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Posts Tagged ‘Lough Corrib’

Message in a Bottle!

October 15th, 2017 No comments

Shane and I decided we had time to walk in to the Black Lake and be back in time for dinner. The walk was usually 2 hours but Shane thought he might have a quicker way in if a certain bog road on google earth was firm enough to drive on. Thankfully it was and we had no issues getting to the end of the road. We tackled up and set off walking across the mountain with high expectations. Shane had visited the lake few times with plenty fish to the net each time. We got there after an easy 40 minutes, the sun was occasionally poking its rays through the grey clouds and there was a firm breeze blowing. I took the west shore and Shane took the east.. I was expecting quick action but it didn’t come. I could see Shane wasn’t catching either. We persisted down our shores and met at the bottom. I picked up one wee trout. Tiny, but still approximately 3 years old. Wild trout will grow as large as their environment permits and these acidic mountain lakes generally do not contain an abundance of food for trout, and so, they don’t grow very big. They are good to eat if you catch a few but today the catch was returned unharmed! We both agreed that there was no point fishing any more so we started the march back to the van. We wondered why the fish were simply not on? They had to be in there. Who knows! We could only speculate. We passed an old roofless stone building on the way – a very small one at about 7′ x 5′ inside. We went in for a look. I noticed a few old pots in the wall, also some kindling and a couple of sods of turf. Shane got down there for a closer look and could see a bottle with a cork in it. He tried to get it out but could barely reach, it was way in under the wall. Stubbornness got the better of him, he eventually he got it out with the aid of a stick. There was something in there.. a note we guessed. We could see paper wrapped in plastic. I popped out the cork. It took me a while to jimmy out the note but it came out eventually. Sure enough it was a message in a bottle which read: 26/6/05..  Hello to whoever found this note in years to come. My name is Jordan Keane 12 years of age. Me and my dad camped here this night. I caught a really big fish here about 12 inch long and caught 32 fish from 4.30am to 12.30am. Good bye We put the note back in the bottle, and the bottle back under the wall for the next person to find. We continued back to Shane’s van with a good story to tell and made it home in time for dinner. Iza, Irene, Shane’s brother, Tom and his girlfriend were there too. All friends from our early teens, its important to do this! Eat, drink, fish and be merry!!

I also did the rounds fishing some of my home waters. James and I had an enjoyable day out on Corrib. I’m no longer in the know on the lake so I chose a long drift which brought us passed many familiar points, bays and islands. Early in the day a beautiful bar of gold made a side swipe at my dry mayfly and stuck! A beautifully marked native Irish brown. There is a certain reverence towards an wild Corrib brown that I don’t feel anywhere else! James and I had a few more chances but we finished the day with one. A pint or 2 in the evening rounded off the day nicely!

John and I also had a day on Corrib. A very unusual day it was in that we put up a heap of trout but got nothing to the net. We must have risen 25 trout for the day on dries and wets. We altered our retrieve, fly size, fly patterns etc but nothing changed. That evening the pints were necessary after a frustrating day!

I had a great session after Irish Pollack off Roundstone. A Di7 with a short leader and a white marabou and possum sculpin head did the trick. Iza was with me putting her new camera through it’s paces and got some great shots! Lumpy seas, a spectacular seascape, willing pollack and great company made for the perfect afternoon. Dinner for the family compliments of the Atlantic Ocean that night!!

The way things worked out, Dad and I only managed 2 days fishing together. We fished 2 lakes we both love and have both guided on many many times, Lough Inagh and Kylemore Lough. The fishing was pretty slow on both lakes but we managed a few good quality seatrout in the 1 to 2 lb class in both locations. With our day on Kylemore we decided to try something different after a slow morning, so we went after large cannibal trout. We heard some reports that they were in the lake whch is no surprise, they are quite common in Inagh just a few miles away. We had a tip as to their whereabouts; the shallow near the bottom bridge, so we worked this area. The plan was to fish over the drop-offs with fast sinking lines. This is not easy from a drifting boat in black, peat stained water because its impossible to tell the depth your in by looking at the water. My thinking is that the most likely water would be along the sloping shelf from the shallow to the deep. Regularly poking the rod down to find the bottom kept us on the right depth – no depth finder! Every time we could not hit the bottom with the rod tip we’d go back on the drift in an attempt to drift along the sloping drop-off. We worked it hard for hours. I had one follow to the surface from a fish between 3 and 4lbs and so did dad. When we almost had enough of it I connected with one – a big one! It immediately broke the surface, certainly 6lb+, and then the fly came out. I couldn’t swear that it wasn’t a salmon but my instinct (or maybe blind optimism) tells me it was a large brown. A monster for a Connemara lake! For the last hour we worked the the top of the lake near the river mouth in the hope of a salmon. Dad got a solid seatrout not long before we called it a day but we’ll have to wait til next year for a salmon. Special thanks to Nancy for giving Dad and I a boat for the day. It’s always a pleasure to listen to her stories about the old days and the new. Did she ever tell you about the day she caught 7 big salmon out in front of the house? It’s a good one! Thanks also to my good friend, Macca!!

One other thing of note happened while in Ireland. I asked Iza to marry me and she said yes! I don’t want to go into the entire proposal story but it involved casting the ring to her on an 8wt on the wild west coast of Roundstone!

The NZ season is well under way. I’ve had very successful guide days so far! More on that very soon. If you’re thinking about some guided fly fishing in NZ this year why not drop me a line! ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines everyone!

Ronan..

 

Family, Friends and Fly Fishing… The West of Ireland!

July 9th, 2017 No comments

GURTEEN POINT..

I think the last time I wrote my blog about my visit to Ireland I was a year late and therefor on time. Well, I’ve done it again! Right on time! It was fun looking over these photos from last year. The main memory that came back was just how difficult the fishing was, but it’s more about catching up with friends and family anyway (not to sound defeatist!). There were some exceptions though. The first day on the water was with Nigel. I’ve spent many happy days fishing around the points, bays and islands off Roundstone so I was delighted to be back out there. So many memories from this part of the ocean from parties on the islands (Shlackfest), to almost not making it home from stormy seas, to great fishing, to huge pods of dolphins, diving and snorkelling, searching for surf, the list goes on and on.. Anyway, Nigel and I hunted around over some usual haunts and some not so usual. We started hitting fish in about 20 foot of water in a sheltered bay at the back of Gurteen Point. Nigel was casting with spin gear and I was using the di7. Both worked.. Most fish were around the 2lb mark but we had a good number of fish around the 5. These fish fight hard and taste good! The icing on the cake for the day was a visit from 3 separate pods of Bottlenose Dolphins. These were captivating to watch and we cruised around with them for about an hour before heading back to Roundstone for a few pints. It’s very hard to top a day like that!

BILBERRY FOR PIKE

Dad and I had a few days on the water together but to be honest, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to report from our days afloat. The most enjoyable day out we had, Conor also came along. Pike were the target species. As bad luck would have it there were trout rising everywhere and we had no trout gear. The pike were very hard to move that day. Usually its the other way around! We fished multiple spots, moving all the time in search of fish. We moved and lost an occasional fish but it was slow. After a long dry spell, Conor, who has not fished much, hooked into a pike and immediately started reeling in with the drag locked up. I tried to loosen it but couldn’t get there fast enough.. the strain on the gear seemed to be beyond its limits. The rapala hit the top eye and then Conor hauled it over the gunnels, nylon pinging like a guitar string. I don’t know how something didn’t give! That was the only fish we landed so Conor for the win! I may well go back in a few weeks for another round, hopefully with the same team!

CORRIB WITH BADGER AND JOHN

As luck would have it, Badger was in Ireland while I was home! We agreed to meet up for a fish. Badger met John and I in Oughterard and we hit for the water. We worked hard all day for John’s one fish. I got nothing, Badger got a perch. There’s no point talking about the fishing because I have so little to say, but the craic was good! John knows Badger from his time in NZ, as do I so the 3 of us fishing in Ireland together was fantastic experience. Great craic and banter all day even if the fishing was pretty shite. Corrib was hard work last August!

CALLOW LAKES

Shane and I went to fish Callow lakes in Mayo on an exploratory mission. They’re beautiful lakes nestled in verdant woodland with plenty shallows and weed beds. Perfect trout habitat. We got a tip that it was a very underrated fishery. We gave it hell! We fished both lakes hard all day. Shane stayed on the floater while I fished a number of depths from floater to di7 in an attempt to learn as much as I could about the lake in one day. I think we landed 8 but they were small, much smaller than in the report which mentioned good numbers of fish from .75lb to 2lbs which is a nice average size on an Irish lake. I doubt the best fish made .75lbs, but who knows, we may just have picked the wrong day. It’s not fair to judge a lake from one visit. I’m fishing for long enough not to worry about poor fishing or a blank day. Persistence pays off! It’s always just a matter of time until your next great day!

LOUGH INAGH

Shortly after the “great day” came on Lough Inagh. I love to fish this lake. It’s one of my favourite lakes on earth (I may have mentioned that before!). The wind was howling and the rain was pouring down but I had the whole place to myself. I only fished the top where the best chance of a salmon was. I picked up a few decent browns and seatrout early on before hooking into solid grilse behind the island in the afternoon. I just managed a quick snap with the 10 second timer before she went back. The fishing slowed down after that so I went in at about 5 and had a pint at the lodge beside the fire, very happy with my lot. Colin joined me for one while. Thomas behind the bar had a  few wise cracks as he usually does. It’s always great to write your name into the salmon book! Great reports from Inagh so far this season so I hope it continues into August.. Check out this clip about the lake starring Colin Folan and Joe Creane. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6HIx_zBVqM

TO WRAP UP..

So the fishing was tough, that’s for sure but there were still plenty great moments and that’s what fishing is. Yes, we enjoy the whole thing the but the highs are what we remember… or is it? Maybe it is the whole thing we remember and enjoy? I need to think about this. When I think back about a days fishing I remember it as a whole and not so much the moments.. hmmm.. Is it about the moments or the whole day??? Can I say both? I think I can! No, I got it.. During the day it’s all about the moments, afterwards, thinking back, its about the whole thing! Rambling there, sorry about that.. Where was I.. Yes, plenty great moments! Great moments with fish, friends, family and general craic that I only get at home!

Tight lines all! Big trip coming up.. Malaysia, Ireland, USA, Azores, Portugal. I’ll have 4 fly rods.

Ronan..

For guiding enquiries in NZ next season see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

Strip-Striking Trout…

January 31st, 2013 3 comments

I’m just in from my best Dunstan outing so far this season. I had 10 in 2.5hours, All but one on a single simple mayfly pattern I tied for the Mataura last season. I started with a bugger and caught one. I often start this way to connect with the lake. Once I have a feel for what’s going on I adapt to my environment. The fishing was fast and exciting. Fish were up, tracking along the surface and rising multiple times. One fish, which I did not catch, rose about 100 times, constantly changing direction. I got my fly in front of him a few times but he was locked on to something else. The fish were rising like caenis feeders on Lough Corrib so I’m guessing their main diet during this rise was something tiny. I never thought to have a close look in the water and find out! It didn’t matter anyway. The important thing was to be able to put my fly about a foot or 2 in front of a tracking fish, any more and the fish would probably change direction and not see my fly. There were no mayfly hatching by the way. The lake should provide this sort of action for the next few months and I’ll be in the thick of it.

A few years ago while fishing for lake edge cruisers with a single nymph I found myself strip striking! I’ve been doing this for a long time now and this is why.. When you see a fish approaching (or cruising away from you!) you get into position and take your shot. You know roughly where your fly is as it sinks. You watch the fish carefully looking for any change in direction or movement of his mouth when he is nearing your fly. If it moves you strike. If your almost sure, you strike, maybe. If your 50/50 you strike?? I don’t, at least not with the rod. If you strike with the rod and the fish has not taken you will probably spook the fish. If you strip strike you gain 3 advantages. 1, If the fish has taken you will hook up with the strip strike. 2, If the fish has not taken your fly, your fly is still in the zone. Finally 3, you are far less likely to spook a fish with a strip strike as you would be with a rod strike. With a failed rod strike you also have to recast! There are other applications for the strip strike in trout fishing. It’s very useful when lure fishing. A fish might be so close to your fly that you think he has it taken. Don’t strike with the rod! Strip strike and keep your fly in the zone. The strip often induces a take too..  Try it out if you haven’t done so already!

Tomorrow night is card night for the boys (I won about 150 bucks last time) and on Saturday I’m off to James Wilkinsons wedding. James did you invite some single women?? I sure I’ll squeeze in a few hours on a river somewhere… but maybe not!

Thanks to all my new subscribers! I will endeavour to keep this interesting.. Below are some random shots from about 2 weeks ago to today.

Tight Lines.  Stuntman Ronan..