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.”

FANTASTIC FLY FISHING

The other day I was guiding Kyle from the USA.  We were planning on a days salmon fishing but due to all the recent rain the river was out so we switched to plan B – lake trout on the Waterford Reservoirs.  The forecast was simply dreadful.  Strong north east winds and persistent heavy rain.  However, I was undeterred as after years of experience I knew we would have shelter from the wind in Knockaderry lake and there had been a good buzzer hatch there lately.  So off we went in search of some hard fighting trout.  Despite the weather we had a good start with Kyle nailing a decent rainbow early on.  The fight from that rainbow was exceptional, even on the powerful 10ft 7wt Mackenzie rod.

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It was nice to hear Kyle comment on the fantastic quality of the trout as he has fished in many places.  Next on the list was to try catch a brown and the one Kyle caught was a lovely fully finned fish too.

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We searched around the lake and had some more really good rainbows.

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The rain was so bad at times that it made taking good photos out of the question but I just had to get a shot of this belter.

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Kyle finished his day having caught and released eight trout, although not all of them were monsters.

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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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Dutch Gold

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

First Wild Brown Trout of 2015

My pal Kuba and I decided to try for some wild Munster Blackwater River brown trout.  I knew from a contact of mine that the river was in good order with just a slight stain.  Our venue was the absolutely beautiful although short Flower Hill Beat below Ballyduff.

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This is always a good early season trout beat and has some really nice streamer water.  I fished with an 11ft 5/6 Mackenzie Switch rod as the extra length might prove advantageous on this stretch at this time of year.

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When we arrived at the Beat Kuba was delighted to see that we had only a very short walk from the car to the riverbank.  We started at the top of the beat and worked our way down along the bank, wading one short part which has a lovely gravel bottom.  We even spotted a salmon break the surface as we walked along.

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The trout seemed to be holding in the slower water and I managed to get a few hits before managing to hook up and lose a fish or two. I changed fly and this worked a treat as the next three trout all stayed on.  No monsters but they were very welcome.

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Unfortunately a lot of debris started to float down the river, probably due to a rise in water height.  This was making fishing a little awkward and as we had enjoyed the session enough we decided to finish up and come back another day for a proper try.

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It was good fun and although Kuba didn’t fish much he enjoyed photographing the beat (including this awesome fallen tree) and I know he is really keen to get back there to fish for these trout.

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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