That’s me in the photo, motoring along on Lough Mask. Looking at the photo you can see that my boat could use a lick of varnish, but there is no mad panic about that yet. Those waders look a bit dodgy too, but nothing a few patches won’t sort out. That cap on my head has seen many, many season too. Of much more importance is the nice ripple on the lough, just grand for the wet fly. From this you will have gathered that I am not a tackle tart who invests huge sums in the latest hi-tech angling equipment. I try to maintain my gear so it lasts as long as possible and view the tackle industry through a jaundiced eye – it looks like a marketing managers dream and we anglers are the suckers who rush to buy the latest new-fangled gadgets!
I live in Co. Mayo and this blog is where I write down my thoughts, ideas and experiences of the angling in these parts. Fishing in Ireland is much more than just going out with a rod and catching a few fish. The challenges are great and the results sometimes leave a lot to be desired but the ‘craik’ is a huge part of the the whole angling scene. In modern Irish culture ‘the craik’ is good enough reason to do just about anything and fishing is an extension of that devil-may-care attitude to life which goes a long way to defining the Irish. A days fishing is often rounded off with a pint of porter in one of the local pubs and the details of the day discussed in great detail by all present.
Now a confession – I am not Irish. I am in fact ‘a blow in’, born a raised in Aberdeen, Scotland. The locals put up with me because I have been hanging around this neck of the woods for many years now. My fishing apprenticeship was on the rivers Dee, Don and Ythan in Aberdeenshire in the company of some excellent fishermen, many of whom are sadly no longer with us. In those far off days salmon and sea trout were present in good numbers and big baskets were not uncommon. I vividly recall my mother groaning ‘not another salmon!’ as I came through the front door with a fresh springer. Those days are in the past now and fish here in the west of Ireland are scare. Spring salmon are now rare and the huge runs of summer grilse are but a memory. The ecology of the great western lakes has altered and the massive hatches of flies and accompanying rise of trout are also a thing of the past. I fish hard for meagre returns, as do those expert anglers I am lucky enough to fish with. Despite all these problems I still get out as much as I can and enjoy the Irish countryside.
In addition to the actual angling I also tie a few flies so look out for patterns and tales of the ones which worked and the ones which didn’t (many more of the latter than the former I am afraid). I tend towards tying old reliables or my variations of them and like using natural materials instead of synthetics, but that is just my choice.
I fish with a small number of friends or simply wander off on my own with rod and line. At my age (the wrong side of 60) and physical limitations (plagued with arthritis in my feet and ankles) I have to leave the more adventurous fishing venues to the younger lads and I dearly miss scrambling down to distant rock marks or deep wading fast rivers. For me, a day on the lough in a boat or messing around on a spate river chasing grilse is about my stretch.
I fish all over Mayo and rather than specialising in any one method or concentrating on one target species I cast a line for anything. You will see fly fishing, trolling and beachcasting all cropping up here, with a sprinkling of boat fishing in the sea, depending on the time of year and my general inclination at the time. Oh, and I have taken up coarse fishing too.
I will post as and when I have something which I think may be of interest to others, which is basically my way of saying when I can be bothered. If I don’t post for a while that will probably indicate that work is getting in the way of my fishing. Please feel free to get in contact, I like to think I am approachable and tend towards helpfulness as a rule. Enjoy!