One to remember By Stevie Munn
This is a time of year which I look back at my season. I have always been an angler that enjoys many types of fly fishing. I grew up mostly fishing rivers for wild trout which I still enjoy, it’s probably my most frequent fishing over the year, but I also enjoy many other types of fishing, many of which I travel for like my hosted grayling trip to wonderful Norway. I also love migratory species like Salmon, Seatrout, and my local Dollaghan fishing, in fact I’m the sort of fly angler that will fish for just about anything if it’s with a fly rod. Something I have always loved is fishing on one of Irelands majestic loughs and especially during the mayfly hatch for brown trout.
Over the fishing seasons there is always a few fish that will stay in the memory, these fish remain with you for many reasons and it may not be as often the case with some because it was a big fish, though I must also state they often are. This year the one I am about to recall was a wild trout while I was fishing Lough Sheelin with my good friend Gerry Teggart.
Myself and Gerry love Sheelin and have been fishing it many years, this evening we were down to get the last of the seasons mayfly fishing, which at times this year had been patchy, mostly due the weather conditions, we had had a cold spring and everything was running a bit late and the mayfly had been hatching but in drips and drabs. Anyway, let’s get back to the fishing we had launched Gerry’s boat and preceded to one of our favourite drifts on a perfect early June evening, we had noticed the fly dancing above the trees as we headed out with some already falling to the water to lay their eggs and become spent, always an excellent sign. I remember this trip for a few reasons, one was it was the good fish I landed on the new outstanding,9’6” Marryat Tactical PRO rod for 6/7 lines, which is a stunning piece of kit for this type of fishing, together with that the trout also took one of my favourite dry flies which we now call the Hector after one of my beloved cats, you can read more about this pattern in the June 2016 blog, but also everything about this session was just right.
Picture of the Fly, Title the Hector Dressed on Partridge Ideal Nymph CZF size 10 or 12 (the ten is a perfect size for Sheelin mayflies)
Sometimes fishing is not a numbers game and to be honest I don’t even remember if we had many other fish this time, but the one I am writing about, the company was good the setting and evening was beautiful, the light was stunning, the rod was a dream to use and to top all that, in the distance, we could see marvellous wild trout sucking down spent mayfly, heaven. Fishing the dry fly in these massive wild loughs can at times be frustrating as often the trout rise out of casting range, no matter how good you are you need at times to be in the right place at the right time, that said you can give yourself a good chance, frequently this means fishing over the right depth of water or with mayfly finding a wind lane or slick and staying with it , even into the deeps, these habitually hold the trout’s food and are feeding zones . I remember we positioned ourselves on the edge of such a slick and we saw trout heading towards us, sometimes you get one chance at trout feeding in the flat water of a slick, a bad cast or a sudden movement or noise on the boat can spook your quarry and your chance is gone and often as happened on this occasion the fish takes and explodes out of the water spooking the others that where feeding around or with it. I remember watching my fly setting in the surface after I had put it to where I thought a trout was about to take its next mouthful, and luckily it did with me promptly raising the rod and hooking the fish, then shouting to Gerry, I’m in, which when you think about it is a bit ridiculous as Gerry was only sitting a few feet away at the back of the boat. The trout then shot into the air like a gymnast with a tight leotard and crashed back into the depths and then started to head for the horizon, now like Usain Bolt only faster. One thing I would like to state here is if this happens to you on an Irish Lough let your fish run, I have seen hundreds of fished lost by anglers trying to stop a large fish running on 6lb or 8lb tippet. On this occasion though the fish did not seem to be slowing down as my line screamed from the reel and into the backing. At that point I shouted to Gerry to start the engine, I think we need to follow this one, which Gerry did, as I gained some line back unto the reel, then as if the trout knew what was going on it turned and started running directly towards us with me then stripping line back as fast as I could to keep the tension on, now shouting even louder stop the ( colourful language ) engine, which again Gerry did, its times like this that you realise boat fishing can be a real team effort. After some more deep and powerful runs though thankfully around the boat the fish eventually tired and the net was slipped under the wonderful trout, with its heavily spotted flanks gleaming in the last of the setting sun. After a quick snap, which was taken on Gerry’s phone we slipped the thing of beauty back to its domain and we both smiled and realized, at times how lucky we are to be fly-fishers on one of Irelands gems. Now this was not the biggest trout I ever caught by a long way as I have fished all my life but for the 2016 season it was one of the most memorable and one I will always remember. I hope you get the chance to have similar experiences next year. Tight lines for 2017.