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.

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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.

The Year Ahead – Cautious Optimism!

First off, it’s been a while since I have had blogged about anything fishy but I decided to take a little break after a fairly hectic end to the 2016 season.  I didn’t do a whole lot over the closed season except tie a few flies including some intruder style flies for my pal Ned for his trips to Canada.  One of these years I will join up with them as the whole experience seems mega.

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September 2016 was a bit of a scramble with the river trout and salmon seasons coming to an end combined with some fantastic bass fishing tides!  The weather was good and the bass fishing continued to provide decent sport right through November.

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I didn’t do anything like as much winter reservoir fishing as I have done in previous seasons and 2017 kind of crept up on me and before I knew it I was off to Dublin for the Ireland Angling Expo in February.  This is always a great event and this year was no exception although if anything there was more for the predator (bass/pike) angler to see than some previous years.  There was still a lot there for the trout and salmon angler too with top brands like Simms, Redington, Mackenzie, Airflo, Nautilus, Hardy/Greys etc etc all on display.  The attendance at my talks each day was brilliant and as always it was epic to meet up with the Mackenzie Pros and all of the various people who make the show tick in one way or another.  I always say this show is much much more than just tackle sales.

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March is now upon us and things are already starting to get busy.  I have been out giving tuition and guiding and later this month I have two stillwater courses running, a Match the Hatch course in Wicklow with Ken Whelan and a Stillwater Tactics course at Ardaire Springs in Mooncoin.  In the meantime I am putting a lot of effort into testing the absolutely awesome prototype for the new 10ft 6wt Mackenzie FX1 Graphene single handed rod.  So far the results have been superb.  It casts really well and everyone who tried it at the show in Dublin gave great feedback.  Trials have indicated that this will be a great buzzer/nymph rod that can also be used for some dry fly and small lure fishing if needs be.  I am enjoying the testing so much with this weapon that it will take another while before Scott will be getting it back!!!!

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So everything is looking great so far for 2017.  While some salmon rivers in Ireland had a disastrous start the Munster Blackwater seems to be performing quite well.  The quality of trout in Ardaire and the Waterford Reservoirs is excellent.  Initial reports on the river trout fishing in the Blackwater and surrounding rivers that are already open suggest that fish are in excellent condition.  With lots more courses running during the year including our new Saltwater Fishing Course in June and the North West Angling Fair in Strabane in April not too far away it is difficult not to be positive.

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However, in spite of this optimism it is still early in the year to get carried away as to what the salmon season here will produce.  The same can be said as regards sea bass. It will be interesting to see the effect of current conservation measures over a long period of time. Many rivers in Ireland are now classed as ‘closed’.  This seems to be causing great confusion as to whether an angler can still fish them for brown trout and indeed sea trout under 40cm.  Factor in the complete confusion as to what the rules are about fishing for sea trout in saltwater and you have something of a Gordian Knot.  More on this to follow in my next blog (not to be missed)!!!!

“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!

 

 

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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Taking the Mick!

My pal Mick had heard we had been putting the Mackenzie DTX single handed 10ft 7wt through its paces over at Ardaire Springs recently so he decided to have a go there himself.  Having fished the lower Suir for years Mick was very familiar with the Mackenzie Spey Rods but had not yet tried any of the single handed rods.

The average trout at Ardaore is a very good size and there are plenty rainbow trout in the 4lb to 6lbs range.

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These are broad well finned hard fighting rainbows that can really test your tackle.

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Mick is a very good angler and has a habit of catching decent fish so it came as no surprise to me that he managed one of the even larger rainbows in the fishery although this one just fell short of being a double.

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After a quick photo the trout was safely released.

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When I asked Mick to sum up his trial of the rod he used just two words “top class”!

 

 

 

Des & the DTX

A local chap Des who normally river fishes was keen to have a go at lake fishing during the closed season on rivers.  I arranged with him to go over to local fishery Ardaire Springs to try some bank fishing for a few hours.  Des started off with his own 9ft 5wt rod and although he is a very capable caster it was something of a struggle in the strong wind on the day.  However, he did manage a fish or two on a dead drifted bloodworm pattern in a sheltered corner.

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I suggested to Des to try fishing deeper with a lure on a DI5 line. As he only had his 5wt with him I gave him the use of a Mackenzie DTX G2 10ft 7wt Rod that I am trying out at present.    I tried this rod myself at a local reservoir recently and I am already a massive fan.  That said, I was keen to see how Des would get on with it too.  After a cast or two Des was impressed with the ease with which the rod cast a long line into a strong wind.  In no time at all he was comfortable with the rod and caught fish to boot

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In fact, fishery manager Ned came out for a look and couldn’t resist a few casts with it too.  It was a good sign when Ned asked if I could bring it over again soon so that he could spend more time casting with it!!

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Des caught his largest trout to date shortly after that while using the DTX.  A lovely conditioned rainbow trout of about 6lbs.

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Well done Des – your hooked now!   Designed by 3 times world spey casting champion Scott Mackenzie, the DTX 10ft 7wt is a superb rod and I would happily recommend one for reservoir fishing.  To find out more about the DTX range of single handed rods click here.