Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hunting Fish With Flies

Recently I was asked to be part of project that plans to make a DVD on fly-fishing in Ireland and show off our beautiful environment. All the proceeds that come from the project will be donated to the disabled anglers of Ireland which is a great organisation.  As part of the project I was asked to write a short description on how I see fly-fishing today and what it means to me. 
We would love to hear what this wonderful sport means to you and if you have any ideas of what content you would like to see in the DVD as regards systems, setups, and methods in all aspects of fly-fishing and fly-tying, we would appreciate your input.

Here is my description on what fly-fishing means to me ;
Hunting fish with flies is more than just fly-fishing on rivers, lakes or the sea for whatever swims in the waters. It is an internalized obsession, a passion and a way of life for a person who seeks to understand the greater meaning of living and being alive. Spending countless hours on waters with a fly and rod a fly-fisher becomes emerged in a world of thought, aspiration, anticipation and self worthiness. The skill of performing the art of fly-fishing comes mostly from within, while it can be taught; it is the person who also looks to their inner drive and soul that really comes closest to mastering the catch of a fish with a fly.

The evolution fly-fishing has been enhanced by the modern developments in fishing tackle, fly tying and the ability to share information worldwide. However it is still the core essential approaches that underline the majority of our methodologies that have been around for centuries. It is these simplistic approaches to our modern systems and processes that we will be focusing on throughout this DVD, we hope to share with you our passion, our desire to learn and understand the art of hunting for fish with flies.....

You can follow our journey on our Facebook page and as I asked before if you have any ideas for the content on what you would like to see in the DVD just drop us a line and we would be delighted to involve as many people as possible. 
Thanks for reading 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Beading For Trout

As it is in the months of June and July every summer the rivers levels reach a yearly low and the majority of anglers leave there fishing till the hours of dusk, when the fish are rising freely for sedge's and summer olives. 
This is also the time when I get out during the hotter days and go beading for trout that are sitting in the pockets behind stones and among the weed beds. Preparing for the All Ireland river finals over the last number of weeks this approach was producing some good catches and was my preferred method on the day. The location was the River Function in Glanworth and while the dry dropper method took its fair share of fish in the flat sections the small beads were devastating in the parts where the light streams tumbled through the rocks and weed beads.

This approach to catching fish is quite simple but you mush have the confidence and faith that when you punch in your nymphs that fish will be lying in the pockets and they will take. Beat management is a very important factor here also as you don't want to wade through any pocket that may hold fish; so start at the end of your section and slowly make your way through the water presenting your beads in every possible holding spot where a fish might be. More than likely there will only be one or two fish in the majority of lies and once you have cast effectively into the area don't dwell to long there as you have a long section to go and search out for more possible fish. You will be very surprised  where the fish will sit this time of year and I would check every square inch of the river with my beads no matter how low it looks or even if I cant see any fish in the shallow water.
Using a 2 or 3 weight nymphing rod I generally set up a 4.40 meter leader from point fly to my Rio Nymphing line; I prefer to use a leader I make myself as I can make it as aggressive as I need to punch the light nymphs into pockets and if I encounter a breeze I have no problems being accurate with my casts. The diameter of this leader ranges from .45 down to .20 which is also my indicator, I boil the leader before use also to give it extra spring which allows me to fish tippet as low as .080 with confidence. Using either one or two nymphs I generally have 1.5 to 1.7 meters of tippet attached to 2.90 meter made up tapered leader.  
From here I use size 18 and smaller nymphs with 2mm or 2.5mm tungsten beads with a turn or two of lead behind the bead to help the nymph reach the fish lying on the bottom. The patterns are not greatly important once they are slim and dark, the most important factor to fishing this way is contact, if you are not in contact with your nymphs they will not produce fish. With the made up leader suiting my style of fishing I am in contact with the nymphs before they even hit the water. Once the nymphs are submerged I will drag them back through the pockets slightly faster than the current so I remain in total contact and if any thing touches the nymphs I know automatically and strike. 
With my landing net in one hand and the rod in the other I make my way through the beat effectively fishing all the water. Netting the fish in this type of water must be quick and make as little noise as possible, so you don't spoke any other fish that might be lying in the pocket or you could lose the fish in the weed beds. As soon as you strike into your fish you should lift the fish straight out of the pocket into your waiting landing yet in a split second. This form of netting means also you will lose less fish when fishing barb-less hooks or catching fish that are lightly hook and generally pop of during the netting process. 

Here is two simple and effective nymph patterns that have been working for me on several rivers during the month of June.

Hook: Hends Jig hook size 18
Bead: Size 2.5-2mm Tungsten black or sliver 
Under body: Fine flat lead 
Thread: Black Twist tying thread 
Tail: Coq De Leon
Body: Cock phesant tail dyed black
Rib: Hends red wire 
Collar: Hends UV blend dubbing black

Hook: Hends Jig hook size 18
Bead: Size 2.5-2mm Tungsten copper or sliver 
Under body: Fine flat lead 
Thread: Black Twist tying thread 
Tail: Coq De Leon
Tag: Glo Brite no 5
Body: Black thread 
Rib: Fine copper wire 
Collar: Hends spectra dubbing no.46

These simple nymphs will produce catches during the low water months of the summer for you, but remember being in contact with your nymphs is everything and once you hook up get those fish out of the water fast as possible regardless of size. I hope you enjoy reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below, also you can sign in and follow us. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


The questions we ask ourselves about our ability and our decisions when we're on the water fishing is often a negative and unproductive process that feeds doubt, unravels our self belief and confidence in the systems and methods we are using to catch fish.

This is something I have been thinking on over recent seasons because I am the worst person to self criticize and constantly ask questions in my head, like should I be doing this or that, the what ifs and wondering who is catching what or am I catching enough. I beat myself up all the time when I am not fishing effectively; staying in contact properly or snagging in trees, knots in boats, losing a crucial fish.  I become very agitated with myself and my processes have gone out the window. I am no longer fishing with confidence and doubt is now setting in.

Having all the right work done before hand is one thing but what happens when you start using the one word that can undo all your good work.......should?
Should I be catching, should I change, should I do this, should I move, should I, should I, should I, should I.....and the only thing you are doing is clouding your mind and not concentrating on what you should doing. This happens to us all and it takes a bit of effort and work to remove this from your fishing mind-set; but when you do it will push you further towards a more enjoyable experience and very effective fly-fishing.

A lot of sports people at the top of their game have said that the match is often won before you even step into the ring, pitch, court, track or field. Their meaning of this is not just that you have your fellow competitors beaten before the event but you have the mental preparation complete and in your mind there is clarity on the event ahead. You don't have to question yourself and all you got to do is follow what your plan is and keep focused. This is something I have though about a lot every day before I compete in fly-fishing and i am trying to not wreak my head with questions.  

It is at this time that you have to focus more on your processes and have some mechanisms that will aid you to keep your mind in the game and not question your self or what you are or should be doing.

When your thoughts on the job start to wander then its worth trying some simple pre-thought out mechanisms that work for you. This could be simple things like taking a drink of water but when you do, take your time and think about all your actions putting the bottle to your lips the taste of the water and the feeling of it going down. This can break your current trail of thought and bring back clarity and efficiency to your thinking, this is popular with golfers when they need to refocus on their game. Others can be organizing your gear for a moment, eat some sugars, as hunger can destroy any soul, just sit and take some time to gather your thoughts and refocus your plans.

For some, taking this time out can come across as wasting time when you could be catching, but being in the water dropping fish while getting all flustered is a bigger waste of time, getting in knots and stuck in trees will waste more time, while sometimes taking 2-3 minutes can be the winning of the competition. Also by just reminding yourself of your psychological state will help keep you heading in the right direction and fishing effectively. I have won and lost many competitions over the years, some for different reasons as bad draws etc, but the majority of my wins I can safely say that I had my head right throughout the day and did not lose focus but I had to remind myself along the way. 

We all have to make decisions during any event and I try to make them for a reason and stick by them, once I have made it I don't think about the what ifs or dwell on the decision for any length of time I just do it or I don't. I do feel that the developments in sports psychology can be very beneficial to anglers that compete and I regularly research the topic to see what we can use to help us fish effectively. If you find yourself asking the same kind of questions and allowing doubt creep into your mind while fishing then I would recommend that you try some simple things that will help you focus on what you are doing and not on what every one else is doing or any negative aspects of your day. 
For a similar article you can check out the link below.

I hope you enjoy reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below, also you can sign in and follow us. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blue Winged Olives

Its that time of year when the evenings are stretched out and the rise of fish on the rivers during the late summer days entice most anglers to try their luck at catching the trout while in their feeding frenzy's close to dark. During the month of June we will see the emergence of some good sedge hatches and I will post some good tying's for these in the days to come; but this is also the time of year we see the blue winged olives in full force. Getting the tones of olives and the presentation right you could be in for a very successful evenings rise. Here are two of my favorite BWOs that have proven themselves to be called upon time and time again during this time of year. 

Hook: Size 16 Hends 404 
Thread: Olive twist thread 
Tail: Coq de Leon 
Body: Pale olive CDC tied in at the tips and wound up the body, spinning the feather at the same time.
Wing: Pale blue Hends CDC, plucked from the stem.
Hackle: Olive Picric cock hackle.

Hook: Size 18 Hends 404 
Thread: Olive twist thread 
Tail: Coq de Leon 
Body: Hends Olive body quill 
Wing: Pale blue Hends CDC, Tie in the tips and loop back over to create the wing.

I have found that the bottom of the two fly's sits deeper in the water just in the surface film and fishing for tricky fish or in the flats this fly will fool fish for sure as they see the fly at its most vulnerable stage. The top fly is a brighter olive and one that I use in the faster water on the rivers as fish now are feeding in the currents more, I like to attract their attention with either something bright or large; also the CDC body here will help to keep the fly on the surface as it makes its way down the faster water.

You should try out these simple but effective dries over the coming nights when the rise begings or just before it and they should produce lots of rises and takes for you. I hope you enjoy reading this post and if you have any comments or questions on any of the patterns just drop me a line below, also you can sign in and follow us. Thanks for reading.