Monday, January 30, 2017

Spring Lake Fishing on Lough Owel

I normally spend a good few days on Lough Owel during the months of March and April, due to the Leinster Qualifiers been held there for the last number of years. While it dose get good hatches of duck fly during this time of year the fish will also take wet flies, more so dabblers that are tied with some sparkle in them to represent fry. The trout will fed on the small fry or minnow as there eating habits increase from their winter rest; this along with the introduction of a fresh stock of fish into the lake could produce some good results pulling wet fly's along the rocky shelves between the shallows and the deeper water. 

I have had mixed results off this water over the years, some occasions it seems impossible not to bag up and other days you would swear there was not a fish in the lake. However constantly searching the water in front of you with a team of dabblers you do have a great chance of picking up some fish. 

My normal team of wets that make my starting line up would be a claret dabbler or stimulater on the top dropper, the claret dabbler in the middle or an olive dabbler and for the last number of seasons my sliver dabbler has been my point fly on the Grand Max Soft Plus tippet cast normally 8.2 or 10.4 depending on the wind. 

Last year I added a new factor to that point fly that seemed to give me another option if the fish were feeding that bit deeper or looking for something a little different, I added to a size 8 sliver dabbler a beaded head which not only gave the fly a different look but also allowed it to fish deeper in the water. 

Hook: Size 8 Kamasan B175
Bead: Sliver 3mm/ or White as below
Thread: Hot Red
Tail: Several Strands of UV Polar Chenille
Rib: Sliver Wire 
Body: Sliver UV micro fritz
Hackle: Grizzle 
Cloak and Wing: Bronze Mallard (but not to dark)
Cheeks: Jungle Cock
Thorax: Red Thread  

You could also try any preferred colour bead with the fry patteren I am sure, but I found the white and sliver to be the most productive during this time of year. One thing I will warn you about though is watch out for them beads when the wind is swirling around in the spring time, they can be quite destructive. 
They truly are great looking flies and even better when they are wet with the early sun shimmering off the UV in the body and tail, well worth having in you arsenal heading out on the Irish Loughs this springtime and going in search of hungry fish.  

I hope you enjoy tying these patterns and enjoy fishing them even more then I have had. If you would like any of these flies or any other patterns of you choice you can find my contact details on the right side of the blog. Thank you for reading, tight lines and safe angling for 2017.

Friday, January 27, 2017

100 River challenge and Forgotten Rivers OF Ireland

Last summer myself and a good friend of mine David O Donovan, took on a challenge that saw us fishing over one hundred rivers in one week. The challenge was not only to do this but to each catch a qualifying fish of 18cm in every river.
After several months planning and investigation we selected 130 out of 165 rivers that we looked at through out Munster and Leinster.  We got under way on the 28th of May 2016 at 3am and began back in West Kerry, ending up at one stage in North Meath. For the duration it took us to complete the challenge which was 6 days 5 hours and 50 Mins we drove nearly 2700 kilometers overall and slept just 15 hours for the week. it was the hottest week of the year with temperatures peeking around 26 to 29 degrees most days and the river were low, so there was several factors that made the challenge that bit more difficult.

When we were finished and reflecting back on a amazing week there was several things that I took for the experience and one was for me was that we would fish rivers that I and many other anglers would pass over and rarely imagine or attempt wetting a fly on. It is truly amazing how many stunning rivers we have in our country and how little they are fished. The majority of fly fishers including myself drive past some of these gems to go fishing on other rivers that we fish far to regularly because we think we will catch better fish on bigger or more popular waters and often overlook the small tributaries that have an abundance of catch-able trout.

The challenge was a fantastic experience one that I would recommend to anyone that is looking for something different to try with fishing rather than the usual competition, trip out West or to foreign shores.
A long the way we recorded every fish and location through out week, all the people that helped along the way, fly patterns that worked on every river and the most productive times we caught trout; which was between 4am and noon, the during the evenings the rivers and trout played hard. With so many photos and information we decided to make ourselves a book to accompany the memories of each river and the fish they were caught in, it is something that finished off a truly memorable fishing expierence.
The quality of the trout in these rivers was outstanding and we had many surprises along the way; fishing small overgrown streams that would produce fabulous coloured brown's and in good quantities and sizes. Rivers that ran through town centers to tiny brooks moving at speed down the Wicklow mountains, every one worth a exploring further. So for the coming season I have planned to revisit some of these gems and spend more time on their waters exploring the treasures and seeing whats around the next bend, as unfortunately during the challenge we had to rush through them quite a bit to complete in our allocated time frame, and that natural desire of the angler to try the next run was not to be.
As a competition angler the importance of fishing different waters to expand you knowledge of fish, water and ability is crucial to success, and from what I learned in last the year is that we have a variety of rivers here in Ireland that are often over looked or forgotten about that can offer the angler every challenge that he or she needs. For the week we only fished a handful of patterns and mostly the dry dropper worked best, so you don't need an array of nymphs or dries to go exploring, just a desire to get out and look for something different and most important look up now and again from watching the dry on the water to witness the amazing scenery that surrounds the river.
All I can say is what a week!!

If you would like any information on the challenge or rivers please feel free to contact me here.
Also we would like to thank every person that helped us out with permission to fish the rivers and gave us the locations of good beats, every fish was caught on barbless hooks and returned quickly and safely to the rivers. There was also a fundraiser attached to the challenge and again we would like to thank every person that donated to the Margret Murphy Memorial Fund.

Thanks for reading I hope you got some idea of the experience we had with this challenge..and I hope it encourages you to try that stream or brook that you drive over and often considered giving it a cast..now we are wondering whats next for this year....maybe a 1000 trout...who knows. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Claret Dabblers

Claret fly's have always been a favorite colour for me ever sense when I was starting out at this crazy game of fly-fishing in Co Wicklow some years ago now. On the hill loughs I would venture out with my dad and the cast would surely contain a bibio, a black pennell and always something claret. Sense then there are now a multitude of claret shades with ever angler choosing his preferable shade over the next, this including the use of synthetic materials has lead to a vast array of claret Dabblers that one angler could tie and cast out onto the water. Here are two of my favorites.

Hook: B175 size 10
Thread: Black 
Tail: Claret Pheasant Tail
Rib: Sliver oval Tinsel 
Body: Claret Seals Fur
Body Hackle: Claret cock hackle 
Under wing: Strands of sliver Crinkle flash and Strands of UV Crinkle Flash 
Cloak and Wing: Bronze Mallard 

Hook: B175 size 10
Thread: Hot Red 
Tail: Claret Pheasant Tail
Body: Claret and Gold micro Fritz 
Cloak and Wing: Bronze Mallard
Cheeks: Jungle Cock 

Two great patterns for when the fish are in the mood for chasing flies in a wave or when they are looking for fry. I prefer to fish them on the point of a three fly cast and in a wave have something busy on the top to get their attention. 
I hope you enjoy tying these patterns and enjoy fishing them even more then I have had. If you would like any of these flies or any other patterns of you choice you can find my contact details on the right side of the blog. Thank you for reading and tight lines.

For the best price on quality Tungsten Beads and Dohiku Hooks please feel free to contact me on pdriver1410@gmail.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Caddis Nymph

Its been a while sense I last put some patterns here due to the arrival of a new family member and work stuff, so it is good to finally get some time to share some patterns with you that I have used over the last season or two. To begin here is a good fish catcher, a simple but very effective caddis pattern that has lured a lot of fish for me in the latter half of last season and it was a variation of this fly that took a lot of fish in the recent European Grayling competition in Wales.

Begin with a Dohiku size 14 jig hook, 3,5mm or 4mm copper bead and three turns of flat lead behind to hold it in place and add that extra bit of weight to get down in the heavier waters. The thread I use for tying all my nymphs is 50 D Kevlar thread super strong and ultra fine. For the tail I tease out some lime green micro flash dubbing and secure it in well.

For the body mix some light brown Hare dubbing with a tiny pinch of Uv White and some gold Lite brite, do not cut up the lite brite but pull it apart with your fingers as you mix it. Then splitting the thread, which is the easiest thread to split and both strands are still super strong tease out the dubbing mix and place it between the strands.

Spin the dubbing and apply it to the body brushing out the fibers once completed. Do the same process with some of a white dubbing mixed with a little spectra dubbing for the top of the body and brush out well.

To finish off the fly using some chosen collar colour thread add it in behind the bead here I use Whisp hot red thread and a small drop of varnish to secure the collar will see the fly ready for the water.

There is no need for any ribbing as the strength of the thread is more than able to protect the fly from the teeth of a trout and if you haven't used this thread its well worth looking at. This fly will certainly make several appearances as my point fly this spring and some variations of the same.

I hope you enjoy tying these patterns and enjoy fishing them even more then I have had. If you would like any of these flies or any other patterns of you choice you can find my contact details on the right side of the blog. Thank you for reading and tight lines.
For the best price on quality Tungsten Beads and Dohiku Hooks please feel free to contact me on pdriver1410@gmail.com

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tain Rivercraft

I recently picked up one of Eammon Conway's new rods, titled "Tain, Rivercraft", I got the 9 foot 5 weight rod that I am planning to use for dry fly and dry dropper fishing in the coming season.
Over the years I have built up a collection of rods that match this build and they range from loop, Grey's, Competition Stix and more; it is a rod build that I use a lot on the river and one I also use for casting workshops and practice.
Upon first appearance the look of the rod is sleek with its black matt carbon finish, with a tasty and simple handle with an aluminium triangular reel seat, a nice tube and sleeve presents the rod well to its buyer. 
Rigged up it has a sense of purpose about it and while I only have cast it on the water for a brief time in Wales recently it was well able to handle a head wind and present a heavy dry dropper set up just as I desired. 
On the grass the rod preformed as well as any other rods I have used for distance, accuracy, power, and line control.
I am always looking for a good efficient rod that dose it's job then this rod is worth the very reasonable price it's being offered at.

Priced at 140 euro this rod does not pretend to be one of the bigger brands, but holds its own when it comes to an affordable rod that will do all it needs to do, and well I might add.
Eammon offers two rods in his range at the moment which will surely grow over time, the ten foot seven weight I am yet to try, but for the Rivercraft rod well it's CV speaks for its self with Eammon dominating the river scene for the last few seasons using this rod in his arsenal.

One another point worth noting that it is great to see an Irish brand being established in this market. Over the last few years the tackle trade in Ireland has suffered due to the popularity of online stores and it is good to see Irish anglers break into developing fly tackle as we hold a long history and tradition of fly fishing in this country.
Well done to Eammon on setting out to establish a rod and brand that is affordable, efficient and presented very well.
I look forward to trying the other module on the lakes this spring.
To find Eammon and his range of rods you can visit him at http://www.tainflyfishing.com