Welcome to my blog. This a refuge for those fishers who measure a good day on river or lough not by the weight of fish in the bag at the end of the day but by the sights, sounds and feelings which our sport engenders in all of us. Don’t expect any cutting edge tactics, in depth tackle reviews or super-dooper killer flies from me – I am an expert in none of the above. I live and fish in the West of Ireland, tossing flies at fish who rarely appreciate my efforts. This blog is simply the ramblings of an angling mind set amid the wonders of this beautiful land.
By far the greatest part of my angling is dedicated to fly fishing for trout and salmon. The previously excellent large limestone loughs like Conn, Cullin, Mask and Carra are only a shadow of their former selves now but they can still provide a modicum of sport with brown trout on a good day. Salmon are scarce around here, especially the spring fish. Years of over-exploitation have taken their toll and most days spent chasing salar end up as disappointing blanks. Grilse do still appear in reasonable numbers some years and given a wet summer I venture out to try and lure these fabulous fish. The difficulties makes any success with salmon all the more special and I love fishing for them and get out with the fly rod as often as possible.
Local anglers tend to view brown trout as a lough species and pay little or no attention to them in the rivers. I buck that trend and do most of my trout fishing on rivers with only occasional trips out on the lakes. I guess this harps back to my early angling education on the rivers of Scotland and I enjoy a hour on the river more than a day on the lough. Sure the trout are smaller but size isn’t everything and the intimacy of trying to catch trout on tiny flies in running water is a huge pleasure for me.
While most of my angling is fly fishing for salmon and trout on rivers and lakes I do also dabble in the black arts of spinning and trolling when conditions dictate. While I enjoy a few hours dragging bits of metal or plastic through the water for a change I lack the patience to devote myself to spinning on a regular basis. While I claim little knowledge of fly fishing I know considerably less about spinning and next to nothing about worming. I have seen good bait fishers winkle fish out of water which I have recently flogged without so much as a rise and I accept there is room for us all on the river. Somewhere in my tackle there is a dapping rod but it has not been used in years and the dap is another method I leave to those with more skill than I do.
I also do a little bit of sea fishing. Nowadays I am confined to occasional summer fly fishing trips searching for Mackerel and Pollock or a boat trip out off of Achill Island in the summer. The seas to the West of Ireland have been systematically emptied by European trawlers and there is little or nothing left to catch now. There still a few mullet, flats and rays around in the summer and autumn though to keep me entertained.
A small shore caught Thornback Ray
I am an exiled Scot, hailing from the cold, grey fastness of Aberdeen where I learned to fish many years ago on the hallowed waters of Dee and Don. I have fished in Ireland since the early ’80s and relocated west of the Shannon in the late ’90’s. I tie a lot of flies so there will be a few dressings sprinkled across these pages.
Now, while you ruminate over these paragraphs and explore my posts to date I am off for a pint of porter. If you enjoy this blog please follow me so you get all the latest from Claretbumbler