Posts Tagged ‘Wet fly fishing’

Fly Fishing in Wicklow: Moorland Spiders

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Is there anything stirring”, asked the farmer who on a break from tending to his sheep had spied me setting up and walked over for a chat. “With luck a few wild brownies”, I replied which sparked a historical conversation on the farmers experience of fishing the river as a young lad. How along with plenty of trout he also caught small perch no less, that the trout rarely topped half a pound and all but disappeared for a number of years when construction works on the ESB facility at Turlough Hill turned the water black with suspended silt.

Fly fishing in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Sourced in the blanket bog high up on the dome shaped Wicklow granite, I assured the gentleman that the stream based on my recent experience was pristine, had clearly recovered from the silt contamination of forty years ago and today was home to a good head of trout averaging 6/7 inches with an occasional larger fish topping half a pound. Now well past midday and with the river beckoning I bade farewell to the farmer, picked up my four weight rod, hopped over a gate and strode purposefully towards a favourite pool.

West County Wicklow, Ireland.

A strong warm breeze channeled down the valley dictated the order of play as downstream wet fly. Having set up with a team of spiders, kill devil on point, greenwell’s in the middle and an iron blue on the top dropper I proceeded to cast into likely runs, seams and guts. At session end ten lively trout to 6/7 inches had come to my rod with an equal number visibly slashing at the flies topped by a head and tailing half pound fish, his lie marked for another day. With evening drawing in I headed tired but refreshed towards the car marveling that such solitude and beauty exists within one hour of Ireland’s capital city, wonderful………

Fly Fishing in Co. Wicklow, In the Footsteps of A.A.Luce

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

There are day’s when you are reminded why you chose to go fishing, spring starts to show its face, the air is warm with just a little zephyr of a breeze, a hazy brightness fills the landscape, and trout dance with your flies, pulling and cavorting as you work down the runs. Low,almost to the bones my chosen stream diverted and sluiced between the boulders, trout sat in the back eddies waiting for morsels to drift by, and my spiders twitched irresistibly enough to lure a fish at regular intervals, a man couldn’t wish for more.

Downstream wet fly fishing in County Wicklow, Ireland.

In his 1959 published treatise on angling “Fishing and Thinking” Dr. A. A. Luce, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin wrote of his best day on the river. Casting a line on the same stream almost 73 years to the day I couldn’t but feel a sense of deja vu. Commencing fishing around noon after having walked a step upstream I felt confident as my initial cast snaked across the stream, throwing a mend the flies worked along a seam whence simultaneously a boil and a tug signaled my first trout of the afternoon.

A six ounce Wicklow mountain trout taken on a Greenwells spider.

A little six ounce brownie, perfectly formed, yellow bellied, and brightly spotted, taken on a Greenwells spider it tricked and darted in the swift current not out gunned by my four weight wand, a nice start. Carefully wading down stream I placed my flies in runs between rocks, into back eddies, and through likely pockets searching out ambush points where a wily trout might lie up, the pool head runs being very productive.

Trout heaven in Co. Wicklow.

Newly born lambs suckled and gamboled in the fields and the smell of coconut drifted from gorse bushes high up on the bank, other than the chatter of the stream there was complete silence. An hour or two had flown by and noticeably rises to my flies had slowed down. Taking advice from Dr.Luce I switched the point fly for a Coachman his successful pattern from 63 years ago and bingo a gut produced three trout on the bounce.

A half pound Wicklow trout as the sun was setting.

Making my way around a long meander I came across a nice riffle with a constant depth, casting my flies towards the far bank at a forty five degree angle, as they swung around BANG my best trout of the session took the coachman. At half a pound and in great condition the cake had been well and truly iced, time to call it a day. Eleven trout all returned along with numerous rises, a busy afternoon for sure. County Wicklow has some wonderful trout fishing in beautiful locations, the best of it found in the most out of the way places. You have to work for what you catch, but the rewards, a picture paints a thousand words….

Click on: Guided Fly Fishing for Wild Trout.

Fly Fishing in Ireland, River Liffey, Co. Kildare

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Enjoyed a great first day of the season fly fishing with Mr Irish Fly Fisher himself Liam Stenson and his good friend Ray Bradley on the River Liffey somewhere in Co. Kildare. The sun shone, however a stiff south east breeze put a chill in the air keeping fly hatches to a minimum, that said a few dark olives did show and trout were rising in the more sheltered runs.

Liam Stenson (Irish Fly Fisher) fishing down stream wet on the River Liffey, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Fishing a team of wets to include a kill devil spider on the point, a greenwells spider on the middle dropper, and a partridge and orange on the top I proceeded to fish a likely run endorsed by Liam, “he hooked and lost a fish estimated at 5.lbs in it last season, the hook straightened”. The upstream breeze made fishing wet difficult so I quickly reverted to dry and put up a small olive klinkhammer pattern. With no trout showing I fished likely seams to little effect.

Second of the season, a nice half pounder.

Liam on the other hand found a sheltered back water with a nice streamy run pushing close to a half sunk tree. Placing his fly in the suds he winkled out a 10 inch trout to break his duck for the year. Two more fish rose but were too quick for him, these Liffey brownies are lightening fast.

A nice dry fly stretch on the River Liffey, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Moving upstream I found a run sheltered from the wind by a high bank. Heavily lined with willow trees, there were enough gaps to enable fishing if one used unorthodox casting methods. Switching over to wets my luck changed and I rose a number of trout landing three to close on half a pound. Beautifully spotted but a little lean, in a few weeks they will be plump and full of fight.

A Liffey brownie takes a partridge and orange.

By now the sun was waning and a chill started to fill the air, we had forgotten but it was only March 3rd. Close on four bells three tired but happy anglers walked back to the cars, the Liffey had been good to us Liam also netting a few nice trout and the day most certainly augured well for the season to come….