Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Roll on 2009

As it was the last day of my DCAL license I figured I had to at least spent a couple of hours on the only public water still open nearby - Woodburn Reservoir.

I haven't been out for ages so I was quite excited at the prospect of spending a couple of hours by the water. One silver lining of being a father is that I'm getting slightly more used to getting up earlier. This led me to being beside the water at the ungodly hour of 10am. Blurgh, i didn't know you could fish this early. One of the downsides of being there that early was that it was c-c-c-cold. I wrapped up pretty good, I'd tonnes of warm Christmas presents but one thing that let me down was the fact that my hands were freezing. I'd gloves with me but wearing them I had absolutely no line control, so off they came.

From the outset i knew the day was going to be difficult but judging from the number of fish stealing bastards cormorants, there did seem to be fish in the water. These proved to be a mile from the bank though. I mainly stuck to sinking lines and lures, but if I'm honest all this did was highlight a couple of casting deficiencies as i struggled to cast to the horizon. For a while it looks like fish had moved in to the shallow end of the reservoir and in calm water too. I had a crack at them with a bloodworm under a pimp but alas the activity turned out to be a family of duckings practicing their diving.

Unfortunately this ended up another fishless day, which meant i still haven't had an opportunity to try out an ingenious invention by Steve Dobson the Dobson Clip which holds your rod securely allowing both hands to be used to unhook the fish.

After noticing the varnish chipping off near my rod rings this has further prompted me to get a new rod for 2009. At the moment I'm dreaming about a Hardy Demon setup, but as this is a little out of my price range I'll have to settle for something else.

Therefore from today I've put together my Fishing New Year's resolutions

1. Get a new Rod (something pretty, that makes me cast like an expert)
2. Get some casting lessons, I'm dreading this, I've a sneaky suspicion I'm unteachable
3. Post to Blog more frequently
4. Stop Blanking

I'm not too sure how I'll manage the last one, but the first two are quite obtainable. Stevie Munn is rumoured to be an excellent casting instructor who also happens to be a online tackle dealer, I'm hoping that besides trying to break me out of my self-taught bad habits he can bring along a couple of rods for me to try out.

All in all, I'm quite looking forward to the new fishing year.

Tight Lines to you all for 2009

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A life on the Ocean Wave

7th Oct, Belfast lough
After a miserable week of showers and gales a small break in the weather was predicted for this morning, Da had mentioned that he was taking his boat Mufti for a spin so I jumped on board to experience a spot of sea fishing.
Soon after setting sail, my level of optimism was high, this may have been due to the fact Da had installed a new fish finder or that he was serving Irish coffee at half ten in the morning.

Da playing with his new toys

After a quick dash across the shipping lane in Belfast Lough we arrived at the first mark just off Bangor Bay. Da was soon into his first mackerel of the day

First fish of the day
The first fish I managed to stick into was a very sorry looking herring, somehow the suicidal fishy had managed to impale himself onto the hook by his eyes. Upon removal of the hook both his eyes remained on the trace and he was left with a gaping hole right through his head. This was one fish that wasn't going to get put back in. After some more herring I finally caught up with Da in catching mackerel.
We were doing so well, I decided to handicap myself by using a fly rod with a fast sinking line, this proved to be near impossible as the boat drift didn't allow the line to sink, so I soon switched back to a heavy spinning outfit coupled with feathers. After a productive couple of hours we decided to head home. Whilst making our way back across the channel my galley slave Da prepared his speciality fried mackerel and a cup of tomato soup.
Lunch - before and after We managed to time our exit well, a mist came down and the winds, which had been absent for most of the day, re-appeared. Below, if you squint you can just about make out Carrickfergus Castle.Carrickfergus CastleSince the last time I was afloat Da's boat handling skills has improved a great deal, we managed to berth her again without even touching another boat, jetty or tender.
Da exiting MuftiHopefully after such a successful trip I can get out again soon, next time, though I'll have to make sure I make the coffee.

Did you ever wonder why you were standing in a gale waving a stick about

2nd Oct, Killylane Reservoir

After two very tough days, I figured the weather couldn't get any worse. My mate Andrew and I had planned to reward ourselves for our hard dissertation slog with an extended trip fishing. I had been out the past two days and I knew it was going to be an uphill struggle. So we decided to head to Killylane, as we thought we might get a bit of shelter from the strong winds. We've fished here before but today everything had changed, mainly due to the hurricane blowing straight through the reservoir.
Most of the day was spent tramping around the water to find a sheltered spot, this soon became impossible. At the end we were desperate, I chose to try the deep water in front of the dam wall, with a sinking line and boobies and Andrew chose an inlet that you could probably jump over. I managed about twenty minutes without being blown into the water and walked back to join the slacker sitting alongside the inlet. This tactic paid off for him though as amongst the eddies in the inlet Andrew had managed to catch the only trout of the day.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Bad days

30Sept,01Oct Marshalstown and Woodburn Reservoirs

When i started blogging, one of the aims was to record all the times i had fished. Recently this has changed to writing about only the days I did well on. This has had the side-effect of letting me think i am a better angler than i actually am. Thought I'd better even the balance. The last two days I've been presented with a bit of free time so I used it wisely and went fishing.

Admittedly the weather has been pish, but i still thought I'd do OK, damn over-confidence. Yesterday my getaway was obstructed by my five year old nephew who had decided that he was coming with me. I knew this wasn't going to be a great days fishing but his optimism was contagious, he wanted to see me catch a fish, the thought that i might blank hadn't even occurred to him. So off we went.

I opted for Marshallstown reservoir as it has some good platforms so as to not let the child fall in or get covered in mud. My expert adequate control of the flyline was enough to entertain him for about ten minutes. There-after his enquiries of "when are you going to catch a fish?" got him through another ten minutes. After which he tried to take matters into his own hands by throwing rocks into the water to drive the fish closer to me. Bless his cotton socks, he's ever so thoughtful.

Although no fish were caught, we all returned with the same amount of eyes we left with and no-one had been in the water for a swim.

Today I though I'd make up for the lack of fish and really put some effort in. I even managed to get to the water before noon. I begun at the wild fishery at the top of the three reservoirs at South Woodburn, there is rumoured to be wild trout in here so I thought I'd check it out. I've fished here before a couple of times but had only ever caught fingerlings in a spot we call the nursery. I would have started my day here apart from the fact that there was no water in it.
I took the opportunity to walk around the reservoir as the circumference is less with less water in it. I'm quite a lazy bugger. The wind had unfortunately decided to follow me about and no matter where I stood it blew into my face at about 20 knots. All in all, it turned out to be quite a nice walk despite not seeing any evidence of the mythical wild brownies and for once i actually arrived home before the time demanded suggested by wifey.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Mystery Solved

Finally I've gotten to the bottom of a little mystery that has bugged me ever since the Fermanagh trip. I had bough a whole rake of new flies for this trip, tonnes of them, mainly drys like daddies and sedges as i was looking forward to some great dry fly action. The problem was, once i arrived at the lake my new fly box had disappeared. I searched everywhere for it. Finally I came to the conclusion It had dropped out of my pocket at a previous lake. Only today i got the urge to investigate all the hidden and not so hidden pockets on my vest, lo and behold there it was. The whole time i had cursed my bad luck at Fermanagh the bloody box was on my person. Considering that the box is a fair size, i am now questioning the usefulness of my vest's 20 odd pockets

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Enniskillen, Hurray for Holidays

Just back from my Hols, went to the beautiful county of Fermanagh. The Wifey, Ethan and I had to recover from a particularly stressful week away with my family in Donegal and I'm so glad we chose Enniskillen.

I had managed to whip myself up into a fishing frenzy by reading about the fishing opportunities nearby, so with the news of crappy weather I wasn't steeling myself for a disappointing week. Luckily it wasn't that bad with just a couple of bad days.

We were quite fortunate in our location, we were renting a superb farmhouse near the Navar Lakes so after a bit of research I new this was going to be the first call. One the first day we called up to Glencreawan after convincing Wifey that there was a spectacular view point nearby (there was, it was incredible) and sneakily I brought a light set up with me. As fish rose all around us I knew this was going to be an interesting week. Wifey had other ideas and didn't relish the prospect of hanging around whilst i fished so after a brief bit of fluff chucking and a photo opp we were off.

My Buddy Andrew was nearby for the next day so we set off to explore the lakes properly, He had suggested we try Meenameen but with my typical snobbishness for all methods lake, i over-rode him and we ended up at Glencreawan. Things were looking up as Andrew was immediately into a fish on his first cast at the weeds near the slipway, but after that things got tough we spent the next couple of hours soaked through and miserable but still we fished on. To compound my misery I managed to drop my only lighter into the water and had to spent an uncomfortably long time trying to get it to work properly. Our perseverance paid off in the end though we finally got into a couple towards the end of the day.

Enniskillen is the home of the legendary Fly dresser Frankie McPhillips so I knew i had to at least call in. Of course when i got there I had to stock up on some new flies, i picked up some great looking dry daddies and a new landing net. I'd been finding the foldable one a bit crap when wading as unfolding it one handed when playing a fish can be hard work so I wanted a big scoop net that should stick to the back of my vest.

Later on in the week I ventured back to the Navar lakes as the weather had calmed down abit. I found the fishing at Glencreawan had turned impossible as the wind was still blowing a gale only this time over my line hand. So after a couple of fly-to-eye near misses I decided to re-locate to Meenameen. This lake, whilst of roughly the same size is sheltered by the forest and looked a great deal calmer. It also looked to have fish at the surface on the far bank. Oh Joy. After a brief struggle through a swamp I ended up on a floating platform of weeds slowly sinking into the vegetation. Although it was hard to cast from behind the fronds this position definitely paid off, within half an hour I had caught two cracking browns and was loving every minute of it. At this point my phone goes off and the wifey reminds my i have fatherly responsibilities waiting for me at home. After i promise to be home as soon as possible i decide to have one last chuck into a feeder stream that i had just seen movement in. After a cast that could only be described as gently lowering a fly onto the water, the previously flat calm water erupted. I was into a huge fish. After quite a while struggling to get the fish in past a tonne of snags I eventually landed it. Most of the time whilst playing it, i cursed my choice of a short handled net and longed for my extendible one.

This was probably the biggest fish i have landed yet. The net measures 45cm across and he was longer than it! By my calculations this puts the fish at about 42 pounds (give or take a pound). Fishy went back after a quick breather but by now i was running late so I packed up to go. I spent another day back at the same location and had another very productive session and cannot wait until I'm back.

The only other water I tried was Lough Keenaghan and the weather once again was not ideal and whilst it looked like a great lake I chose to talk fish with a couple of anglers and then sneak off to fill up with cheap diesel from over the nearby border

Monday, 4 August 2008

Murloc Angling and Rural Pursuits

Whilst running an errant in Aghalee I thought I would check out Murloc fishery. The fishery is situated within spitting distance of my old house so I was very curious about the setup. It is a newly constructed pond of about five acres and it only opened at the start of July.

As I hadn't a rod with me I was just going to have a nosy and bug the owner/manager if I could find him. I immediately bumped into Fred the boss man who was out enjoying a pipe and his randy dog Fly. Whilst chatting away to Fred and trying to avoid the amorous advances of his dog(who incidentally is an excellent fisher, check the photos in the lodge) I was able to experience the quality of the fishing. The beautiful clear lake was alive with activity, there were many anglers fighting with sturdy looking fish and even more rising on the lake. The fish stocked have a minimum size of 2lb and there are a number of doubles. All in all I was extremely impressed with the setup. The lodge looked very comfortable and the staff were really friendly and helpful.

Hopefully i can make up some excuse to be out in that neck of the woods again soon, but next time I'll definitely have some kit with me.

Murloc Fishery is situated halfway down the Old Church Lane which is just off the Soldierstown Road in Aghalee. You can contact the fishery on 07843632197

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Aggh the dreaded caenis, Straid 21st July

Managed to escape for a couple of hours in the evening. Everything looked great, the was a slight breeze and the sky was clouded over. Confidence was high for an incredible night fishing.

Unfortunately their was a big hatch of caenis and the fish were on them solidly. Started off with my old favorite the f fly but these didn't even get a look in. Switched to a rat faced mcdougal and tried to fish in the holes in the weed at the far bank. This proved more successful and I was soon into a great fish that took me down to the backing, my backing hadn't seen daylight for a long time.

After the first fish the trout moved in close and locked onto the caenis. it was incredibly frustrating seeing them so close and have them refuse everything. After a brief conflab with the manager, a shuttlecock fly was used. This proved to be successful and another smaller fish was hooked. By this time the night had fallen in but we still pushed through till we couldn't see the water let alone our flies.

We had been at Straid about a month ago on a boat but as we were bank fishing this time, we were able to see what the new fishery manager has done to the place. The banks are very accessible now, with new paths cut in the long grass and new pegs. Whilst it was alwaays a great fishery, I feel it will get even better over the next year.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Blackwater Canoe Expedition - The big day

After a week of planning we finally made it onto the water. No thanks to some builders at Blackwater Town, the slipway was made inaccessible so we had to chuck the canoes in at a fly tippers paradise a bit further upstream. Once onto the water everything started to go smoothly.

I had measured the trip using a bit of local knowledge and some common sense, this had lead me to underestimate the length as 3 miles. In the end it was more like ten but somehow we managed to cover it in the time predicted.

As Paul hadn't been in a canoe for about twenty years I took it upon myself to coach him in my softly softly manner, luckily I've known Paul for some time, so he didn't cry after being shouted at for the first half an hour. I would have tried to teach him some more strokes and techniques but he had stopped listening to me after five minutes. Ian needed no such encouragement, an avid sea kayaker in his youth he was happily zipping up and down the river in no time. It wasn't long before we tried to harness his enthusiasm by tying him to our canoe and getting him to tow us.

As usual our progress was hampered by our constant need for caffeine and nicotine, this meant plenty of stops to get the trusty stove and camp cow picnic bag out. Also as I had remembered a camera this time every time a photo opportunity presented itself, five minutes had to be spent rummaging in the waterproof bag to get the camera and then a further five minutes extracting ourselves from the foliage which we had drifted into.

Going at the speed of a one legged tortoise enabled us to appreciate the wildlife and we saw a great many different species such as kingfishers, herons, buzzards and a dead cormorant.

The luckiest animal conversation was brought up shortly but only to get Paul up to speed with the standard of chat.

Luckily we all managed to end the day without any major injuries although Paul nearly received some after leaving one of my life jackets at a lunch spot.

All in all we had a great day and i would recommend this canoe trail to everyone. We wouldn't be of the highest level of fitness, in fact we probably wouldn't even be at the lowest level of fitness, but we covered a good distance and were able to walk afterwards and by the time we reached Bonds Bridge we looked like seasoned pros.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Blackwater Canoe Expedition

This is it. The canoe expedition of the century.

At the moment Thursday 17th July is the official date. The plan is:

1. Ian the Intrepit Explorer and Paul the Paddler and I meet at Blackwatertown.

2. Put both vessels into the water at slip way(fingers crossed they both float)

3. Wifey takes car and visits her friends nearby

4. We paddle down the Blackwater river

5. Stop for lunch at Moy

6. Paddle (or drift, the beauty of going downstream) to the Argory

7. Meet Wifey

8. Wifey takes Ian back to car at Blackwatertown

9. Wifey and Ian drive back to the waiting canoes and we all load up

More information of the Blackwater River can be found here

Also because this is pretty dependant on weather you can check here

Also important to note that we will be covering about six miles of river, even if we fall asleep in the canoes this will take us three hours. I'm expecting to do it less than that once all pee stops and tea breaks are taken into consideration

It is also important that Ian doesn't pick any more fights with inanimate lumps of metal. See previous post for reason.

*Update* As usual once you put anything down inwriting the details change. Originaly planned for the 16th the confirmed date is 17th. My Bad

Friday, 20 June 2008

Lough Mourne

Just to tie up a loose end. I did find Lough Mourne on another day, I've been to it twice now. It is a huge lough and i find it very hard to believe that I missed it. It doesn't seem to get a great deal of fishing pressure, but is probably more suited to the spinning rod as there isn't alot of place to fly cast from. According to those in the know, the water level will drop greatly at the start of the summer and make it far more accessible. if this is the case, I will be paying it a visit very soon.
A wee precautionary tale before i go, be careful when wading on the far shore opposite the wall. It gets deceptively deep very quickly. Also if you drive around the dirt track, the whole lake is accessible, the track eventually joins the main road again so don't worry about getting stuck up a country lane.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I'm not being lazy, honest.

Thought it was about time for another post. Since the last post I've been quite busy. I've had a couple of days at the water. I was messing about at the sixmilewater, caught a couple of small brownies on f flies. Went out on a boat at Straid with Andrew and caught some amazing rainbows. The first of which attacked a trout popper, the second a sunken F Fly and the third a daiwl bach. This was the first one, weighed in at around 2 and a half but fought well above it's weight.

And of course Tara and I have finally had our first wee fisherman by the name of Ethan Ellis Torrens. I hope to have a fly rod in his hand before he speaks

I've been supplementing my fishing by listening to the orvis podcasts by Tom Rosenbauer. If you haven't heard these yet you can start downloading them for free by the link below. They really are excellent

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Middle south woodburn, 7th May

looks like another term is nearly finished at Uni. Yay.

In a brief break from assignments and revising Andrew and I set off to try our luck at woodburn.

We started of at the Upper south, which is apparently a wild fishery and had some great craic fishing for tiny trout. I eventually caught a little scrapper on an F fly.

After spending too much time fishing for tiddlers we headed to the middle damn. Andrew racing ahead in anticipation of the prospect of catching something a bit bigger. By the time I caught up to him he was into a fair size of fish, which had fallen to his second cast of a snatcher.

It weighed in at about 2lbs but given a month or two probably would have been twice this as it was fairly skinny.
After this fish the reservoir choose not to be very productive. Possibly due to the extremely low water levels and bright sky. We still choose to fish on and pretty much gave every fly we owned a quick dunk in the water.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Lower Bann Canoe expedition

The Lower Bann flows from Lough Neagh at Toome and out to the Atlantic at Coleraine. It is about 30miles long. Ian and I had planned to paddle a very small fraction of this. Originally we had planned to explore Lough Beg from New Ferry, but one look at the strong current and the wind here put us of. We had a trial run in lough Neagh about a month before and the conclusion was reached that paddling into strong wind and currents wasn't that pleasant. In the end we put in at Portglenone marina and planned to head upstream for a couple of hours and come back with the current.

After a brief fight with the canoe trolley we were finally in the water and on our way. Our first obstacle was the bridge over the Bann at Portglenone, the current was bottlenecked here and very strong, we began to panic that it might be like this all the way up but once through the bridge the current calmed down.

We paddled on for an hour discussing what was perhaps the luckiest animal, this started as the heron as it can swim, fly and walk. After half an hour we had agreed that a heron doesn't swim and the duck became the new luckiest animal.

Finally we reached a spot that we could disembark and have some lunch. After a couple of poses, some coffee on my wonder-stove, some cocktail sausages and a quick pee, we were off again.
We had brought a small pike rod with us (with only one lure!) so we were having a quick little fish when disaster struck. After struggling to fix the anchor mount, Ian's patience gave out and he head-butted it. I'm not too sure what happened as his back was to me but that's what i think he did.

This of course lead to moments of concern and then onto piss-taking, Ian had been previously telling me how he was going on a date the following night. He really could have done with not picking a fight with a solid lump of metal.

After the blood was cleared up, we decided this was as good as time as any to turn around and head home. This was on part because Ian was injured, we had eaten all the food and our single lure was stuck in a tree.

All in all, a very successful trip.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Lough Mourne (sort of)21st April

As I haven't been out fishing for a bit, i was looking for the first opportunity for a spot of water thrashing.
Getting out early from my class on tuesday afternoon my thoughts imediatly turned to takling Lough Mourne. I had heard very little buzz about this place, this always makes me very curious about a new venue. Either it's pants and no-one fishs there or it excellent and those that fish there keep it secret.

So off i went. As usual my trip was meticulously planned, I had a vague idea that it was opposite Upper woodburn. There is a path that leads off from a layby opposite and i figured this was the bunny. So after getting suited and booted off i went. After twenty minutes doubt was beginning to set in that i maybe wasn't in the right place. After an hour I was certain that i wasn't in the right place and as dusk was settling in, I began to worry about finding my way back to the car. Soon I arrived back on the new line a mile away from the car. After a quick march back to Woodburn after giving a couple of speed walkers a bit of a strange site(you'd think they'd never seen a fully outfitted fisherman this far from the water before) I managed to get in about ten minutes of fishing.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Fly tying fairies, the next best thing

For a long time i've been leaving a saucer of milk out for the coursework fairies, in the hope that i'll get up one one morning and they'll have done the work for me, I may have found the next best thing.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

15th April, Killylane Reservoir

Just when you think you're cracked this fishing malarkey, a day comes along that puts you right back to square one. After the previous Saturday's outing, I had started to feel like a real fly fisherman, as every fate had decided that she had had enough of my high horsed thinkings. To begin with I had an arranged class that I was considering ditching, the weather was too perfect and i wanted to go back to Killylane. After much internal debate, off I went to class. Luckily though the class ended early and there was still time to hit the water.

On the way there I was confident that we'd catch quickly and frequently, I was expecting similar conditions to last weekend. In some ways they were, the water was wet and the banks muddy. unfortunately the key ingredient of rising fish was not there. We had a couple of hours before dusk so we circumnavigated (that's a great word) the reservoir to see where to fish from on a better day. David even managed to get in a bit of tiddler fishing in small feeder stream

Even this was to no avail, although he did manage to get more bites than Andrew or I, even a size 16 hares ear nymph was too big to hook one.

Through-out our evening we waited expectantly for the fish to start to show themselves, but unfortunately this didn't happen. Factors or excuses include, no cloud cover, wind quite strong and finally the time of day.

At the end we were fairly disappointed, but looking back now, I shouldn't expect fish everytime i bring a rod out and at least we managed a proper recce of the reservoir.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

F Flies and Duck ass juice

After the buzz i got on Saturday with fishing with F flies I had decided to replenish my dwindling stock of them. For this I used Flies buy the dozen they do an incredible service if you are buying in bulk.

One tip for fishing with cdc is to use some ducks ass juice(don't know what else it's called) this is essentially the gland oil that ducks use to keep the preening gland feathers in shape. When applied to cdc flies this increases their floatablity tenfold. The one i use is from Petit Jean, all you do is apply the oil to the cdc feathers before fishing and allow them to dry.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

12th April, Killylane, Take two

I'll try and do this properly now.

Was joining up with Andrew and his cousin David at Killylane reservoir, originally it was to be Ballykeel, but we' heard it had been stocked recently. By the time i got there it was obvious that there was fish in the water, alot of activity at the surface. I'd started out with hat worked last time, cats whisker, but there was no takes. After a bit my fisherman senses started to tingle. The fish were a the surface, what could this mean?

A change of tactics was needed, on went a buzzer and indicator settup, this of course induced no takes. Strange that, with some much fish at the surface. After a fair bit of changing from this to that, it eventually dawned on me. They were taking flylife off the surface.

on went the F-fly and out came a fish. The f-fly is one of two dry flies i carry, the other is a elk hair thingy. I don't like to use floatant. Andrew switched soon after and he was quickly ino a fish too, this was unfortunalty lost at the net, so he 90% caught his first fish of the season.

A brief sensation of loss was felt whenever my personall favorite fly(i was thinking about nameing him) hopped of my fly patch and was lost forever in two inches of murky water. DAMN YOU GRAVITY, DAMN YOU.

12th April, Killylane

oof, i am now going to to do two thing that i promised i wouldn't. whilst drink
2. post whilst listening to rage against the machine.

oof this going to be tough, too involved, i give up, i'll do it tomorrow

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

9th April, Killylane Reservoir

Andrew and I had been getting a bit beaten about in uni with coursework so of course so rather than solve it by doing some work, we decided that the best option would be to go fishing. Seeing that time was tight, we made some very intelligent choices

1. choose a venue that was far away
2. Drive around a local town (a couple of times) to find a post office
3. choose a day where one of us was working in the morning and the other had a unmissable appointment that evening.

All of which left us with minus 15 minutes to get changed into waders and hike to the waters-edge.

Even with the odds staked against us, we still managed to have a good day. I feel as though I deserve a special mention after spotting rising fish whilst rigging up and then casting into the open mouth of the only fish that would oblige us by being caught. After which i could entice nothing to nibble my offering. First cast, straight into a fish, felt like a legend(for about ten minutes). Andrew managed to hook into a few fish, but after a brief struggle they were off again. At least he draws closer to his first fish of the season. When he does catch one, i hope for his sake it's huge. He deserves it, with the amount of patience he has shown.

We mainly stuck to lures, the only fish caught was on an orange cats whisker. Activity at surface was spotted but mainly dried up after the first half an hour.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Cardmaking and fishing, the two worlds collide

Thought I would share this amazing birthday card. Wifey made it for me for my 30th birthday, the picture was taken at Moorbrooks and will remind me of a most incredible day flyfishing. if you're interested in cardmaking or scrapbooking, you should check out her and her sister's blog at Cleocrafts

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Cormorant Vs Pike

I was quite intrigued by the cormorant attack on my fish, i was a bit sceptical and thought that although the bird had attacked the fish, it was unlikely that he could have swallowed it. How wrong I was, check this article out from the Daily Mail.

Full article here

Saturday, 5 April 2008

4th April North Woodburn

Set out with three objectives

1. Not to fish with buzzers and pimps

2. Use flies that i tied the night before

3. Catch a fish

Turned up late as usual, and after speaking with Derek the fisherman/councillor/tree surgeon/hillwalker/white-van-man/naturist learned that the reservoir wasn't fishing too well. Also got my update on the wildlife at the reservoir. He's a very knowledgeable man about many of the things that interest me.

So with the advice gleaned i set off down the far bank, it wasn't long before Derek was into a fish and afterwards he cleaned his area of weeds. I'd tied on a green cats whiskers that I'd tied myself (and was inwardly very chuffed with) and fished under a floating line. Worked my way along the entire bank and received no attention at all. At the end, I was wearily de-rigging the set up, to change to my usual buzzer, when i remember I had also tied an orange Cat whiskers and I decided to give it a whirl. On the second or third cast, Bang, the line tightened and i was into a fish. After a quite a long struggle to get my landing net open i eventually landed the 1lb rainbow. I'd originally planned to return the fish today, but I'd hooked the poor we chap quite far done his throat, so he was quickly dispatched.

It's not a great photo. but you can almost make out the scars on it's side. Then on the next cast a lively little rainbow took the fly again. this one was better hooked and went back straight away. After the brief period of excitement I decided it was probably best to head, I'd promised Wifey i wouldn't be all day.

After proudly showing fish to Derek, I learned that the scars were made by a cormorant trying to eat it. Was also introduced to a friend of his who gave me a couple of casting tips, I didn't catch his name, but cheers. He also was able to cast my line out probably twice as far as it has ever been casted before. I'm sure the running line got quite a shock at seeing daylight. unfortunately this means i can't blame my equipment for the shoddy casting.

All in all i had a great day, met all my objectives and had some lovely smoked trout for tea.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Skip's Original Turn-On Strike Indicators

One of my most successful fall back methods has been suspending buzzers under a pimp. Recently though, with moving from small stillwaters to large reservoirs they haven't been so useful. In the past I have used the rugby ball (or american football) shaped ones and haven't been too enamored with their performance. They have a tendency to slip when casting, this is solved by winding line around the float before the elastic tube is inserted. When doing this though, when a large fish strikes the line squeezes into the float and can split it neatly in two.

i recently experimented with using a yarn indicator. There are great benefits when using this as it doesn't hit the water as hard as the pimps and seems to cast alot better. the down size is that it has to be fitted onto your line before any flies are added and can't be taken off so easily. they also have a greater tendency to slip.

i had seen the turn-on indicators a couple of times in magazines but struggled to find any in shops. After searching the internet i found them at quickly ordered them and they arrived the next day.

initial impressions are very promising, they attached and detached easily and can be made to stay put by putting more turns on. the only downside is the price, they do seem slightly overpriced for bits of foam but when you consider the price of other bite indicators, they are probably better value as they look pretty solid and they also come with spare inserts.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

27th March, Middle South Woodburn

Took the fly rods for a walk around the reservoir today, joined by David and Andrew, we though the rods looked thirsty so we gave them and extended drink in the water. Both Andrew and David seem to have thought that we were actually fishing and maintain that they felt fish nibbling at their flies.
At some point i may have tied on a couple of buzzers suspended under yarn. I'm finding the yarn casts alot better than with pimps.
Although we spent a couple of hours at water very little fish activity was seen. Possibly the cold or the brightness.
Next time lads, next time, i promise.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Woodburn South Middle, 25th March

Started out with high hopes for today, After a quick ring around to recruit some fishermen, I always leave this until last moment, my brother was recruited. This of course meant i had to wait for a couple of hours to let him get sorted, Grrr. Arrived at reservoir at about two, two hours later than planned, Grrrrr. Not a bad day, the wind was down from the gale forces previously experienced and the rain was light.

I had stepped up the rod to my 7wt and was pleased with the increased distance. Using the 5wt for so long seems to have taught me a bit of finesse. There was a slight activity at the surface and i opted with buzzers, Nick opted for the dry. This he then casted into the only tree within 500yrds.

Unfortunately the day had to be cut short as obligations arose. Grrrrrr. At least i got lines wet, i had envisaged a fishing drought for the foreseeable future as uni and impending family-hood commitments arose.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Diary Of Pimp

In the recent weeks I've become obsessed with looking at the stats on this website, both through google analytics and webmaster tools. There is always something to amuse me. In the Webmaster tools you can see the top twenty searchs people have clicked your site from, A couple of weeks ago position twenty was 'diary of pimp', pimp in my case refers to the float attached to a flyline. Of course there were more relevant sites to the search query, so i would have been buried quite far down the list but yet according to the stats, people are still clicking to my site through this search. It's not often the worlds of the sex trade worker and the flyfisherman collide.

When i started this blog thingy I had accepted he fact that it was pretty much only going to have been read by me. The stats tell me differently, so if you've swung by. Howdy. Also if you leave a comment and as long as it's not telling me how shit i am at fishing, i'll quite happily stick you on the blogroll.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Fishing by remote

Kids. Don't try this at home, if you do, let me know so i can watch

Feed this fish

For a bit of fishing replacement theraphy, feed my fish in the side bar. Just click on the water to drop some food. Want your own fish! Try, he has all sorts of cool stuff, all free.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Ballykeel Lougherne 18th march

Struck out yet again. I'm starting to think that it might be just too damn cold for fishing.

Ballykeel Lougherne is a great place, it's hidden away in Co Down near Hillsborough and i've been there on and off for a while. I like it more for the wildlife than the fishing, its fishing pontoons are a bitch to get to and i've yet to find the secrets of the place but every time i'm there i'm treated to something new and interesting. My first otter sighting was there and there are always beautiful grebes messing about on the water. This time we discovered a herd of deer in the adjoining field. After thinking about it for a bit, this is worrying me, that field wasn't the most secure the last time i was there as cows kept coming over and harrassing me. I don't fancy ending up on the antlers of a curious stag.

The water was flat calm today, with the occassional trout swirls far out. We stuck mainly to buzzers changing them whenever we fancied something a bit different. There did seem to be a sporadic hatch coming off, but the fish didn't seem to be taking them from the surface.

The DCAL sign has been changed from saying boats not allowed to saying hire boats may be available. this is good news as I have a feeling the fish are deep in the middle. Although at present there are no boats there, i'm hoping i might be able to get the canoe here for a visit.
*update* cheers to andrewgmurphy for the piccy, i forgot you had brought a camera with you

Sunday, 16 March 2008

fishing vid

i quite liked this vid, thought i would share it.

Friday, 14 March 2008

14th March Bantry Lough, co tyrone

Am i destined to never catch another fish, it looks like it at mo.

andrewgmurphy and i set out for lough money after finding ourselves at lose end. Unfortunately i had made the promise of good fishing. this probably put the scud on the day. The first half of the afternoon the weather and other signs were promising, unfortunately this didn't result in any takes. the second half of the afternoon, the wind picked up, this also didn't result in any takes.

We fished hard, but to no avail. mainly concentrated on buzzers, as there was a lot of empty buzzer shucks at the surface. Fish swirls were also present. It may have been an unsuccessful day, but it was good to get back to a place that i have a fondness for.

Next time andrew, i promise we'll catch fish.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

13th March, Sixmilewater

I went in search for the scenic sixmilewater as shown on, Unfortunatly i bought my permit at a filling station in templepatrick where no-one could give my any info on where to get access, let alone what tactics i should be using. As such i didn't see anything like the piccies from the their website. (piccy on left shows the M2 bridge)

The next hour was spent going back and forth from doagh to Dunadry, trying to find river(i don't believe in pre-planning). Finally pulled up at where i started search near the templepatrick hilton. Rigged up, thought indepth about tactics and contemplated an afternoons fishing. After which i fell on my ass and slid down to waters edge. Great start.

Not having much experience of river fishing, i didn't notice the problems i was going to have later on. We had experienced gales and heavy downpour recently and i failed to put two and two together and of course the water was the colour of hot chocolate. Add to that, the wind was blowing strongly upstream, and the water was going at some rate, at one point i watched half a tree bob sedately by.

The only two flies i have ever been successful with on a river are an elk hair thingy and a wee gold headed hares ear, these of course were produced. Naturally they were ineffectual.

Many times i have read about anglers mending their lines whilst a current moves it downstream. I have to honest when i say that i didn't really grasp this concept, the important of this was hammered home today. with the current dragging my line away the instant it landed.

Eventually i had proof of life, something made a loud gloop downstream and i saw large ripples at a spot in slack water. quickly changed to a dry and targeted the fish.

....only to be defeated soundly by the current mess i mentioned earlier, just couldn't get the fly to float in a realistic way. Gah!

I'll be back though, maybe I'll pay a bit more attention to the weather forecast beforehand though

Monday, 10 March 2008

10th March Middle South Woodburn


Finally i manage to land a fish, and it was worth the wait. I fished the Middle South Woodburn, and persevered almost every type of weather but finally my Pb brown trout (1 3/4lbs) fell to a black buzzer fished a couple of feet below surface. I was using my 5wt so the fight was a bit hairy for a bit. Gave up and went home soon after fish was caught, the proudest man in Co Antrim. I was afraid what weather might come next. While heading home i was treated to a rainbow, that i was sure was sent to congratulate me.

Friday, 7 March 2008

5th march, killylane

Ye Gods, what does it take to catch a fish

ONce again the wind followed me around the reservoir, no fish were catch and only seen towards the end. a great deal of small flies in the surface film at the windblown side, nothing eating them though. Pretty much had a go at everything, but mainly concentrated on bloodworm and a black buzezer, although suffers alot of tangles when used together. Does seem like a credible brown trout fishery though, the people there spoke highly of it and it is largly unknown. When the weather calms down i will investigate this more seriously. It is largly surrounded by peat, i don't know if this will effect the aquatic life makeup at all.

Ponts of interest: i meet the straid fishery manager today at killylane, he recommended dungonnell in the summer.

Also just noticed that killylane is ment to be disabled accessable. I didn't think this was the case at all.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

3rd march Marshalstown and killylane

Started getting far too cold in marshalstown, water very high and very windy. no action at water. packed upp and went to killylane. i remembered that someone said that brown trout feed earlier and in colder weather so figured this would be a fair bet. i wasn't expecting it to start snowing. Only had an hour there, most of which was sppent nosying around. did startle fish twice near the edge, i think i'm going to investigate further.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Thurs 28th feb Woodburn

Almost the start of the season for real. Enough of this practising at north woodburn. Come Saturday the world(northern Ireland, but not Carlingford or Foyle) will be my oyster. Another disapointing day. Waved rod about ineffectivly for a couple of hours with a varity of flies on end.

Points of interest: i met a baliff today for the first time. very genial fellow but re-assures me to buy a permit for next year too.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

19 feb woodburn

I was contemplating leaving yet another blank day of this blog. and thereby not looking so bad.

here goes. quite windy, stuck with a weighted buzzer for most of the day, fishing from lunchtime to evening. went back to goldheaded bloodworm in desperation, all fished on wind beaten side.

results; fishless and cold

Saturday, 16 February 2008

16th feb craigavon

Just out for an hour, trying to break the deadlock that pimps have over me. using goldhead montana, not a bit of fish. though quite well about where to fish. fished into wind pushed spot. although, i did start off with suspended bloodworm. will be back later in year as it's the only water that dcal has that i can use the canoe on. it is very shallow though. blanked again but i wasn't expecting much.

excellent fly tying videos

For some excellent fly tying videos, check out steve cullen, the editor of total flyfisher demonstrating how to tie flies such as the cormorant, the humungus and the nomad. Great quality and for free.

Friday, 15 February 2008


if there is an add for fastmail flies click on it. their flies are very reasonably priced, the sets are excellent. and like their name they are posted very quickly.

*update* being lazy before here's the link

woodburn 15th feb


What do i have to do to catch a fish here. started of with a long leader (which i got caught instantly on the bottom and lost it) went back to pimp with bloodworm. then switched to a sinking line with wet flies. after lack of success and ass starting to freeze went home. got chatting to a fella fishing from his van. he was having good success. he only was starting fishing towards dusk and catching a couple everytime. i rigged up again and fished dry's into the night. eery. still nothing though. fish got active again at dusk. i feel as though i'm on o something

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

woodford 13th feb

woodford fly fishery. carrickerfergus. v. calm bright, no clouds.

absoludly no action on end of line. rats ass. tried quite alot of every thing. bloodworm, buzzers, elk hair dry, cdc f fly. using 5wt and floating line

alot of fish movemnt on surface, some acrobatics. fish rumoured to be carrring eggs, could have been trying to shed them. some very big fish (doubles?) showing themselves carrining around the surface. could also have been weedkiller. aparently that sends them crazy for a while too?

conclusions. bring 7wt out and go with lures for a bit, definatley sinking lines

Monday, 11 February 2008

advert whoring

Yep blog only up and running for a couple of hours and already i'm trying to cram some adverts on here.

please don't take offence just trying out some things for an assignment

Sat 09 feb evening Upper Woodburn, flyfishing, blowy and overcast

Started off with goldhead bloodworm under a pimp, fished close into the bank(wind on casting arm poor range), no joy.

switched onto cdc shuttlecock with wind at back and fishing into still water. no joy.

At the end as evening was drawing to a close tryed on the outlet pipe( not too sure of technial name or if i was allowed to walk out there) fish coming to surface. tryed goldhead peasant tail. no joy. but fish had become visble at surface for first time.

conclusion: must learn to cast into wind.

things to try: return to pier/outlet thing at dusk and try big black dries

Other Oberservations: Saw a dead otter, possibly poisined as no visible damage
took friend up, first day out flyfishing, must remember to catch fish when with witnesses