The tackle required depends on the time of year and where you are fishing. If fishing on the Lower Bann stout tackle will be required in spring or autumn, or even in summer if there happens to be a flood. For flyfishing in the spring or autumn a 15 ft rods will suffice coupled with either fast sinking lines or floating lines with a fast sink tip, but bring the other sink tips just in case of a mild dry day. Weight forward or even shooting heads can be worth bringing, as a longer cast may make all the difference on some beats.
Many anglers opt to spin in high water. A good 10ft spinning rod will be required with a large capacity fixed spool reel or even a multiplier with 15lb line. Popular baits for bank fishing include devon minnows, especially wooden 'floating' devons fished with a lead weight, toby salmos, blair spoons and Flying C's not forgetting natural baits like worm, prawn and shrimp.
In summer on the Lower Bann a 12 or 13ft fly rod will suffice with floating line or sink tip. On some stretches even a single handed rod will suffice.
For sea trout and dollaghan a 10 or 11ft rod and appropriate line will suffice.
Lighter rods around 9ft and throwing a 5 line are best suited to most of the brownie fishing on the river. There is little need for anything other than a full floater.
Flies to bring
Fly choice will depend on the time of year. In the spring and autumn weighted tube flies may be required, but if the water is low flies tied on larger doubles or trebles will be sufficient. In summer bring doubles and trebles down to a size 10 or even smaller on some tributaries. The most popular patterns nowadays tend to be variations on the shrimp fly theme. A good tactic is to work the fly when it is in the water, getting the dressing pulsing can produce many a fish when there seems little opportunity.
Make sure that you have silver and blue flies such as the Medicine or Teal Blue and Silver and Silver Stoats Tail. On warm summer nights consider bringing floating lures as well because these can be very effective. It is also worth including a few dries in the box.
Pike on the fly at Portna
In the spring flies such as Greenwells and Kites Imperial will catch large brownies feeding on the prodigious hatches of dark olives. Come summer such things as Silver Sedge and Tups can imitate the large hatches of sedge and smaller olives. The river holds a population of very large brownies and whilst these can be caught on the surface in the spring by summer they feed almost entirely on fish (minnows in the main) and can be caught on sculpin patterns.
Waders and clothing
Most Lower Bann beats will require some degree of wading, so bring chest waders. Neoprene waders are suggested for early season and autumn and breathable waders for the late spring and summer. You are advised to wear an inflatable lifejacket for safety, whether fishing from the bank or wading. Please remember it is important to have these serviced regularly. A stout wading stick will also aid safe wading, but ensure it has a rubber cap on the end to minimise disturbance.
Warm waterproof clothes are also advisable as the weather in Ireland can be unpredictable.
There are a number of tackle shops in Bann which will be able to supply you with all of the tackle you require. They may also hire a limited selection of items, although it's always best to check your requirements in advance of your visit.
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