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All blogged out for the day

The wind picked up again in the afternoon and I had some phone calls to make which could not be put off any longer so I failed to make it to the river today. Maybe tomorrow I will wet a line for the first time this year. I’m sure that most of you can empathise with me; there is always something urgent which needs to be taken care of before any ideas of fishing can be turned into reality. I spent a bit of time on wordpress getting to know a bit more about what I can and can’t do here. I suppose that will prove to be time well spent in the future.

St.Patrick’s day is just around the corner, next Tuesday to be exact. Here in Ireland that is an excuse for the over consumption of drink, parades of tractors and dodgy floats in every rural town and general giddiness among the populace.

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For me St. Patrick’s Day marks the true start of the fishing season after a long empty winter. Around this time we gather to ‘tumble’ the angling boats which have been in storage since last October. 8 or so hardy souls gather to lift the boats out of a shed and get them ready to be launched over the coming weeks on loughs across Mayo. Conn, Cullen, Beltra, Mask and Corrib will all be visited and one or more boats safely moored up. This saves us from loading, hauling and unloading a boat every time we want to go fishing and as long as we remember to make a phone call or text to the actual owner of the boat beforehand, you simply borrow someone elses boat for the day. If it so happens that one particular lough is fishing well we sometimes divert a boat from a less productive water to the good one. Cullen for example weeds up after the mayfly so we tend to move that boat off once the fishing tails away and plonk it on Mask or Carra.

tumbling the boats

Of course, all of this pulling and dragging of heavy boats is inclined to leave one with a powerful thirst. Under these circumstances it is highly desirable to deport to a local hostelry after the lifting to perch up on a high stool and enjoy a pint or two.

Now folks, I feel ‘blogged out’ and will sign off.

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Fishing in Ireland

What to use in March?

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Early season mean low water temperatures and not much surface activity so my normal approach to trouting on rivers at this time of year is either upstream nymphing or wet fly fished up/down/across/anyway I can get it in the water. Let’s start with the nymph.

I fish almost exclusively with bead-headed nymphs these days. There are still some other designs in my nymph box but in practice I just grab a gold or copper headed hare’s ear or PT and fish away with that. There may be small variations in the pattern such as different ribs or additional thorax covers but I am much more concerned about the weight of the nymph than the dressing. That means I carry a range of sizes, from 10 down to 16 and also a range of weights. Normal brass beads, tungsten beads and additional weight under the dressing provided by either copper or lead wire mean I can vary the depth I am fishing at to meet the particular piece of water I am fishing. I also carry a lot of them because I tend to lose a lot in trees, bushes and stuck on the bottom.

Leader length is something I play around with a lot when I am nymphing, again I am trying to get to the correct depth for the fish to at least see the fly. I roam over fairly long stretches of the rivers so that means lots of chopping and changing to meet the challenges of each new pool and riffle as I work my way up river. We don’t have any Grayling here in Ireland (unfortunately) so I am concentrating solely on the Brownies. A normal day will see my nymph my way upstream and fishing a wet fly as I retrace my steps heading back downstream to where the car is parked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If I am fishing upstream wet fly I tend to use simple spider patterns like the Partridge & Orange or Black Spider, but when I am fishing down and across i prefer a team of three flies and often include a beaded thorax pattern on the tail (see the Hare’s Ear with a gold bead thorax, above). This gives me the bit of weight which is sometimes required to get down to the trout. Down and across is a lovely way to fish and can be very effective at times, but I find nymphing will generally produce more and better fish than the wet fly this early in the year.

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Even the faithful old Partridge & Orange gets a bit of an uplift from me. All that is required is the addition of a small bronze peacock herl thorax to the fly. I found this idea in a book by Mike Harding and since it sounded good I gave it a lash. Sure enough, peacock herl thorax flies do seem to be more effective. I think this could be due to the hackle being forced out more and thus pulsating more in the current giving a more life-like impression of a struggling nymph. Try it for yourself, it only adds a few seconds to the time required to tie up the fly and any fly dresser worth his or her salt has a stock of peacock herl at hand.

The heavy rain and howling wind outside appear to be abating. Time for a few casts?

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