Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing

An evening on Beltra

I will leave the photos to tell the tale of an evening spent on Lough Beltra in the company of Ben and Pat. The fish did not cooperate but it was great just to be afloat on a pleasant Spring evening.

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deep in concentration

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Pat helping to make some space in my fly box!

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You can just make out the marker buoy below Nephin

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I had a bag of reels with different lines on them but I stuck to my slow sinker all evening

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Drifting in towards the dock (a good lie for salmon)

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A heavy shower passed over us

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Great conditions as the sun dipped but nobody told the fish!

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End of the day and we head back to the shore

We all want to catch fish when we head out to the lough or river but blanks are a part of our sport and we need to accept them as the opportunity to enjoy our surroundings.

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Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trout fishing

The wall

This is nothing to do with Trump’s madness.

Athletes talk of hitting ‘the wall’ and we anglers face a much less physical, but none the less real challenge too. It is not that our body’s become exhausted, rather it is our reasoning which reaches a limit and we simply can’t figure out what to do next. Here are some examples and possible strategies which just might help you.

  1. River fly fishing for wild brown trout

River trouting can be a challenge when no fish are showing

Confronted with a river apparently devoid of life we tend to adopt well defined processes to find fish. Firstly we gravitate to spots where we have had success before. Next we fish deep because we can’t see any fish near the surface. We swap nymphs and methods of presentation. If none of this works we hit a wall. We are doing everything right and yet the fish do not cooperate. What do you do next?

Firstly, I would try Klink and dink for a while. A large dry with a small nymph fished New Zealand style below it. This has worked for me in the past on days which were otherwise fishless. I look for streamy or pocket water and use a sedge pattern for the dry fly. Short drifts with constant casting to show the flies briefly then whip them away seems to work best.

Or you could try a streamer. We are pretty conservative here in Ireland when it comes to using streamers on rivers but they have a place in our armoury. Pretty much anything that looks like it could be a small fish will do the trick. Look for structures of some kind where trout can hide and work the streamer by casting across and down. An erratic retrieve is best in my opinion but try different methods till you find what the fish will respond to.

2. Evening rise, fish showing everywhere on the river but you can’t even get one of them!

The sun dips below the horizon and the trout are feeding, but what if you can’t get them to take?

We have all been there – the river is alive with rising trout but you can’t hook a single one of them. Time is always against you as the light fades. It can be incredibly hard to find out what the fish are taking. The chances are they are feeding on spinners but it could just as easily be small sedges, caenis, smuts or even midges.

If your favourite spinner imitations are not doing the business then change to a small sedge (size 14 at the most). If you still don’t move anything then consider going very small with something like a Griffiths Gnat on a size 18 or 20 hook. These wee flies are a fair representation of a number of the smaller insects and in the semi-darkness they can be really good – as long as you can see them! Short casts are the order of the day.

Still no joy? Swap to a biggish wet sedge and fish it down and across. This could easily bring you the biggest trout of the day.

3. Blank day on the lough with no trout in the boat

Out in the deeps on Lough Mask

Perceived wisdom these days is that you motor off into the deeps and fish a team of wets on a sinking line until you bump into a shoal of trout. It is hard to argue with the logic of doing exactly that, but the deeps can be just as frustrating as anywhere else on a dour day. Try different sinking line speeds to search different levels.

I have had success by carefully fishing the shallows, changing on to dries and fishing blind on difficult days. A mayfly and a sedge cast close to the shore, especially in the vicinity of some trees if possible, has worked for me before now.

4. Salmon fishing on the river, great conditions but no takers

Good water, why are they taking?

It happens. A perfect day, fresh fish showing but you can’t tempt one. What to try next? I suggest that if you have been flogging the water for a long time that you take a break and just take some time to simply watch what is going on. Think about how your fly is fishing and perhaps consider changing the depth you are fishing at by changing line or adding a sinking tip. Try to resit the temptation of swapping flies too often, select one or two patterns which you have confidence in and stick to them. Try backing up the pools instead of ‘normal’ casting. Fish until it gets dark – the last 30 minutes of light are usually the best period of the day

5. Dead low water

The Owenduff showing its bones

Low water daunts some fishers. With little flow to move the flies they struggle to find ways of moving grilse. Here are some possible strategies to consider when faced with summer lows.

We all accept that low water means small flies but how small can you go? The answer is very small indeed. Trout flies catch a lot of salmon every season so I carry some trout size 10’s and 12’s with me and tucked away in a corner a couple of tiny size 14 and 16 trout doubles. Use them carefully.

On the other hand salmon are funny creatures and something totally outrageous may bring a strike. A deep pool can be searched with a fierce big fly, something like a 2 inch tube for example. Don’t waste a lot of time with this tactic, if it is going to work it will happen quickly!

The main chances of a fish in very low water will occur at daybreak and again at sunset. try to arrange your fishing around these two times and it will pay of handsomely.

There you go, a few ideas to try out when all else fails and you hit the angling wall. Hope that helps a little!

 

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dryfly, Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, Nymphs, Pike, salmon fishing, sea angling, shore fishing, trolling, trout fishing

A look back in…………….disappointment

Pike on the Rapala

Pike coming to hand. No big ones this season but the usual sprinkling of jacks grabbed various spoons and plugs. This lad took a shine to a Rapala

It’s over. The trout season that is and much of the salmon fishing too. The 2017 season coasted to its finale last weekend and, for me at least, it was a season to forget. Yesterday we fetched the boat in and over the next couple of weekends we will repeat the process with everyone else’s boats. Autumn will bring some sea fishing and maybe a couple of derisory outings to troll for Pike, but the game fishing is over for us in the West of Ireland until next spring. I thought I’d quickly run through the season, disappointing though it most certainly was for me.

The Carrownisky as it exits the lough

very low water on the Carrownisky river

Water levels were all over the place this season, not enough in the spring and too much later in the year. A dry spring does nobody any good and both salmon and trout fishing suffered greatly due to a lack of water. I have never seen the rivers so low in April and May! Is global warming taking effect here as well as in other, more exotic climates? I suspect it is and the changing weather patterns are having a negative impact on the fish and our fishing. Given the we in Ireland are nowhere near meeting our commitments on greenhouse gas reduction it is hard to climb on to any moral high horses. Sure, we are a small country and relatively speaking make little difference compared to the huge carbon footprint of other, larger and more densely populated nations. That does not exonerate us from our duty as world citizens to reduce our effects on the planet, indeed I would argue it should be easier for us that for the likes of India or China.

My olive emerger. Fur body and CDC looped over the back

My olive emerger. Fur body and CDC looped over the back. Normally this pattern catches me lots of springtime brownies but not this past season!

So, it was dry and cold to start with and the spring salmon were scarce. Work sucked me dry every week. Time spent in Mayo was infrequent and I totally failed to make it to the riverbank for the spring salmon fishing. By all accounts I didn’t miss much. Instead, I was able to squeeze some trouting in during March and early April, usually very productive times for me. This year however I could (and did) walk across some parts of the river Robe without the water reaching above my ankles. Northerly and Easterly winds combined with low water are quite possibly the worst conditions for the springtime fly fisher, but that was exactly what I met during those trying March outings. Fly life was non-existent. No Iron Blues or Large Dark Olives. No stoneflies or Diptera. I tempted a few small fish to wets and nymphs but it was hard work with little reward.

Tiny Brown Trout from the river Robe

Anglers fishing the fly on a shrunken river Corrib at the Galway Weir

Anglers fishing the fly on a shrunken river Corrib at the Galway Weir

Great plans to fish hard during May came to nothing and others made use of the boat in my absence. By now I was becoming concerned the whole season would pass me by with work hungrily consuming me. Returning home after time away requires ‘catching up’ with family and all the tasks which have been left unattended need to be addressed in the fleeting few hours with loved ones. Fitting a day or even a few hours fishing into this complex mosaic proved be beyond my organisational skills. Then the rain started to fall.

one from the Robe

small but very welcome!

From June through to September we endured frequent periods of sustained precipitation. The heavens unloaded water on Ireland in biblical quantities. Rivers rose then burst their banks. Each time I found a chink in my diary it coincided with filthy brown spates. My fishing buddies who did venture out with rod and line found the grilse late and well scattered. Salmon fishing is always a case of being in the right place at the right time but this year it seems that maxim was even keener than normal. Tiny windows of opportunity presented themselves when the water was right for an hour or less and experienced rods who knew where to be connected with resting runners. I fumed and shook my head with every text or FB post from friends as they celebrated successes. I never even made it out with the salmon rod after June. A film of dust covers my salmon gear in testimony to my inaction.

Barely used all last season, I will strip the reels down lubricate them all before tucking them away for the winter

So what positives were there this past season? I had a nice brownie in the gloaming from the Keel canal which grabbed a small Wickham then charged around the pool like a fish twice its size. Then there was introduction to the tiny river Griese down in Kildare. The sheer joy of trying to fool those wee trout in difficult conditions was wonderful balm to bruised angling ego and I am already planning on fishing this gem of a river next season. For me, size means nothing, angling is all about being immersed in nature and trying to solve the problems in front of me. A hard-earned 8 incher can be more rewarding than a dozen fish which fling themselves at the flies.

The Griese in Co. Kildare. Clear and stuffed with small trout. I’ll be back………….

My current contract ends early in November and there will probably be some free time from then until Christmas. I’ll do some sea fishing and tie lots of flies when I get to that point. I’ll also make my plans for the 2018 season and I’m going to do some work on this blog as well when I get some free time.

Not many gaps in the fly box but I will be busy at the vice over the winter regardless

The boat about to be hauled out of Lough Conn last weekend

part of an old roller conveyor which an angler uses to ease beaching his boat.

Last view of the lough for this year

There is always next season. At least I managed to get out a few times, walking and wading the rivers and taking the boat out for a look around the bays and shallows. It doesn’t matter how bad the fishing is, just being able to get out in the fresh air is a joy.

And finally…..

My beloved collie left this world in September after 15 years at my side. The sense of loss seems overwhelming sometimes and I am still struggling to come to terms with life without her. The pain will subside over the coming weeks and months but for now life is just ‘less’ in ways which are hard to form into words. So if you have a dog, go and give him/her a rub behind the ears and maybe a wee treat to chew on. You miss them something awful when they are gone.

Ness looking for waterhens

Nessie, 2002 – 2017

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Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trout fishing

Mayo game angling guide

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a drift on Beltra

For those of you who are considering a trip to Co. Mayo for a bit of game fishing later this year there is a handy guide published by IFI. See this link:

http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/angling-1/294-county-mayo-game-angling-guide-1/file

Some of the information regarding which rivers are open for salmon angling is out of date so check before making final plans, but in general this is a useful guide for those not familiar with the area. Living here it is easy to forget just how fortunate we are with some much game angling on our doorstep. The quality of the fishing is a shadow of what it was 20 years ago but even still there are wonderful places to cast a line for trout and salmon.

4 lb grilse

With so much different game angling available it is a shame that many visitors tend to stick to fishing the big loughs, even when they are not producing good sport. Rivers around here are under-fished and those who enjoy dry fly and nymphing for wild browns on small waters will find excellent sport in Mayo.

upper-pool-july

I hope you find the IFI guide useful.

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Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trolling

Hopes of a salmon

Today there is an air of excitement around the town as the Mayo GAA team are in semi-final action against Tipperary this afternoon. Cars bedecked with green and red flags are heading across the country to watch the game in Dublin, full of hope and anticipation. I on the other hand, am off to try my luck on the Cashel River. Recent rain has pushed water levels up in the Moy system and I hope to intercept some late running grilse.

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On the Cashel

Later…………….

OK, so that didn’t quite go to plan. The weather was perfect and the fiver was dropping after a small flood. All in all the conditions could not have been better for salmon fishing. Pulse suitably quickened, the boat was emptied of water in double quick time and the gear safely stowed before motoring upstream to troll over the likely lies. I clipped on an orange and gold Rapala to start with and trailed it 30 yards behind the boat. Soon enough the rod gave a rattle but it was only a small Perch. More of these followed throughout the session.

Ben got off the mark with a tiny Pike followed by  couple of reasonably big perch which I claimed for supper. Not many people eat perch but they are very good and I would encourage you to try them. I don’t know what stocks are like elsewhere but in these parts there are large shoals of these lovely fish, so one or two for the pot won’t cause too much of a problem.

The fishing was a bit slow so i decided to give a small copper Toby a swim. We have a great fondness for the old original Tobies, the ones which were made in SWEDEN by ABU. The newer ones just don’t seem to be as effective and I would have a tarnished old original before a bright new copy any day of the week. Unfortunately the fish shunned this theory and the copper Toby was substituted later on for another Rapala.

An original Toby

The rain started around noon and with the wind grew stronger. By then we had turned right at the meetings of the waters and were trying our luck on the Clydagh River. Again, our hopes of meeting salar were dashed and in the gathering gloom we about-turned and headed back down river. There seem to be very few salmon around this season, a very worrying trend indeed. I’m going trout fishing the next time I am out.

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing

How to fix a sticking net

A quick wee post that might be of some use to you……………

Ben’s extending salmon net was stuck fast, no amount of pulling would free it so I volunteered to try and fix it for him. I was confident I could do it as I have done the same before with my own nets over the years.

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The sliding collar

I took the net home and used clamps to move the collar up to the end of the shank. The expansion bolt was unscrewed and kept safe before forcing the frame off the shank. As suspected, the soft insert in the collar had deformed and was in need of re-profiling with a fine file. The temptation is always to take off too much so care is required and some restraint with the file. just smooth off any ridges and try to get back to the square shape. Offer up the frame to the shank again – it should just go on but still be tight. Now for the magic.

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The man on the black horse

Apply a very light coating of olive oil to the shank.I never use any other oil release agents like WD-40. And don’t try to put on too much oil, it will only cover anything it comes in contact with and attarct dirt.

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The insert after it was filed

Put it all back together and you are done. To maintain smooth operation simply apply a fine coat of olive oil once or twice a year or when there is the first sign of sticking.

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

Spring but no Springers

 

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Rain over the bank holiday weekend has pushed up water levels a bit so we decided to try for a springer today. Waiting for Ben outside the house in warm sunshine it really felt like spring was here at last. The trees were filled with chirping birds amid the early blossoms.

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Lovely spring morning, for a start at least

I caught up on all Ben’s news on the short journey out to the river  (he had a 10 pounder off Lagduff on the Owenduff on Saturday) and we assessed the chances for today. The river had risen over a foot but was now dropping back . Word was that a couple of salmon had been caught on the Moy system recently, one at Pontoon bridge and another at Foxford. All of this sounded good and we were pretty hopeful there was going to be a fish or two in the river today. Peering over the bridge the water was tinged, but not too coloured. Gear was hastily stowed on the boat and we motored up river in good spirits.

An hour later and we were beginning to flag. No signs of fish at all and the warmth of the morning was disipating as clouds rolled in from the south west. A thin drizzle began to fall, washing our confidence away. Conversation died and we sat hunched in the boat, each  of us lost in our own thoughts. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, off went Ben’s rod as something fishy grabbed his Kynoch. After the first run everything went dead and we both knew what that meant – PIKE.

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Note how the Kynoch has slid up the line and out of harm’s way

This lad headed for the weeds and had to be bullied back out into open water before he could be boated.

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Coming to hand

By the time we pulled in to have a bit of lunch we had 3 pike between us, all between 4 and 5 pounds in weight. Of the silvery salmon there was no sign. After a soggy lunch, consumed behind a brier in a cold and wetting mist, we met some fellow anglers who were bait fishing with similar results as ourselves. And so we turned for home and headed back the way we had come. Another pike and then 2 trout were boated as we retraced our steps. Both trout were, just like the ones we had on Friday, in perfect condition, deep bodied and well fed. I suspect these are fish from Lough Cullin which came up the river to spawn and have hung around due to the good food supply.

 

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trailing some weed, another Pike comes to the boat

We called it a day when we got back below the bridge and tackled down at a leasurely pace. Salmon fishing is a numbers game, the more often you fish the more salmon you will catch. Today was not our turn but that wont stop us from trying again soon.

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Get out of those weeds!

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Snow on Nephin today

With work beckoning tomorrow and the forecast of cool, wet weather for the whole week I am now resigned to no more fishing until next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

Good Friday

How did you spend Good Friday? I had a busy day on and around the water here in Mayo and this is a short summary of a typical day for me when I am not working.

Ben called in this morning and asked for help launching his boat on Lough Beltra. We agreed that the day was going to be too stormy for fishing the lough but it would be good to have the boat ready for action next week. He had already loaded the boat on to a trailer and so we ate a leisurely breakfast in Cafe Rua before hauling the boat out the Newport  Road and into Glenisland.

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Pulled up at the car park

When we arrived at the car park there were a couple of cars there, indicating at least one boat was fishing. The wind was from the South West and beginning to gust strongly with the promise of a much harder blow as the day wore on.

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The harbour

We launched the boat but made a bit of a mess of it in the wind and she slewed badly as we pushed her in.We had to scramble to free the boat, Ben getting into the water to wrestle the boat off the trailer. We managed OK and Ben led the boat into the harbour on the long line. it was only now that he noticed the prow had worked loose and would require repair.

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Leading the boat in to the harbour

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Almost there

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The damaged prow

While we were messing about in the harbour a boat which had been out fishing came in to the shore. It turned out to be Eamonn Kennedy  with two Dublin fishers. They had been on the receiving end of a battering by the wind and had decided to switch to the other end of the lake in a an effort to get some respite.

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Eamonn Kennedy on the engine in a big wave

Once ashore we had a chat with Eamonn about the fishing. We all agreed that a little bit more water would be good but that the unsettled weather forecast for the coming week should give us a chance of some sport.

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Ben and Eamonn chewing the fat

With Ben’s boat now safely moored we had to decide what to do for the rest of the day. The weather was deteriorating by the minute and so so we plumped for a couple of hours trolling on the Cashel river. Back in town we rounded up some gear, made up a flask and headed out the Pontoon road. The boat was in need of a small amount of baling but we were soon motoring up the river in search of silver salmon.

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An hour passed, then two and still no action to either rod. Ben’s rod finally bent into a fish but despite it’s obvious weight we could quickly see it was going to be a pike and not the hoped for salmon.

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In to a fish at last………………………….

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Only a Pike though

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Nearly there

A fish of about 7 pounds, and I quickly followed with a smaller lad of about 4 pounds. By now we were fishing in what felt like a typhoon and one of my casts was caught by the wind and my lovely copper spoon was deposited high in the branches of a willow tree! Some comic capers ensued as I recovered my tackle from the clutches of the bankside vegetation and fishing was resumed. Ben boated the last Pike of the day and we turned for home.

My rod registered a bite and I found myself playing a small fish. I thought it was a Perch at first but no, I had hooked a lovely Brownie of just under a pound. Not to be outdone, Ben repeated the feat with another trout slightly smaller in size. Both trout were in excellent condition.

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Ben’s trout just before I slipped it back

By now it was after 5pm so we called it a day and motored home. Maybe we didn’t catch much and failed to even set eyes on a salmon, but it was great to be out on the water this Good Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, salmon fishing, wetfly

The Carrowmore Bumble

This fly reminds me of a Mark 2 Ford Escort 1300. A reliable if unexciting run-around which has been tarted up by an enthusiast and is now all bling. The bells and whistles have been grafted on and it is now a much more exciting package all together.

The basis of this new fly is of course that wonderful old campaigner, the Claret Bumble. Originally tied to fool sea trout and brownies, the ever inventive Irish minds went to work on it years ago and it morphed into a very good salmon pattern by tying it on much larger hooks than the normal 12 and 10’s. Other refinements such as a flat gold tag, dying a topping sunburst and using that for a tail and adding knotted pheasant tail legs all made an appearance relatively lately. But the Carrowmore Bumble was born when the DNA of the Claret Bumble and Clan Chief was deliberately mixed. I personally have a hunch this could only be achieved after imbibing a large volume of Guinness but hard facts to support this supposition are scarce. The Clan Chief can be deadly for salmon, so mingling the attributes of the two flies was an excellent idea.

I have seen a couple of variations of this fly in other anglers boxes so I will give you two of these here today. The first one is probably the most common and is available commercially.

Hook: sizes 6 to 10 heavy weight trout hooks

Silk: black or brown 6/0

Tag: fine oval gold tinsel, about 5 turns

Tail: a Golden Pheasant crest feather with a doubled length of Globright no. 4 on top

Rib: oval silver tinsel

Body: medium claret seals fur

Body hackles: a black and a red cock hackle wound together

Head hackle: Guinea Fowl dyed blue

The second variation is the one I prefer.

Hook and silk are the same as above. I like the extra movement provided by the legs but they are optional.

Tag: Opal Mirage tinsel

Rib: oval silver tinsel

Body: medium claret seals fur

Body hackles: a black and a red cock hackle wound together

Legs: 6 cock pheasant tail herls knotted and tied in on each side and slightly raised. Can be natural or dyed claret

Head hackles: a long fibred claret cock hackle wound first followed by a grizzle cock hackle dyed blue.

Did you know there is a Green Peter version of the Clan Chief too? The Clan Peter it is called and while I have yet to use one it looks like it should work. Here is the dressing I was given last year.

Hook:  6 – 12

Tread: Fl. Yellow

Tag – Opal mirage

Tail: Globrite yellow under red

Body: Green seals fur

Rib: Oval gold

Body hackles: A grizzle cock hackle dyed green olive and natural red game cock hackle wound together

Wing: Hen pheasant tail

Head hackle: Red game cock

Head: Formed with the tying thread and coated with clear varnish

All of these flies will produce a salmon on Carrowmore on their day. I don’t class myself as any sort of an expert when it comes to fishing Carrowmore but I know my way around the place so I will write a short post on the fishery soon.

The title photo is Ben Baynes with a nice little salmon off Carrowmore a few seasons ago.

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, salmon fishing

Spate river fly design

What makes a good spate river fly?

I tie hundreds of flies every year. I used to tie much, much more but these days a few hundred come off my vice and most of those are tied during the quiet winter period. Due to the nature of the fishing in the West of Ireland these flies fall readily into groups, trout: river dry, wet and nymph, lough trout dry and wet and finally salmon river and lough. I have never really thought too much about the distinction between the salmon flies I use in flowing water as opposed to the ones for the loughs but they are fundamentally different and here is my reasoning.

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Hairy Mary, classic pattern for spate rivers

A large part of my reasoning for using differing lough vs river patterns is due to the movement of the flies in the water. On rivers there is a flow which acts on the hook and materials and causes the fly to move both in the current and within itself. Lough flies have a different role in that they will be moved largely by the angler drawing in the line and also in the ‘Z’ axis as the waves in the lough rise and fall.

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Shrimps and Cascades

Perhaps the greatest difference is the hooks I use. On the river I still favour trebles and doubles with a small single occupying the dropper position on the leader. I like the weight of the trebles and doubles and the way they ’grip’ the water much better than singles which travel much higher in the water.

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An Eany Tailfire tied on those lovely Loop doubles

 

Fly design for spate rivers

I normally fish with two flies on the river and accept I may lose the occasional fish when the trailing/dangling free fly snags on a bush /tree/bottom (in practice I find this happens so rarely that it can be disregarded). I like to be able to offer the fish two different patterns on the same cast and will take a lot of convincing that this is more effective than the normal single fly approach. The only downside of fishing a dropper for me is the inevitable tangles suffered when casting into high winds.

Now picture the scene on a typical west coast spate river. Small, often deep pools, occasional long deep canal like stretches and short fast runs connecting these features. River width can vary from 3 to 30 yards and there will be lots of obstacles like trees and bushes. All in all, a world away from the beautifully tended, wide, smooth running ‘classic’ rivers of the Scottish East coast. As you can imagine, this has a big bearing on the flies I use here.

high water water on a spate river

deeside

The Dee at Cairnton, a world away from my local spate rivers

There is very little in the way of spring salmon fishing here, so grilse are the target from May to September. Always on the move, these fish are often encountered is small groups and sport can be brisk when you bump into these pods of fish. Your flies need to be presented at a level in the water to attract their attention and the received wisdom is that needs to be in the top foot or so of the water column. There are minor tactics like skating flies but generally speaking you present the flies sub-surface. This is why I prefer my river patterns dressed on trebles and doubles. These flies sink immediately they hit the water, unlike single hooked patterns which have a nasty tendency to skate on the surface due to their much lighter weight. I have experimented with weighted flies and even adding weight to the leader but met with poor success so far.

Sinking lines or sink tips are useful to a degree and I admit a fondness for homemade sink-tips. My argument against them is based on that critical first few second after the flies hit the water when I need them to sink instantly instead of waiting for them to be dragged under by the line. On narrow, heavily overgrown spate rivers fish are often found lying hard against the bank, so casts need to be accurate and the fly simply must sink immediately it hits the water. I have experimented with small brass tubes in the past and found them to be pretty useful but I still prefer trebles or doubles for this work.

So my preferred set up on spate rivers when fishing for salmon is a small treble on the point, usually a size 10 down to a 14 with a small single hooked pattern on the dropper. Dropper length is roughly 4 to 6 inches. I will talk about patterns in another post.

no.5

A small,coloured grilse from a spate river about to go back

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