Thursday, 26 November 2015

Sea Trout on the Fly at Night ( Part 2 )

This is part two of my sea trout on the fly at night video's all the information about catching these lovely fish is written in the previous post. ( Part 1 ).  

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sea Trout on the Fly at Night.( Part 1 ).


Here are some nice sea trout that i caught while fly fishing during a full moon, most anglers seem to think that the  sea trout turn off or are hard to catch during such events but i find that some of the larger fish will travel on these big tides and using the right flies and tactics can be caught. Even though the moon brightens up the river there is plenty of tree cover around and using dark bodied flies rather than the normal bright patterns you present the perfect silhouette for the trout to see the fly. Even this tactic of waiting for the bats to show or until its very, very dark never mattered to me as i have caught them just as the light is going up till dawn and even into daybreak. Certain pools will fish when its dark but there are plenty of areas that will fish well just as light is going and are better at this time because just as the darkness comes these trout move up or down river so the pool you were fishing in low light might not have any trout in it in the dark. I have fished down many pools with the fly after other anglers that were using either fly or bait had moved on and caught trout from the off so people saying that starting early ruins the pool or puts the trout down has never mattered to me. I think that you need to experiment with a river to get to know what works, how it works and when it works so just leaving it till a certain time because some people say so is a waste of good fishing time. Having fished for large trout i was told that they didn't exist to monster proportions but after studying many rivers in different heights and light levels i found that they could be caught and were there in good numbers and in some cases in very large sizes. You have to experiment for yourself, when fishing for sea trout a pool can have good numbers of fish in it in daylight but as soon as the light changes to darkness these trout will move out and in the same instance these trout will move back just as its getting brighter because they feel comfortable or protected there. I feel that sea trout are confined and restricted in their movements during the daytime and even though you will see the odd flash or body scraping activity ( rubbing their sides off the river bed to shed parasites i.e. sea lice )going on during the daytime they are normally subdued, but at night time they come out to play. Even when fishing many rivers i have noticed that when the small trout stop jumping and pitching it goes quiet for a while and then the big boys come into their own and you will have one start down river and then another and the jumping will work its way up every pool and i think the big trout are communicating to each other because its so well orchestrated and confined to just the bigger fish. This lets me know where they are and then i can target them, every pool will have one or maybe two large trout in residence and the moment you hit the smaller fish these guys shut down and you will find it hard to catch them, not impossible but hard. Again another theory about using sinking lines later on in the night when things go quiet, i have fished with many anglers that changed over to sinking lines and competed against them using only my floating line and still took more fish than they did while i was using the same tactics but changing to flies tied on heavier trout hooks and flurocarbon leader rather than my normal copolymer leader. If the pool is not deeper than eight feet the floating line will work every time, the biggest issue i find with anglers that night fish is simple.... its turn over. They can't cast their flies properly, you have to make sure that the point fly is the furthest away from you at all times and not in a ball, behind the fly line or knotted up but when night fishing i see this happen all too often. Secondly retrieve, they are stripping line so fast its amazing that they are meeting any trout at all, slow down only a figure of eight retrieve works and sometimes no retrieve at all just a natural drift and then a figure of eight retrieve at the end of the drift just to bring enough line in for a recast. Again flies are the one thing that separates the catchers from the anglers, stick to the normal patterns but make sure that you are using the bigger hook size on the point and the smaller size for the dropper, this will definitely give good turn over and also fish at different water levels where the heavier point fly will fish deeper in the water column and the smaller dropper will be higher up the level giving two point of attack..... some nights smaller flies work better and sometimes the larger patterns will pull fish so using both sizes on a cast improves your chances of a hook up. The way things are going its probably time for me to write the up dated sea trout book because i have so much more information that i can't fit it into this blog, try and experiment next time your going out night fishing for sea trout with starting earlier, using different retrieves and fly sizes and see if your catch rate improves but remember releasing them will give someone else a chance to enjoy the sport in the future.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Irish Fly Fair and Angling Show 2015.

I went up to Galway over the weekend to visit the annual fly fair in the Galway Bay Hotel, the weather was dismal to say the least with heavy driving rain and gale force winds not ideal for the fly casting demo's. The fly tying section was excellent with some amazing fly patterns on display, the fly tying experts were very helpful and friendly demonstrating the art of fly tying with all the new materials on show. All the tackle suppliers and dealers were there to cater for the good number of anglers that turned up and braved the bad weather. I wanted to try out some of the switch lines and rods and the guys from AM angling were very helpful showing me some of their new lines and  switch rods even in the pouring rain, sadly they haven't got a floating version of what i'm looking for but their short float / intermediate line looks good, ideal for low water conditions and grilse. Glenda Powell was on form giving a good casting demo even in the driving rain and gale force winds and also Hywel Morgan  and Charles Jardine were very entertaining demonstrating all the tips and tricks of casting again in bad weather conditions. Having tried some more rods and lines i was very surprised that all the casting was on grass and to be honest i'm not an expert on grass ( only water ) as it doesn't give a realistic feel or resistance to the line. In reality i'd say that a lot of anglers were put off by this and it definitely didn't show the rods and lines to their true potential. I must admit i have been using switch rods for many years and i'm still confused as to why rod makers are supplying dedicated lines for their rods that really don't do the job, my Oracle switch is a 7/8 and the dedicated line was very lack lustre in trying to turn over even the 2.6 ins rio sinking tips and when i asked about this at the stand i was told to use the 8/9 as it was heavier and would probably do the job. Really..... i now know why there is so much confusion with switch rods, the dedicated line is ok for casting tapered leaders but use a sink tip and all bets are off. I have a video that i'm finishing soon and hopefully this will help all switch rod fly fishing anglers, there are two lines for switch rods ... ( 1 ) Rio switch chucker as it will  spey cast most rio sink tips in tight areas that you have to cover during your salmon / trout fishing needs and ( 2 ) the Forty plus which will cover tapered leaders and intermediate tips with  single over head casting and a bit of spey casting thrown in. The Rio switch chucker line isn't for over head casting but it will put out and turn over sink tips and heavy flies in tight areas with little or no effort when spey / underarm casting and then to cover the trout fishing or single over head casting the Forty plus will do the job well just get the 8 wt line for your 7/8 switch and with this line you can use tapered leaders or even intermediate tips and it will spey / underarm cast them as well. Remember the switch rod is exactly that SWITCH it means you can under arm / spey cast and SINGLE  hand over head cast. It's great to be able to see and try out all the new tackle / lines etc., and really only for the fly fair that wouldn't be possible, so hopefully it will continue for years to come.

Friday, 2 October 2015

End of Season 2015.

Well another season comes to an end with the last few days bringing lovely sunshine and the ideal weather to go fishing and enjoy all the autumn colours but with all the heavy rain and floods in mid September it definitely put paid to any decent back end fishing. I  had caught a couple of dark fish on the Lee but was trying to organize the closing day on one of the prime fisheries with a few lads but like everything else planning and doing are too different things. I ended up on the Lee for the last day and even though it was a beautiful autumn day it was fairly uneventful except for the odd coloured salmon plucking at the fly more in curiosity than anger. I must admit that i had fished on the Monday evening prior to the closing day and had just started fly fishing down beat 1 with my switch fly rod when i got a good pull at the fly but the fish didn't stay, checking the fly to make sure it was fishing well i then recast exactly on the same line as the take and straight away the fish took the loop and moved off very slowly downstream. Having very little strain on the line i automatically thought it was a grilse and started filming the fight but then things changed dramatically and the line started heading upstream with a few strong head shakes and suddenly the fish grew in size from a grilse to a fresh 17 / 18 lb bar of silver jumping and cartwheeling across the river. It was a great short fight with a very abrupt end when the fish buried itself in heavy weed and left my size 15 White shrimp fly in a clump of dirty weed. Luckily i got the fly back but while playing the fish a few thoughts ran through my head, having seen this beautiful bar of silver i thought this will make a great end of season video and secondly i might take it home..........well as they say don't count your chickens until they hatch rang no screamed through my mind when the fish dropped the fly and a few colourful words thrown in for good measure. But in all honesty it would have gone back to full fill its journey, as long as i can remember i have never killed a fish in the last month of the season never mind on the last day but it would have made a great video with all the beautiful autumn colours but instead all i have are some nice photo's to end this piece, but if you want to see the fish i will put up the few seconds of spectacular jumps it made soon at the end of this piece. For all those interested in sea trout fishing at night i have two video's coming out soon with some great specimens caught at night on the fly, also there will be two video's on how to improve your salmon fly fishing with my Scandi and Switch rod techniques which will only be available to my subscribers on youtube and followers on this blog... so follow the blog.


Here is a photo of the Lee in mid September in full brown flood, this heavy water pulled most of the fish up and above the dam leaving very little residents to fish for.

Here is the Hero to Zero video of me hooking and losing a big salmon during the last days of the salmon season.


Monday, 31 August 2015

Salmon on the Fly.


The water had just dropped off but there was still a fair bit of colour due to the recent floods and visibility was down to only two feet or less. I started at beat 1 and fished it slowly using a floating line and a 6 ft five inches per second sink tip just to get down to the fish because the fly being down at their depth would give them a chance to see it and maybe induce a take. Fishing around the stones i retrieved the line slowly so that it would move the fly and keep it just off bottom but also to add a bit more life to the Hot orange ally's shrimp. The salmon hit hard taking 10 yards of line from the reel and started kart wheeling down river, quickly recovering line i noticed that it was a coloured fish and put pressure on the salmon cutting down the angles so that it would tire out fast allowing me to land and release it quickly, but as all anglers know coloured salmon are great fighters and know the river well so it took me a bit longer to get this fish under control. It was in great condition nice and solid with little or no damage so she will definitely survive through the spawning cycle, sadly some of the fresh salmon and grilse this year were lean and will find it hard to survive after spawning. I will have to look around at some of the other rivers for a fresh salmon due to the fact that the Inniscarra salmon fishery on the Lee doesn't really get a back end run of fresh fish. For all the subscribers to this blog and my youtube channel i will be sending them a link for a bonus private video that i am making on tactics and tackle tips for salmon fly fishing with  double and single hand rods which will only be available to them.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Salmon on the Fly.


Having recovered from a shoulder injury i started back salmon fishing with my new Shakespeare 11 ft Switch 7/8 wt fly rod, i had bought the rod a few weeks ago but with my injury couldn't use the rod and as all anglers was disappointed not being able to try out my new toy. The line i was using was a 6/7 wt shooting head trout fly line with a short front taper but it was able to cast a Rio 3.9 ins per second sink tip and salmon fly with ease, having just started salmon fishing the water had come up by at least 3 ft due to the dam releasing water so the fly was now fishing just under the surface due to the speed of the water where as it had been fishing at about 2 ft down prior to this. I had two fish pitch over the fly as i fished it through the pool so i quickly changed over to a small Scierra bullet type tube fly that i had tied up for high fast water, doing a few experimental casts i was surprised that the line and rod were quite capable of throwing this combination with a bit of effort and tweaking on my behalf.
On moving back over these fish i hit a good salmon of about 12 lbs which shot off down river at a rate of knots but then doubled back on itself and came back towards me keeping up with the fish it then made a second good run and then the line went slack.... every anglers nightmare, on checking the fly i realized that one of the hooks was slightly blunt bad observation on my behalf while tying up the fly i should have checked this but in the excitement of having seen fish come at my fly it was obviously overlooked. That's the difference between catching and fishing just a fraction of a mm can make a good day or a bad day. Changing the hooks i started back through the pool and found that the tube fly was fishing nicely well over a foot down in the fast high water, i felt a short bump followed by a very aggressive take and i was into a nice grilse cartwheeling into the air and zigzagging across the river, it put up a great fight and i quickly beached and released it and the new rod was now christened. A few minutes later a second grilse succumbed to my new tube fly and this was also quickly landed and released, both fish were extremely fresh and had just arrived off tide due to the heavy water bringing them up over the Kingsley weir. The fly line i was using is only an outbound shooting head trout line but even though it was light for the rod i was still able to cover the whole river with a 3.9 ins per second sink tip and a heavy tube fly, i can imagine matching up the rod with a proper line like the Rio Switch fly line or even the Shakespeare Switch line what the rod will be able to do. If i was to make a few changes to the rod i would definitely make it (1) four piece instead of six, (2) shorten it to 10 ft and put an extendable double hand butt on it which would bring it up to a 10 ft 6" rod  when opened then you would have the perfect Switch rod, but for the price it's a good Switch rod. When i can afford the Rio Switch line i will do a video on what to look for in a proper Switch rod / line as there seems to be a lot of issues there considering the number of views i get on my Switch rod post.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Salmon on the Fly.


Having fished the pool earlier in higher water conditions i hooked and lost a good fish while stripping the fly so i decided to rest the pool and come back to try it in lower water. When the dam releases water is quickly picks up pace and fills up to about 6 feet above low level but when it drops back down it takes about 45 minutes to catch up with it self and until then it is like a canal with little or no flow. So when fishing in those conditions i normally strip the fly to give it life and this can sometimes initiate an aggressive take as it did in this instance. As the water had started to gain normal speed i went back in and fished the beat and on the third cast in between the two stones i hooked the salmon that i had lost earlier in the evening. The fish threw a few times and then tried to get back between the stones but i played it upstream and away from what would have been a bad situation if it had got tangled up on any one of the big boulders.
Putting loads of side strain on the salmon i allowed the switch fly rod to absorb all the power from the fish and i kept turning it in circles quickly tiring it out and and bringing it in to shallow water. Beaching the salmon i noticed that it was a very fresh hatchery salmon of about 15 to 16 lbs very broad and thick across the back, as the fish was in great condition i quickly released it back into the river. Just as i was putting the camera away a Buzzard hovered above for a few seconds and i was lucky enough to catch this on camera. It's amazing the amount of wildlife that one can get up close and personal to when fishing.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Salmon on the Fly 2015.



Knowing that the water was going to be off i decided to try an evening session on the fly at the Dam fishery, starting at beat 1 i noticed that the water clarity was low maybe only two feet or even less and the flow was   very slow around the salmon lies. I spent much of my time retrieving line in a slow strip just to add speed to the fly otherwise there would be little or no movement in the fly as it fished through the pool. I was constantly having to bring the shooting head inside the top eye of the rod and this didn't make re-casting easy but the end justifies the means as i hooked into a nice fresh sea liced salmon on that slow strip causing the salmon to take the loop out of my hand and head off down river in a near perfect take allowing me time to lift into the fish as it was heading away from me. After the salmon felt pressure it then headed upstream towards the dam and there i was able to control the fish with ease and beach it in shallow water, i noticed that the fly had been well taken down by the fish and in fact it was completely swallowed, having difficulty retrieving the fly i quickly despatched the fish knowing that it would never have survived  being returned back to the river. The salmon was about 10lbs covered in sea lice and a hatchery fish. Seeing another salmon head and tail i noticed that it was lying in shallow water only two feet deep so i changed over to a tapered leader to avoid getting caught up in the bottom and also to allow the fly to fish more freely.

When fishing shallow or slow water i use tapered leaders for better turnover of the fly but there is also another benefit, if you want to stay higher up in the water column use a mono tapered leader but if you need a bit of depth a flurocarbon tapered leader can be used either way both tapered leaders will give more movement to the fly and that's important in slow water. Having a longer tail on a small fly dressed very lightly will always give plenty of movement and this in conjunction with the tapered leader and slow retrieve can induce a take from fresh salmon. The second fish hit hard and fast and threw a number of times before i could gain control of the fish but as has happened a lot recently some anglers bear down on me to either view the fish or get a sneak view of my fly and this moves the salmon out causing me to stop filming and having to tell them to move back away from the fish . I landed the fish in the shallows and after a few minutes of resting up the fish released it back into the river.  When i'm fishing i never run up on another angler playing a salmon or even come within casting range of them but for some reason these days a lot of people feel the need to walk right up to where your trying to land a fish and this is bad bank etiquette putting pressure on the angler and fish. I must definitely do a post on proper bank etiquette  because this might help young anglers understand proper bank manners but in saying that most of the people encroaching on me recently  and getting in the way of me making videos are middle aged and should know better. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Spinning in High Water.


I decided to give the Dam fishery a full day's fishing because i had only been there a few hours over two evening sessions and having lost a couple of fish knew that i had to give it a bit more time. Having slept out i arrived at the fishery late around 10 am and was fishing by 10.30, the water was on full load and moving very fast with visibility down to three feet so i decided to use my Hardy Sirrus 10ft spinning rod and my Shimano Stradic 6000 spinning reel because they are the ideal set up for spinning in high water. The first salmon hit very hard but stayed stationary for a couple of minutes before cartwheeling downstream with the strong current, i put quite a lot of pressure on the fish to bring it back under control and force it back up river. The salmon then decided to wrap itself in among the heavy weed and i had to force it to the surface and play it out high up in the water column not allowing it get back in around the weeds. The first salmon was an extremely fresh sea liced fish of about 12lbs just in off the tide and being a wild fish it was released. Within minutes i was into my second salmon almost identical in size and after playing the fish hard i landed it only to find that the spinner was very deep inside the fish and knowing that it would not survive being released i took the fish.

Having fished on for about half an hour i got another take but that fished missed and fumbled the spinner but it quickly recovered itself and hit it again just feet from the bank and then screamed off downstream using the heavy water and strong current to it's advantage. Using braid i am able to feel every movement of the salmon and this is vital because you can really shorten the fight time when you feel the fish tiring by putting that extra bit of pressure on at the right moment. I like to control and dominate the fish very quickly and run it in circles because this tires it out very fast and allows me to return it in good condition.The third salmon was about 10lbs and a hatchery fish extremely fresh and there were sea lice present so it had also come in off tide earlier that morning. The fish was well rested and released back into the river in good condition. Fishing on i got one more take in low water on the fly but the salmon quickly let go of the fly but i can't complain after having such good sport that morning.

P.S.      the following evening i caught 2 salmon again very fresh on the fly in low water on my switch fly rod the video and report will be up this evening on my blog, one fish was about 10lbs and the other 8lbs covered in sea lice.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

"Salmon on the Fly"



The fishing had been quiet lately due to the very high water conditions and the fact that any salmon that had ventured up towards the dam was passing through and not holding up due to the constant water being put over the top sluice. This extra water over the top acts like a magnet for the salmon as they can hear and feel the turbulence and this draws them into the fish pass and off up to the upper catchment. Having had a few short takes on the fly i noticed that the water was moving in towards the near bank and not down the centre channel as normal so i started mending into the near bank and this definitely moved the fly faster through the pool but still no really positive responses just the odd pluck at the fly and really when using such small salmon flies as i do the takes are normally very aggressive as the fish don't even realise that they have been hooked.

I decided to cast above the lie and hold back the fly with the normal outside mend allowing it to sink well into the slower water and then i started to strip the fly with a long and positive stroke which moved the fly out of the lie with some nice pace to it and this proved deadly as the salmon hit the fly very aggressively and almost pulled the line out of my hands, allowing the fish to turn away from me i then put more pressure on the salmon setting the hook with a sharp lift of the rod and then we were off to the races. Sometimes salmon will hit a fast moving fly and come at you so its better to allow them to turn first before lifting otherwise you are just pulling the fly out of their mouths as the fish are facing you when your lifting. I was using a 6ft Rio sink tip ( 2.6 ins per second sink rate ) on a floating line with an 8lb flurocarbon tippet so i had to be very careful not to put too much pressure on the fish and after a few powerful runs i was able to turn the salmon and run it in circles allowing it to tire out quickly and after a few minutes i was able to land the salmon. The fish was chrome bright with sea lice markings fresh from the tide so i decided to take the fish. Having caught and released a few salmon recently i always like to take the odd very fresh salmon for myself. The amazing thing is that i stripped the fly the day before and retied the same pattern back on to the old hook and then resharpened the hook because i had felt that it was after getting a bit dull in colour from over use but i always like to keep flies that have caught salmon because i have more faith in them over brand new flies. Always remember to use a blooded fly( a fly that has taken a fish) first when fishing  through a pool as you will have more confidence in it rather than a new fly fresh out of the box. I always tell young anglers to have two fly boxes one for the large selection of salmon flies that you start out with and the second a smaller box just for the productive flies that have caught salmon, there are two reasons for this  (1) to get them retied so that you don't lose them and will always have a killer pattern and (2) is that its the the first fly i always start fishing with because again it has proven itself and fishing a pool with confidence in your tackle does work a lot better then pot luck.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2015 " Salmon on the Fly ".

Well it took a bit longer than expected but i got my first springer on the fly, i had been busy over the last few weeks and couldn't put the time or concentration into my salmon fishing but i got a small break last evening and went up to the Dam for an evening session with my Switch fly rod. The water was very low and even worse still dropping but the clarity was good and i was surprised to see that the water was cold maybe only 6 degrees. One of the sluices was open and this was definitely oxygenating the water, i started at Beat 1 with my Switch fly rod using a floating line and a Rio 6ft sink tip ( 2.6 ins per second ) and my trusted Ahilles hot orange shrimp fly with a slight variation only known to me as every angler and his dog is using that fly these days so i have to give the salmon something slightly different. ( the pattern will be in my last post for the 2015 salmon season )............ I concentrated my time on a few known salmon lies as the water was so low that these areas were probably the only hot spots in the whole fishery that could have a fish present. Using a few different mends i allowed the fly to fish slowly around some of the rocks and faster through some of the lies, i am of the belief that salmon are like kittens, if you annoy them enough or send something past them fast enough they will chase it and then you have them.

The salmon hit the fly very hard and almost caught me off guard by running at me and then heading upstream like an express train taking lots of line off the reel, it made a few good jumps and long runs before i was able to control it in front of me and it still wasn't finished as it tried to shake the fly by rubbing off rocks and the bottom by rolling over itself on numerous occasions. Beaching the salmon i noticed that it was a wild fish with long tailed sea lice on its back just fresh from the sea and at about 11lbs a great specimen of a springer and my mind was made up it was going back. Unfortunately almost all the spring fish caught to date have been killed and that is sad due to the fact that salmon anglers are complaining that there are very few spring fish around and still only a few are being released. I have been releasing salmon for many decades well before it was fashionable to do so because i saw a decrease in the stock and also a lot more angling and poaching pressure that ever before. Next time you catch your first salmon think and if the fish is healthy let it go you will always remember the ones you lose or release and quickly forget the ones you kill, you can take the next fish for the pot.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Loop Knot for Fly or Spoon / Spinner.

This is a simple knot that can give a fly or spoon more articulation / movement when fishing. When larger flies are fished tied directly to flurocarbon or mono sometimes they will lack movement due to the thickness of the line but a loop knot will give plenty of movement to the fly as it is not restricted by a direct knot, this is especially useful when using flies with short tails.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Double Uni Knot with a twist.


Here is the Double Uni Knot with a slight twist, for all those anglers that want to try salmon fly fishing with a trout fly rod here is a great fishing cast / tippet that incorporates a running dropper on a tapered leader. Firstly i tie a tapered leader using 15lb breaking strain line tied to a 10lb breaking strain line with a double uni knot and then i tie a double over hand loop knot dropper and place it above the double uni knot that joined the two lines and loop it in place. The knot on the tapered lines will be the stopper for the dropper but it can slide back up the line towards the sink tip or fly line, this is a very handy system if using a net because the dropper will move up if it gets stuck or the main fly gets stuck which gives you time to react unlike a fixed dropper which will break off or even worse break the main line. In summer i use a small size 12 Wickhams Fancy or Thunder and Lightening trout fly as my dropper because i have found that salmon will take the smaller fly first before taking the shrimp pattern especially in the late evenings. I have used this system for many years incorporating it with 6ft ( salmon ) sink tips,  6ft intermediate  tips and tapered leaders. If using this system with a 6ft ( salmon ) sink tip i would use a 6 ft tippet tied in two 3 ft sections with the double uni knot again tapering the tippet down to 10lbs from 15lbs using either mono or flurocarbon, then putting the dropper on the top 3ft section above the double uni knot. When using a ( salmon ) 6ft sink tip i would never use a tippet more than 6ft long because then the fly's are fishing higher in the water column than the sink tip but when using  6ft ( salmon ) intermediate tips or tapered leaders you can extent out to one and a half times the rods length in total ( length of tip and tippet combined ) for better turn over and depth presentation. If using a 6ft ( salmon ) intermediate tip i would use a tippet of 6ft of 15lb line tied to  3ft of 10lb line thus giving you a better roll out and cast, they will fish better as the fly's have more life especially in slow pools.. If using a 10ft rod the ( salmon ) intermediate tip can be 6ft and using a 9ft tippet  (6ft of 15lb tied to 3ft of 10lb line) the total lenght is 15ft which is one and a half times the length of the 10ft rod but you can fish a little shorter if you wish it all depends what you length of tip and tippet you are comfortable with but i have found great success in these precise lengths. Having used this dropper system with both single hand and switch rods i haven't had any issues with casting or presentation but as with all fishing you must always check your  fly cast every few minutes just to make sure that they are all fishing well and not knotted up.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Unbelievable.

Having looked through my fishing clothing to see what needs to be replaced or repaired i decided to do a small write up on the gear that has been good to me in the past seasons. As all anglers we know the feeling of being cold and miserable on a wind swept January day fishing in waist high  freezing water with lashing rain beating against your fishing gear and if that gear isn't up to the job then not only are you going to be cold but your going to be wet as well. Here are the outer layers of fishing gear that i wear in all weathers.

The Simms Guide jacket is definitely my go to jacket for any weather conditions and i mean any weather conditions, i have been out in this jacket in storms, hail, snow and every weather that you can imagine and never got wet. This jacket is in its tenth season and only for a worn sleeve and slight wear and tear due to wearing a life jacket over it during my lake fishing it would still be perfect. Sadly i will have to go looking for a new Guide jacket soon and as they cost a few bob i will have to shop around. Just remember this when buying a jacket i got 10 years of hard fishing in fresh and salt water going through brush over fences and out in the worst conditions possible and the only thing that stopped this jacket was constant wearing against the velcro straps of my life jacket. If you put it all together i paid around 30 euros per year  (30 euros x 10 years ) for a jacket that kept me dry in all weather conditions and i see anglers buying jackets for 100 euros and still getting wet and having to change them yearly so next time your buying a jacket think long term and think comfort, spend on your jacket. As for the Simms Guide Jacket .... Unbelievable.


Having bought this Airflo back support belt last year it has definitely been one of my best buys for the season, it is great when deep wading and takes the strain out of casting  and fishing in high water conditions. I tried to get one locally but in the end had to get it from Fishtec in the U.K. but at only £19.95 it was a steal. I was out one day without the Airflo belt and i felt it in my shoulders the next day so it's always in my car every time i go fishing now. I remembered that i used to complain about the gorilla on my back after a long days fishing but those days are well gone now thanks to this buy.


Having looked around early last year i bought these Sonik breathable waders and was hoping to get a few seasons from them but having gone wading deep during one of my fishing videos in May i found that there was a bad leak in the seam joining the legs together. Now i can only use them as a pair of thigh waders as i cannot wade deeper and as most anglers know you can't patch over seams, sadly i will have to look around this year for a new pair.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Loop to Loop connection set up.


This is how i set up the loop to loop connection which allows tippets and sink tips to be easily changed with fly lines during a fishing session.

How to tie a Loop Knot.


In this short video i show how to tie a loop knot, i use this knot on all my tippet materials such as mono, copolymer and flurocarbon. Using the loop knot i can change the tippets very quickly when using either sink tips or tapered leaders.In the next video i show how to change a loop to loop connection which can speed up the time it takes to change tippets and sink tips to fly lines.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Knots " The Perfection Loop ".


I use the Perfection Loop on all of my Rio Versi tips, sink tips and tapered leaders because it is a very tidy loop knot that never lets me down and is excellent for interchanging sink tips and tippets on my loop to loop  line system .

Monday, 16 February 2015


I decided to put together a selection of my fishing knots because a lot of anglers kept asking me for the best knots to use for tying hooks, flies and swivels etc. with different materials such as braid, copolymer, flurocarbon and mono. These are the knots that i use constantly and find the most durable and reliable starting with the four turn Uni Knot in the above video. The next few videos will show loop knots, leader knots and tippet knots which i hope will help most anglers on their way to more successful fishing.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2015 " Opening Day on the Blackwater River 2015 ".

The temperature was barely above freezing when we arrived at Ballyhooley Bridge and the sun gave a false impression that it was much warmer until one saw the heavy frost on the grass as we headed down river to the lower beat. The river was running fast but quite clear and at about 90 cm on the gauge not bad for the first day of the salmon season, the only downside was the very low water temperature of about 4 degrees celsius, not good for moving fish. Having spun and fly fished the lower beat we caught and released a few small trout but didn't see any sign of a fresh salmon so we  headed up towards the bridge and fished there for awhile and again met a couple of nice trout which were very eager to take my Flying C, the trout were in great condition especially being so early in the season and were a welcome distraction to a very quiet opening day fishing session. We moved to the top of the Ballyhooley bridge beat and this is where i met a few nice kelts, strong hard fighting and well mended silver fish with little or no fin damage. We met and lost a few more fish which was a surprise to me at how easily they would shake the hook, but at this time of year with rock hard mouths and teeth its not surprising that the hooks fall out especially when the kelts start rolling. We finished up at around 1.30 pm as it was only going to be a short fishing session but still it was the best opening day for me so far this year weather wise as i have put down two bad days so far one on the Drowes and the other on the Laune. Here are some photo's of the Ballyhooley Bridge beat and one of the well mended kelts that we met.

 Having talked to Ian from Blackwater Lodge later on in the day he informed me that there weren't any reports of a fresh salmon seen or caught so far but with the cold weather holding for the next few days at least the water level should drop away and one will be able to enjoy fishing in the sunshine even if its a little cold.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2015.. Opening Day 2015 Laune River.

Opening Day January 17th on the Laune River in Kerry.
After driving over the county bounds from Cork to Killarney in quite bad road conditions we finally arrived at the Laune river to be greeted by very high water levels and extremely cold conditions. Having a look at the bridge over the Laune river  it was evident that Beat 1 was our only hope as the water was too high to really fish any where else. There were about twelve anglers brave enough to turn up and give it a go with some kelts and fine trout being caught and released but there was no sign of a fresh salmon until after nine o clock when there were many phone calls sent and received that the First salmon of the 2015 season, a fish of about 10lbs was caught on the Long Range which is an area of water between the Lower and Upper Lakes. Talking to one of the Fisheries Officers he confirmed that a report of a fresh salmon had been caught so it looks like the season has finally started with a bang in Kerry. Having fished all of Beat 1 to no avail i decided to head downstream to the Bridge and Beat 2 for a change of scenery and maybe a change of luck. Darren and myself fished hard for a few more hours and were rewarded with some fine trout and a very healthy kelt which were all released.

Here are some pictures of Beats 1 & 2 showing the water levels on the opening day.

Meeting some of the long standing anglers that brave the elements and fish the Laune every opening day like myself i was informed that sadly five of our older anglers had passed away since the last opening day , this made me reflect on how lucky we as anglers are to be able to get out and  enjoy nature even in the harshest of weather conditions for the love of our passion..... FISHING.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2015 " Season 2015 First Day "

                         OPENING DAY JANUARY 1st.  2015 THE DROWES SALMON FISHERY.                        
We decided to travel the long journey from Cork to Bundoran to fish the opening day of the 2015 Salmon season on the Drowes Salmon fishery even though we knew that the weather was going to be a howler with strong gales, heavy rain and to make matters worse a very high river because we are not fine weather fishermen ( but a nice day would have helped ). Luckily there were about one hundred other ( nutters) / fishermen there so we didn't feel out of place. On arriving we collected our permits from Shane and got the inside track on where the first salmon might be holding up and off we went rods in hand to catch the first fish. The wind was a nightmare gusting from all sides of the river thus making fly casting a bit tricky but watching many of the anglers there i was delighted to see that there was a very good standard of fishing and bank etiquette even on a very busy day. Starting near the lodge we fished down river covering both banks with both fly and spinner but were unable to contact any fish, i started fly fishing using a Guideline sink 1 / 2 fly line attached to a Rio 3.9ips sinking versi tip and a Pauls favourite fly covering all the river i was able to get well down into the deep pools even with the heavy fast water but no takers. Moving down river we fished hard through all the pools with Dean hooking and losing a small kelt which raised our spirits for awhile, deciding to move back up river we called into the lodge for our lunch and a much deserved break from the foul weather and fishing. Shane had promised hot soup and sandwiches and true to his word we were well fed and after a bit of drying out we headed back out fishing. Optimistic to the last, we and a hundred other anglers expected to catch the first salmon on the first day but it wasn't to be, that special springer eluded us all but i reckon that it will be caught as soon as the water level drops off.

 We will definitely be coming back to fish this lovely river soon, but on a nice dry day with lower water conditions and a better chance of a silver tourist.