Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, trout fishing

A small Stonefly nymph

Some seasons we get a reasonable hatch of early stoneflies on the River Robe, so in anticipation of next year I made up a wee stonefly nymph along the lines of those great big American patterns.

To get a bit of depth when using this pattern I have added a 2.8mm copper bead. Begin by threading this on to a size 12 wet fly hook (here I have used a Kamasan B170). Push the bead to the bend of the hook while you start some brown tying silk and then catch in a pair of goose biots, dyed dark brown. These point forwards and are positioned either side of the hook eye. Now bind down the ends of the biots and whip finish before cutting the silk and wastes ends.

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Biots tied in and silk whipped to finish. Bead pushed back up to the eye. Then re-start the tying silk behind the bead

Now push the copper bead back up to the eye over the silk base. Re-start the tying silk behind the bead and run touching turns down to the bend.

Here you catch in another pair of biots but this time they face backwards to form a forked tail. Tie in a length of vinyl rib (I used rust coloured here) and take the silk up to about halfway between the bend and the bead.

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Tails tied in

Wind the vinyl rib to form the body and tie it down.

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Abdomen formed of vinyl rib

Next, take a section of herl from a Canada Goose body feather and tie it in. this will form the wing pads. Now dub the tying silk with a mixture of dark brown and dirty olive seals fur.

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Goose herl tied in

Wind the dubbed silk to form a bulky thorax, then pull the goose herl over the back, securing it immediately behind the bead.

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Remove the excess herl and whip finish. Now you get out the dubbing needle and tease out some fur from each side of the thorax to suggest legs.

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Teasing out the seal’s fur

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All it needs now is a slight trim with the scissors

Trim off any excessively long fibres and varnish the whip finish.

As yet untested, but this pattern should work next March! I will also tie up some with additional lead under the dressing for dropping into deeper holes.

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Fishing in Ireland

A difficult day

Robeen Bridge as a handy entry point on the River Robe. Both banks are clear downstream of the bridge but there is a heavily wooded stretch immediately upstream and this means that you have to get into the water and wade upriver to fish this part. The bottom is very slippery and there are some deep holes to watch out for so it makes for exciting fishing. Well it did, because now some of the trees have been cleared from the left bank. I decided to give this newly cleared section a try today.

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Notice the stumps of the chopped down trees

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The branches were piled up in the field

This is always a challenging piece of water and today it proved to be even harder than normal. There was very little fly life and a horrible cold, blustery wind made the fishing uncomfortable. After an hour of fruitless casting I gave it up and packed the gear up. Time for a change of scene.

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A few miles upstream I parked up and headed down to a series of small pools which had provided good sport in the past. The wind had increased in strength and was now a major problem for me. Casts had to be kept short and each one finished with the rod point very low to push the line into the teeth of the gale. Some Large Dark Olives were hatching and some stoneflys were also being blown past me in the wind. Time was against me as I had been late in starting so I fished quickly downriver. Not long after I started I had a lovely take and a brightly marked brownie gave an acrobatic display on its way to the bank. He has taken a Partridge and Orange tied on the bob.

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With no signs of surface activity I stuck to fishing wet fly. I covered the water quickly and passed many smaller lies which would have taken time to access. Tangles were becoming a problem as I pushed each cast hard against the wind. I spotted most of them quickly and they were easy to clear but one took me ages to untangle and on reflection I would have been quicker to cut the old leader off and replace it with a complete new one. I also swapped flies a few times but nothing seemed to be working today. The already sparse fly hatch also seemed to be petering out. One LDO did land on me, giving me the chance of a decent photograph.

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I stuck a Plover and Hare’s Ear on the middle dropper and it produced a wee trout after only a few casts. Any thoughts that I had finally cracked it were cruelly dispelled during a 30 minute period of intense fishing without eliciting a single response. This was proving to be a tough day!

Off I went down to a long, deep pool which was slightly sheltered from the cold wind. I fished this carefully but once again came up empty handed. Around the corner was a deep run under a bush, hardly a pool really. I rose a fish (which I missed by a country mile) before finally setting the hook in a nice trout.

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Another smaller fish took me a few yards further down taking the total for the day to 4. I doubled back to go over the last two pools again but before starting I sat down and tried to think through what was happening. With no surface activity it was logical any trout on the feed were taking nymphs. I was seeing many more stoneflies than olives, so there was a reasonable chance that a wet stonefly copy could do the trick. I found one in the box and tied it on the bob, adding an Endrick Spider on the tail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first pool was still dead. Down on the bottom pool it was a different story though. I rose half a dozen trout, losing a couple and landing two more. All were on the stonefly.

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The wind was blowing a gale by now and I had chores at home so it was time to call it a day. I failed to hook any monsters today. The problems were many and it took a bit of work to seek out some sport but it was satisfying to catch at least a few modestly proportioned fish. It’s still only March so there is time for the fishing to pick up.

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