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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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!

DSC00565s - Copy

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.


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

pupa rach

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

Releasing John's brute

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




Fine Weather & Fine Fish

The dry summer has continued into August in the South East with high temperatures and little rain.  This fine weather is great for the beach etc but can make for some very tough fishing conditions . . . . tough but not impossible.  On the trout front the rivers have been down to their bones.  Still there was a rise in the evenings and this also included a rise of seatrout, particularly on the Munster Blackwater.  The opportunity to catch seatrout on light tippet and small dries was not to be missed and casting pupil Peter and I had some superb fishing.

Blackwater Seatrout

Blackwater Seatrout

Lovely Wild Brown trout

Lovely Wild Brown trout

Most of our productive bass fishing had been by night using soft plastics but the tides were springing this week and the brisk wind from the land was making a nice disturbance on the water.  This allowed for some decent lure fishing during the evenings.

Bass over 50cm

Bass over 50cm

Soft plastics continued to work well fooling some fine sea bass.

Bass over 60cm

Bass over 60cm

Salmon fishing had been really difficult.  A few fish were laded in the lower Suir on fly in the early mornings but it was very difficult.  The Blackwater was a similar story.  Regular visitor Brian had one nice 10lbr on spinning tackle from the tidal waters but nothing on fly on this occasion.

10lb salmon

10lb salmon

The Suir rose by 1ft on Sunday which gives very good salmon fly fishing prospects in the lower river for the coming days.

Streamer Screamer!

Regular client Willie was in contact with me lately to do some fishing as he had bought a new Sage reel for a 5wt.  We have had a lot of rain recently and this has meant a rise in water levels and some colouring of the waters.

spate water

spate water

However as water clears this can be a great time to target large predatory browns.

clearing out

clearing out

The chosen method – streamers.  Remember that you need a specialist streamer line to fish these effectively.  Willie got his from Pat at Premier Angling Supplies in Nenagh.  Anyway, as is often the case when teaching an old Sage new tricks Willie was a bit skeptical about streamer fishing.  However when his new reel started to scream, he changed his views.  Another large brown for us this season . . . they just keep on coming



This one came from very slow deep water. Handle with care and release safely!

spotty fella

spotty fella


Festival Fishing

I was delighted to be asked to some fly tying and trout fishing demos at the Clancy Brothers Festival in Carrick on Suir today. There was lots going on and a fair old crowd about enjoying the mild weather. My good friend Kuba came along and as usual took some cracking photos.

marching band

marching band

I spent the first hour and a half tying flies, concentrating on salmon and seatrout flies.

Fly tying

Fly tying

A few of the local fly fishermen dropped by and asked lots of interesting questions. It was great to get some nice comments on the flies on display.


Next on the agenda was a wild trout fly fishing demo. The weather was fairly bright and I knew the town waters would be very heavily fished by local fly anglers and those expert Carrick bubble & fly men.  Catching wild trout here could prove tricky and there was also a very stiff downstream wind that was going to make nymphing difficult, but not impossible. I set up a nymph duo rig under an indicator and I must have got the depth just right because I managed 3 trout in the first three casts.. . . . Result!


fish on

fish on

They weren’t very large trout but welcome all the same. I’m always impressed by the beauty of these Wild Suir trout.  The highlight of the evening for me was the great interest shown by the local people, especially the kids, when they saw me catching those trout. I managed 6 nice wee trout in a very short space of time proving once more how fantastic the river Suir really is.  A big thanks to the organisers and everyone who dropped by to the fly tying area and fishing demo. Looking forward to next year already.

2 festival flies!

2 festival flies!

For more info on the festival click here.

Bassing it up this weekend

Went bass fishing with Mike yesterday and we had a great session.  We started off with weighted soft plastics in about 25ft of water.  I had a few on a worm in a deep channel on the coming tide.

2013-08-18 17.09.38

We moved about a bit at high tide and Mike had a few beauties on a Feed Shallow plug and I smashed a few on a IMA Hound.

2013-08-18 17.10.56

Just before we finished up Mike had another on the Feed and I nailed a smaller but pretty fish on an IMA Sasuke.

2013-08-18 17.48.30