All about the bass, about the bass!

Been very busy with guiding and tuition since I got back from the Northwest Angling Fair in Tyrone. At the Clancy festival in Carrick on Suir I did some casting demonstrations and tuition on the local Carrick on Suir Club waters.  This is a super club who are very interested in promoting fly fishing and have worked hard to provide fantastic facilities of members and day permit holders.  They have a really impressive stretch of water along the River Suir.

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The daytime trout fishing has been tough in the bright warm conditions but we still had lots of fish on nymphs and dries but no really big ones.  Having said that wild brown trout certainly don’t have to be big to be pretty fish.  Just look at the beauty we had from a local stream the other day.  Remarkable colours.

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On the other hand the bass fishing along the copper coast and into Tramore has been awesome over the last set of spring tides.  There were large numbers of fish caught in the Tramore area during night sessions.  When the weather is very warm and sea is calm night fishing over shallow sandy surf beaches can be very productive indeed.  However, as a fishing guide a lot of my clients either cannot or just do not want to fish during those hours so I am faced with trying to get them onto fish in daylight during the same conditions.  This means trying a lot of tactics but the big tides do help quite a bit and we had some fantastic bass recently, with several over 70cm and one over 80cm.

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Adapting to the fishing situation is important and we had fish on surface lures, shallow divers and in particularly the soft plastics.  Senko worms are really doing the business along with some paddle tails.

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The next spring tides are not far away so I’m really looking forward to getting out there.  Remember the be familiar with the bass angling regulations and practice catch and release.

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North West Angling Fair

On Friday evening I made the long journey from Waterford up to Strabane, Co. Tyrone to the North West Angling Fair.  This was a new event on the Irish fishing fairs calendar so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew there were some really good people involved in the organising of it so I was quietly confident it would be a good one.  It was late enough when I arrived and got checked in to the Fir Trees Hotel where I was joined by my good friend Dr. Ken Whelan who was going to be giving a series of talks with me at the fair.  On Saturday morning Ken and I went down early to the Melvin Complex which was the venue for the show.

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Everyone was busy setting up their stands and it was great to meet a few familiar faces on fly tyers row and the trade stands.

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My good friend Shane Rodgers from Rodgers Tackle was there with his fly tying materials and Brendan Winters has a fantastic range of fishing tackle.  Declan Tuffy, Stevie Moates, Roy Christie, Brian Finaly, Peter O’Reilly and many more were tying all sorts of wonderful flies.

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I also saw some very informative stands manned by the Loughs Agency people.Outside there was lots of free tuition for beginners and especially youngsters.

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The river was only a stones throw (and I mean this!!) from the venue and there were casters giving demonstrations down there including my good pals from Mackenzie, namely Scott Mackenzie and Andrew Toft.  It was great to catch up with these guys at the fair.

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The atmosphere at the fair was great with lots going on including the talks in the lecture room.  Ken and I gave talks on Saturday on Seatrout fishing which were really well attended and we had lots of interest at our stand area in our courses and people were getting Ken to sign his book Nomads of the Tides.

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After the fair closed, I nipped down to the river with Brian and Ken and spotted some nice wild browns rising.  I tackled up with a dry olive pattern of mine and waded out.  I managed to land 7 lovely trout in less than an hour and lost a few more including two about 1.5lbs.  It was somewhat inevitable when I was trying to get them back across the current to the guys on the shore to get a photo.  We did manage one nice video clip of a fish approximately .75lbs going back.

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On Saturday night we had an excellent dinner at the hotel and chatted with some of the other contributors to the show over a pint of beer.  It was clear that they really enjoyed the fair and were keen to see it continue into the future.  It was more of the same on Sunday and again our salmon talks went really well.  We were followed in lecture room by Stevie Munn who was talking about Dollaghan fishing.  I didn’t mind the journey back on Sunday evening because the buzz of the fair was still there and the weather was great.  This fair has great potential into the future and the organisers did a fantastic job for their first attempt.  They deserve all the credit that goes their way.

Fantastic Fishing Courses for 2016

My good friend Ken Whelan and I have teamed up again for 2016 to run a variety of fantastic fishing courses.  These courses are aimed at beginners and improvers.  There will be courses on salmon fishing, matching the hatch for river trout, and day/night fishing for seatrout.  After the success of last years courses for trout and seatrout we are delighted to add the salmon course for 2016. (Click on any of the images below for more details).

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The venues for this year are really great.  The Salmon course takes place over the course of a full weekend on the River Erriff (in conjunction with Delphi Resort) and there is some top class accommodation available as part of the whole package.  Participants will stay at the wonderful Aashleagh lodge and meals are also included.

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We had a lot of interest in the river trout match the hatch course last year and so this year we are holding the course in Leixlip on the River Rye.  I always feel that this is a great value for money course for anyone into trout fly fishing.

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The feedback on our sea trout course last year was tremendous and we are delighted to once again have access to the famed Clohamon beat of the River Slayney.  July should be a great time for sea trout and this course is unique in Ireland catering for both day time and night time sea trout fishing techniques.  I have fished for these trout since I was a boy and Ken has written a book on the species!  It’s going to be another cracker!

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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.