Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Seasons Greetings 2014.

Wishing all my readers and followers a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, hopefully we will have very tight lines, screaming reels and some great fishy stories in the up coming 2015 salmon season.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Introduction to my Fishing Channel.


Just to let the readers of this blog know that i have more fishing videos available on youtube including lake,river and saltwater species. There are also three more fishing blogs that can be viewed from the side bar on this page. I will be putting up my most successful flies and techniques for this year in the coming week with some salmon spawning photo's and videos in December.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Sea Trout on the Fly at Night.


The lack of rain fall over the summer months meant that the rivers were very low and this had a knock on effect on the salmon and sea trout fishing, normally sea trout would run up a river on a spit but this year things were very quiet. The main run of sea trout happened around June and July with a quiet period in August and then  we got a small run of Estuary trout in mid September till the end of the season. The size of fish was down on last year as the average fish was about one pound compared to almost two pounds the previous season. Even the larger trout didn't show up till we had some water on the last day of the season but again they were few and far between. Having to get my new rod from Mark at Tackle Discounts.UK as there were no suppliers here that had an eight foot eight weight fly rod for sale it was definitely a great bargain and really served its purpose well because having very low lying trees here and underwater snags the rod enabled me to cast under the tree canopy and it also had the power to stop good fish from running out of the pools. The weight forward fly line was purchased for only twelve euros from Dan at Halfway Tackle and surprisingly for a cheap line it was still in great condition even though it was dragged through stones,bushes, gravel and thorns while night fly fishing. With the low water i was using a 12lb copolymer leader as the flurocarbon was sinking too fast and kept snagging up the flies on the bottom but with the copolymer it allowed me to retrieve the flies slowly without that issue. These days the copolymer and flurocarbon lines have the same diameters but the fluro is heavier and sinks the flies faster, great in fast or deep water but not so good if your fishing shallow or slow water with a slow figure of eight retrieve. Matching the different leader materials to standard or weighted flies allowed me to cover all aspects of night fly fishing without having to resort to using sinking lines in the deep pools later in the night when the fishing went quiet. There were still a few times later into the nights when sinking lines accounted for trout in the deeper pools but not enough for me to change from my tactics of combining floating lines and weighted flies with coploymer and fluro leaders. Even by simply tying in some lead wire or gold beads onto the hooks before tying up my sea trout patterns and combining this with a fluro tippet  helped me achieve the depth later on in the night when the fish went down deeper into the pools. The most important thing after you have got your tackle, line and flies sorted out has to be the casting, i have seen people fly fishing at night and the fly line goes out further than the flies due to bad casting and poor turn  over, they might as well be fishing in the field. I prefer to use a short double haul cast and this powers out the fly line and always puts the flies down perfectly leaving the point fly furthest away from me, knowing that your flies are laid out perfectly and are fishing straight away improves your catch rate and also cuts down on tangles which are a pain in the dark. Another important thing while fly fishing at night is your accuracy and soft turnover , splashing fly line on the water is not good for your night fishing and also lining trout by casting over them definitely will lower your catch rate. Always start your fishing close in before you decide to cover all the river as in darkness trout can be any where and working the river in an arc from short casts to longer casts will cover more trout and improve your catch rate, also don't be afraid to cast upstream with your flies you would be surprised the amount of fish that i have caught casting upstream on wet fly.

 Here is a photo of the 8 foot 8 weight  fly rod and the cheap floating fly line, combined price under 40  euros not bad for the amount of fun that i had with it. In the coming months i will definitely be putting together a book on my techniques for successful fly fishing for sea trout at night including tackle, flies and lines.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The End of another Salmon Season.

Having been lucky i got a chance to fish the last day of the extended salmon season on the Blackwater river, the weather in the morning was very cold and foggy with the heavy fog covering the river, it took till about 12 o clock for it to burn off and then we got this beautiful sunshine. The water level was low and i was surprised as i had expected it to be running a lot higher due to some of the reports that i had read recently but as always you have to physically see it for yourself. Well the fat lady was singing as i fished down the beat but being optimistic i was expecting to meet a fish even in this extremely bright sunshine and i did but with a shake of its head the barbless single hook came out and i was left enjoying the view so i took a photo to share with you. You cannot be disappointed when you are standing in an area of such extreme beauty on one of the nicest days of the season, as most anglers will say catching isn't everything.... but it helps. All in all it was a quiet salmon season for me, not because of the lack of salmon but the lack of water. The rain stopped in May and didn't come back till the end of September just as the season was coming to a close ( typical ), the river Lee was the lowest and dirtiest that i have ever see it and i was surprised that water wasn't released by the dam to clean it out and bring some fish up even though we had floods in other rivers at the same time. The majority of salmon were held up below the Kingsley weir and there were quite a few fish out in the harbour waiting for the water to run but it never came, the upside is that there should be more fish spawning this year as the amount of salmon caught was low.

My best day this season was in May when i caught three salmon ,( 12lb, 16lb and a big fish of over 23lb all in high water and on the spinner,  i would have preferred on the fly but that's the way it goes (the video can be viewed on my youtube channel  .). Well all i can do now is put away my salmon gear till next season and hope that it will be an improvement on this year

Monday, 18 August 2014

Salmon on the Fly 2014.

Due to the fact that there had been very low water conditions at the Inniscarra Dam fishery over the past two months i haven't been fishing there at all but i decided to give it a couple of hours late into the evening. The weed growth and water quality were fairly bad and one had to constantly keep cleaning the fly as there was a lot of slime weed on the rocks etc., i fished both banks but started on the Woodside at beat 4 where i caught and released two salmon in the first half hour on a size 15 double salar Allys shrimp fly. I was using my 6wt switch fly rod with a floating line and a blue Rio sinking tip which has a  5inch per second sink rate. The plan was to fish all the beats fast and see if there were any fresh salmon about, by using the fast sink tip i was able to get down to the fish causing them to either take the fly or move out of the way. The water clarity was bad and only visible to a depth of about two feet so the fly had to be down deep for the fish to see it and fishing this way you can move through the beats quite fast and if there are fresh salmon about you can have fast hook ups but sadly i didn't see any fresh salmon but a lot of very coloured fish holding in the deeper pools or just in front of the fish pass. Surprisingly there were quite a few anglers fishing there but all had the same story no fresh fish seen and only the odd coloured fish being caught. I had a look at the Kingsley weir and saw only a few fresh salmon but there were many coloured fish holding  back from the weir, what we really need is a good flood to clean out the river and allow those fish to move upstream and hopefully bring some fresh fish up to the Dam fishery. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sea Trout at night on the Fly.

Just in case anybody thought that i had vanished off the face of the planet due to the lack of my salmon fishing reports and videos etc.,this is mainly due to the lack of water and salmon in the river at the moment but i am still fishing for sea trout at night on the fly. Anybody that has fished at night will understand the buzz one gets from the rod nearly being wrenched out of ones hands and the explosion of water that follows when a big sea trout hits the fly, not being able to see in the dark really magnifies the sensation and trust me if you haven't done this before try it. There are a few simple rules to night fishing, (1). recce the area that you are about to fish in daylight so you can understand water depth and problematic areas like low trees, deep holes and bank structure. (2) make sure that it isn't tidal as you don't want to be swamped by water in the dark. (3) bring a friend or two just for safety on your first few sessions but i recommend that unless you are very confident in your night fishing skills you should always fish with a buddy. (3) lay out your flies and casts in advance so as to minimize searching for them in the dark and always check that the eyes of every fly are clear of varnish etc as trying to thread line through the eye of a fly at night is hard enough without having that issue. (4) Lights, you can't have enough lights, one small hat light for changing flies, second bigger light for walking back to the car because trust me you wouldn't believe the number of anglers that i have seen falling over due to bad visibility. (5) Bank etiquette, don't flash lights onto the river and don't walk right up to other anglers that are fishing asking questions etc unless you know them, they are fishing and not out there for a chat so let them fish in peace. (6) Salmon licence, you are going to need a state salmon licence and if fishing private or club waters a permit or permission.(7) clothing remains the same as you will need a jacket and waders etc, but wear clear glasses as you won't be able to see the flies when you are casting and the last thing you need is a fly sticking out of an eye in the dark, not only that i met a guy one night who had a lucky escape when a branch that he didn't see in the dark got stuck just above his eye socket and embedded itself there luckily it missed the eye but he fishes with clear safety glasses now at night.(8) a good long landing net to save you leaning too far into the river. I will be going into much more detail about fly rods / lines and flies in the future with a very simple and effective strategy on how to fly fish for sea trout at night but have a look at my sea trout fly fishing video on my mrkingfisher3 youtube channel before you venture out into the darkness. Most of the rivers have a good number of sea trout in them at the moment but it will get better in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014.



During the last two weeks the water levels were very low and only the odd fresh fish was being seen at the Dam fishery but as soon as the water was released fish started to arrive but unfortunately many were coloured, these fish having entered the river weeks earlier had stayed in the lower beats till the water levels allowed them to run. The fish were only nipping at the spinners as they had been fished over by many anglers down stream before arriving at the dam so they knew the game very well and probably could even tell you where your spinners were made. There were a few large fish throwing and i estimated that some were definitely over 20 lbs but they were very dark and heading  upstream above the dam. I hooked the fish in midwater because the spinner didn't have time to get down under the very fast current and with a few head shakes the games were on. A very strong salmon of about 11lbs short but very stocky and these are the best fighting fish as they are very dogged and fight deep and as you can see in the video it tore line off the clutch with ease. The fish was just in off the tide as it had sea lice on it and the scales were still soft and falling off in my hands, a sure sign of tide fish. Removing the size 4 black and silver flying C i released a very strong fish back into the river. There were a few grilse seen down river so hopefully we should see some arriving at the dam soon but last year they were few and far between with mainly the larger salmon being caught. When the main pods of fish arrive at the Kingsley Weir they either wait for high water or the odd few run the side wall or  fish pass and head up river but then they split up either going up the Shournagh River or the Bride and the rest then heading to the upper reaches of the Lee with a few eventually heading up above the Dam itself. The earlier fish usually travel the most so these fish are always going above the Dam but as the season progresses the later fish are destined for down river or one of the two main tributaries so as i have said before the Dam doesn't really get a back end or September run but it does get a small summer salmon run just after the grilse run peters out in mid to late July. Hopefully we will get a chance to put a fly over some grilse in the coming weeks as they are a great fighting fish and great sport on a small fly rod.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Salmon on the Fly . (HD)



Seeing a fresh salmon head and tail at the end of the croy i was quick to cast a line and cover it, the beat had been hammered by anglers all day long using a variety of different methods and i had only seen a few coloured fish throwing so when i spotted the fresh fish i moved into stealth mode. On the third cast i knew that i was in the right area and feeling the loop leave my grip i slowly raised the rod and lifted into the fish, the battle was on . The salmon began rolling underwater and i noticed that i was losing control especially when trying to turn the fish so i knew that it was after wrapping itself up in the leader so i let it run downstream to unwrap itself but to no avail. Putting a lot of side strain i turned the fish upstream and keeping good side pressure on it moved it in to shallow water, running the fish in circles i beached it on a shallow sandbar but it didn't like that and shot back out to deeper water. Running the salmon once again into shallow water i quickly beached the fish and unravelled the leader from its pectoral fin, then i took out my size 15 Allys shrimp fly and released the salmon back into the river. As you can see from the video the salmon was still very green and bursting with energy when i put it back and thats the best way to release fish. There is no need to play a fish to within an inch of its life, just apply plenty of side strain on the fish with the fly rod and let the rod absorb all the fish's  power  especially when the fish is above you as it will be fighting the current and you at the same time and this will allow you to beach it faster. The sink tip i was using was a Rio 6ft Salmon versileader  3.9 ins per second sink rate in 24lb breaking strain and the fly was my old but updated favourite Hot Orange Allys shrimp in size 15 salar double on a 12lb flurocarbon tippet.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014




Having fished through the beats i had met a few salmon on the fly but most of the fish were just pulling at the tail not really interested in taking it, normally that would be the actions of some playfull grilse but the real answer is that they were burned obviously having been fished over hard by other anglers. The water was in fine flow even though it was at low summer level but you could see the signs that it was starting to colour up with algae even though they are running the left sill to oxyginate it there is only visibility upto 2ft and dropping. I had just got my new Airflo 40 plus extreme fly line and i wanted to test it out against the conditions and also against its predecessor my old origional and now semi retired 40 plus. They have improved the transition between running line and head and that is good news as the transition in the old line was a bulbus affair and pulled at all the eyes on the way out and on retrieving, but i fear that the new running line is a bit thick and this slows down the speed of the head compromising longer casts especially under arm and water bourne casts. The line wasn,t looped so i had to weld my own and to be honest it doesn,t take rocket science to know that the loop on the running line is always going to be  fixed so why not include it in the line in the first place and to add another touch maybe a braided loop in the box for the front loop would be a really good idea as then one could fish away from scratch.

The salmon hit the fly twice but didn't stay so i took the line out of the water and gave it a rest for a few minutes talking to Dean i explained that i was going to run the next fly down past the lie fast and see if the salmon would respond aggressively and it did by taking the size 15 double salar ahilles shrimp fly well down and heading downstream like a bullet. Turning the fish i brought the fight to me and ran the fish in circles allowing my 6 wt switch rod to take all the sting out of the fish and cushion the line finishing the fight in under three and a half minutes. Getting the salmon back green  helps them to survive better after release and with using  size 15 salar hooks there is little or no damage to the fish. The new 40  plus line did its job well but with a few tweaks it could be a great line especially for switch rods and with me heading out to sea for seatrout in salt water soon it will be put to further use and i will let you know how i get on.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014 " May ".



Having recovered from my previous days fishing session i decided to give the Dam a cast for a few hours and unfortunately the water being at full load it was back to heavy spinning as usual. There were a few anglers fishing there and one salmon of about 7lb was taken earlier in the evening, i had just bumped a fish so i decided to give it a rest for a few minutes and having just cast back on the lie the salmon hit very hard and came screaming in towards the bank and then doubled back out but caught up on a submerged tree stump. Thinking very fast on my feet i opened the bail arm and let the fish have plenty of slack line so that it might travel back down stream and thus releasing itself from the stump but to no avail. I could see the fish flashing outside me opposite the tree stump so i knew that it was well caught up and i would have to go in and release it. Dave reacted faster and just hopped into the water and pushed the line back around the stump and with that  the salmon was off at high speed across the river luckily still attached to my spinner, only for Dave's intervention the fish would have most definitely snapped the line on the stump. Playing the fish back towards me i beached the fish fast because the fight had gone on too long and i wanted to release it back without taking  too much out of the salmon. Luckily it was lightly hooked in the mouth and the spinner came out without too much trouble, it was a very fresh sea liced wild salmon of about 11lbs a  stocky deep bodied fish which are the best fighting of all the salmon. Holding the fish for a few seconds it was fighting to get back so i released it back into the river none the worse for the encounter. Over the past few days i have been lucky to have some met great salmon all well over the 10lb mark and with one over 22lbs being my best for the last five years, even though it broke the top ring of my Hardy Sirrus spinning rod it was definitely worth it, even my spinning reel is groaning a bit after that hard battle but not to worry its all part of of the sport we call angling.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014 " The Big Boys "



Three salmon landed and released and a further two salmon lost by short takes not a bad evenings fishing even by my standards. The only downside was that rather than keep the big fish out for a few photo's i put it back so that it wouldn't exhaust itself and for that it beat me up before leaving in a burst of pure power. Starting at the top of beat 1 woodside i fished my way down towards the end of the beat covering every inch of water and every salmon lie while i had the chance as over the past few times that i have been out it has been very busy akin to combat fishing. Even when i could cover some of the lies there was always someone about with a question etc., and this eats into my fishing time and as anyone that knows me will tell you i like the odd chat but i pay for my ticket like everybody else and i like to concentrate on my fishing and test my skill without interuption. I have built up a vast knowledge of this part of the river over the past few years and knowing the hydrodynamics of the water i know where most of the fish will be at any given time in most water levels. I covered a short lie between two rocks and got a slight bump and knowing someone was at home gave it a rest for a few minutes, casting back a long the same line a few minutes later i hooked into the 16lb fish and it took off downstream in a flurry of cartwheels but i stopped it and brought the fish in close to me and allowed it to wallow for a few moments and then i ran it in circles until it was ready for landing. The Landing Area is so small and with some large rocks, under water weeds and tree stumps its strewn with hazards an easy place to lose a good fish but with 3 to 4 ft of water outside you there is nowhere else to land the fish. I brought the fish in close guided it past the weeds and rocks, landed it, removed the spinner that was only slightly hooked in its mouth and released it back into the river.

The second fish took halfway down the beat and with a very short fight i  landed it fast and released it, it just shot back so fast that it was stronger going back than it was for the entire fight probably gassed out from the hard journey up from the tide in high water. The big fish took me in mid river ran straight over to the wall cartwheeled twice screamed downriver with my reel drag heating up i stopped the fish in mid burst just then Marc came up from the lower beat to see the action and i asked him to film the fight on my small camera as i played out the fish. The fight was over in under five minutes as i gave little or no ground to the fish bullying it to swim in ever decreasing circles until i was ready to guide it past the obstacles into my small landing area where i removed the spinner and after being beaten up by the fish it was a very quick release. Having released big fish before it is always better to let the fish do what it wants to as trying to stop it will either hurt it or you as they are very powerful and with this fish being very green i just wanted the hooks out so that it could be on its way. I always bully fish in fast so that they are in great shape to swim away, sometimes i see anglers play out a fish within an inch of its life and then expect it to swim away and survive, if you want to release fish always bring it in fast as it doesn't get a build up of lactic acid and it will survive better than one that has been played to exhaustion as they will certainly die.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014



Having fished for a few minutes with my switch fly rod the water level rose quite rapidly by over six feet in just 15 minutes so i had to change over to my spinning rod to deal with the very fast water, that  is the problem associated with fishing below a Hydro Electric Dam. It can also have a very favourable side in that it can bring fresh fish in very fast from tide some distance downstream and when other rivers are in full spate with a chocolate brown colour the dam controls this river and most  high water levels are almost clear or there abouts. There were a few anglers fishing earlier and they had no luck with both spinner or fly but as the water levels had increased i expexcted to see some fresh fish moving up from downstream, the lower river has seen some fish caught recently but not as many as in past seasons. I covered a few of the known salmon lies and there seems to be a change in the areas that the salmon are now lying, maybe due to the extra volume and speed of the water as i am now meeting fish in different areas than i have met them in past years. The salmon hit the spinner with a thump and there was a lot of rolling and rubbing on the line in the earlier part of the fight and when i got the fish in close i could see that there was only one hook in its mouth ideal for a fast release. The fish gave a good account of itself with a number of jumps and cartwheels before i was able to bring it under control but still a great fight for a small fish of about 7lbs with fresh sea lice. The area that i was fishing has very little safe bank so i had to put the camera down while i landed the salmon as there was nowhere to beach it,  with plenty of rocks and underwater stumps just waiting to snag my line i quickly tailed and released the fish. I'm still waiting for a chance to fish the fly properly through all the beats but i cannot complain when being interupted by the rising water as i am catching fish  even though its only on spinner.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014



The water was at full load with one sill open and this was topping up the height and speed of the river, i fished with a 25gr black / silver flying c just to get depth so that i could get under the very fast top current to properly cover the salmon lies. Most anglers just do the 80 % and forget about the other 20 % that can be the difference between catching  fish or not catching fish. I will definitely be putting up a video on youtube soon on the proper casting and spinning techniques needed to increase ones chances of catching salmon, including how to achieve proper depth and speed control while spinning in fast high water using the upstream spinning method. A lot of anglers turn up at a river and really cannot read the water, they don't know where the salmon lies are in low, medium or high water so they spend either a very long time in one area or they shoot through the beats hoping to cover as much water as possible in an attempt to catch fish. Proper intelligence on a river is important so doing your homework on gaining information from expert anglers or gillies etc., on the holding pools and salmon lies is probably the best thing that a novice angler can do, even watching other anglers cover certain parts of the river will give one an idea where to cast to increase ones chances.

The salmon hit the spinner twice, bumping it on the first attempt and then nailing it on the second hit as the spinner was coming down the pool. I hit the fish really hard because of the strong heavy water as sometimes they are very lightly hooked when the spinner comes at them so fast and with a few head shakes they are free. Even when playing the salmon i could see that it was lightly hooked and this was great because i was releasing the fish and the less damage to the fish the better. I was holding the salmon with one hand reviving it and  with the other hand i was setting up the camera for some underwater shots when the fish decided it was time to go and knocked over my underwater camera but luckily i got the shot of the fish swimming away safely and strong. It is very hard catching, playing, filming, landing fish with only two hands and as i hold a camera in one hand as i play the salmon to get the best shots some people think that i'm mad but it adds to the drama and excitment of the fight, so next time you watch one of my videos see if you can play a strong fish out with one hand while trying to get some good steady footage with the other, trust me it will definitely add excitement to your salmon fishing and if you really want to show off wear a blindfold....

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014.


  Having started my evening session at beat 4 i was just about to take a cast with my 6wt switch fly rod when i noticed that the sand bar that i was standing on was steadily disappearing and then i realised that the water was coming on. Moving up to beat 1 i changed over to my spinning outfit and due to the speed of the water put up a 25gr black and gold flying c, i find the gold blade works very well in low light conditions especially when there is a slight tint to the water colour. Casting far upstream i was able to then cover the lies at the proper depth and getting down below the top current i was able to slow down the pace of the spinner which increased my chances of a hook up. The salmon hit the spinner hard and took off downstream at a rate of knots but i quickly turned it and brought it back up to where it suited me to play the fish. I allowed the fish to run in circles and once or twice it rolled over on the line trying to shake off the spinner but i quickly regained the upper hand and landed it in no time. A fine  fresh 12lb sea liced hatchery salmon which had just arrived in no more than 24 hours from salt water. The only pity was that it wasn't on the fly but that will come soon, once the rain eases off and the water levels get back to normal i can then get back to my fly fishing and as i have tied up some new patterns i can't wait to try them out on fresh fish. Having taken the measurements of my salmon i checked to see if the weight calculator would be close to the weight that i had estimated and at a girth of 39cm and a lenght of over 79 cm it was just under 12lbs so i wasn't far off the mark with 12lbs. A good idea for the future just take the measurements of your salmon ( girth and lenght to v of the tail ) and put it into one of the fish calculators that are on the web and you will have a fairly exact weight for your fish especially if releasing the salmon.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Spinning " The Monkey on your Back / Shoulder ".

Having fished for most of my life one gets used to knocks and falls while fishing, be it either falling down a bank or in a slippery river bed due to lack of traction we all get the odd knock or injury but casting a spinning rod or fly rod can cause other issues. Repeative strain injury comes from constantly casting and putting stress on ones shoulder muscles ( deltoids ) and also fishing in very cold weather or in my case pushing the distance out by hammering my fishing rod to achieve maximum distance. In tennis they have tennis elbow and in fishing we have anglers shoulder, to see if you have this issue all you have to do is raise your casting hand straight up in the air and if you get a slight pull in the shoulder then you have the starting signs of anglers shoulder. The more predominant signs are not being able to put ones casting hand as far up behind ones back as ones non casting hand or in bad cases having shoulder pain after an hour or so of fishing. There are three main areas that one can suffer pain from, one is the front deltoid the second is the side deltoid and the third is the area in your upper back between or around  the shoulder blade. This injury in my estimation was caused the previous season and over the winter months has shortened the range of muscle movement of the casting arm and as we all start fishing in the cold weather we are only irritating an already shortened muscle which tears and thus creating more shortening and damage. If you think of it as an angler i spend all day casting and in my case really pushing my rod to its limit so it is similar to an athlete throwing a javelin but in my case about 1,200 throws a day, i'd like to see the state of the athlete that can throw that many javelins.

To combat this issue one has to warm up ones shoulder muscles prior to fishing similar to any athlete before a race etc., but the best advice is that when one finishes fishing at the end of the season one should visit a massage therapist or physiotherapist and get one or two good rub down sessions to get rid of the knots or scar tissue that has built up over the fishing season and thus stopping the injury from developing any further. Having many years of weight training and martial arts under my belt i have a few exercises that strenghten and stretch the shoulder muscles but with using both fast and slow twitch muscle fibres while casting to the extreme one still needs a good manipulation session by a physiotherapist on those muscles to avoid further damage and the worst thing is i'm not getting any younger so injuries like those take longer to heal and my philosophy of life is prevention is a lot better and cheaper than cure.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014. " Off the Mark ".

                       My First Spring Salmon of the 2014 Salmon Season.

Fishing from beat 1 to beat 4 with my 6wt switch fly rod i covered every lie but failed to see or meet any salmon. The water was very low but clear so it was easy to see every rock in all the pools on the way down to beat 4 and i must admit that they were all vacant, no fish at home. Heading back up to beat 1 i heard the siren so i knew that heavy water was on the way, back to spinning. The dam opened three sills which  generate a height load of about 3ft over normal levels, ideal for both fly or spinner. Having fly fished all morning i changed over to my spinning outfit and put on a size 3 black and silver flying c because water levels weren,t high enough to use a size 4 and using the larger spinner would only mean getting constantly stuck on the bottom.

The salmon hit the spinner and started rolling and spinning in the water so i knew from the start that something was wrong and at one stage thought that i had hooked a very good pike but then the fish erupted into the air and then i knew that we were off to the races. The fish tried to wrap itself around several large rocks but with the non stretch quality of braid i was able to turn the salmon away from the rocks and not allow it to get back down into the deep water. I always play my salmon out on top of the water as it tires them out faster and allows me to return them in good condition but this salmon fought differently and even at one stage i thought that it would fall off, looking back i think that it was just nerves at possibly losing my first fish of the 2014 season. On landing the salmon i noticed that the hooks were stuck in both the upper and lower jaw and in my experience that makes the salmon go wild and fight very eratically. I took the salmon because of the damage to its mouth and luckily it was a hatchery fish weighing about 15lbs with fresh sea lice. Normally i return the first salmon but the damage done to the fish would not have allowed it to survive if i had released it back into the river. Well i'm  off to a good start and hopefully a good 2014 season. Best thing about fishing in cold wet weather is staying dry and having good gear keeps one dry and warm, having issues with other waders last year i am enjoying fishing this season in my new Sonik SK4 waders that i bought from Ned at Ardaire Springs Fishery, they are so comfortable that you'd hardly know that you had them on.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014. Blackwater River.

Driving on the motorway i passed over the Blackwater river and noticed that there was a very large frothline going down the centre of the river, that didn't look good because the colour of the froth was cream and not white meaning badly coloured water. On arriving at the Lodge i met Ian and he had fresh information conserning the water clarity upstream which was only about 18 inches and also that the water had come up. Hearing that they had caught and released a fresh 6lb salmon on Wednesday and that there was also one lost upstream made me feel a bit more optimistic. In reality the water was very coloured with only 12 inches of visibility at Lower Kilmurray with a strong downstream gale blowing that made it very hard to slow down the spinner and gain proper depth. Starting off on a Black/Silver flying c and then moving over to Red/Gold and then finishing up on a Yellow/Gold i covered the lies as best i could with my upstream spinning method then changing over to a 28gr White/ Silver Toby i fished back downstream and hooked into a fish but it didn't stay long enough as it was more of a bump fumble and drop not giving me much time to tell if it was a kelt or a fresh fish and very understandable considering water clarity and Tobys. Unfortunately when fishing with Tobys they have such a great action that sometimes the hook-ups aren't great and you can lose fish, even when using a double split ring to move the hooks even further away from the spoon fish will still come off. Here are some photo's of Upper and Lower Kilmurray showing water heights and clarity.

                                          Water up to the top of the ladder in lower Kilmurray

                                          Water clarity only 12 to 18 inches early morning

                                         Heavy squall with sleet  / rain moving through
                                          A brief moment of sunshine

                                          Casting platform needs a bit of spot welding

                                          Upper Kilmurray

                                          The winds at upper Ballyhooley

                                          Lower Ballyhooley

Finishing up at lower Ballyhooley the water clarity was much better at over 2 ft and there was definitely a drop in water height so if it keeps dropping away like this and the water clarity improves there should be some more fish caught over the weekend. The water clarity was over four feet and there was a nice upstream wind when the fish were met on Wednesday, i didn't get the temperature but it had to be a lot warmer than today because it definitely dropped to less than 3 degrees in the showers and biting winds.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014 Blackwater River.

Having a few hours to spare and with the weather being quite mild, no wind and very little rain i decided to give Ballyhooley Bridge a cast. Arriving at the bridge i met Ian from Blackwater lodge and we both laughed on seeing the height of the river, it was higher than the opening day. There must be  some difference between the gauges because i thought that the river had dropped slightly on paper but seeing it up close and personal it had risen by at least 10 inches. Having a lot of small rivers and streams flowing into a main river can make a huge difference to water height downstream so people should take great care when approaching swollen flooded rivers. The banks can be very unstable and in some cases undercut, just standing on the bank can cause it to fall in so again great care must be observed when walking near rivers at this time of year. There must be beavers upstream near Mallow because of the amount of trees passing me down during my fishing session and that in it self can be another hazzard especially if you hook one by mistake..... I covered the beat well and fished upstream spinning with Flying "C"'s and downstream with heavy Toby's but to no avail, no fish seen, met ot taken. The water clarity was only about 8 - 10 inches as can be seen from one of my photo's, so the spinner would have had to bump the fish on the head first before i could catch it. Here are some photo's of the Ballyhooley Bridge beat in extra high water.

                                           Top of Ballyhooley Bridge beat looking upstream

                                          Looking downstream to the bridge
                                          Water clarity was only 8 - 10 inches
                                          Ballyhooley Bridge at high tide..........

I will wait till the water drops down to below 2m on the gauge before my next session on the Blackwater river but looking at the weather forecast for Friday evening and into the weekend i would say that the river will definitely be unfishable for most of next week. As most anglers can appreciate after a hard day spent spinning or fly fishing in very high water one sometimes feels that they have a monkey on their back, well today i had an oversized silver back gorilla.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Opening Day on the Blackwater River / Lake 2014

Ok its official i need to get myself evaluated, anybody that goes out with the intention of going fishing on a day like today with serious storm force 10 warnings on a river that one cannot find due to the fact that it is so badly flooded one cannot see or find the banks, needs to be locked up for their own safety and the safety of others. To my credit after talking to Ian at the Blackwater Lodge Fishery who did try to talk some sense into me by telling me to go home and leave the river to the surfers ( due to the size of some of the waves coming down the lake / river ) i said that i would have one look at Ballyhooly Bridge on the way home and maybe have a cast .... So here are some of the photo's of the river from Ballyduff bribge up to Ballyhooly bridge, we had to be very careful while stopping to take photo's due to the conditions and narrow road so its only a small sample of the floods trust me it was a lot worse the photo's don't do the conditions justice. In some areas it looked like Lough Corrib on a very rough stormy day with big waves.

                                          view from the Blackwater Lodge Fishery
                                          looking downstream from Ballyduff Bridge
                                           upstream view from Ballyduff Bridge

The next few photo's were taken just above Ballyduff village showing the fields because you can't see the river or banks but they are there.

                                          The Funshion river looking upstream 1 of 2

                                         The Funshion River looking downstream 1of 2
                                           Ballyhooly Bridge looking downstream 1 of 3
                                          Ballyhooley Bridge looking upstream 1 of 2
                                         Fermoy Bridge looking downstream 1 of 3
                                          Fermoy Bridge looking upstream 1 of 3

The water was just starting to drop off as we were leaving and it had reached almost 3 meters on the guage so the photo's give you an idea what this level of water can do to the river. Just incase anybody was going to make a phone call or send an email to some medical / psychiatric services with my interests at heart there is no need, i didn't take the fishing rods out and i did get home safe and reasonably sound. I might be slightly mad at times and that has to do with having the proper fishing gear for the conditions but i'm not stupid and know my limits and today was the limit, too dangerious for fishing.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014

Went down to fish the Laune but with the water being so high i decided to have a look around and head up towards the meeting of the waters to see if there was anything there. As you can see from these photo's it was hard to distinguish between river and field no mind finding the river bank.

                                          Looking up towards beat 1 from the bridge

                                          Looking down to beat 2 from the bridge
                                          Trapped weed just lets you know how high it was
                                          A path to nowhere ?
On my way up to the meeting of the waters i saw a few red deer so i stopped to take a photo of some stags. Even they looked a bit fed up with all the water and heavy rain about.

                                          Photo's of the meeting of the waters .

I fished here for a short while but no luck not even a pull from a spent salmon. The weather for the weekend is bad so i reckon my opening days fishing at the Blackwater lodge fishery on saturday the first of February is looking bleak to say the least. I can handle heavy rain and flooded rivers, i have the gear to handle almost any conditions but flying objects and falling trees due to storm force winds are just beyond the capabilities of even my best fishing clothing. I will make a call on friday night whether i go or not on saturday but at least the winds will be easing for sunday and maybe i will be able to cast a line then.