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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Blackwater salmon

Recent guided sessions produced some nice spring salmon from the Munster Blackwater river. This season the water levels have been quite high on our local rivers and fly fishing opportunities have been fairly limited. Luckily the weather has been improving and the rivers reached a better if not ideal fly fishing height, particularly in the upper stretches. As a consequence we managed a few very nice salmon.

My guests were using two outfits, one was a 13’7 Mackenzie Atlas rod matched with a Mackenzie Phased Density Shooting Head in Float/Sink 2 and a short leader to a White Francis fly.

The other client used a 15ft Mackenzie FX1 GRAPHENE Rod matched with a Mackenzie Float/S1 shooting head and attached to the business end was a local shrimp fly pattern called Hick’s Bug. The guys were blown away by this kit and when good fish came the were even more impressed.

So some very happy anglers and a nice tackle test was a great result. The river is coming into good order again after the latest flood so fingers crossed for some more action. Tight lines!

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.

Mackenzie FX1 Graphene

The Mackenzie DTX team combined forces with Professor Gary Savage, former Formula One World Team Champion and one of the world’s leading experts in carbon and composites to create what may well be the most advanced fly rod ever made – the FX1 Graphene.

Graphene is a Nobel Prize winning material first discovered at the University of Manchester in 2004.  It is the strongest and stiffest material known to man, up to 300 times stronger than steel, stronger than diamond, and 30 times stronger than Kevlar! Graphene has recently been used by Head for their tennis rackets.  These rackets are now used used by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.  See the YouTube clip here.

The Science Bit!

Graphene is incorporated in the FX1 rod in the form of multi-walled carbon nanotubes – 1 atom thick sheets of hexagonally bonded carbon formed into tubes and added to a state of the art resin. Being 32 times stiffer than steel per unit mass. The sub-microscopic cylinders of carbon on a weight-for-weight basis are at least 120, and up to 300 times stronger than steel and 30 times stronger than Kevlar!

Single walled Graphene Nanotube                     Multi walled Graphene Nanotube

Approximately 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, Graphene nanotubes can stretch considerably rather like plasticine before breaking, up to 14 percent of their normal length. Their aspect ratio (length/diameter) can be up to 130,000,000:1. To illustrate this, if we think of a carbon nanotube as a piece of spaghetti (typically 2mm in diameter) then, at this scale, the tube would be 66km long!

Unique Manufacturing Process

As well as being the first rod to incorporate Graphene, the blanks are produced using a further unique process where the blanks are cured inside a high pressure autoclave, a machine normally used to make parts for the F1 motor racing and aerospace industries. This extra process removes as much air as possible from between the carbon layers in the blank as it is cured, air that would normally remain trapped during the normal rod making process, creating a much stronger blank.

Quality

Mackenzie FX1 rods are made in the UK, and feature the very best craftsmanship and fitting:

  • Top grade Portuguese cork handles
  • Fuji SiC stripper rings with an ultra hard, ultra smooth, silicon carbide coating that will never wear
  • Titanium recoil snake guides that spring back into shape if knocked or bent
  • Unique custom made ALPS down locking reel seat
  • self healing PTFE silicon coating meaning any scratches can simply be rubbed smooth

Fishing

Incorporating a weave of this new Graphene nanotube material the FX1 rod flexes deeply during the cast and recovers quickly and powerfully. This fast recovery makes it easier to cast further with little effort, yet retains the ‘feel’ that is so important in a Salmon fly rod. The rods have been designed to handle all types of lines, from longer traditional Spey lines to short Scandi and Skagit style shooting-heads.

The new FX1 rods will be available to try at the Ardaire Springs Fishery open day in April (details to be announced soon).

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!

Imitative Approach

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Mackenzie Pro Team!!!

I am absolutely thrilled to officially announce that I am now the newest member of the Mackenzie Pro Team.  They say a picture says a thousand words and if you ask me the rods in the photo below are all smiling from ear to ear!!

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I met Scott Mackezie some years ago when he visited Ireland and we got on really well.  We stayed in contact through social media etc from then on and I watched closely as he developed his range of DTX rods.  At the same time I was developing my guiding business and expanding on the range of casting clinics and fishing courses I deliver annually.  Towards the end of last year I tried his double handed rods when my good pal and buddy Maurice Cahill was using them.  As expected from a rod designed by a multiple world champion spey caster these rods were top class.  This year I have used the single handed rods several times and they really are exceptional.

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The old adage ‘there’s no I in team’ applies as these guys are real TEAM players which makes everything so much easier.  I am looking forward to working closely with Scott and fellow Pro Team Member Maurice for the future.

Thanks guys!