From Tippet Rings to Onion Rings! – Irish Fly Fair 2015

I spent last weekend in Galway at the Irish Fly Fair.  I didn’t think this Fair could have improved much on last year but I was wrong, Stevie Munn and his team have made it even better!  I’m already looking forward to next years Fair.  It was great to meet up with so many fishing friends.  There were awesome fly dressers including my good pals Denis O’Toole and Bobby Bryans.

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I was really impressed by all the flies on display and the Irish salmon flies of Denny Brennan and Robert Gillespie were fantastic.  Dougie’s pike flies had some fellas drooling from across the aisle. Some of the imitative creations I saw on fly tiers row were so lifelike I’m surprised they didn’t fly away.

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There were plenty retailers present selling all sorts of fly tying materials and items of fishing tackle.  It was great to see the “shiny things” that Rodgers Tackle, Funky Fly tying, AM Angling, Foxy Tails, Premier Angling, and others had on display.  I was out in the next room on the Ballyduff Bridge/Mackenzie DTX stand with Scott Mackenzie and Maurice Cahill and we were right beside our pals from Ardaire Springs, Waterford Fly Fishing and Fortwilliam.

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It is a great tribute to the organising team to see so many fisheries stands at the show and all of the effort that also goes into promoting the sport of fly fishing and encouraging youth into fly fishing.

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Each day Scott did a casting demonstration.

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Ken Whelan and I did talks on seatrout fishing.  I was amazed by the attendance we had at the talks.  A massive thanks to everyone who came along both days.

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I must also mention Brendan who helped out at the talks and was the first person over to me on Saturday asking if I knew of anyone selling tippet rings at the show.  It didn’t take long to solve that problem but we are ALL still trying to solve the puzzle of WHO ATE MAURICE’S ONION RINGS! Any information can be passed on by text, messenger or e-mail and we will forward it to the authorities ASAP!!

WELL DONE TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE SHOW.

 

Sea Trout Course

Last weekend I travelled up to the village of Bunclody, Wexford to meet up with my good friend Ken Whelan to deliver our sea trout course on the magnificent Clohamon beat of the river Slayney.  The first element of this course took place on Saturday afternoon and consisted of detailed information on the sea trout itself(delivered by Ken) and tactics for catching them, particularly at night on the fly (delivered by yours truly).

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Once the classroom presentations were delivered and some excellent questions from the eight participants answered we were joined by another pal of ours and pro fly tyer Denis O’Toole.  Denis tied the flies featured in Kens sea trout book “Nomads of the tides”, and he tied a sea trout tube fly for each of the course participants which they added to the complimentary box of six flies they already had received.

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We then headed over to a local hotel and had a fantastic three course meal.  That really set us up for a few hours night fishing!  From there we went to the fabulous Clohamon beat which had some lovely water and excellent facilities.  Everyone set up their tackle and spread out to their fishing spots assisted by the course delivery team.  The fishing was slow to start but eventually a few nice fish were hooked (and lost) on surface lures and then one of the participants landed a nice finnock.

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At about 2am it was time to finish up and head to our accommodation.  After a substantial breakfast we all met up again on Sunday morning at the Clohamon beat.  I did a demonstration on some daytime tactics including wet fly and streamer fishing.  The participants fished on for a while and some more fish up to about 1.5lbs were hooked.

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We have already received some really positive feedback on the course from the participants.  They were very complimentary of the fishery and the combination of theory and practice in the course and inclusion of the flies and fly tying session. Once again our resident photographer Kuba Standera did an awesome job. Looking forward to our next course already!

Exceptional Salmon Course

On May 17 we held our salmon fishing course on the beautiful Ballincurrig beat of the Ballyduff Salmon Fisheries.  I was joined by Maurice Cahill (Mackenzie Pro) and Denis O’Toole (Pro Fly Tyer).  Our regular top photographer came along to take more amazing photos for my blogs! We met up with the participants at the village of Ballyhooly and then headed over to beat.  We got our waders on and headed off down to the river.

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In the morning I explained some different fishing outfits to the guys, including: spey, switch, skagit and shooting head.  The approach was to simplify the range of available tackle into matching outfits for different fishing situations.

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After this I demonstrated 4 useful spey casts: single spey, double spey, snap-T and snake roll. Maurice explained some likely holding lies and we had a great informal discussion about fly selection and leader set up.  Denis showed the lads different styles of salmon fly and talked about how they would behave in the water – really useful stuff.

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We took a break for lunch and held a raffle for the free Mackenzie Perflex rod which was sponsored by Scott Mackenzie.  The lucky winner was Cal from Bandon.

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Denis did a fly tying demo and tied some cracking intruder flies on tubes.  Then he gave everyone on the course some of his amazing flies to use for the evening. What a nice chap!

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The guys then worked on their casting and everyone saw a good improvement in what they were doing.  A few useful tips and a little confidence made a significant difference.  They fished on and Frank from Dundalk had a short take not long after Damien had seen a fresh fish enter the pool below.

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The course came to a close but it was great to see lots of happy anglers and get some fantastic feedback.  I received several messages after the course which were all very positive.  One participant wrote that: “It was a really great day, exceptional in every detail.  I think the course content, the simple and effective delivery, having the opportunity to get coached on how to cast a double hander and the fly tying demonstration from Denis made the day great value for money. For myself it gave me a greater understanding of what I need to do to enjoy fishing the fly for salmon.”

Masterclass!

Yesterday I traveled up to Cavan with Ken Whelan to deliver our trout match the hatch course on the River Annalee.  On arrival we were met by a very enthusiastic bunch of participants, mostly members from the Bunnoe and Cavan Angling Clubs.

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In the morning classroom session Ken gave a presentation on the insects likely to be encountered in the river and how to identify them.

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I delivered the next session which was choosing suitable imitations and also tackle set up for fishing them.

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After a bite to eat we went to the river and the course participants kick-sampled the river. A fantastic selection of trout food was discovered including cased caddis, caseless caddis, stone clingers, mayfly nymphs, water worms and more! I then demonstrated various fishing techniques and caught a few nice wild trout on nymphs.

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The participants fished the river for a while and put what they learned into practice, catching some nice fish in the process.  It was a superb day on a cracking river spent with some great people.  We will be organising another match the hatch river course for a few weeks time.  In the meantime I have a salmon fishing course organised for the Munster Blackwater on May 17th.  There are still three spaces left on that one.

Match the Hatch – Rivers & Small Streams

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Delighted to be able to announce details of this course with Ken Whelan.  It is going to be really informative for those of you who river fish for wild brown trout.  Are you interested on what these fish are feeding on, and how to imitate these food sources with artificial fly?  If so, then this is the course for you.  It is being held on the River Annalee (in association with the Cavan Anglers Club), Ballyhaise, Co.Cavan on Sunday April 26th. Places are limited so get in touch ASAP if you want to participate.

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“Spoiled for Choice” – South East Lakes Fishing Well

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.

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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.

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There are some serious trout in this lake and the average size of the rainbows was 5 to 6lbs.

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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.

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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.

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Looks like we are spoiled for choice for quality stocked fisheries here in the south east at the moment!

 

 

Lessons Learned

Last Sunday I held our River Trout Fishing Course on the Blackwater River.  I was joined on this course by fellow Mackenzie Pro Team member Maurice Cahill and our ace photographer Kuba Standera.  On the day we met up at Ballyhooly village with all 11 participants for the course.  From there we traveled over to the Ballincurrig beat which was our venue for the course.  Access to the beat was a short walk from where we parked.

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This is one of the nicest stretches of the river I have fished over the years.

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I started off the course with a chat about tackle choice for different fishing techniques and also what might be suitable for small and large rivers in Ireland.  We had a range of Mackenzie rods to use for demonstration from 9ft 5wt to 11ft3 7/8 switch rods.  Maurice did a demo on dry fly fishing and another on wet fly fishing to a captivated audience!  As it was still very early in the season there was little chance of anything on dries but he did get a pull on the wets.

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After this I went through various nymphing tactics from short lining with heavy nymphs to long lining and using French leaders.  Kuba showed everyone a range of “genuine” Polish nymphs and many gasped at the size and weight of some of the flies on display.  I demonstrated some nymphing at medium range but it was obvious that this was not going to be productive with the high cold water.  So I changed over to short line with heavier nymphs.  Everyone was happy to see how the leader was constructed and fished.

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I used an indicator and had a take within a few casts that everyone managed to see.  It was a small trout but it showed how a change in tactics can produce a trout from a spot that appeared fishless shortly before this.

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Once the nymph fishing was explained I then did a demo on streamer fishing.  I used a 10ft 7wt Mackenzie and streamer line for this.  This is an awesome rod that I often use for big lures at stillwaters so fishing a large streamer on a specialist streamer line was no problem.

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One of the things that often happens with streamer fishing is that some really good locations do not allow room for a good backcast so double hauling a large streamer is out of the question.  Roll casting streamers on fast sinking shooting heads is not so easy either!  So I also showed everyone where a switch rod with a compact switch line with a sinking head is really useful here.  I simply spey cast the streamer across using this Kit and the evidence was there for all to see.

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I had one hook up on the streamer during the demo but mentioned to the participants that there was a really good piece of streamer water further up that I was leaving unfished for later.  Cal headed up there after lunch with the Mackenzie outfit and sure enough he had his first ever streamer caught wild brown trout.  Result.  Everyone fished different techniques for the evening and there were hook ups, lost fish and one or two landed on nymphs and wets.

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The weather on the day had started cold but the sun shone for the afternoon and everyone seemed to have a great time.  We took a little group photo in the evening and there were lots of smiling faces.  Our next course on the Blackwater will be a salmon fishing course in May.  There will be tips on casting and fishing, and we also have a top Irish Pro Fly Tyer to tie a few fish catchers!

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Ireland Angling Expo Review

Last week I was in Dublin for the Angling Ireland Expo.  What a great fishing show this was.  There were lots of trade stands at the show with top quality fly fishing gear.  I was good to meet up with old pals from Funky Flytying, AM Angling, Cleeres, and Southside.  Good bargains were to be had from these boys on all sorts of brands from Simms clothing to Snowbee fly lines.  My very good friend Denis was tying beautiful intruder flies at the show and Paula and Andy were doing their magic on saltwater and pike flies.  I was in awe of some of the craftwork on the Outlaw stand (well done Wolly).

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Outlaw Flyfisher Stand

On Saturday and Sunday mornings I gave talks on Matching the Hatch in the lecture theater with my pal Ken Whelan.  The audience was very interested in all things trout, seatrout and seabass. Speaking of seabass it was good to catch up with Jim Clohessy and Henry Gilbey at the show.  I hope we beat the English in the Rugby tomorrow or I will never hear the end of it from Henry!!

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Ken and I preparing to present

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Presenting at the show

When I wasn’t at the lecture theater or having a look around the show I was based at the Mackenzie/Ballyduff Bridge Salmon Fishery Stand.  I put up a little display of salmon tube flies and some imitative trout flies that was well received by the passers by.  Scott Mackenzie had a great display of his range of single and double handed rods which were available to purchase from Ardaire Springs at the show.  He did a great casting demo and also helping out on the stand was the ever reliable Mackenzie Pro Team Member Maurice Cahill.

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Scott Mackenzie

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Ballyduff Bridge/Mackenzie Banners at the stand

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Happy faces on the Ardaire Springs Stand

Of course Scott wasn’t the only one giving a casting demo.  There were also demos by Mads Pedersen, my good pal Stevie Munn and Glenda Powell.  I particularly liked Glenda’s analogy of the trampoline when explaining the double haul.  The show wasn’t all about fly fishing though.  There was plenty on display for the pike, bass and coarse enthusiast.  It was my first time meeting Jan Porter who I had seen on TV with Matt Hayes and I have to say he is a real gentleman.

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Great fly display by Andy and Paula

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Nice intruder tied by Denis

Of course it is the people who attend a show that help to make it a success and there was plenty of them, especially on Saturday.  It was great to meet lot of new people who were interested in the rods and the fishery and of course some old friends too.  I’m looking forward to seeing the photos on Facebook that the Clonmel lads took of the stands on Sunday!!  Of course our main man for photos Kuba was on hand to take lots of pro photos for us.  This guy is really good at what he does.  So, overall it was possibly the best show yet and great credit goes to the Mara Media Team.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

Full House

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:

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Bloodworms:

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Wets:

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And Lures:

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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.

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River Trout Fishing Course (March 8th)

Preparing for the Season Ahead

All roads lead to the Munster Blackwater River, Ballyduff Fishery, Ballyduff Upper, Waterford on Sunday March 8th for our River Trout Fishing Course which focuses on preparing for the coming season.

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Wild brown trout in the river environment can be challenging and very rewarding to fish for.  On this course we cover:

– tackle selection: rods, reels, lines, accessories

DSC08080s (2)–  river dry fly fishing: tackle set up, leader construction, matching the hatch, fishing demonstration

IMGP7866–  river wet fly fishing: tackle set up, leader construction, fly selection, fishing demonstration

DSC08231s– river nymph fishing: tackle set up, leader construction, short line nymphing, long line nymphing, duo or dry/dropper method, fishing with indicators, fishing demonstrations

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– streamer fishing: tackle set up, streamer lines, leader construction, fly selection, fishing demonstration

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I will be joined on this course by fellow Mackenzie Ireland Pro Team Member Maurice Cahill, an experienced guide on the river.

IMGP0153A light lunch of tea/coffee & sandwiches will be included as part of the day.  Course participants can fish for the afternoon for trout on a catch and release basis – a chance to put what you learned into practice!

Facebook-20140514-115731This is a very popular course with a Fee of just €60.  In fact some people have already pre-booked their place.  If you are interested in attending you can contact me:

by e-mail: gamefishingireland@gmail.com

by phone: 087-2965712