Fishing in Ireland

First casts

The morning drifted past today with no chance of sneaking off to the river, but after lunch I grabbed the chance to fish for an hour on the River Robe. The weather was horribly bright but the river was running at a good level and colour after recent showers. It was after 3pm before I was on the water, too late for any serious thoughts of seeing a hatch of flies so this was always going to be a reconnaissance mission rather than a major fish catching session.

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I set up with a Hear’s ear goldhead  and fished upstream through a couple of pools without a touch. A sprinkling of small duns in the air suggested I had missed a hatch earlier in the day. Onwards and upwards though and I made my way upstream.

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A change to wet fly was called for so on went a Partridge and Orange on the dropper and a beaded Hares Ear on the tail. The flies fished nicely through the pool but again, there was no interest from the trout. It was very bright indeed so I was not too disappointed at the lack of success and was just enjoying being out on a day like this.

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The next pool upriver is deep and slow with trees overhanging along one bank. It usually holds a few big fish but with no hatch and blazing sunshine I decided to give it a miss this time. A tramp over a couple of fields brought me to a lovely run which has always been good to me in the past.

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Casting around the clock to search through the little pockets of water between bushes and then working the flies down and across eventually resulted in a soft take. It was obviously a small fish but I took my time in getting him to hand as I didn’t want to lose the first fish of the season. Sure enough it rolled on the surface and was lifted out for a quick photo before being released back to the stream. He had taken the hare’s ear and was nipped in the very front of the mouth. Only around 8 inches it was still a welcome start to the new season for me.

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I fished on down for a few more yards but there was no further action so I headed back to the car and the drive home. OK so it was hardly and action packed afternoon but it was good to be out in the fresh air again after a long winter.

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

The Snowdrop

It is freezing outside this morning, a heavy frost overnight has given way to a bright cold morning here in Castlebar. Car windscreens are being scraped and morning travel news is full of warning to take care on slippery roads. A trip to the river is in my plans for today but I am in no rush to get to the banks of the Robe, the water needs to warm up a bit before it will be worth a cast.

I want to share a useful pattern with you today, one which has a short period of use limited to the first few weeks of the season. Appropriately enough it is called the Snowdrop.

Snowdrop

Here is a fly which is a pure attractor, I suppose it could be an imitation of a tiny fry but I have my doubts that the trout are feeding on such tiny fry at this time of year. So what exactly the trout take the Snowdrop for will remain a mystery. All I know is that they do take it and that is good enough for me. I found the pattern on the website of Dietrich Bohnhorst (you should check out Dietrich’s videos on youtube, they are very entertaining).

Fly patterns don’t come much simpler than this one. The hackle is white hen and the tails are made from a few whisks of white hen hackle fibres. The body is silver tinsel with a silver wire or oval tinsel rib to protect it. The only change I make from Dietrich’s tying is that I prefer Fl. white tying silk as opposed to the black in the original. I varnish the head with clear varnish to keep the head a nice bright white which I like to think is an additional trigger point. Sizes 12 and 14 heavy wire hooks are my prefered options.

I fish this little beauty on the tail of a wet fly cast. Some days it will will comprehensively ignored by the trout, so if you are not getting a response pretty quickly take it off and try something else in its place. On other days it can produce fish in good numbers on the river or lake. Tie a few up and keep them in your box for a trial between now and the end of April

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