Thursday, 21 September 2017

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2017





The end of the season is fast approaching and I have made it my business to try and get as many sessions in as possible even though they are short evening sessions they are still productive. The river has a lot of dark or coloured salmon and with water levels being high it's very hard to present the fly in such fast water especially near the Dam. I was lucky to arrive just as the water was rising from half load up to full load and caught it at the perfect speed to present a small tube fly with a 5 inches per second sink tip on a floating line and hooked up straight away to this nice male salmon of about 9 lbs. The take was strong and as you can imagine it went straight down stream on a good long run, the first thing that entered my head was that I should have swapped out the 10 lb tippet for the stronger 15 lb tippet but being in a hurry to fish I assumed that it would be okay. The strong pull of the fish in conjunction to the heavy flow of the water really tested out that 10 lb tippet but the soft action on my Spey rod cushioned the impact on the line and allowed me to bring the fish up river into calmer water where I played it out away from the main current. I must admit you really get a different fight from a coloured salmon they know all the snaggy areas and it's the first thing that they will do is get in amongst the rocks and boulders and rub up against them to get rid of the fly or spinner. I had to find a soft patch to beach the salmon as there has been a lot of work going on at beat 1 over the last week or so improving the croy's and lie's and it looks promising so far, I beached the salmon on some soft grass and with one pull on my pliers the fly was out, holding the fish for a few moments I waited till it was ready and released it back out into the river. This time of year I make sure to have a long nose pliers handy because the salmon at this time of year have sharp teeth and you don't want to tear you fingers up retrieving a fly especially from a coloured fish. I met and lost a few fish downstream on spinner so for the few hours that I was out it was enjoyable especially in that nice autumnal sunshine. I will photograph the new croy's and put the pictures up in my next post, the water was just too high to take any good pictures, I can't wait to see them in low water to see what impact they will have on water flow and direction hopefully it will improve the river for the 2018 season.






Saturday, 2 September 2017

Setting up a Spey Salmon Fly Rod.


         
In this video I show how I set up my Spey salmon fly rod for efficient and productive salmon fly fishing. I have made the video quite simple and shown the stages that I go through to have all the tackle ready to just wade out and cast. When your rod, reel and line is set up correctly you will never have to give it a second thought so that you can move on and spend the rest of your time concentrating on how to approach and catch a salmon. I always make sure that all my tackle, clothing, waders and flies are tidy and are located in the right pockets and compartments so that there is no fumbling or distraction when I start salmon fishing, I need to give my full concentration over to studying the water and movement of my fly line so that I can react fast because you may only get one chance in a day's fishing so you had better make it count. There is also the point that I see a lot of anglers suffering from the lack of casting skills and being frustrated with this especially because they can't put the line out where they want it to go so the best tip is before the season starts get casting lessons and make sure that the lesson is with your tackle set up. Getting comfortable with your fly rod, reel, and especially fly line will make the difference to improving your casting skills. I have a video with all the tackle that I use in fly fishing for salmon including my switch fly rod etc., which I will put up privately soon so if anybody wants to see this all they have to do is message me and I will give then the link to this video.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Salmon on a Switch Fly Rod.

     
        
The water height was running at about 2 feet above normal low water levels and it had a very fast pace to it which didn't suit the fly to be honest. The clarity was very bad with a brown tinge running through it which made it impossible for me to see bottom in water over a foot deep and it must have been practically impossible for the salmon to see the fly whizzing past it. The salmon have been off the take over the last few weeks due to the warm water temperatures and oxygen quality not to mind the high algae content so I knew I was up against it before I started but I'm an optimist and any day out fishing apparently adds a day to your life according to an old Chinese proverb and that must be good right...I fished down beat 1 using a small bullet tube fly attached to a 3.9 ins per second sink versileader to get some depth and hopefully slow down the fly so the salmon could at least see it as it whizzed past them, I had two fast pulls that seemed to be from trout but looking back they were probably from salmon plucking at the fly. I had a very positive long draw away on the loop and the fish was on taking about ten yards of line in a short burst but then heading back upstream towards that new rock that was put in recently. It is a nightmare trying to play salmon in and around these rocks because you're more than likely going to break off or snag up and that's not good for the fish having a hook or line hanging off of it. I put a lot of pressure on the salmon and was able to bring it away from the rocks and keep it just outside me till I was ready to land it, it's amazing how coloured salmon can run straight for cover and into these areas the moment they are hit just the opposite of fresh fish. Beaching the salmon I quickly unhooked it and released it back into the river, it was a nice coloured wild fish of about 11 lbs. Later in the evening I hooked and played a very big fish that I estimated to be about 20 lbs that just sat in mid stream for ten minutes and just gave a few head shakes that buckled my 6 wt switch fly rod, I was able to bring it into quiet water for a few seconds and then it spat the fly.......if only I could have seen it....... it was going back anyway but I reckon the fish didn't know that. It is better to have hooked and lost than never have hooked at all. Hopefully with some fresh water we will be able to catch a few more fish before the season ends.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Grilse on the Fly.

       
           
The wind was a bit blustery on beat 4 and it was knocking over the camera so I decided to move upstream to the bend just below beat 2 to start some fishing and get out of the strong wind. I  was casting the fly in tight against the seam line and allowing it to get some depth before it moved into the faster water, there are normally a few fish holding in mid stream but with the speed of the water the fly doesn't stay in the zone for very long. A few careful mends will get some extra depth but fishing that area with a heavier sink tip or even a small brass tube will allow you to get down that extra foot to provoke a take. Normally I will fish most areas with the 2.6 ins per second sink tip in summer levels but when it comes to a fast water area like this I prefer to change over to the 3.9 ins per second sink tip, one could also add a small brass tube fly to the lighter tip and achieve the same depth as the heavier tip but without the movement that the small fly can give. Fishing down the run I could see a fish boil at the fly as it moved across the river and then a short pull on the loop and the fish was on, the grilse rolled on the line once or twice and then headed for the far bank moving quickly upstream. I put a lot of side strain on the fish and brought it back towards me not allowing it to get back down through the run and at one point I could see the fly hanging outside it's mouth and when you can see a small size 15 fly there you have every right to start getting nervous as that's why most summer grilse are lost because they just snap at the fly and rarely hold it well. Gently coaxing in the fish I was able to tail it because there is no gravel or beach area above this croy to land a fish, quickly removing the fly ( actually it just fell out ) I held the grilse for a few moments longer than normal as the water was warm and low in oxygen and this allowed the fish to gain back it's strength before releasing it. It was a nice fresh fish of about 6 lb but as it didn't have any sea lice on it, it was probably in the system for a week or more.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Salmon on the Fly.

   
          
The water was moving at a nice pace ideal for the fly so I went in with a floating line, a 2.6 ins per second sink tip and a light 10 lb flurocarbon tippet with my trusty Ally's hot orange shrimp fly. The run at beat 1 has been badly altered so the flow is now all over the place with confused water not allowing the fly to fish naturally down the run, instead the fly is now being  pulled into eddies and high rocks. I now just pass this area and start fishing further down the run and this puts you on top of the fish which is bad especially if you are trying to get some depth to get the fly down to the salmon. The old lies are now vacant and the salmon have moved further up river towards the dam all due to the change in the hydrodynamics of the water. When you have a bit of flow like today it stops the confused water keeping it on a straight momentum and this does make the fly fish better giving it plenty of life as it fishes through the pool. Having seen a small grilse head and tail off the rock I fished slowly down the pool allowing the fly to get depth just before the rock and with a long slow retrieve I moved the fly out which can normally entice a response especially from fresh grilse. The fish took the fly and with a very fast turn of speed passed me up and headed for the submerged rock but with plenty of side strain I was able to bully the grilse back down stream. Seeing that it was a small fish of about five pounds I played out the fish fast and released it back into the river none the worst for it's encounter with me. At this time of year when the water is warmer it is better to get the fight over with as fast as possible so that when releasing the salmon they have a better chance of survival after being released, even holding the fish a bit longer in water helps it to recover better so that it goes back strong.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Salmon on the Fly.

   
           

Having been tied up for the last few weeks I decided to give the Dam fishery a visit, on arriving I noticed that the water was up about a foot and running well with a nice bit of pace to it. I put on a small Rio 6 ft sink tip ( 2.6 ins ) and a size 15 Hot orange Ally's shrimp fly, I dropped down to a 3 ft tippet of 10 lb flurocarbon because there were a few grilse in the river and they can be very line shy especially in bright sunlight. Putting some nice well placed casts into the seam that runs along the far croy I felt a bump and then a nice draw away on the loop...fish on. As all salmon anglers know grilse can be very erratic and electric changing direction in the blink of an eye, jumping, cart wheeling and running at you very fast as if they were going to run up the bank behind you and this fish was no different. Using my 6 wt switch fly rod it was able to absorb the sudden shock and change of direction that the fish made and gave good protection to the 10 lb flurocarbon tippet, I played the fish hard and had it on the bank and released in under 4 minutes. It was a very fresh fish but no sea lice so it was definitely in the system for a few days. The hot bright weather has not been good for salmon fishing especially during the day but early in the morning or in my case late evening can be productive especially on the fly. I had two more salmon the next evening, both on the fly one was a very fresh 5 lb grilse and the second a nice 9lb coloured fish and that video will be up soon. There was a nice run of salmon last month with the high tides and maybe with a bit of fresh water we will see some more fish push through.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Set up for a Switch Rod.

   
         
In this video I explain how I set up my switch fly rod for salmon fly fishing. I have had quite a few requests for this video so I decided to put this together quickly only problem is the wind wasn't co operating and I had a few people just walk up on top of me as I was filming so I apologize for the sound quality etc, and as soon as I have time I will be putting together an improved version of this video.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2017.


         
           

Expecting high water I brought the big 13 ft double hander fly rod to deal with the strong flow and deep water but I was surprised to see very low water conditions with little or no flow when I arrived at beat 4. I had even left the lighter sink tips at home so I had to make do with the 2.6 ins per second sink tip which was slowing the fly down even more and taking any life out of the movement of the shrimp fly. Long casting in a shallow angle and using a slow figure of eight retrieve gave a small bit of life to the fly plus putting on the longest tail I had in the size 15 salar double improved the movement even more. Having fished down the beat I got a beautiful draw on the line which came out of my hand as I was slowly retrieving and suddenly I was into a nice fish. The fish went down river on the first run but then changed direction and came up against me very fast, I had to walk back up the gravel bar to keep in touch with the salmon and then it changed tactics and started rolling around the line which can be very nerve racking as you can feel every bump as the line rubs off it's body. I turned the salmon upstream and got it into a good fighting position and played it hard with plenty of side strain, after a few minutes I was able to beach the fish safely. It was a nice fresh sea liced salmon of about 12 lbs just up from the tide and after removing the fly and allowing it to rest up I released it back into the river.
Fishing back down the beat I was getting the odd pluck on the long tailed shrimp fly but I couldn't get the fish to stick and after a few attempts the fish stopped engaging with the fly so I decided to try a new approach and go downstream and cover it with the spinning rod. I wanted to see if I changed direction and speed by bringing a spinner down river at speed against the fish would it take first time because it was definitely up for the fly but the lack of movement wasn't working. On the third cast I felt a bump and then a second bump and then the water exploded as can be seen on the video and the second fish was on. The fight was fast and furious and it even tried to wrap itself up on a fallen branch so I allowed it back out into the river to tire itself out so I could handle it with ease. Normally I play fish very fast on the spinning rod as I have more control with the braided line and it is really good because it doesn't tire them out too much but this fish was still a little green so I let it have some air on the surface and then brought it in. It was another fresh sea liced salmon just smaller than the first fish and about 11 lbs but a beautifully shaped salmon and as it was still very fresh it went back very strong. Moving upstream I fished the end of beat 2 as it was getting dark where I hooked and landed another smaller fish of about 9 lbs again fresh but no sea lice. It was too dark to film so I just took a photo and released the fish, it was again on a long tailed shrimp pattern and it was only gently hooked in the mouth. There seems to be a few coming through and with the fresh rain forecast we should get a good push of salmon soon with the coloured high water.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Salmon on the Fly 2017.

   
          

When I arrived the water was at full load and just as I was putting up the spinning rod I could see that the water was losing speed and starting to slow down. I quickly changed and put up my switch fly rod and rather than using my normal 3.9 ins per second sink tip I put up the 2.6 instead because when the water drops off it normally takes the best part of an hour to pick up speed again and if you have the heavier tip on all that's going to happen is that you will spend a lot of time stuck on the bottom. Moving down the beat I was just using a slow figure of eight retrieve to keep the fly moving and straight away I hit the first fish, it was a nice fish of about eleven pound's and had definitely been in the system for awhile as it was slightly dark. The fish ran down river on the first run but quickly changed its mind and then came up against me and straight in around the big rock that's now in mid river. It wedged itself firmly in behind the rock and got stuck, I had to move down river and get a straight line on it and then I was able to get a small bit of control but only for a few seconds because as soon as the fish felt some slack it went back in around the rock again. This continued for about 10 minutes until I was able to wade out and tail the fish in mid stream, holding my rod around my neck and the fish in my left hand I tried to wade back to the bank but the fly line was still around the rock so I decided to release the fish mid stream to stop it from breaking the rod , line or even possibly me as it was really trashing about. There are now too many rocks in beat 1 and to add to that there are three croy's in a line less that 20 meters between the three. There are two big rocks in mid water where the salmon got stuck and in low water they are sticking out of the water like an island, there is going to be some fun when anglers try playing out fish there as it's now like a mine field.

The water started to pick up pace so I changed back to the heavier sink tip and just as I was about to start fishing I saw a couple of salmon head and tail further down beat 1. I quickly covered the lie and as I was moving into the zone the rod was practically pulled out of my hand so violent was the take. The salmon first headed down stream but again like the first fish it turned and headed straight for the big rock in mid water, this time I moved down stream and got a good angle on the fish and brought it back down river. I played the fish on my side and even then with the new croy's and rocks it was just a nightmare trying to land the fish. Finally I was able to move the fish in circles and then land it on the bank, it was a beautiful sea liced fresh salmon of about 13 lbs and this one was going home. To be honest I had set myself up for a long evening of hard spinning and as soon as the water dropped off I was really delighted to be fly fishing even if I hadn't caught any salmon just the fact that your fly fishing makes it more worthwhile.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Salmon Fishing Ireland " Blackwater Lodge Beats. "

I was lucky to have a day's fishing on the beautiful Carrig beat of the Blackwater lodge salmon fishery, I had rang Ian the evening before and arranged to hit Carrig early and if things were quiet there head down stream to try the Ballinaroone Beat in the evening. The wind was blowing very strong right across my right shoulder which made it tricky for casting but with a small bit of adjustment I was able to send the fly right across the river and cover the water well. Moving downstream I fished the fly first and then came back down the beat again with the spinning rod just in case there might be a fresh fish about. On reaching the last good run on the beat the line stopped mid current and held there for a few seconds before going slack, it was definitely a good fish as I wasn't fishing that deep and with the current moving very fast it had to be a moving fish. I had noticed that the water had picked up it's pace from earlier in the morning and the clarity had dropped from well over two feet to just over a foot so there was definitely a rise in water height. On checking the gauge later I found that it went up from .75 m in the morning to .89 around lunch time so there might have been a few fish moving through with the rising water even though I hadn't seen any signs except for that one pull on the fly. Even though the salmon were quiet the trout were out in force and I caught and landed some cracking trout to over two pounds in weight on the Ballinaroone beat. As the water was still rising I fished most of the Ballinaroone beat with the spinning rod as the clarity wasn't good enough for wading safely with the fly. Most of the trout were caught on a size four black/yellow flying c with a gold blade which showed up very well in the cloudy water. Here are some pictures of the Carrig and Ballinaroone beats on the Blackwater Lodge Salmon fishery.

These pictures are from the Carrig Beat looking upstream to the start of the fishery.
                                            Moving down river excellent fly water.








                                         Below is where I hit and lost the fish in fast water.


                                           Looking down towards the end of the Carrig beat

Here are pictures of the Ballinaroone beat on the Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery.
                                          The Start of the beat looking down river






                                           The end of the Ballinarone Beat.

One of the best takes of the day was this stone it really fought well above it's weight in the strong flow and at times even took line off the reel.

Here are some of the beautiful trout that I caught and released during my fishing session


If you would like to fish the Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery Beats just contact Ian on 087 2352120 or 00353 58 60235 .


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2017 " The Blackwater River ".i

I had a few hours to spare on Tuesday so I decided to have a go on the Blackwater river, I gave the Ballyduff Bridge Salmon fishery a call and after a short conversation with Jason I headed down to have a look. Jason had informed me that the water was running a bit high and coloured but not having fished this beat before I wanted to see what it was like and gain some information for a future session. It is always good to do your homework on a beat or river that you may be fishing in the future during the quiet times so that you have all the relevant  information about lies, pools and wading areas so that when the fishing is good you can optimise that time fishing rather than trial and error. The water was just over 1.91 m on the gauge and clarity was less than a foot with a temperature reading of just under 7 degrees Celsius. I fished beats 1 & 2 at the Ballyduff Bridge salmon fishery and on closer inspection of the water clarity it just seemed to be getting worse with visibility dropping off to about 8 inches, even with good headlamps on my Flying C the ever elusive Springer was never going to see it in that water. Walking the bank I was able to get a good feel for the beats and it is definitely a beautiful stretch of water for casting a fly especially on beat 1 in front of the big fishing Hut. Here are some photo's of the Ballyduff Bridge salmon fishery beats 1 & 2 moving down river towards Ballyduff bridge.

                                               Looking upstream to the start of Beat 1

                                               
                                                looking downstream towards the hut









                                            End of beat 1 near the small fishing hut.

                                         Water clarity dropped off to less than a foot.


Meeting up with Jason later in the evening he informed me that they now have a new beat upstream near Mallow called Ballygarret and this in conjunction with their other beats at : Ballyduff Bridge beats 1  & 2 , Blackstone, Magners and Ballincurrig give them over 4.5 miles of prime salmon fishing on the Blackwater river. For those anglers that need tackle or flies etc., he had just opened a small tackle shop just opposite the Ballyduff Bridge Beat. For booking or enquiries you can contact  Jason on (0877205690) or Connie (0876918230).

          Beat 2 from the small fishing hut looking upstream towards Ballyduff Bridge beat 1


                                    Looking downstream towards the bridge at Ballyduff


                              From the bridge looking upstream, the left bank is beat 2

                           Looking downstream from the bridge the right hand bank is beat 2.
As you can see by the photo's there is quite a bit of water so getting a practise day while the fishing is slow will give you all the information that you will need when the salmon show up and judging by the information I got from Jason they had a really good season last year. I will be putting up the other Ballyduff Bridge Salmon Fishery beats in the next few weeks so keep an eye on the blog for those.




Thursday, 2 February 2017

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2017 " The Lee River ".


A picture tells a thousand words and in this case probably more, as you can see the water is running over all three sills and when this happens there is very little visibility. I had one look and decided to head downstream and see if it was any better there, passing by the Ballincollig weir I took a photo to show the amount of water moving over it and also the damage to the weir itself. Having reached the lower river the water though still being high had really good visibility so i decided to give it a few casts. The gods must have been smiling on me as the weather stopped raining just as I started fishing and all in all it was a pleasant experience quite different from past years, I met a few anglers that had braved the earlier rain and winds but no one had caught or heard a report of a fresh fish being caught.


Inniscarra Dam.



                                   
Looking up towards the Dam

                                                Looking downstream from the Dam


                                            Towards beat 3 and bad water clarity.

                                           Heavy run off from the roads after the rain.

                                                            Ballincollig weir

Having fished for a few hours down river I decided to call it quits and head home, the plan was to hit the Blackwater for a few hours tomorrow but on hearing the torrential rain outside I honestly think I will give that a pass. Hopefully this heavy rain will pass over the next few days and give me a chance to head down to the Blackwater for a cast, it is the first year that I haven't fished the opening day on the Blackwater. For those braving the elements over the next few days have a look at my clothing tips section on this blog and add those few layers to keep the body warm during your fishing session. Here is a vital message to all anglers both young and old... TAKE GREAT CARE WHEN WALKING NEAR OR ON THE RIVER BANKS...at this time of year they can be very dangerous with under cut banks and very slippery mud so take care.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Salmon Season 2017 " The Laune River ".

 Looking upwards from Beat 1 to the Lake, the water was at medium height and running clear ideal for the fly but as I was only doing a very fast session I only brought the spinning rod and a few Flying C spinners just in case the ever elusive Springer was about. As I said last year I wasn't going to fish Beat 1 this year so after taking a few photo's of the water levels at the different Beats  I ventured down river to do some fishing.



                                                           Beat 1 looking downstream

                                                               Good water clarity.
                             
                                             Looking upstream from the Bridge to Beat 1

                                                       Looking downstream to Beat 2
     
                                                       Upstream from Beaufort Bridge

                                               Downstream from Beaufort Bridge Beat 3

                                            Johnsons Beat Laune anglers Salmon Fishery

                                                  Looking upstream from Johnsons Beat

Moving downstream I decided to start my short fishing session on the lower river and was surprised to find that it had changed so dramatically over the last few years with many of the good pools filled up with gravel and now just long shallow glides taking their place. I started fishing with a size 4 Black / Silver flying C but had to downsize to a size 3 due to the water being so shallow, moving up along the river I found a nice quiet bit of water at the end of a narrow deep run and quickly changed back to a size 4 spinner to get depth in the narrow channel and within a few casts I hit a nice fish but it came off after a few rolls. It was a nice Kelt probably around 6 lbs and very well mended and clean, fishing the pool I hit and caught a few nice spent sea trout and brownies which i quickly released. I had to stop fishing this area because the fish were packed tight and any time the spinner came down a trout hit it and there was no chance of a salmon with so many hungry trout around. I have fished the Laune for many years and was surprised to see a pod of spent salmon numbering 7 or 8 strong heading down river very fast along the shallow water being lead by a big male fish, the big fish had a few white marks but was in great condition and at the speed they were travelling would have been down in the tidal area in less than an hour. As i was only out for a couple of hours the darkness soon arrived and I had to stop fishing but with very mild weather it was a nice introduction to my 2017 salmon season, normally I'm fighting storms or snow etc. I was also testing my old waders for leaks but luckily for now my feet are dry, nothing worse than cold wet feet. The moment we get some heavy rain to bring the river up by a few feet then we can expect to see some fresh fish moving in  (fingers crossed). Here are a few photo's of some of the sea trout I caught and released.




 
                                                               The Lower Laune river