My first introduction to Salt Water Fly Fishing (SWFF) happened last weekend when I met up with a good friend of mine who took me to one of his favourite marks. I have often remarked before on here about local knowledge being key to success when fishing on fresh water, the same is true when it comes to (SWFF). I was first introduced to Alan O’Neill by another good friend of mine Iggy Dunphy who has introduced me to many other anglers over the while. I got a call from Alan during the previous week, he said that conditions were going to be favourable for some SWFF the coming weekend and he asked if i would i like to have a go at it. “Yes I would” was my reply, so plans were then made for the outing.
On the morning of our outing, I met up with Alan in Waterford city and from there he took me to the first mark he had planned for us to fish. When we got to the chosen place Alan advised me to travel light as we have a bit of climbing to do. I was advised to “keep things to the minimum” and I soon realized how good that advice was!! Our chosen mark was sixty feet below us and accessible only by a rope, not a place for the fainthearted!! We eventually reached the mark. While we were setting up Alan was pointing out to me where and how i should fish the mark. “There is two points on the mark where it fishes best” he said, “I will put you on my favorite one”. First off on the rising tide we set the rods up with intermediate lines. He also pointed out some flies that I should try on the rising tide.
We were soon fishing away on an eight weight rod and line which is a big change for me as a four weight is what I use the most. It was not long before I heard Alan call “fish on”. A nice Pollack was soon landed, photo taken and fish released back to it’s salty water home. It wasn’t long before I was calling to Alan “fish on”. My first fish on the fly while fishing salt water. Another nice Pollack was caught and released. I was pleasantly surprised with how hard fighting a fish Pollack are. It hit the fly with some speed and when it realized it was hooked, it took off with some speed towards the bottom. Alan was next to catch a fish and it was another Pollack.
When the tide started to rise Alan advised me to change over to a sinking line and he also suggested i use “one of these”. The fly he choose was a pattern we had talked about during the year. He asked me if I would tie him up a tandem pattern of the fly so he could try it out. He said he had had some great success with this pattern during the year, “it works well for all types of fish” he said. I have named it the “Kilcullen Killer”. I tied on a Kilcullen Killer and started fishing again, counting down the line each time i cast. I hooked and lost a nice Pollack and I also lost a few Mackerel!! The Killer was proving it’s worth. Alan hooked and landed another nice Pollack, the Kilcullen Killer works again.
With the tide now dropping it was time for to pack up and climb our way back up the cliff. We had arranged to meet up with Iggy for the next session of Salt Water fishing. As we made our way back through the fields we picked some fresh wild Mushrooms (Agaricus campestris), unusual to find these wild Mushrooms so late in the year. After we had lunch we made our way towards the next mark which Alan had said “fishes better at low water”. Intermediate lines were the choice for this mark. After I had set up it was not long before i hooked into a fish, this time it was a Mackerel which I lost! Soon after that I hooked and landed my first fly caught Mackeral, it took a Kilcullen Killer.
We all had our chances with fish on the second mark. I hooked and lost several more Mackerel, they are great little battlers on the fly rod. I would like to see what sort of battle two of them would put up on a fly rod. As the evening was drawing in it was time to call a halt to the fishing and pack up once again. It was a great day out and a fantastic introduction to SWFF for me. To have a guide like Alan with you for the day makes for a brilliant outing. Alan has a great knowledge of Salt Water Fly Fishing and he is only to willing to pass on this knowledge to you. I want to say a big thank you to him for such a fabulous day out and as we already have made plans for our next outing. I am now hooked on SWFF. Thanks Alan.
Why do i fish??
Several times i have asked myself the question “why do I fish?” Why do i drive a round trip of two hundred and sixty Kilometres to fish? Is it just for the fishing? These are some of the question’s i have put to myself of late. Fishing has to come into the answer but it is not the only reason why i travel such a journeys. You can fish all your lifetime alone and enjoy it but fishing with a friend or friends is by far way more enjoyable. When you have friends like Alan and Iggy, it make the long journey worthwhile. Of late I have not being making as many long journeys but that is a long story which I will save for another time. Suffice to say fishing is not the same as it was, now my friend is not there.