Fishing Update

Been too busy lately to blog but here’s a quick update on how the fishing has been. We have had a few salmon on the Munster Blackwater from the Ballyduff Bridge Beats with Brendan O Dwyer having 4 grilse on fly yesterday at Ballincurrig and Tony Murtagh having another at Ballyduff Bridge.  Most of my guiding in the past week has been for bass and things are improving here with some nice fish from these tides.  Tight lines!

Cracker for Mark from Dublin

Cracker for Mark from Dublin

One on fly from the boat for Kuba

One from the boat for Kuba

 

 

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.”

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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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!

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.

River Drowes Salmon Fly Fishing Weekend Course

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Venue: Drowes Salmon Fishery (http://www.drowessalmonfishery.com/)

River Drowes

River Drowes

Date:  Saturday April 5th & Sunday April 6th 2014 (includes overnight stay on Saturday night!)

Price: Only €180 per person which includes accomodation at the Drowes Salmon Fishery on Saturday night. (Special course rate of €160 per person for groups of 3 or more!) Deposit of €80 per person applies.

Course Details:

Salmon fly fishing tuition on Saturday with pro guides – casting, demos and instruction.   Fly tying demos and advice from a pro team tyer.  Overnight stay on Saturday night included in the course fee.  Free fishing for all course participants on Sunday.  Places are limited so book early.

Course Instructors:

Jason O’Riordan (Pro Guide, IFFF Casting Instructor).

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Jason O’Riordan

Jason is a pro guide with Premier Angling Supplies and guides on the Munster Blackwater and River Suir for salmon.  He is a qualified IFFF Casting instructor and regularly gives talks on salmon fishing at Ireland’s leading angling shows.   His website is: https://gamefishingireland.ie/

Maurice Cahill (Mackenzie Pro Team)

Maurice Cahill

Maurice Cahill

Maurice is a well respected guide on the Munster Blackwater River where he guides at the Ballyduff Bridge Fishery.  This year Maurice was appointed to the Mackenzie Pro Team for Ireland.  Maurice will have several Mackenzie demo outfits with him for the weekend including shooting head and switch rods.

Denis O’Toole ( Fly Tying Ace)

Denis O Toole with some of his templedog style salmon tubes

Denis O Toole

Denis recently joined the AM Angling “Ace” Team of pro tyers.  He is a superb tyer and is well known for his excellent salmon tube flies.  You may have seen Denis tying on the Drowes stand at various angling shows in Ireland such as the Irish Fly Fair (Galway) and Ireland Angling Expo (Dublin).

Contact/Booking:

Shane (Drowes Fishery)

Mail: drowesfishery@gmail.com

Tel: +353 (0) 71 98 41055
Mob: +353 (0) 87 80 50806