking up in cold sweats since over what happened next, if I close my eyes I can see it in slo mo. Keys performed a lovely arc up and appeared to be landing well on top of the pier until at the peak of said arc a huge gust of wind caught them and sent them flying back over my head into 10 feet of muddy choppy sea....

Stopped boat immediately and pulled back in to the pier wall, all we could do was stare at each other in silence for several minutes with the occasional glance in the general direction of where the keys had gone. Tied boat up to a set of tyres and spent a half hour trying to explain my predicament to a succession of unhelpful people over the phone, the AA, the Hyundai dealer etc....situation being me in Donegal stuck on a boat with no way of getting boat out of water in deteriorating conditions with spare set of keys in! Dont think any of them believed me to be honest so it was down to plan b.

Now, how many of you have mates or partners who stare incredulously at the amount of gear you take each time your on a trip? You explain away the beta box full of stuff for an afternoons scratching around with a shrug and smile and a "sure you never know.." Well, I sat down and went through the beta box, set up the spinning rod (which shouldnt have been on the boat in the first place, especially after I put my foot on it and broke the tip earlier in the day) and manufactured myself a rig (picture to follow) composed of a 2 hook spreader bar (which i never use), 3 short lengths of nylon with 3 barrel leads(which i never use) sliding on to 3 medium sized treble hooks (which i never use) clipped a 3oz flat sided lead (which i never use ) to the middle of the contraption and started casting it out, more in hope than expectation it has to be said and because if I hadnt been trying to do something constructive I would have gone off the head totally. First cast pulled out one very surprised crab but all that followed was weed.

After 30 minutes or so of this and much racking of brains to figure a way out of situation George and Graeme arrived in Georges Dory. Cue much chuckling at our sorry state witha kind offer of his jeep to pull our boat out, (thanks for that) I was having a serious case of the "just one last cast" syndrome when all of a sudden, the line went couldnt be, it just couldnt way.....has to be another crab, the catch of the day, the most welcome sight Ive seen (well until that first pint on Saturday night) came shining, jangling and glistening to the had to be seen to be believed. Perfectly hooked through one of the rings was one set of keys.

High fives, whooping and roaring all round. Unbelievable. All this time, 2 hours or so at that stage, wasted had meant that unfortunately we were now faced with another problem, the weather had deteriorated to the extent that using the exposed slip at Buncrana wasnt even an option, howling winds and a nasty sea was seeing waves breaking over the slip..... George advised us to head to fahan and retrieve there so Keary was despatched (with keys zipped into his pocket) to drive jeep to fahan and I would take the boat up. George led and I followed and a more horrible little journey I never want to take in that little boat. Call me a lilly livered part time amateur but I thought the sea conditions were nothing short of atrocious with high winds whipping them into a horrible white horsed chop which Rapalas Cathedral hull was having serious difficulty dealing with at any kind of speed above the 8 knot mark. One very white knuckled trip later with frayed nerves and aching shoulders (from holding on!) and we arrived in Fahan Marina. I had to perform a holding circle in the marina as the wind was just caching Rapala like a sail and sending her away until we figured out where the slip was and got the jeep backed down. The wind blowing heavily from right to left made life very awkward when it came to retrieving (thank god for the guiding on bars) and there were several aborted attempts before we eventually got out of the water. I can honestly say I was never as glad to get off a boat as I was on Saturday. The day seemed to throw just about everything it could at us (apart from something other than LSDs) but I have to say, fun and exhilarating it was if not a little scary at times.

Looking forward to getting out up there again, hopefully Lesley Ellen will be ready though and we wont have to tow Rapala up from Cork again. Cheers lads for organising it, and fair dues on the 9 tope caught. Some great pics there lads. Hoping things go a little smoother the next time

Mon May 29, 2006 6:46 pm

Ack Pete I missed ya! I Was up on Sunday in the Mistress!

Mon May 29, 2006 6:49 pm

Boat ramp blues :lol: :lol: :lol:

What a story...glad it all turned out well in the end.


Mon May 29, 2006 6:59 pm

Next time Drew, next time. Seeing those pics really whet the old appetite for another spin out. I lived in Buncrana for nigh on 12 years and never paid much heed to what swam in it but my eyes have been well and truly opened. I wonder how fast a tope could pull Rapala..... :D

Tom, boat ramp blues indeed, last time I launched from Buncrana in Lesley Ellen ended up having to be towed back to the slip by the lifeboat lads as the shear pin broke and left me stranded at anchor about 200 yards off the slip :( I shall conquer that spot, I shall......!


Mon May 29, 2006 11:16 pm

Didn't I say that the landlubbers think we have a great time of it..... :lol:

Oh by the way, you can be sure none of the rest of us have ever forgotten the bung! :shock:

Great report!

Tue May 30, 2006 9:36 am

Glad to hear you's are all right after a fiasco like that, must have been 1 hell of a day overall? :lol: I suppose you can laugh at the end of it all anyway.

Cracking story by the way :D

Tue May 30, 2006 9:36 am

i can vouch for the keys incident. has to have been the most jammy thing i have ever seen happen. ever. 3 tiny we trebbles in 3 metres of very brown water. biggest catch youll ever make. id say about £20,000 worth?!??!?! all made for a great eventful days crack though. hopefully get back out with all the lads again soon. by the way my species tally wasnt any better 17 dogs. was getting them on everything i put in the sea from 6/0 hooks baited with half a mackeral to tiny size 2 feathers baited with rag. george managed to beat my species tally with his specimen sea snail!!?!?!? :D

Tue May 30, 2006 9:51 am

Great report but sounded like a nightmare pete! Well in for getting the keys back! Hope the next one goes a little more smoothly.

Tue May 30, 2006 11:07 am

Whatever about any recent politics on site, I had to post that report up here, I couldnt not share that story with the SAI crew.... :D

Tue May 30, 2006 12:25 pm

And I thought I was bad...remind me never to go fishing with you :lol:

Bungs and stuff

Wed May 31, 2006 10:40 am

That makes my maiden launch without bungs a pleasant day out in comparison
Congratulations on not trying to strangle the first bugger who laughed

Wed May 31, 2006 12:51 pm

Done the bung thing on my first trip (on a lake thankfully) ! Cursed the bloke that sold me "a dud boat" up and down - til David asked if I'd put the bung in !

"Put the bung in" is top of the checklist/ritual I now do before putting the boat on water. Learning by your mistakes I think it's called !! :D

You got home in one piece Pete, that's the main thing !! Maybe you should change your handle to "Lucky Petekd" :D

Wed May 31, 2006 3:11 pm

Or unlucky, depends what way you look at it..... :D Written in permanent marker beside the ignition is a little reminder now about bungs......another little lesson learned!

Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:38 pm

Fantastic report Pete! Took my mind off work toatally for 5 minutes or so. Sanity resumed, I can carry on.

Good stuff!

All the best,


Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:45 pm

Yeah, a funny old day Ian alright. These things have a tendency to happen to me up North...none of those problems knocking about Cork for some reason. :D

Hope Polands treating you well mate and sure maybe get another session in at De Wall this winter :D

Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:25 am

Just let me know when the fishin's good again! Went up to Carlingford a week ago. Nothing on bait apart from a doggie and a small codling. We did hook into 5 sea trout on the German Sprat tho. :D