Friday, 14 August 2015

Salmon on the Fly.

 

        
Having recovered from a shoulder injury i started back salmon fishing with my new Shakespeare 11 ft Switch 7/8 wt fly rod, i had bought the rod a few weeks ago but with my injury couldn't use the rod and as all anglers was disappointed not being able to try out my new toy. The line i was using was a 6/7 wt shooting head trout fly line with a short front taper but it was able to cast a Rio 3.9 ins per second sink tip and salmon fly with ease, having just started salmon fishing the water had come up by at least 3 ft due to the dam releasing water so the fly was now fishing just under the surface due to the speed of the water where as it had been fishing at about 2 ft down prior to this. I had two fish pitch over the fly as i fished it through the pool so i quickly changed over to a small Scierra bullet type tube fly that i had tied up for high fast water, doing a few experimental casts i was surprised that the line and rod were quite capable of throwing this combination with a bit of effort and tweaking on my behalf.
On moving back over these fish i hit a good salmon of about 12 lbs which shot off down river at a rate of knots but then doubled back on itself and came back towards me keeping up with the fish it then made a second good run and then the line went slack.... every anglers nightmare, on checking the fly i realized that one of the hooks was slightly blunt bad observation on my behalf while tying up the fly i should have checked this but in the excitement of having seen fish come at my fly it was obviously overlooked. That's the difference between catching and fishing just a fraction of a mm can make a good day or a bad day. Changing the hooks i started back through the pool and found that the tube fly was fishing nicely well over a foot down in the fast high water, i felt a short bump followed by a very aggressive take and i was into a nice grilse cartwheeling into the air and zigzagging across the river, it put up a great fight and i quickly beached and released it and the new rod was now christened. A few minutes later a second grilse succumbed to my new tube fly and this was also quickly landed and released, both fish were extremely fresh and had just arrived off tide due to the heavy water bringing them up over the Kingsley weir. The fly line i was using is only an outbound shooting head trout line but even though it was light for the rod i was still able to cover the whole river with a 3.9 ins per second sink tip and a heavy tube fly, i can imagine matching up the rod with a proper line like the Rio Switch fly line or even the Shakespeare Switch line what the rod will be able to do. If i was to make a few changes to the rod i would definitely make it (1) four piece instead of six, (2) shorten it to 10 ft and put an extendable double hand butt on it which would bring it up to a 10 ft 6" rod  when opened then you would have the perfect Switch rod, but for the price it's a good Switch rod. When i can afford the Rio Switch line i will do a video on what to look for in a proper Switch rod / line as there seems to be a lot of issues there considering the number of views i get on my Switch rod post.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Salmon on the Fly.

     
    

Having fished the pool earlier in higher water conditions i hooked and lost a good fish while stripping the fly so i decided to rest the pool and come back to try it in lower water. When the dam releases water is quickly picks up pace and fills up to about 6 feet above low level but when it drops back down it takes about 45 minutes to catch up with it self and until then it is like a canal with little or no flow. So when fishing in those conditions i normally strip the fly to give it life and this can sometimes initiate an aggressive take as it did in this instance. As the water had started to gain normal speed i went back in and fished the beat and on the third cast in between the two stones i hooked the salmon that i had lost earlier in the evening. The fish threw a few times and then tried to get back between the stones but i played it upstream and away from what would have been a bad situation if it had got tangled up on any one of the big boulders.
Putting loads of side strain on the salmon i allowed the switch fly rod to absorb all the power from the fish and i kept turning it in circles quickly tiring it out and and bringing it in to shallow water. Beaching the salmon i noticed that it was a very fresh hatchery salmon of about 15 to 16 lbs very broad and thick across the back, as the fish was in great condition i quickly released it back into the river. Just as i was putting the camera away a Buzzard hovered above for a few seconds and i was lucky enough to catch this on camera. It's amazing the amount of wildlife that one can get up close and personal to when fishing.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Salmon on the Fly 2015.

  

       

Knowing that the water was going to be off i decided to try an evening session on the fly at the Dam fishery, starting at beat 1 i noticed that the water clarity was low maybe only two feet or even less and the flow was   very slow around the salmon lies. I spent much of my time retrieving line in a slow strip just to add speed to the fly otherwise there would be little or no movement in the fly as it fished through the pool. I was constantly having to bring the shooting head inside the top eye of the rod and this didn't make re-casting easy but the end justifies the means as i hooked into a nice fresh sea liced salmon on that slow strip causing the salmon to take the loop out of my hand and head off down river in a near perfect take allowing me time to lift into the fish as it was heading away from me. After the salmon felt pressure it then headed upstream towards the dam and there i was able to control the fish with ease and beach it in shallow water, i noticed that the fly had been well taken down by the fish and in fact it was completely swallowed, having difficulty retrieving the fly i quickly despatched the fish knowing that it would never have survived  being returned back to the river. The salmon was about 10lbs covered in sea lice and a hatchery fish. Seeing another salmon head and tail i noticed that it was lying in shallow water only two feet deep so i changed over to a tapered leader to avoid getting caught up in the bottom and also to allow the fly to fish more freely.

When fishing shallow or slow water i use tapered leaders for better turnover of the fly but there is also another benefit, if you want to stay higher up in the water column use a mono tapered leader but if you need a bit of depth a flurocarbon tapered leader can be used either way both tapered leaders will give more movement to the fly and that's important in slow water. Having a longer tail on a small fly dressed very lightly will always give plenty of movement and this in conjunction with the tapered leader and slow retrieve can induce a take from fresh salmon. The second fish hit hard and fast and threw a number of times before i could gain control of the fish but as has happened a lot recently some anglers bear down on me to either view the fish or get a sneak view of my fly and this moves the salmon out causing me to stop filming and having to tell them to move back away from the fish . I landed the fish in the shallows and after a few minutes of resting up the fish released it back into the river.  When i'm fishing i never run up on another angler playing a salmon or even come within casting range of them but for some reason these days a lot of people feel the need to walk right up to where your trying to land a fish and this is bad bank etiquette putting pressure on the angler and fish. I must definitely do a post on proper bank etiquette  because this might help young anglers understand proper bank manners but in saying that most of the people encroaching on me recently  and getting in the way of me making videos are middle aged and should know better. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Spinning in High Water.

           

I decided to give the Dam fishery a full day's fishing because i had only been there a few hours over two evening sessions and having lost a couple of fish knew that i had to give it a bit more time. Having slept out i arrived at the fishery late around 10 am and was fishing by 10.30, the water was on full load and moving very fast with visibility down to three feet so i decided to use my Hardy Sirrus 10ft spinning rod and my Shimano Stradic 6000 spinning reel because they are the ideal set up for spinning in high water. The first salmon hit very hard but stayed stationary for a couple of minutes before cartwheeling downstream with the strong current, i put quite a lot of pressure on the fish to bring it back under control and force it back up river. The salmon then decided to wrap itself in among the heavy weed and i had to force it to the surface and play it out high up in the water column not allowing it get back in around the weeds. The first salmon was an extremely fresh sea liced fish of about 12lbs just in off the tide and being a wild fish it was released. Within minutes i was into my second salmon almost identical in size and after playing the fish hard i landed it only to find that the spinner was very deep inside the fish and knowing that it would not survive being released i took the fish.

Having fished on for about half an hour i got another take but that fished missed and fumbled the spinner but it quickly recovered itself and hit it again just feet from the bank and then screamed off downstream using the heavy water and strong current to it's advantage. Using braid i am able to feel every movement of the salmon and this is vital because you can really shorten the fight time when you feel the fish tiring by putting that extra bit of pressure on at the right moment. I like to control and dominate the fish very quickly and run it in circles because this tires it out very fast and allows me to return it in good condition.The third salmon was about 10lbs and a hatchery fish extremely fresh and there were sea lice present so it had also come in off tide earlier that morning. The fish was well rested and released back into the river in good condition. Fishing on i got one more take in low water on the fly but the salmon quickly let go of the fly but i can't complain after having such good sport that morning.

P.S.      the following evening i caught 2 salmon again very fresh on the fly in low water on my switch fly rod the video and report will be up this evening on my blog, one fish was about 10lbs and the other 8lbs covered in sea lice.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

"Salmon on the Fly"

   

       

The fishing had been quiet lately due to the very high water conditions and the fact that any salmon that had ventured up towards the dam was passing through and not holding up due to the constant water being put over the top sluice. This extra water over the top acts like a magnet for the salmon as they can hear and feel the turbulence and this draws them into the fish pass and off up to the upper catchment. Having had a few short takes on the fly i noticed that the water was moving in towards the near bank and not down the centre channel as normal so i started mending into the near bank and this definitely moved the fly faster through the pool but still no really positive responses just the odd pluck at the fly and really when using such small salmon flies as i do the takes are normally very aggressive as the fish don't even realise that they have been hooked.

I decided to cast above the lie and hold back the fly with the normal outside mend allowing it to sink well into the slower water and then i started to strip the fly with a long and positive stroke which moved the fly out of the lie with some nice pace to it and this proved deadly as the salmon hit the fly very aggressively and almost pulled the line out of my hands, allowing the fish to turn away from me i then put more pressure on the salmon setting the hook with a sharp lift of the rod and then we were off to the races. Sometimes salmon will hit a fast moving fly and come at you so its better to allow them to turn first before lifting otherwise you are just pulling the fly out of their mouths as the fish are facing you when your lifting. I was using a 6ft Rio sink tip ( 2.6 ins per second sink rate ) on a floating line with an 8lb flurocarbon tippet so i had to be very careful not to put too much pressure on the fish and after a few powerful runs i was able to turn the salmon and run it in circles allowing it to tire out quickly and after a few minutes i was able to land the salmon. The fish was chrome bright with sea lice markings fresh from the tide so i decided to take the fish. Having caught and released a few salmon recently i always like to take the odd very fresh salmon for myself. The amazing thing is that i stripped the fly the day before and retied the same pattern back on to the old hook and then resharpened the hook because i had felt that it was after getting a bit dull in colour from over use but i always like to keep flies that have caught salmon because i have more faith in them over brand new flies. Always remember to use a blooded fly( a fly that has taken a fish) first when fishing  through a pool as you will have more confidence in it rather than a new fly fresh out of the box. I always tell young anglers to have two fly boxes one for the large selection of salmon flies that you start out with and the second a smaller box just for the productive flies that have caught salmon, there are two reasons for this  (1) to get them retied so that you don't lose them and will always have a killer pattern and (2) is that its the the first fly i always start fishing with because again it has proven itself and fishing a pool with confidence in your tackle does work a lot better then pot luck.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2015 " Salmon on the Fly ".



      
Well it took a bit longer than expected but i got my first springer on the fly, i had been busy over the last few weeks and couldn't put the time or concentration into my salmon fishing but i got a small break last evening and went up to the Dam for an evening session with my Switch fly rod. The water was very low and even worse still dropping but the clarity was good and i was surprised to see that the water was cold maybe only 6 degrees. One of the sluices was open and this was definitely oxygenating the water, i started at Beat 1 with my Switch fly rod using a floating line and a Rio 6ft sink tip ( 2.6 ins per second ) and my trusted Ahilles hot orange shrimp fly with a slight variation only known to me as every angler and his dog is using that fly these days so i have to give the salmon something slightly different. ( the pattern will be in my last post for the 2015 salmon season )............ I concentrated my time on a few known salmon lies as the water was so low that these areas were probably the only hot spots in the whole fishery that could have a fish present. Using a few different mends i allowed the fly to fish slowly around some of the rocks and faster through some of the lies, i am of the belief that salmon are like kittens, if you annoy them enough or send something past them fast enough they will chase it and then you have them.

The salmon hit the fly very hard and almost caught me off guard by running at me and then heading upstream like an express train taking lots of line off the reel, it made a few good jumps and long runs before i was able to control it in front of me and it still wasn't finished as it tried to shake the fly by rubbing off rocks and the bottom by rolling over itself on numerous occasions. Beaching the salmon i noticed that it was a wild fish with long tailed sea lice on its back just fresh from the sea and at about 11lbs a great specimen of a springer and my mind was made up it was going back. Unfortunately almost all the spring fish caught to date have been killed and that is sad due to the fact that salmon anglers are complaining that there are very few spring fish around and still only a few are being released. I have been releasing salmon for many decades well before it was fashionable to do so because i saw a decrease in the stock and also a lot more angling and poaching pressure that ever before. Next time you catch your first salmon think and if the fish is healthy let it go you will always remember the ones you lose or release and quickly forget the ones you kill, you can take the next fish for the pot.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Loop Knot for Fly or Spoon / Spinner.

     
         
This is a simple knot that can give a fly or spoon more articulation / movement when fishing. When larger flies are fished tied directly to flurocarbon or mono sometimes they will lack movement due to the thickness of the line but a loop knot will give plenty of movement to the fly as it is not restricted by a direct knot, this is especially useful when using flies with short tails.