When one hears mention of the Munster river Blackwater one generally thinks of Salmon fishing. It is a river that is renown for it’s Salmon fishing, not so much for Trout fishing. Recently I had the pleasure of fishing on this famous river, not for it’s Salmon but it’s wild Brown Trout. I spent a weekend at the Blackwater Lodge as part of a group of anglers most of which were there to fish for Salmon. We arrived at the Lodge early on a Saturday morning and we were first introduced to Ian Powell who runs the Lodge. He welcomed us all and then set about allocating the different beats to us all. After that we were introduced to Glenda Powell. Glenda welcomed us and gave a talk about the various beats, methods, flies etc. It is always great to receive such good local knowledge. Glenda also informed us about the tuition she would be giving on that morning, she wanted to divide the main group into two smaller groups for this tuition. Those that opted to go fishing that day could avail of the tuition on the following day.
My choice was to fish on the first day and take the tuition on the second day. I headed off to my allocated beat which was a nice stretch of water located near the village of Ballyhooly Co. Cork. The weather conditions on the day were not too good for Trout fishing. There was a cold harsh wing blowing downstream along with the ever present threat of rain. The river itself was in great condition for Salmon fishing but alas not so great for the Trout fishing. With conditions as they were I opted for a team of wet flies consisting mainly of North Country Spiders along with a pattern of my own. I was interested to see how my own pattern would fish on a different river. I headed off downstream casting across and down as I checked out all the different pools, runs and riffles along the way. I caught and released several small wild brown trout with the team of wet flies, but I felt the river had bigger fish to offer. I decided that in order to catch the bigger trout I would have to change the flies and the method so I changed over to fish a team of weighted nymphs. I choose a heavy tungsten PTN for the point along with an Olive Goldhead in the middle and a Hares Ear Goldhead on the top.
I fished with this new team as I made my way back upstream casting the flies into some of the deeper pools I passed earlier. It was not long before I caught a nice wild brown trout of about three quarters of a pound. I caught another three fish before i stopped for some lunch, all the fish were caught on the point fly. As I was having lunch I though about the way the river was fishing. I had caught the better fish using the weighted nymphs so I decided to set up a heavier weight rod with a fast sinking tipp line. This heavier set up might get me down to where I thought the fish were feeding. After the lunch I headed upstream to fish on some new water. As I got to this newer water water I noticed several fish rising to the few Large Dark Olives that had appeared on the water. I watched these fish for a while and saw some good fish among them, thinking I would never catch these fish with the set up I now had. Only one thing to do, go back and get the set up I first started out with. On getting back to the river I was glad to see some of the fish still rising. I got about fifteen minutes of nice fishing before they stopped rising.
As I still had the heavier rod set up with me I decided to go downstream again casting the heavy nymphs slightly upstream and let them drift down with the current. This get the flies down deep enough to where the feeding fish are although I much prefer to cast a heavy team totally upstream and let them drift naturally back with the current. The strong downstream wind present on the day did not allow my preference. I caught a few nice trout using this method, yet I still felt the was bigger ones to be had. Another change of method and flies were on the cards. Not my style at all but I decided to have a go using Streamers. Streaming flies is definitely not about finesse. Anyway I started using this unorthodox method as I continued on my way downstream. Casting the Streamers across and upstream and stripping the line back as fast as i could, I soon hooked into a good fish. It was a fish of about three pounds weight but alas I lost it. I did hook up with several more wild brown trout using this awful method, the best fish was over the pound and a half mark. It was soon time to pack up and head back to the Lodge for dinner. In all I had a good day despite the conditions.
The following morning I got up early and headed off for some fishing before breakfast. I caught a few small Trout on a team of Spiders before it was time to head back to the Lodge for breakfast. After breakfast I met up with some of the others at the river for some tuition with Glenda. It was very a rewarding time spent in fabulous surroundings. Glenda demonstrates various casting methods on both the single handed and double handed rods. When a person with expertise such as Glenda offers her valuable time for tuition I feel that is an opportunity not to be missed. Those of us that opted for the tuition over the fishing were well rewarded for doing so, we all came away with some great advise and tips. Those that opted to fish I feel lost out on a fabulous opportunity to gain more knowledge to add to what they may or may not already have, there is none of us that knows it all.
I want to offer my thanks to Glenda for such an enjoyable mornings tuition on the river, “Thanks Glenda”. I also want to say thanks to Ian for looking after us all so well, “Thanks Ian”
I am already planning my next outing to the Munster Blackwater.