Saturday, 26 January 2013

More old Spinners and Lures

These were the last of the baits that i found in the box, i know that the two piece plug was brought in from the U.S.A. during the war and accounted for a large number of salmon and pike as it could be fished very deep with the adjustable vein and the middle hooks were taken off for better casting and hook-ups. Again with a little paint, varnish, new hooks this would catch fish today.

Spinning Eels or the first Flying C's

Another selection of old tackle, these were spinning eels made of lead core covered with heavy rubber and a spinning vein on the front not unlike the Flying C's of today. Mostly used for pike fishing i dare say that they were used in high water for salmon as well.

Salmon Spinners of Old.

Here is the selection of old salmon spinners and devons that were given to me by my grandfather many years ago. Some are still in use today, such as the weighted wooden devons and even pieces of copper were shaped and polished to spin and flutter and catch salmon. Definitely the most successful spinner in the group was the Golden Sprat, it was actually a fish with a lead core going through it and then heavily varnished. This accounted for many salmon especially in the early months of February and March as being weighted it would fish near the bottom where the springers were. There was some rivalry between anglers as to who made the best Golden Sprats and as you can see these having been made by my grandfather could be fished tomorrow  with a touch up of epoxy and i'd bet that they would catch salmon even now. Actually i have talked myself into a bet, i will fish them on the Lee during open season and we will see if they can work their magic once more.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Laune River 2013 ( Beats 1 )

Just another picture looking downstream from Beat 1 showing the water height during the evening. The second photo shows the salmon flies that i fished, they were from the top right hand side a Cascade Variant, Paul's Favourite and a Yukanga Gold. The rod was a Thomas & Thomas 13ft ( 9/10 wt.) and a Rio A.F.S. shooting head floating line. I used two different sink tips during the day, a green tip ( 2.6 inches ps ) and a brown tip ( 3.9 inches ps ) both are by Rio and are 10 ft in lenght just to cover different water depths and i was snagging up on the brown tip which let me know that it was hugging bottom. The Laune at Beat 1 is very up and down in depth with shallow gravel areas and loads of deep pockets and using different sink tips helps to cover most of the water because at this time of year you have to go down to the fish, they are not going to come up after a fly.

Laune River 2013 ( Beat 1 )

This is Beat 1 on the Laune River looking up towards Lough Leine on the 18th of January 2013 at 1.30 pm, the water is almost over the stones and the temperature is roughly 4 degrees celsius. There is something missing from these pictures, can you guess what it is ?. Yes you got it  No Anglers. Amazing to think that on the second day of open season the Laune has no anglers fishing, there were two local anglers that fished it till lunch and even they were surprised that there was no body else fishing. I know that the water was rising during the day and as most anglers know that is a a no no for catching salmon but i.m an angler and as anglers we are ever the eternal optimists otherwise we wouldn't go fishing. Other fisheries have had a decline in angler numbers fishing their waters but the Laune river needs to be looked into. A major decline in salmon stocks ?, ticket prices ?, bank access ?, well these are a few of the questions that need to be asked. The Blackwater River at Blackwater Lodge is going to open next month on the 1st of February and Ian is charging only 15 euros per ticket for the month of February and that is the way to bring anglers onto a river bank. They had some early salmon last year and hopefully that will carry through this year. There was about 25 anglers out on the first day on the Laune river ( Beats 1 & 2 ) with a few Kelts ( spent fish ) being caught but no fresh fish seen or caught. I fly fished most of the day but only got a short pull but unfortunately the fish didn't stay, more than likely it was a Kelt but its better to be out than thinking about being out.

Sunday, 13 January 2013


Having used a switch rod for a number of years i would definitely say that it has improved my fishing due to  its versatility in covering all aspects of fly fishing. Coming from a single hand rod ( overhead casting ) background i caught many salmon and trout on these rods but was unable to fish in certain areas due to the lack of space for over head casts. When i got my first double hand salmon rod it allowed me to fish in an area that was out of bounds for my other rod and i caught four salmon on my first day and this opened up many more areas for me to fish. But still being an avid trout angler i had to bring my single hand rod with me as well because if the salmon fishing was quiet at least i could fish for trout and this was becoming a chore having to carry around two rods. Then i discovered the switch rod, it was the best of both worlds i could over head cast and under arm cast ( spey cast ) using little effort, all with the one rod.

I was lucky the rod i got was a six weight ten foot and ideal for over head casting, but having used many other switch rods since i find that they are just small summer salmon rods and are too stiff to over head cast with, especially single handed and this defies what i think a switch rod should be. The main question you have to ask yourself is why do i need this rod ? It will never be ideal for Spring salmon fishing on flooded rivers with big fish, very heavy sink tips and strong winds but then that is probably the only time that you can't use it. I always use my 13 ft ten weight fly rod for spring fishing but as soon as the water drops the switch rod comes out and stays out till close of season. When using a six weight switch rod it is better to pair it up with  a 7 / 8 wt reel due to the thickness of the shooting head fly line and the backing you will need. I use my switch rod for dry fly fishing by using a seven weight, weight forward floating line and this casts very well for me giving great presentation. You can see this in my videos, in one i'm catching a trout on the dry fly and the next a 16 lb salmon and even better a monster brown trout at night, all with my switch rod.


Having gone through my fair share of lines i found that the Forty Plus floating and Intermediate lines from Airflo  excellent lines for my six weight switch rod because with a small alteration to the front section they will cast any of my Rio seven foot sink tips with ease. There are other lines by Rio and Orvis that share similar specifications ( thirty four to thirty seven foot heads with similar weights ) and these will work well with the switch rod. The line that i find awkward is the switch line itself, most of these lines have a fifty five foot head and this becomes an issue especially when casting either big flies or sink tips in small to medium size rivers, you are not going to have the whole line out and will have issues with turn over and you can forget about the overhead cast. If you think about it a fifty five foot head with a seven foot sink tip and a three foot leader adds up to sixty five feet compared to the others at only forty seven feet in total with the same tip and leader. That is why i prefer the shorter shooting heads because you can fish anywhere and still be able to cover the whole river with any heavy fly or tip, even retrieving line and recasting isn't a chore. The next line i have in my box is the Skagit compact, these heads are around twenty feet in lenght and can lift and cast heavy sink tips or flies in the tightest of places. The only trick when casting skagit lines is a short slow stroke followed by a high forward stop and this allows the line to shoot out and across the river. All rods have an A.F.T.M.A.(American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association ) rating and this is a scale of line weights and that is how you match your rod with your fly line i.e. if the rod is marked six weight then your line must be a six weight line for optimum loading and casting. All lines come in Grains and to find out the weight there is s simple chart (  1 ounce = 437.5 grains ,  1 gram = 15.431 grains , and 1 ounce = 28.4 grams ) so if your line is 180 grains you divide by 15.431 and that gives you the weight of your line at 11.66 grams. If you want to be able to fly fish anywhere in fresh or salt water then a Switch rod is a must, trust me it will only improve your game by making the impossible cast possible.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Salmon Season 2013

When sorting out my salmon fishing tackle for the new season i noticed a small box hidden away at the bottom of the cabinet, it was given to me years ago by my grandfather and contains some salmon and pike spinners which must be over fifty years old. I must photograph these spinners and put them up on my blog to show the detail that went into making these handcrafted baits. Everything these days is mass produced and unfortunately does not stand up to much abuse, but these baits are in amazing condition especially as they were used constantly over a long period of time. During the 1930's and 40's materials were in short supply due to the war and most of the anglers had to be very inventive in the making of their baits etc., and i remember my grandfather telling me that it was common for anglers to have to take off their clothes in mid february  and go in and retrieve the spinner if they got stuck as you couldn't afford to lose them.

Having made a lot of salmon fishing videos in 2012 and directing traffic towards the 2012 blog i will be running my new blog ( ) at the same time and eventually it will take over from the 2012 blog.