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.
The first of our 2017 beginners and improvers courses will take place this March. Ken Whelan and I start everything off with a Stillwater Match the Hatch course at some Private Ponds in Wicklow on March 19th. This is a very comprehensive stillwater course covering an entomology of all the major insects and likely hatches during the fishing season. Learn how to select and fish imitative flies successfully. Fee €80
Following on from the match the hatch course I am running my annual Stillwater Trout Fly Fishing Tactics course at Ardaire Springs, Mooncoin, Kilkenny on March 25th 2017. This course focuses on the various techniques and tactics that can be used throughout the year and is an ideal follow up to the match the hatch course. One of the most frequent questions I am asked at demos, shows and on the water is how to select the correct tackle for specific tactics. Learn how to tackle up and fish wet flies, nymphs, lures, buzzers, dries, indicators, boobies, blobs, mops, bloodworms and more. Fee €65
I finally got around to fishing Knockaderry for the first time on St Patrick’s morning. This lake is one of my favourite fisheries and I was really looking forward to wetting a line there. The day itself started out cool but the day got warmer and by mid morning there was a great midge hatch. The sun shone and the breeze was gentle giving a lovely slow drift, ideal for buzzer fishing.
By lunchtime my car was covered in small midge. The big hatch really got the large rainbows moving and quite a number were rising and feeding on natural fly. Fishing small buzzers through the layers was the effective tactic.
There are some serious trout in this lake and the average size of the rainbows was 5 to 6lbs.
These fish will take you to the backing and I was glad I decided to fish with a 10ft 7wt and not a lighter outfit.
Ned Maher told me that Ardaire Springs also enjoyed a bumper day with the rise in temperatures. The last time I called over there I managed a fantastic 18lbs rainbow.
Looks like we are spoiled for choice for quality stocked fisheries here in the south east at the moment!
Fished Ardaire Springs yesterday with three Dutch anglers who were new to stillwater trout fishing. Two of the guys were visiting their friend who lives locally and had never fly fished before. We arrived at Ardaire around 11.30am but Ned was expecting us and had three Mackenzie single handed demo rods ready and waiting for the guys.
There were a lot of anglers fishing the lake but I noticed a few spots available outside the fishing lodge. The guys were keen to make a start so I got them all casting with different fishing methods and before I could pop back out to the car to put on my wellies Pieter was into a good fish. It turned out to be a cracking brown trout. What a start! A beautiful fish with a lovely golden hue to it.
The weather started to deteriorate with the wind getting stronger and rain looked imminent. Nevertheless the guys fished on and landed some nice rainbow trout on dries. Local angler Adriano managed to land a 14lb rainbow on a lure while we were there. The wind got really strong but even so the lads were casting well. Eventually the weather got very wet and cold so the guys decided to call it a day. I heard that another big rainbow approaching 20lbs was landed afterwards.
Overall it was a good day and I managed to get 10minutes casting in with the Mackenzie 7/8 Switch rod and Compact Switch line. What an awesome piece of kit! I left it on the rod rack and a few of the other anglers had a cast with it. Ned told me afterwards that they were really really impressed with it. No surprise there though.
We had a full house today for our Stillwater Trout Tactics course at Ardaire Springs. Eight hardy souls were at the fishery bright and early this morning and we set about going through various techniques in theory in the tackle lodge. Before lunch I demonstrated a number of fishing techniques using the 9ft 6wt, 10ft 7wt and 11ft 5/6 Mackenzie Rods. I managed to catch 4 nice rainbows during the demonstration session which was very pleasing. The day turned cooler but we were not deterred as Ned had prepared burgers and sausages. After lunch the participants tackled up and tried out some of the techniques they had learned.
Some cracking fish were caught on dries:
A massive well done to all. I hadn’t even made it home and I had received positive feedback by text from some participants which really made my day. Our next course is our River Trout course on March 8th.
Last Sunday I traveled to Courtlough Fishery in Dublin to tutor the Match the Hatch Course with Ken Whelan. We had 14 participants on the course and Garrett the fishery manager and the staff at Courtlough were very welcoming to everyone. In the morning Ken went through a PowerPoint presentation on the various important species likely to be living in the lake.
We then headed down to the water to for a kick sampling session. Everyone took part and Ken provided the required equipment for the session.
It was great to see all the insect life collected and identified and it proved to be a real ‘eye opener’ for the participants who really enjoyed this aspect of the course, despite the very cold weather.
Next it was time for lunch and we headed back to the bar (yes bar!) for soup and sandwiches. The hot soup was very welcome and again Courtlough set the standard by providing additional sandwiches tea/coffee and biscuits. With full tummies it was time for the afternoon session. This was where I took over and showed everyone a series of imitative fly patterns designed to look and/or move like the insects we found in the lake.
We headed back down to the water and I demonstrated a few fishing techniques for replicating the movement of the naturals. The guys then had time to do some fishing themselves and try to put what they learned into practice. I used two Mackenzie DTX single handed rods for my demo and the boys were keen to get their hands on them. Ken had a go with the 10ft 7wt with a fast intermediate line and a damsel imitation. Within the first few casts he was into a lovely rainbow.
Everyone was very impressed with these rods. A few more fish were caught and as the sun and temperatures dropped it was time to call it a day. The feedback afterwards was really positive and this was most satisfying for Ken and I.
Our next Match the Hatch course will take place in Ratchon Fishery on March 1st. In the meantime I am taking bookings for a Stillwater Tactics course at Ardaire Springs fishery in Mooncoin. For more info click here. As I have recently been appointed to the Mackenzie Pro Team for Ireland I will have a range of single handed rods with me for these courses.
Building on the success of last years fly fishing courses I will be holding a stillwater fly fishing course at the purpose built fly fishing lake, fishing lodge and tackle room at Ardaire Springs Fishery, Mooncoin, Kilkenny on February 15th 2015. This is an ideal course for those new to fly fishing and also for those wanting to improve upon their stillwater fishing techniques. Based on very positive feedback from last year I have decided to maintain the same affordable price of just €60 (including lunch).
The course covers all the standard fishing techniques (lures, wets, nymphs and dries). There will be lots of helpful hints and tips relating to tackle set up and fly selection to help you catch that “big one”.
There will also be time for participants to put some new methods to practice themselves before the day ends. This worked well last year with some participants catching their personal best trout on the day!
In addition to being a Pro Guide and International Federation of Fly Fishers Casting Instructor I have also completed a Child Welfare & Protection in Sport Awareness Training Course and have been Garda Vetted for coaching.
Given the date of this course it would make an ideal Valentines gift for the angler in your life. If you would like to book a place on this course just send me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 087-2965712.