Its that time of year again when the Shad arrive in numbers into the Barrow system to spawn. All though Twaite Shad are also recorded as being caught in various other rivers over the years the best location to catch them is the river Barrow with St Mullins being the main hotspot. Spring tides at the end of April and into early May see the herring type fish move upstream to spawning locations. They are a great sporting fish attracting anglers from all corners of the country including many ‘specimen hunters’.
Most anglers use a lure called a Tasmanian Devil or Tassies as they are commonly known to target Shad with many other small metals and hard lures also very effective an often overlooked, do not forget to debarb your hooks. A light or ultra – light spinning outfit is ideal for casting small lures across the river to cover as much water as possible. A long handled landing net is ideal especially during low water levels.
Below is a picture of a specimen fish which was released after some quick photos and scale samples. As always when fishing take care when landing fish and ensure correct equipment is available to hand to ensure the fish returns to the water unharmed. Taking the time to revive any tired fish is important also.
The sounds, sights and the fish….
In this blog post we discuss the basics about SWFF equipment. Fly fishing in saltwater is tough even to the most patient of anglers. Success does not come easy, it takes time and effort but is rewarding when it all goes according to plan.
When buying your first saltwater fly rod for bass fishing in Ireland consider buying an 8 or 9 weight rod. Manufacturers rate there rods by AFTM number so match your reel and lines accordingly.
A slower actioned rod is often a good choice for a fly casting beginner as it generates slower line speed therefore being a little more forgiving. To put it very simply a slow action rod bends more during a cast than a medium or fast actioned rod. Whatever your budget is for a swff setup it would be fair to say Invest the majority of your available funds on the rod and line firstly.
Reels must be balanced on the rod and be large enough to hold sufficient 20lb backing and a full flyline. You can waste money rather quickly on a reel that will seize up in the saltwater environment. Choose a reel that has been proven to last in the salt. Its main objective is only to hold line, chances are you will not see the end of the spool too often in Irish waters.
Weight forward (WF) lines or shooting heads are often used to combat the challenging marine environment. Floating and intermediate lines would be first choices. Choosing the correct rod and line to suit your needs is very important so for example a nine weight rod requires a nine weight line in order to load it correctly.
Rio, Guideline and Scientific Anglers make good quality lines amongst others. As an example If you need to purchase a number eight weight forward floating line you will see WF8F on the box. Check to see of your line has a loop on the end, If your fly line is not provided with a welded loop you will need to either create one or purchase some braided leaders.
Tapered leaders are not essential but do aid turnover. Tapered leaders can be made yourself at little cost or purchased in store ready to go. If you choose to use a leader ring this will prolong the use of a leader greatly as you only ever need to replace the tippet or point section. Polyleaders can also be used, polyleaders are and extension to your fly line to which you attach a tippet, they come in various density’s to cover many presentations.
One or two medium sized fly boxes filled with a varied selection of flies from the below list will be more than enough to get you started. Fish with flies you are comfortable casting given the conditions on the day. Lefty’s deceivers are a great all round fly for many species, the go to pattern for many anglers.
- Rays flies.
Line Tray .
Line nips & hook removal tools.
Spare leaders, tippet & braided loops.
Lightweight Waders & Jacket.
I hope this brief overview was of assistance to you. If you have any further questions send a email or alternatively you can take part in a SWFF workshop.
Conditions today were challenging but rewarding as the photo below shows a nice rainbow trout which weighed in at 6 lbs. All too often the anglers who ‘get out there’ in such conditions are duly rewarded. Once there is a reasonable chance of catching a fish in a safe environment its well worth a go, often the best fishing is had when no other anglers are about.
The fly that caught the above fish Is a Damsel variation which I tied up last week which has caught a lot of fish since, a combination of several successful patterns which worked over time I combined to create a fly that is working pretty well so far!
The fish above amongst others landed fought superbly on #5 weight tackle but by increasing leader strength slightly to 8lbs it means you can land the fish that bit faster to keep its stress to a minimum to aid recovery. A lovely fish that has certainly been in this water a few winters growing naturally. Some quick pictures and off it went to fight another day.
If you would like to learn how to fly fish or indeed further develop your existing skills get in touch to create your bespoke workshop. Location can be arranged to suit your needs, any queries will be answered promptly.
Long bright evenings are slowly approaching with the water temperatures rising also the fish are becoming much more active. Air temperatures are below average for the time of year which made for some very enjoyable early morning and late evening sessions recently.
Stocked stillwater fisheries make for some exciting sport all year round and are readily available throughout the country. Many of these fisheries are spring fed or have some source of natural water flowing into them so as a result they also might hold native fish.
Where possible fishing light tackle is the route I generally choose regardless of target species. Fishing a 3/4 weight or 4/5 weight rod in stocked fisheries might seem too light to many people but I find such equipment a pleasure to fish with and perfectly practical for most fisheries.
The # 4/5 Airflo setup was utilised greatly on recent sessions with floating or slow sinking weight forward lines, 6 lbs leader with fly choice being a variety of small beaded nymphs all tied to represent each areas natural available food life. Short fan casts covering all areas retrieved using a slow figure of eight worked in most cases with fish taking furiously and fighting extremely hard all the way to the net. Mostly well built rainbows with some nice browns landed for good measure ensured we were busy and quite content anglers.
Taking great notice of surrounding activity and putting observations into action can improve your results greatly. If you are struggling but do manage to catch a fish and intend keeping it perhaps use a marrow spoon to inspect what the fish was feeding on prior to taking your fly.
If you would like to learn more about this type of fishing by taking part in a Workshop get in touch using the contact page to arrange your bespoke package at a location and time to suit your needs.