Posts Tagged ‘Lough Inagh Lodge’

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

July 9th, 2017 No comments


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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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.


For guiding enquiries in NZ next season see my website or email me

The New York Times. Fish Stories, Told With a Brogue….

October 3rd, 2012 No comments

I just dug up this article from The New York Times written about me 13 years ago. Go google!


By Barbara Lloyd
Published: November 28, 1999


A book by the fire at the Lough Inagh Lodge looked ever more enticing than sitting in a boat on a chilly day as the mist outside turned a darker gray. But who among us could resist those fly rods standing so nobly in the back hallway of this County Galway fishing lodge?

”Have you ever fly-fished before?” asked Ronan Creane, the lodge’s guide. ”Yes,” we replied in unison, as couples do. ”But not a lot.” My husband, Dick Baker, had once cast in the river waters of Oregon and Wyoming, and I had dropped lines from the deep Alpine grasses of northwest Montana. But this was a mountain lake on the west coast of Ireland, and we soon found ourselves getting in a boat.

It was a 19-foot skiff, a narrow wooden hull that looked like the Rangely guide boats of woodland Maine. One pull of the six-horsepower Yamaha, and we were heading against a freshening breeze along the four-mile lake. Our cache of wet flies — a bibio, a black pennell and a few daddy longlegs — filled an arsenal meant to lure sea trout, brown trout and Atlantic salmon.

The Western Regional Fisheries Board for the Connemara region has reported a decline in sea trout here the last few years. But it is still a popular fishing destination. The Irish Tourist Board estimates that more than 6,000 North Americans fished Ireland’s coastal waters for sea trout last year. During our late September day of fishing on Lough Inagh, we were the only boat out.

Our guide, a disarmingly self-assured 21-year-old, left no doubt that we would catch something. Creane had just beaten his father, Joe, an international competitor, in a local fishing derby the day before. How he did it was a tale of perseverance that fired up our determination.

Creane, you see, had selected a secluded spot along a nearby lake and waited for the contest to begin. The rules prohibited fishing from a boat as we were allowed to do on Lough Inagh. From the shore instead, our young guide had mounted a daylong fishing vigil. But in the excitement of competition, he had forgotten his rain gear.

Rather than go back to shore for his jacket, Creane kept casting. As his clothes got wetter, he got colder. So he began disrobing; doesn’t everyone? He removed his clothing piece by piece. Then he spread his sodden shirt, pants and underclothing on adjacent bushes, hoping they would dry as the rain began to abate.

No one else was around, which was part of his plan. He was sure he had picked the choicest fishing hole, and was not about to leave it. Not even when it meant fishing in the buff.

At the end of the day, Creane, fully clothed once again, delivered almost nine pounds of fish, a sizeable catch that put him in second place in the competition. The winner’s total weighed only three more ounces than Creane’s. Better yet, our young guide had beaten his father, who finished in third place.

We latched onto the story eagerly as we began our day of fishing. Creane had turned off the boat’s engine, and we were drifting down the lake with an oar put out to the side as a rudder. But in less than an hour, dozens of thwarted casts revealed our rookie inadequacies against the fitful breeze. Try as we might, our lines got tangled like used kite string. We hooked everything on the boat but each other, and that was going to be next.

Creane, undoubtedly fearful of being hooked himself, suggested a change of pace. We would troll down the lake with the engine running. Had we been self-respecting fly-fishers, we would have nixed the idea. But we were desperate.

Within minutes, I had the first strike. It was a salmon, albeit a tiny salmon that looked more despondent than I had been. The next catch proved to be a heartier sea trout. Measuring about one pound, it came into the boat with a little kick, not unlike the cutthroat trout I remembered landing several years ago in Montana. We threw my Irish fish back as part of the lake’s catch-and-release policy.

It was a whole lot harder to throw back the next one — a two-and-a-quarter-pound brown trout that Creane said was easily the third largest brown caught on the lake all season. Since we were there in late September, and the fishing year had started in February, I felt a bit smug. But I was not alone. Creane was beside himself with enthusiasm.

”It’s a lovely fish,” he said excitedly. ”To catch a brown that size, the chances are very slim. The biggest fish here this season was 3.2 pounds. Will you send me the photo?”

An hour later, Dick landed a brown that was quite nearly the same size. I could swear it was the same fish. Either way, they were big fish for Lough Inagh, and beautiful. On the way back to shore, I thought I noticed a wistful look on Creane’s face.

”I’m very jealous that I didn’t catch one of those fish,” he said.

I was touched. ”I’ll send you the pictures,” I promised