Irish Spring Angling Fair 2022

I am excited to be heading over to the Irish Spring Angling Fair this weekend (April 30th & May 1st). There is a fantastic lineup of demonstrators expected to attend including former world Spey casting champions, international competition anglers in coarse and fly fishing, world famous sea anglers and expert pike anglers with bait, lure and fly.

The Fair is taking place at Ardaire Springs Angling Centre in Mooncoin, Kilkenny which is not far from where I am based. This is an ideal venue for an angling fair as there is plenty of water for demos, a large log cabin for talks, an area for food stands and displaying boats and trailers and a lots of space for an exhibitor marquee and free parking.

In addition to 18 top class demonstrators there will be fly casting distance and accuracy competitions, lectures on angling techniques, a host of trade exhibitors and a fly tyers row. There will also be lots of FREE kids tuition on angling and fly tying. I am delighted to see such promotion of youth into our sport. In addition to this it is great to see there will be an expert on water quality as protecting our angling environments is key to preserving the quality of our sport.

My role at the Fair will be to give a talk each day on saltwater fly fishing. This will mainly cover fly fishing for bass and mullet but there are lots of saltwater species to target with fly including seatrout, mackerel, flounder, pollack etc.

Angling Fairs are great fun and there is always lots to learn. A day spent at an angling fair is a very cost effective way to get expert advice and tips from some of the best anglers in the world at what they do. Of course, it can also be a place to grab a great tackle bargain if you are lucky. There are lots of great giveaways and prizes on offer at the Fair also. The first 100 attendees each day get a free Semperfli goodie bag and there are other prizes on offer from the Fair sponsors. Again, this is great to see because we as anglers are all one community and that is why we like attending these type of events to meet up with friends old and new.

For many anglers, it has been a tough last 2 years or so not being able to meet up with likeminded individuals. So, if you are attending the Fair come along to one of my talks if you are interested in saltwater fly fishing or call to see me on the Mackenzie stand in the exhibitor marquee.

Corrib and Mask March 2022

This was the earliest in the season I have ever fished Loughs Corrib and Mask. At this time of year there is normally no hatch of fly and the trout will be feeding on hoglouse, shrimp, and fry. The best tactics are to fish fry imitations slowly on fast intermediate or sinking lines.

Hoglouse and shrimp patterns can be fished slowly on long leaders using a floating line. A good retrieve is a slow figure of eight with the occasional long draw of the line. Concentrate on the margins and shoreline as this is where fish are likely to be.

The forecast last week predicted dry weather for the weekend with a moderate wind. When we arrived at Clonbur last weekend the wind vanished and we were faced with bright sunshine and doldrums! This required a tactical approach if we were to winkle out some wily wild trout.

It was a real team effort for my boat partner Dave and I and our renowned local boatman Tom Doc Sullivan. A good boatman is essential in these conditions and Tom is one of the best.

Dave and I set up two rods each. A 7wt with fast intermediate lines for pulling wets and a 6wt with a slow intermediate or full float for hoglouse patterns. I was using my 10ft Mackenzie FX1 rods and Dave was using his NX1 rods.

By adapting to suit the conditions we managed to catch.

For a while on Sunday the breeze picked up slightly and even this light wind made a difference. The fishing improved for a while and we had lots of plucks and some positive hits that turned into boated fish. In the circumstances we were very pleased.

For us it was a positive start to the lough season and we are already looking forward to returning later in the year.

Nore way!

I recently received an invitation from Dan O Neill to fish the River Nore at Mount Juliet. This was to happen last year but due to Covid we postponed the trip. My buddy Dave, who is originally from Kilkenny was keen to accompany me on the trip.

We called in to Peter Driver at Piscari Fly shop on the way where we picked up some nice fly tying materials, and Dave bought knee pads and other bling accessories. We then met up with Dan at Mount Juliet, a stunning location with fantastic facilities.

The water level was still high from recent rains, and the river was running quite clear. Dan and Dave set up for euro nymphing and I decided to do something different and set up for streamer fishing on my 10ft 5wt Mackenzie NX1.

Dan took us down to some nice nymphing runs where he and Dave managed a few trout on heavy nymphs. We met another angler who had had several fish on wet flies.

I left the lads nymphing and headed off to try a streamer. Given the conditions I expected to meet a few fish but to struggle with short takes and that’s how it turned out. Quite a few hits but a lot of the trout didn’t stick. However, it was obvious that the fishery holds a considerable stock of trout in the 10 to 12inch size category and some larger fish too. I will definitely be back to try again in the future.

We had to leave at lunchtime which was a pity. We just had time to call to Ned Maher at Ardaire Springs Angling Centre and tackle shop for more goodies on the way to Waterford (for my Covid jab). Another Aladdin’s cave of fishing tackle.

We really enjoyed our visit to Mount Juliet and Dan was a fantastic host. We both agreed we would definitely be back for a longer fishing session before the end of the year.

Mount Juliet has about 2.5miles of double bank fishing for both trout and salmon. For further information contact:

Dan O’Neill, Fishery Manager, Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, Ireland

Telephone: +353 85 7652751

Email: doneill@mountjuliet.ie

Websitehttps://www.mountjuliet.ie/fishing-on-the-estate.html

Fly Fishing for Pike

Having very recently received a new Mackenzie 9ft / 9wt I was really keen to put it through its paces  but saltwater fly fishing for sea bass is not likely to kick off for another few weeks.

FX1 9ft9wt

I was delighted to get an invitation from The K Club (www.kclub.ie) Fishery Manager, John O Neill, to visit with my friend Ken and to fly fish for pike, both along the River Liffey and in the wonderfully productive lakes on the estate.

Our trip to County Kildare also offered us the opportunity to assess a number of potential venues for our first Fly Fishing for Pike Course planned for this October. Little did I realise what an awesome venue this hidden treasure of a fishery would turn out to be!! It has first class facilities and seriously high quality fish: massive rainbows and browns, and excellent pike. During our all too brief fishing session I witnessed a number of large pike harassing and smashing relentlessly into shoals of silvery roach.  The pike proved choosey at first but once I launched a large whistler fly, tied by Dougie Loughridge (Scotland), in among the swirls the pike just couldn’t resist!

A massively powerful fish engulfed the fly and after a challenging 10 to 12 minute battle amongst the luscious marginal weeds, John landed my PB pike – a 103cm fish of over 20lbs.

It just doesn’t get any better! The Mackenzie rod handled the big predator exceptionally well. I’m so impressed and can’t wait to try it out on some feisty Copper Coast bass in May.

For details of fishing at The K Club contact John on: fishing@kclub.ie or ring him for a chat on:  +353 871361689

If you would like more details on our Pike course (Saturday, 19th October) contact myself (joriordan0@gmail.com) or Ken (ken@kenwhelan.info).

Go Deep or go Home!

I had heard a few times that the western Lough’s can fish well at the end of the season to daphnia feeding fish in the deeps. There can also be a chance of dry fly fishing with sedges and daddies.

With this in mind I contacted my pal and Corrib boatman Tom Doc Sullivan to see if a trip would be worthwhile. Tom really knows his stuff and he told me to make the journey. However I wouldn’t be fishing any of the drifts I had fished on previous trips. It seemed like – go deep or go home!

I was joined by my mate Dave who has also fished the lake before but never at this time of year. Preparation had gone well and I was armed with a Mackenzie FX1 10ft #6 and #7wt. Tom had recommended tying up some bright daphnia patterns to pull on an Airflo Fast Intermediate line. As usual he was spot on.

We didn’t know what to expect but followed Tom’s advice and with good conditions we had great sport catching beautiful wild Irish trout in a fantastic location. 24 trout landed in 2.5days fishing is awesome.

We learned a lot about fishing the lake at this time of year and it was brilliant to have several nice trout take our dry flies.

There is still a month left and the great thing was there wasn’t as many boats out compared to mayfly time. The weather was much milder than some of our early season duckfly and olive fishing trips too.

We will definitely be contacting Tom around this time next year and if prospects are good we will be back.

Blackwater salmon

Recent guided sessions produced some nice spring salmon from the Munster Blackwater river. This season the water levels have been quite high on our local rivers and fly fishing opportunities have been fairly limited. Luckily the weather has been improving and the rivers reached a better if not ideal fly fishing height, particularly in the upper stretches. As a consequence we managed a few very nice salmon.

My guests were using two outfits, one was a 13’7 Mackenzie Atlas rod matched with a Mackenzie Phased Density Shooting Head in Float/Sink 2 and a short leader to a White Francis fly.

The other client used a 15ft Mackenzie FX1 GRAPHENE Rod matched with a Mackenzie Float/S1 shooting head and attached to the business end was a local shrimp fly pattern called Hick’s Bug. The guys were blown away by this kit and when good fish came the were even more impressed.

So some very happy anglers and a nice tackle test was a great result. The river is coming into good order again after the latest flood so fingers crossed for some more action. Tight lines!

Lough Corrib 2018

This year a pal and I delayed our visit to Lough Corrib until late April due to the abnormally cold spring. It proved to be a good move as the weather was horrible all March. We knew we had missed the duckfly hatch but were hoping for Olives and large buzzer. Once again we stayed at Grasshopper cottage Cornamona near Clonbur.

We hired a boat and engine from our good pal and top guide Tom Doc Sullivan. Unfortunately we were too early for Olives this time. Our approach was to fish the conditions as there was no significant hatch. On the morning s the Lough was calm and the sun was high although it was cool enough with a Northeast wind.

In these conditions we fished buzzers. I was really impressed with my Mackenzie FX1 10ft 6wt for this method. Luckily we managed to boat some nice trout with the largest 58cm and in prime condition.

In the mid afternoon the wind picked up and we tried pulling traditional wet flies and dabblers on intermediate lines. This was productive especially around shallow areas. We had a mixture of small trout with some better fish to just over 2lbs and quite a few missed takes also.

Overall we had a great weekend and are really looking forward to next year already.

Upcoming Salmon Course

On May 18th to 20th Ken Whelan is once again teaming up me for a salmon fishing course on the River Erriff.  This course will be suitable for beginners and improvers.

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We are delighted to be back on the Erriff following fantastic feedback from our previous course at this stunning location.  Moreover the fishery had a very good salmon season in 2017.

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This weekend course (Friday evening to Sunday) covers all you need to know to get started and improve your salmon fishing – from tackle selection and casting to fishing techniques and much more. See details below:

23.12.17 Erriff Salmon Course 2018

This time around accommodation is available at Delphi, both at the Resort itself and in the new, recently opened hostel accommodation.  See below for contact details. (https://www.delphiadventureresort.com/) For anyone wishing to fish on arriving early or stay on an extra day, Erriff Fishery is offering day tickets at a reduced rate to those attending the course. [Contact Erriff Fishery Manager Osgur Grieve (087 4644183].

Salmon Watch

It was great to get out guiding on the Blackwater this morning.  Unfortunately, for my salmon fishing newbie the water was too high for safe wading for fly fishing and was continuing to rise and colour up while we were at the fantastic Cable Island beat.  My client had a go with his spinning rod.

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We did see two very nice salmon show which bodes well.  It was more a case of salmon watch than salmon catch.

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