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The Jury’s out

The way this coming season is shaping up I will in all probability do a bit of rainbow trout fishing. Living in the Midlands during weekdays will severely curtail my normal boat fishing for wild browns but there are a couple of rainbow put-and-take fisheries close by to keep me occupied. The last couple of […]

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New reel

In a sort of celebration of my new job I have splashed out on a reel. Not one of my usual second hand ‘projects’ that require refurbishment but an actual new one. The idea had been running around inside my head for a while now but I had yet to do anything concrete about it. […]

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All change

I don’t like January. The weather is usually awful and there is little to no fishing. This January is shaping up to be like the others, making for a depressing few weeks. Ireland has been on the receiving end of near perpetual rain after that cold spell before Christmas, leaving us squelching through puddles and […]

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The Whisky Fly

Rainbow trout were exotic arrivals to the fishing scene around Aberdeen when I was but a lad. The ADAA stocked some in the Loch of Loriston just to the south of the city and I cut my teeth on rainbow fishing there. My boxes of dry Greenwells and other size 16 flies failed miserably to […]

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2022

A strange year in many ways, 2022 will not go down in the annals as one of my finest when it comes to angling. I strongly suspect it may have been the same for many of you judging by the feedback I get to this blog. For the first season in many, many years I […]

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Euro-nymphing

Let me start out by saying I am no expert on Euro-nymphing. I do a little bit on my local rivers and catch a few trout alright but I am not one of these lads who can almost empty a river at one go. I use the method sparingly and often only when other methods […]

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At it again

The drive back to my digs along slippery back roads took me way longer than normal and I’m tired by the time I have eaten, showered and am tucked up in bed. My laptop bursts into life and I catch up on emails before my attention is turned to all matters fly tying. Outside the […]

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The Ke-He

Apologies for the recent lack of posts here, I am very busy at work and weekends are spent catching up on stuff, leaving no time for angling. A sad state of affairs I know but a small crumb of comfort is the evenings away from home usually present me with a little time to tie […]

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Skin in the game

The cock pheasant is such a handy bird for us fly tyers. We are all familiar with the tail feathers but this handsome chap provides a host of others we can use too. While it is easy to buy packets of the different feathers purchasing a complete skin gives you access to a range of […]

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the great clearout

I blame the mayfly. In late spring each year anglers flock to the west of Ireland to fish the mayfly hatch and I am out most days acting as Ghillie to some of them. It is massively important to me that my charges enjoy the experience of a day on the lough and so I […]

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Brown thing

Many years ago, soon after I pitched up in Ireland in fact, I began tying some of my favourite Scottish patterns but adapting them to Irish styles such as Bumbles and dabblers. Some of these worked well but others were frankly useless. Exactly why this should be is not obvious but there you are, that […]

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Back at the ditch

Irish canals are not on the whole held in high regard by anglers. Often referred to as ‘that ditch’, the Royal canal is the only option for me these days so I take a slightly more pragmatic view of it. The canal traverses the Irish midlands in long straight lines interspersed with odd turns, presumably […]

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Therapy

I was worn out, emotionally drained if you like. Thursday was a day of meetings and stress. OK so it wasn’t like I was being beaten up by a Tory whip (like some) but never-the-less I felt tired and needed to relax. I’d go fishing! Now this was sort-of pre-planned but the plans fell asunder […]

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Finding gold

In this world which appears to be hurtling toward oblivion, any small success feels disproportionally satisfying to me. Saturday was a day of many small successes including the discovery of long lost treasure. Working away from home again has meant dropping back into a rigid cycle of mental highs and lows. That alarm going off […]

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Just down the road

It turned out I was a little hasty in my summation there was no fishing near my new employers factory. For a start, the little drainage ditch I could barely make out at the bottom of an adjacent field turned out to be the river Brosna. Formally a wonderful game fishery full of trout and […]

Read More Just down the road
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Make mine a double

Working away from home is a bit of a mixed bag. The downsides are obvious but there are a few pluses too if you try hard enough. My weekly routine now consists of early starts and a long drive to work on a Monday morning, stay in digs until Friday then drive home that afternoon. […]

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HP’s

So here I am sat at the vice tonight whipping up a few small Butchers. The normal silver ones, some Bloody Butchers and a few Irish Golden Olive Butchers. A pair of mallard wings were providing me with the lovely blues to make the wings and I was churning the flies out in good style. […]

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Green Bumble

I am busy filling up the fly boxes again and found no trace of an old pattern I used to love fishing, my Green Bumble. Very simple and yet surprisingly effective, I sat down and made a few so here is the pattern for you: Hook: normally a size 10 or 12 wet fly hook. […]

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Season’s end

Life gets in the way of so much, doesn’t it? One minute I was happily cruising along when an innocuous phone call turned everything upside down. The fishing has been forgotten about since then, not that I have been missing anything. No wind or rain has meany dreadful conditions for game fishing. Like me, the […]

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Pontoon bridge

For those unfamiliar with the area around here let me explain about Pontoon bridge. When the level in lough Conn was lowered many years ago a cut was blasted to join up loughs Conn and Cullin. A fine bridge spans that cut and it is a very popular spot for salmon fishers who gather there […]

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Meelick

So I found myself in the midlands yesterday and decided to have a quick look at the river Shannon. I did not have much time, just a couple of hours, but as I was within striking distance of the river I thought it was worth a look. I picked up some maggots in Tullamore and […]

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Cartographic Reminiscences

No fishing today, there is just too much to do around the house. So we slog away at tidying the garden and making some changes to the sitting room. Helen has some lovely drawings which we frame and mount of the walls and that got me thinking about a couple of cardboard tubes containing posters […]

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Exotics

Long, long ago when I was learning to tie flies as a young fella back in Aberdeen I fell under the enchantment of the traditional salmon fly’s siren call. So I spent time and treasure on creating some of those gems from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, along the way learning how to make built […]

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Saturday afternoon

With a free afternoon yesterday I decided to try my luck fishing Cloondroon lough just across the county border in Galway. A survey of the two plastic bait boxes in the fridge revealed some healthy worms in one but the maggots from last week in the other one were not in great shape. Most had […]

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Time and Tied

I need a wee project on the go to give me a bit of focus. With the end of the ’32’ I had to dream up something else to keep this over active mind of mine occupied. It is not as if I don’t have plenty of other things to stop me from hanging around […]

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Busy morning in Sligo

‘Showers, heavy at times, clearing to the east in the afternoon’. That is what the forecast said so I looked out my waterproofs and stowed them in the car. A planned sea fishing trip had to be called off due to high winds on Saturday so I was mad keen to get out and do […]

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The 32 project in summary

Now it is over I have taken the time to review and tabulate the results of my 32 counties project. As with all statistics the truth is mangled and twisted but here is how it all ended according to my spreadsheets. I would like to be able to state that each trip was carefully considered […]

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32 – Episode 32, Donegal

Thirty one done, only one to go. Donegal was in my crosshairs as for the last time I would take to Eire’s highways and byways on my wee project. The rugged lands of the far north west of Ireland have captured the hearts and minds of many who have traveled there. This is picture postcard […]

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Fishing from the shore

When we think about fly fishing the Irish loughs our minds immediately leap to lough style from drifting boats and indeed this is the usual and often highly productive approach for most of us. Sometimes though fishing from the shore is necessary or desirable so I thought I’d take a look at that topic today. […]

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32 – Episode 31, Limerick

Here’s the craic, Limerick (along with Louth) kept slipping down my list of counties to fish for the better part of two years. My research kept coming up short on options for both of these counties so I put them on the long finger for ages. Louth was completed some time ago though, so it […]

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32 – Episode 30, Wicklow

Hearing the name Wicklow always conjures up visions of the mountains for me. Rising like some mythical protector of the land, the Wicklow mountains guard the southern approaches to the capital, proud and ancient. These hills and glens are thronged with people every weekend as they escape the city for rest and relaxation – walking, […]

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32 – Episode 29, Waterford

Was there an element of exhaustion creeping in? A mental as well as physical tiredness seemed to be growing on me of late. The finishing line is so close but it felt like it would take a herculean effort to complete the next county on my ’32’ list. A second dose of Covid didn’t help […]

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Fly reel design

When you think about it the design of our fly reels is very simple. A spool revolves around a central spindle and is enclosed in a close fitting cage, the whole being provided with a foot for fixing it the the rod. Why then do we need modern reels which cost the same as two […]

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Coming short

Disclaimer – I do have the answer to this problem but I will give you my thoughts anyway. Also be aware I am going to ramble on a bit (as is my want) because this is a big topic to cover. It is pleasantly warm here in the west of Ireland this morning, a nice […]

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In the bag

I was out of action for a couple of days and with time on my hands I took the opportunity to have a mid-season tidy up of my fishing gear. Sorting out that old chest pack the other day had got me thinking about the other bags I lug around. For many of us the […]

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Thinking small

I can hear her words today just as clearly as when she said them to me. Mrs Collier was my teacher at primary school, a lovely woman who doted on her charges but stood for no nonsense. What with eight year old me being a bit of a tearaway there were frequent clashes between me […]

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32 – Episode 28, Tipperary

Swift and Suir Confession time, I love Excel. I have relied on it for years at work and all that ‘right click in the box’ has spilled over into my fishing, helping me to keep track of plans, trips and records of catches. Updating the 32 project master spreadsheet on my laptop one evening I […]

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Housekeeping

Hi everyone. There has been a lot going on recently and some major changes are afoot in my life, not all of which are crystal clear just yet. Anyway, I am taking the opportunity to do some housekeeping on this site and wanted to give you a heads-up. WordPress is easy to use and while […]

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Customising an old chest pack

This little project was driven by sheer frustration. I always have a small zinger clipped on my fishing jackets and waistcoats so I have a pair of clippers or scissors at hand but lately I have developed a nasty habit of pinging them off at every opportunity. I don’t know if this is just yet […]

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End of June

It has been a very hard few days, a lot of ‘stuff’ has been going on, things which have drained me to the point of exhaustion. I needed some time to myself so I made the effort to take my old boat out for a couple of hours on lough Conn. Heavy rain over the […]

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Change of scene

For the past few weeks I have been out chasing trout on the big lakes, either fishing myself or boating other anglers. Today I decided it was time for a change of scene. After sorting out a couple of tasks at home I headed off for lovely Leitrim to try my luck on a small […]

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Mixing dubbing

Disclaimer – I am not an expert on mixing dubbing materials. I do occasionally use dubbings straight out of the packet but to be honest that is pretty rare. Instead, I almost always add something else to the fur. In my head this adds ‘life’ to otherwise flat colours. Whether the fish appreciate my efforts […]

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32 – Episode 27, Kerry

6th June, D-day. I was stood up to my knees in Lough Bofinna in county Cork trying to decide what to do when it occurred to me that Kerry was not so terribly far away. There is a stocked lough called Barfinnihy which lies high up in the hills on the ring of Kerry, very […]

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32 – Episode 26, Cork

Lough Bofinna. I have no rational explanation why this secluded little lake sang to me but as soon as I read about it I decided I simply had to fish it. Cork is a big county with countless opportunities to fish so quite how my brain fixed on this far off lough will for ever […]

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The war on waste

This post will no doubt confirm your worst suspicions about me, that I am obsessed with waste. Fly tying, by its very nature is a wasteful process, we spend hours clipping and cutting then disposing of the waste in the bin. Some of this is necessary but we can reuse some of the bits we […]

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Black goldhead

I realise most of you already have this fly or something very similar in your box but for the sake of completeness here is the one I use. It has a lot going for it, easy and quick to tie, cheap and easily available materials and, most importantly of all, a proven fish catcher. Stockies, […]

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The International Dabbler

A very popular fly over here, this variation on the dabbler theme has been working well of late on lough Mask. You can find the pattern easily online but here is my take on the fly. Apologies for the flies in the accompanying photos, they have been well chewed by the trout and I have […]

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32 – Episode 25, Tyrone

Slap bang in the middle of Ulster lies the old kingdom of Tir O’ne, modern day Tyrone, the largest of the Northern Ireland counties. The O’Neill clan ruled these lands until the flight of the Earls in 1607, marking the end of Gaelic lordship in Ireland. This is archetypal Northern Ireland countryside with neat, well-tended […]

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