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Hello Again

I am going to blog more this year, I couldn’t blog much less, seeing as I never bothered at all last year. It’s been busy, moving house, chickens, bees, Springer Spaniel puppy, redundancies, country in financial meltdown etc.

The River was visited many times last year, mainly evenings grabbed as and when circumstances allowed. No fish of outstanding weight, just the marvellous wild browns around six to eight inches that sometimes go mad for poorly presented, badly tied excuse for a fly. This year I am going to try a few different places other than the ten minute journey to the local river because I feel I should try and explore the many great fishing venues just a short trip from here.

Also just so I don’t run out of things to post about I will be putting in some stuff about my bees and my efforts to turn a patch of land at the bottom of our garden into a supply of fruit and vegetables for my family.

Nightime By The River

I remembered to bring the camera with me last night while taking the dog for awalk and took a few pictures of Macroom bridge and the River Sullane. Cold evening with very little wind, I reckon it would be possible to fish quite easily under the glow of the bridge lights.

This is looking into town where you can still see the remains of the castle walls in the background.

The other side of the bridge taken from the foot of the old castle walls.

On the town side looking towards the road to Killarney. Lots of fish to be seen from the bridge most of the year and I walk across a few times everyday so I always have a look. Roll on the 2nd of March when the season opens.

Fur, Feathers and Divorce

I do try and tie my own flies and I haven’t bought any dry flies for a long time, I did buy some weighted nymphs at the start of last season from Ebay and they are fine and boosted my small collection. I only buy small pieces of fur or sub standard capes due to the restrictions four young boys place on the family coffers,  so when my wife who likes to frequent household auctions phoned me to say that the house she was looking round had a room solely devoted to fishing gear and fly tying I went along for a look. It was a lovely cottage, on about 1/2 acre but gradually being surrounded by new housing estates, the story was that the couple were splitting up after she ran away with her lover and demanded her half of the assets and he was selling everything at auction, furniture, cooker and all the fishing equipment a small box room could hold.

Now this room contained the contents of a fishing lifetime, fly rods, beach casters, spinning rods plus all the ancillary tackle. Many boxes of miscellaneous reels, flys and spinners plus the ubiquitous  fishing related pictures on the wall. Very sad to witness what seemed to be the end of someones love of fishing as well as his relationship.

Due to my wife and I being unable to be at the auction together because one us always has to look after the four young boys we somehow ended up with she was charged with the task of bidding on the two carrier bags of fly tying material I had discovered in the room. There was lots of other things in there I would have liked to bid on but limited funds and the need for more important things made me narrow my needs to what looked like could be a good lot.

A fierce bidding war broke out when the auctioneer held aloft the two Tesco bags containing a multitude of dead things, to crys of disgust from the more gentle attendees.  The one other bidder gave up when my wife shouted 20 Euro at the auctioneer and the deal was done. A nice hall table, a tall stool for the boys room and two bags of wings,fur and capes were picked up the next day and christmas came early for me.

All of a sudden my collection of tying materials went from a very small  tin of the cheapest packets of unsuitable feathers to around 30 plus capes of various quality and colour,ten types of deer hair, squirrel tails, hare masks, starlings wings and mole backsides. You name it and I probably had a body part in the bag.

Auction

Now you would think that the abundance of quality material would mean that my flybox is bulging at the seams, but no it wasn’t that I didn’t have the right materials that held me back before as I thought. It was lack of skill and dedication to the task and now I have nowhere to hide. I am trying hard and the great responsibility put on my shoulders in taking over another mans collection of fur and feathers weighs heavy on my shoulders. I do like getting them all out,  laying them on the table and looking at them and sometimes think that maybe stamp collecting would have been a better hobby.

Birthday Fishing

It was my 40th birthday a couple of days ago and all the fishing gods must have got together to make it special. First the incessant rain we have been having this summer eased for a few days to allow the river to drop and lose the look of stewed tea. Then my wife had some time off which meant I didn’t have to look after the children, so by 11 o’clock on Thursday I was out the door with a spring in my step and my cap at a jaunty angle.

Most of my fishing is done in the evening after baths and bedtimes for the children so it was a treat to get out in the daylight. We have had extremely heavy rain recently and lines of debris along the bankside are at least 5 or 6 feet above the current level, it is amazing how quickly it drops though.

I fished a favourite place, a feeder river to the Sullane at Bealick Mill which has lovely weir and above the bridge a calm stretch where the fish always rise freely.

I tied on a CDC and Elk which I have only recently started to tie after reading through some old posts on Alistair’s Urban Fly Fisher blog and it worked better than I expected. In the turbulent flow trout were flying up and smashing the fly as it landed and when drifting it through the slack water they were sucking it in gently. I have never been so confident in a fly’s ability to fool fish, they dont last long though after about a dozen or so fish they are pretty threadbare. When I bought the CDC last week I thought they were expensive at 3 Euro for about 10 small feathers but they really do seem to work and it was not a difficult fly to tie. I know that is the kiss of death to say they work so well and next time I will probably not get a touch.

The last time I went fishing was about three weeks ago so it was great to be out and catching fish. I got some money for the big 40 from my parents so I am contemplating giving Ebay a bash for some new waders and maybe a Fishpond chest/backpack as it is cheaper to order from the states than to buy over here. I quite Fancy one of these; I know it won’t help me catch more fish but when I do get go fishing I would like to be able to carry enough gear to be comfortable when investigating the many rivers and streams here. It also breaks down into a separate chest and backpack so it would be okay for just a quick session. Has anybody got any views on fishpond gear, is it all show and no substance or are they as tough and practical as they claim?
I have also been looking at Whychwood breathable waders which come with boots for just over £105 which is about 130 Euro.

The rubber Snowbee ones I have are fine but I do have a problem with welly boots and blistered feet if I have to walk any distance.

It is raining again and there are gale force winds blowing at the moment so it looks like an evening on the river will be replaced by a session on Ebay.

I ventured out Thursday evening about 8 o’clock to fish the River Sullane as it leaves the town on it’s way to the reservoir in the hope of the larger trout that come up river. I parked the car and grabbing the set up rod from the back (another advantage of a car designed to carry seven people) went down off the bridge to fish just upstream of the weir. I waded out 10 yards and cast the green klink to drift just in front of the bridge columns, managed to miss a few rises and also managed to hook up with the only piece of vegetation growing on the bridge on my back cast. One green klink lost, another tied on and first cast my fly box falls out of my unzipped waistcoat and floats downstream through the bridge arch into the swirling rapids.

Things went from bad to worse from here, a quick scramble up the bank, over the wall, across the road, down the other side and a quick but dignified walk past other anglers downstream, all the time scanning the water for the lost box. I waded out and searched the flow but no joy.

Now this box, which was a orange plastic freebie from the front of Trout Fisherman magazine many years ago does not contain all the flies I own, just about 25 or so drys but these are flies I have tied myself over the last few weeks and so represent a lot of time and effort. I was pretty pissed off so I decided that I was going home even though there was plenty of light left and I had another box of nymphs and wets. I spoke to a couple of anglers upstream asking them to keep a eye out and went back to the car.

Back at the car as I tried to start it I remembered my wife’s  words as I left ” There is no petrol in the car  so don’t forget to go and fill up “.

A few months ago the car wouldn’t start when my wife parked on the hill at school and the recovery truck driver told us after he had taken it to a level place and started it that this particular model should not be parked on a hill with a small amount of fuel as was likely to not start because of the shape of the fuel tank.

I had parked the car with the front end high and with very little fuel in the tank because I forgot to go to the petrol station, so it would not start. After a short round of swearing and looking for someone to blame other than myself I decided to walk home to get a fuel canister so I could go to the petrol station and get a gallon to get the car started.

Unfortunately I was wearing chest high rubber waders and no spare boots or shoes in the car. I walked the couple of miles through the town centre getting very strange looks from locals and tourists in my very old, ripped wax coat and rubber waders, I almost wished I had carried my rod as at least this would have explained my attire. I have never walked very far in waders and about halfway I could feel the blisters forming and by the time I reached home both feet felt very fluid.

On arriving home I apologised to my wife for blaming her in a mobile phone call earlier for not putting petrol in the car and searched the shed for a petrol can. I then took off the waders and put my blistered feet into my boots for the cycle ride about a mile in the wrong direction to the petrol station. Petrol was bought and then a cycle back through town to the car.

It was now about 10-45 and just getting dark and back at the car I was met by one of the search party that were looking for me as they new I had lost my fly box but seeing my car still there with rod inside had presumed I had gone looking for it and maybe fallen in and was now a floating corpse on my way to join the River Lee. Both anglers are prominent members of the committee and although I was very embarrassed I was very glad they were concerned for my welfare.

I an now unable to walk very far because of the blisters but did manage Friday evening on the river without the waders. I will always put my boots in the car now in case I ever breakdown, it is a really relaxing way to spend an evening this fly fishing lark. I may take up golf.

An Irish Summer

We have had rain almost everyday for the last few weeks so my limited fishing on the river reached drought status unlike the river which is flowing through the town like a torrent. I decided I was going out today rain or not, so at about two o’clock a gap in the clouds gave me enough time to load the waders and gear in the car and head upstream 10 miles or so from my usual stretch of the Sullane to Ballyvourney. The River was flowing very fast and being totally unfamiliar with this stretch I wandered about for a while to see likely spots. its extremely beautiful along there but seemed to me pretty much inaccessible with steep overgrown banks and water so fast and deep you were barely able to stand up in.

I put the waders on and had a few flicks in some gaps but the combination of trees, undergrowth and my limited casting ability resulted in depletion of my fly stocks. I decided to walk downstream because I had crossed a small tributary to the Sullane about a mile back on the way in the car. The weather was showers one minute then warm sunshine and these bursts of sun were resulting in hatches of fly life. I have no idea what this fly is, some sort of olive upright ?

I could see fish rising so it was looking good if I was just able to get on the water. The tributary was shallow with some deeper pools along the edge and I was able to wade upstream for a good half a mile.

First cast resulted in a rise to my green Klinkhamer and so it went all along this small stream catching trout every few casts until I reached a section with what looked like an old concrete structure and remains of an old gate, here it was deeper than my waders so I stayed for at least an hour catching many trout in this deeper water all on the green Klink. This Klinkhamer is one I tied myself when experimenting with different colours of posts after reading Gareth’s post on Fly Fishing in South Wales. He swears by his pink post klink so I tied a variety of colours and this gold tinsel post from last years Christmas decorations makes it very easy to spot in the sunshine and stands up well to the fast water.

I stopped counting after about a dozen or so trout all around the size of the one in the picture, this small feeder to the main river seems well populated with wild browns and I will return soon.

On my way back I left the main road at Ballymakeera and found a bridge over the Sullane with a weir pool and lots of accessible looking fishy places so that’s the next spot I am going to try, maybe this evening if the kids all go to bed at a reasonable hour. It is still possible to fish until about 11.00 o’clock at night if the sky is clear and the bloody rain keeps away.

Fly Fishing

My interest in fly fishing started in the North West of England when an ex miner took advantage regeneration scheme money offered by Government and local trusts to dig out a trout lake in the shadow of coal slag heaps in one of the most deprived parts of the town, it was a bit like that film Field Of Dreams where Kevin Costner builds a baseball pitch on his farm because a voice tells him ” if you build it they will come “.

I thought that’s for me and went to the local tackle shop armed with my Youth Training Scheme wages and purchased my first set of fly gear. I went every weekend armed with new tackle and no knowledge of fly fishing as I had always coarse fished in the local ponds for Roach and Perch, but the stockies where there usual suicidal selves and attacked most things I managed to splash at them. The fight from from a 1lb Rainbow was a big difference from the coarse fish and so my love of fly fishing began.

The place was never busy and often the owner, who lived in a caravan on the site, would ask me to tell any new arrivals to go ahead and fish as he was off to the pub and would be back later ( much later ). Even my youthful lack of experience in running a business could see that this was never going to last and eventually it became a coarse fishing lake. Not before a large pub with views across the lake was built, only to go bust and be burnt down by the local arsonist. I did say it was not the the most desirable part of town to live in. It is now a spectacular part of an urban regeneration programme to make use of the coal slag heaps and surrounding areas and the lake looks like its always been there.

I do think that without it I would have never got a interest in fly fishing, so I thank the the man with the dream to build a trout lake, it is just a pity that the dream didn’t last very long.

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