Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing

Casting practice

Friday morning and the weather vane on top of Lagduff Lodge is still firmly set in a Northerly airflow. Dry again today so the fishing will be little more than casting practice, leaving me less than overjoyed

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I fished from pol Garrow down to the Rock Pool but the only fish I saw was a  large resident who made a terrific splash in the Brigadier’s pool. Small flies like the Black Pennel, Blue Charm and Stoat’s Tail were all given a swim but without success. Time to head back to the comforts of the lodge.

The walls were decorated with old photos of past glories and the fishing register had pride of place on the table in the sitting room. 155 salmon had been landed from the beat this season but we were not going to be adding to that impressive total this week!

Gawn, who had been fishing down river returned to say he had an offer from what he was fairly sure was a salmon but the fish didn’t stick and we remained fishless apart from Julian’s early success with a Sea Trout

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Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing

Sticks and stones

Day 2 on Lagduff and the drought continues. There was some mist in the morning which we all prayed would develop into a deluge but it petered out without making any difference to the water level in the Owenduff river. I elected to try fishing down at the bottom of the beat and set of with rod and wading stick along the side of the shrunken stream. The wading stick was an essential bit of kit as the bottom of the river consists of rounded stones covered in very slippery algae.

All the way down the river was a sad shadow of a river, more stones than water.

I fished the deeper pools but this was hard work as there was so little flow the flies were virtually lifeless. A couple of very small sea trout jumped in one pool but it was quiet apart from that. I was picked up at lunchtime and caught up with the rest of the party who all had similar tales of woe. The only salmon we saw all morning were in the photographs on the walls of the lodge.

After a bite to eat I strolled up river to the Rock Pool. A slight increase in the wind ruffled the surface at the top of the pool but because it was coming from the North the main body of the pool was flat calm – not ideal conditions.

As I fished down a grilse jumped some 20 yards below me giving a degree of encouragement. I covered the lie without success but some small sea trout started to jump hard against the far bank. Julian appeared from upstream where he had fished without seeing any signs of fish. He worked his way down the pool and near the tail another grilse jumped close to him. We fished on for a while but could not stir the salmon so Julian went back to the lodge for a well earned cuppa.

Two more grilse jumped in quick succession but these all looked like fish which had been in the river for a while and were highly unlikely  to be takers. I called it a day and made my way back to Lagduff Lodge where it was my turn to make the dinner. Maybe Friday will see a change in fortune for us.

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Tying small trebles

It’s been raining for a few days now and the rivers are in spate. Some salmon are running and a few have been caught, but not by me! My last outing resulted in one pike, all be it a good one of just over twenty pounds. As we are now into the month of May my thoughts have turned to the upcoming grilse run and the gaps in my fly box.

I tied up a few tiny trebles today as I was completely out of these useful flies. I don’t use them much these days but when the river is dead low and the grilse hard to catch I reach for these little beauties. I first used these in Scotland many years ago after seeing an excellent fisher tie them for sea trout. I was using tiny tubes for grilse and figured the small trebles should be just as good. They certainly are and I can recommend them to you. Yes, they are fiddly to tie but you only need a few for the really difficult days. Here is how I make them.

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1. Take a size 16 treble and start the tying silk behind the eye. The secret of tying these flies is to keep the number of turns of silk to the minimum. 8/0 thread is a good size to use. Here I will make a Stoats Tail.

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2. Select a golden pheasant topping. I prefer to use a large one as it is easier to handle at this stage.

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3. Tie the topping in on top of the hook with tight wraps of the silk and then continue to the start of the bends.

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4. Now catch in a length of fine oval silver tinsel which will be used for the rib. Run the silk back up towards the eye in tight, touching turns.

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5. You can make the body from black floss silk but I prefer to use black holographic tinsel instead. Tie in a piece leaving a gap behind the eye of the hook.

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6. Wind the tinsel down to where the rib and tail are tied in then back up again to the eye. Tie the tinsel off with the silk and cut off the waste.

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7. Now wind the silver tinsel rib in open turns up the body and tie that off too. Remove the waste.

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8. I form the wing/hackle from dyed black squirrel tail hair. Firstly cut a small bunch of hair from the tail and offer it up to the top of the hook.

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9. Use the ‘pinch and loop’ method of tying the hair on. This is a bit tricky on such a small treble but take your time and adjust the length of the hair before tightening the silk. Don’t take too many turns!

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10. I now reverse the vice and and repeat the winging process below the hook. Use a slightly shorter and slimmer bunch of hair for this.

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11. Return the vice to the normal position and trim off the excess hair. Form a neat head with the tying silk and whip finish with the tying silk. Remove the waste end.

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12. The fly finished and ready for a couple of coats of varnish on the head.

You can tie just about any fly you like on these small trebles but I prefer simple hairwings and shrimps like these:

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Cascade

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARed and Silver Shrimp

A word of warning; do not use these tiny trebles if there are smolts or other small fish in the river. They are intended for use in late summer when the small lads have migrated. The trebles are efficient hookers of grilse but can cause terrible damage to small fish so please be mindful of this before you try them out.

Small flies won’t fish properly on heavy leaders so use something around 5 or 6 pound breaking strain. Vary the retrieve till you find what the fish are looking for, some days a very quick retrieve is effective. Hope you enjoy tying and using these patterns!

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