What Fishing Is All About

Every year we wait with anticipation for the first hatches of the year. To put the sinking lines away and take out the floaters. To me there is nothing better than to be sitting in a boat in shallow bays , watching fly come off and maybe, just may be the chance of casting to fish feeding on the surface.


Lough Owel

Arriving on the shores of Lough Owel with the temperature just 3 degrees, it just did not seem possible i would be taking the floater out. It was bloody cold. After fitting the boat out i set up the di-3 and the ever hopeful bung rod. It looked as if i would have to go pulling. The lake had a pin ripple, as i motored out from the moorings i could see flys in the air, not many but there was life.  I cut the engine and watched the surface, sure enough a small buzzer hatched in front of me. The di-3 was going to be benched for sure, well i was hopeful it would be.  There was a few places i knew i could find more and hopefully some bigger buzzers, had the Duckfly started !


Seek And You Shall Find

Eventually after a few fruitful searches i found some fly and more to the point some feeding fish. There were only a few fish showing,  so i pulled into the reeds and went with a straight buzzer set up. Three flys, 6ft to the first dropper and 5ft between each fly on a 6lb flurocarbon leader. On my first drift a few duckfly hatched and i got one pull that resulted in a 2lb brown that i quickly returned as i was anxious to get back fishing. It was not to be, the cold  wind increased and put the fish down which resulted in four more fruitless drifts. There were some coots along the reed beds and every now and again they would dive for their breakfeast. Another splash in the distance caught my eye and i waited for the bird to resurface, but it did not.  Then there was another disturbance and another shortly afterwards, a surface feeding fish, exactly what i was looking for.

   Rowing as close as i dared before pulling into the reeds to set up my drys, i could see that there were three fish present in the area, happily feeding on adults. Two were on the edge of the entrance to a tiny bay no more than 50ft wide and 100ft long and the other fish was in the tiny bay. The wind had almost died in the shelter and the fish were taking adult buzzers as they scatted across the surface. The single fish in the small bay fed periodically as i tied up a 20ft cast with two flys 10 foot apart on 4lb leader.  So i decided to try and get close to that single fish as it looked bigger than the other two. This meant pushing myself slowly through the reeds to get into the second bay and again trying to moor the boat in the reeds. The disturbance put all three fish down, but this was inevitable. I must of degreased that cast a dozen times as i waited probably 15 minutes for the fish to appear again and another 15 minutes for it to get close. The trouts head emerged from the water so slowly as its mouth opened to engulf another fly no more than 20ft from me. A truly awesome sight watching fish feeding in this way.  I flicked the flys out into its path and up it came, i lifted slowly and with a splash it was gone. It did not take my fly. Again i waited, eventually the fish came close, flicking the flies into its path, this time he took it well. Slowly lifting into the fish,  the rod arched over as the fish cartwheeled across the surface. Panic stations, the bay was full of weeds,  i pulled the oar to position the boat in the middle of the bay. Under a very tight line the fish bored deep, i could not give it line. After what seemed like an age and an aching arm it surfaced and i slid the net under it.  It was a gnarly old fish, with an old well healed pike mark across its flank which added to its character. A wonderful looking fish all the same of 4lb 20zs and a fish i wont forget in a hurry.

Sometimes things just work out.

And That Was That

After weighing the trout and a quick stomach pump to find out what he was eating, i returned it to its watery home. My attentions turned to his comrades. Again maneuvering the boat into position, i put the the two fish down again. Eventually they both started feeding again. Carefully i covered the nearest fish and it took without hesitation. After a brief tussle it too found its way to the net, a well finned fish of 2.5lb. Unfortunately i did miss its colleague twice before i put it down. It was now nearly mid day and there wasn't a sign of any fly or a feeding trout. I travelled the lake in search of more duckfly,  but all i found were buzzer cases. The fly had hatched early. I did come across other fish in the flat calm out in the lake and managed to persuade a few of them to take my fly. Two more made the net and the others came off after a brief tussle. 

All in all considering the conditions, i had a great day and a special fish to put in the memory banks.