Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trout fishing

Gone for good

lovely small grilse÷

It is never a good sound. Sometimes it is a loud, alarming crack, sometimes it’s a grating, snapping sound and then again it can be a deadly, barely audible ‘phut’. However it manifests itself the noise of your rod breaking is disturbing and emotional. We anglers grow so attached to those lengths of carbon fibre in a way which must seem very weird to normal, non-fishing folks.

My 10’6 Hardy has gone west. It broke at the top joint when casting the other day. It was a strange one as I wasn’t casting a long line or dragging a fast sinker from the murky depths at the time. Just flicking 15 yards casts with a floating line should not have stressed the old rod in any way, shape or form. But it did and with a soft sigh the venerable old girl became two useless, raggedy ended pieces of high tech tubing. She will be sorely missed.

this one was around 7 pounds

I bought that rod when I was living in London and fishing trips were rare events. It had it’s first outing on the Aberdeenshire Don one fine May day. Quarter-of-an-hour after I first set it up I was playing a ten pound salmon and by the end of the day a 12 pounder had been added to the tally. You quickly fall in love with a rod that delivers the goods so dramatically! A red letter day at Bewl followed with fiesty rainbows bending that Hardy into a hoop in a strong cross wind on the southern shore.

Soon after that day it was time to pack up my goods a chattels and head back to Eire and that’s when the rod really came into action. I had bought with the intention of using it as a grilse and heavy lough trout rod and here in the west of Ireland it has excelled in both roles.

2 pounder from Mask

A two pounder from Lough Mask, one of many that fell to the old Hardy 10’6

Many’s the day I wielded that rod on Loughs Mask, Conn and Beltra, not to mention Carrowmore Lake and most of the salmon rivers in Mayo. Paired with AFTM 7 lines it could handle most anything I threw at it and it was my ‘go to’ rod for an awful lot of my fishing. Like an old friend it was there when I needed it and demanded nothing in return other than an annual clean and overhaul. A whipping had to be re-tied here and there and a small hole in the handle had to be filled before it grew into a crater, but otherwise it was a great tool. I landed 5 fresh grilse one hectic September day on it. Then there was the epic battle with a dark seven pounder hooked on the very lip of a pool that dragged me around for a full ten minutes before I could gain control. The rod doubled, the wind sang though the line and the reel screeched that day I can tell you! Memories…………………

Number 2 of 5

one of the 5

I examined the damage, thinking there may be a repair of some sort which would get the old girl back into use, but no, the crack is too long and far too much would need to be cut off for any repair. I guess I could badger Hardy for a replacement section but my heart isn’t in it. No, I will save some pennies and buy a new rod. I’m contemplating something radically different but I’ll take my time before deciding to part with any cash. For now, the old rod has gone, gone for good.

Here is the wonderful Samantha Fish with a great blues number called (appropriately enough) Gone for good.

Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trout fishing

Rummaging and repairs

I came across an old cardboard box in the shed with some fishing related odds and ends inside. There was my father’s old tackle bag for a start. I washed and dried it and it will give me some more years of service even if it is a little faded. A filleting knife from an Aberdeen fish house was in there too and I can bring it back to good condition with a little elbow grease. These knives were wonderfully flexible and easy to sharpen so it will come in useful later this year when the sea fishing picks up and I have some Mackerel and Pollock to fillet.

Then there was a small bag containing my long lost repair kit for rods. A spare reel seat, lots of whipping threads, hot melt glue, some rings and a few corks. Now I have been looking for these corks on and off for a year or more as I have a Hardy fly rod which is out of commission due to a broken handle. So this morning I set about using my newly rediscovered goodies to repair said Hardy. The rod in question is a ten foot six, 3 piece Sirrus which I used for grilse fishing. It had accounted for many, many fish but was in good condition until the third cork from the top of the handle gave way. Any other cork would have been only a cosmetic issue, but this one is directly where my thumb sits when fishing so the rod effectively became useless. It has been gathering dust for 2 seasons now and its replacement (a meaty Diawa 11’3) is now my preferred rod.

I started the repair by cutting off the broken cork. As soon as I had done that the source of the problem became evident, there was a layer of filler which only extended half way up the broken cork meaning it was not fully supported.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is very shoddy workmanship and it is so disappointing that Hardy have let their previously high standards slip since production was shifted to the Far East. Next I cleaned up the exposed area of the rod blank and wrapped the whole are with silk to provide an even base. This was an awkward job but it is vital that time was spent making sure I didn’t repeat the same mistake as before.


Next it was time to get messy. Araldite was mixed up into a milky gloop and then spread on the new whippings and the exposed ends of the corks on either side of the gap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn appropriately sized cork was split into 2 and the faces given a light coating of Araldite before being carefully positioned. I then secured them tightly in place using some more whippings.


The excess glues was wiped off and the job set aside to dry before I shape the new cork to match the rest of the handle.


At the very bottom of the old cardboard box I unearthed my fishing wallet. Dating from the early ’70s this cheap brown leather wallet accompanied me everywhere in my formative fishing years as it held that most precious of documents – my ADAA fishing licence. The Aberdeen and District Angling Association (ADAA) controlled most of the fishing in and around Aberdeen so when my application to join as a junior in 1974 was accepted my fishing setted into a new world of possibilities. No. 1328 made the maximum use of these opportunities and I learned how to fish on the hard pressed waters of the Don at Parkhill and the wonderful Machar Pool on the Ythan. When I became a full member on reaching the ripe old age of 18 I was issued with a photo ID card. Where oh where have all the years gone?


Finally I came across numerous small tins of humbrol paint which I used to paint devon minnows. Unbelievably some of these are still usable after 35 years! I will give some of my baits a tidy up with this new found treasure during this spell of bright, hot weather when there is no fishing.