Thursday, January 31, 2008
...good looking and informative new magazine. And I just saw an article by you in the January issue of Irish angler, good work and fantastic photographs...Ed
Ed Mitchell - USA
As anglers we are presented with a wide variety of rocky shorelines and each has its own demands and each offers its own saltwater fly-fishing opportunities. Rocky shorelines provide holding areas for fish between tides, feeding areas for fish, and cover for both ambush and hunting. Because of their erratic formations, rocky shorelines often create and help to enhance currents and rips. Slacks and eddies are evident at different stages of the tides and time invested by the fly fisher watching the water is a worthwhile activity. These features exist sometimes for hours sometimes for as short as a few minutes. Wave activity plays a hugely important role and they often can be used to determine where fish will lie. Whilst we fish these areas, wind direction and light levels affect how we make presentations and what type of fly we will cast
I like to break down the rocky shoreline into three or possibly four types. Type one is the ‘dynamic’ rocky shoreline. By dynamic I mean that there are rocks on the shoreline that are moved about regularly by wave action. The rocks at this type of shoreline are usually trapped into a small cove and generally display rounded type features and shapes. These areas are often prone to catching rough seas and during such times you can hear the rocks rolling and knocking, as they grind into each other under the waves. Because of the constant motion they endure, no life can adhere to them or indeed to the base rock upon which they lie. They are often not affected by neap tides in respect of their positions and neap tides will generally not cover them completely. During spring tides however, seaweed will often become trapped between them and if the right conditions prevail maggot flies will abound. As the next spring tide arrives and water floods into and over the rocks maggots will be lifted into the sea often in their thousands providing food for bass and particularly mullet. This area is best fished in calm conditions
The next type of rocky shoreline is what I like to call ‘mixed’. Mixed ground to me is where we have a lot of smaller rocks trapped between rocky outcrops with lots of rock pools evident. These areas are less prone to the dynamic changes discussed above and so life has an opportunity to ‘grip’ on here. Seaweed grows freely and offers cover for moulting crabs, butterfish and gobies. Rock pools are often full with shrimp, anemones and small fish. Rocks are covered with barnacles, limpets and periwinkles. These areas are a rich feeding ground for a lot of fish like wrasse pollack and bass and should be visited and targeted frequently by the salt-water fly fisher. This area is subject to some big wave activity and hence there is seldom any sand but because of the protection afforded from larger rock masses it remains protected to some extent from the rigours of tough weather. This area is best fished with an onshore breeze.
The third area of rocky shoreline that we will look at is the area that I call ‘varied’. A ‘varied’ rocky shoreline consists of sand interspersed with rocky outcrops. These rocky outcrops are often not visible over high water but rather reveal themselves as the tide drops and recedes. Over wintertime a lot of high wave activity may create outcrops by abstracting sand or indeed cover these outcrops and a spring visit to many beaches can reveal some big surprises. On a day-to-day basis ‘varied’ rocky shorelines do not experience huge change and are not prone to strong currents. Only after a large storm or periods of prolonged strong winds is there a noticeable change. Activity is based more around and along the rocky outcrops. Covered in weeds with pockets of water and many pools they hold life somewhat similar to the ‘mixed’ area above. Trapped between rocky outcrops are often lugworm or small mussel beds another feeding ground for many of our predators. This area also fishes best with a slight breeze, which creates wave activity
The last area of rocky shoreline that we can see on our coast is that which I like to call ‘permanent’. ‘Permanent’ rocky shoreline is often seen as vast areas of flat rock covered in barnacles up to the high water mark and interspersed frequently with small pools. By permanent I mean that generally on a year-to-year basis these areas remain the same and exhibit very little change. ‘Permanent’ areas of rocky shore generally allow us the opportunity to fish into deeper water from a height. It is often that just to the left or right of a ‘permanent’ shoreline you will see a ‘dynamic’ or even ‘mixed’ shoreline. Washed free of any sand and stone they provide a safe base for the angler to fish from but are often subject to large or even freak waves and should be treated with some degree of respect and care. Around the ends of these permanent structures there are often fast currents and deep water – more opportunities for the fly fisher with short leaders and fast sinking lines.
How do we go about catching fish on the fly from such a wide variety of locations? What flies should we use? Should we use floating or sinking lines? When in relation to tide should we begin our fishing? What presentations should we make to increase our chances? In the previous series of last year we discussed tackle and flies and agreed generally that a #9 rod and line – floating and intermediate would fulfil most of our requirements. A stripping basket or line tray is essential. Flies tend to be the traditional type of white or white and chartreuse – deceivers and clousers. I would also add some brown or brown and red cockroaches and maybe a few sand eel type and crab patterns too. Timings are important in relation to tides, weather and time of year.
Time invested in watching the rising and falling of tides will reveal where and when water activity takes place. Checking and understanding which way the wind blows and how this affects wave direction and hence our fly presentations will greatly increase our chances. Where there is moving water and cover you will generally find predators lurking and hunting but care must be taken in how we approach these fish. Tramping down the beach in our waders clinking and clanking and then proceeding to walk and clamber over the rocks and perching ourselves at the end of the nearest point will only scare every fish in the Irish sea away.
By minimising our noise, visual and environmental ‘profile’ we can often creep up or stalk our quarry. Be aware of things like birds on or near the ground where you intend to fish. If for instance there is a lot of seagulls or cormorants resting up in the area and you manage to scare them off in one big flock by walking up quickly then any fish close by will also see their profiles as they all fly off together, he’ll swim off too. Walk up slowly stopping now and again and bit-by-bit the flock will take off. Cormorants will slide into the water rather attempting a panicked take-off splashing and flapping across the water. All these little things help.
Fishing clousers on intermediate or sinking lines in shallow water in a rocky area will prove very difficult to a beginner, it’s a tactic better kept for the deeper water around the ‘permanent’ shoreline. A deceiver pattern with a nice profile on a monofilament leader and floating line will be somewhat easier to fish in the vast majority of circumstances encountered on the rocky shore. Presentations can be made along the edges of promontories where retrieves are kept to a minimum. When a fly is cast properly, wave action will simply lift and carry a good fly up and over rocks and back again as the wave recedes, once contact is maintained, the correct wave is chosen and slack is controlled this presents the fly very naturally to cruising fish. A constant casting and stripping of the fly, whilst it may be effective from time to time, will not appear natural in many occasions.
Continuous practice and experience at casting into, onto behind and in front of waves will quickly teach you what works best in terms of line management and presentations. I have a preference to fish whilst positioned away from rocks or reefs and try to cast long onto or into them. I cast parallel to the shoreline and try to present the fly and line onto a wave as it rolls over the reef. Casting too early and you get a tumbling of fly and line which is not good, casting too late and the wave has already past and you fly and line don’t travel only to be met with the receding wave and hence pushed further out to sea.
Fish will swim onto and around reefs through waves but not every wave will do this. They have a canny knack for measuring the ‘transport’ systems and they will take a wave that will assist them on the return journey too – they pass over the reefs in and out waiting for that big deceiver to swim in front of their noses. Make sure your there.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
These species are late maturing often as late as nine or ten years, and not only are they late developers but they also seem to possess an ability to spawn in which ever year they choose. Subject to the usual influences like water temperature and availability of food, it is suggested that they do not spawn until at least late April and spawning may continue into late summer. Fish tend to remain in one location over time especially if there is a local 'food supply'. Often to be taken advantage of by the fly angler!
So what are we to do? How do we set about catching this fish? Like many of our approaches to saltwater flyfishing in Ireland it helps to find a congregation of fish or rather where at specific times do fish tend to congregate in good numbers. Estuaries, harbours, tidal drainage systems and even the open sea, quite often close to shore hold large numbers of fish. Through simple observation we can judge when might be the best time to tackle our elusive quarry. During the early stages of a rising tide large shoals of mullet will sweep into the estuary moving further inshore with the flow of water. There is an interesting behaviour that you can observe during this time especially where there is a lot of bl
Its probably best to fish and cast at them as effectivley as possible with a generic 'white fly' of bread type imitation at first then try fishing with more specific patterns. Some of the types that i have caught fish on can be seen here - and its worth remembering that streamer patterns, seatrout patterns and even small bass patterns have also caught me fish.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
As the cold wet and dark weather stalks the land, sea fishing is very quiet. The sun is low in the sky and shadows are long. It is a while before the seatrout start running the estuaries and April seems an age away. Eager Salmon anglers sit fidgeting and fussing as opening day approaches.
But slowly the days are getting longer, the sun gets higher in the sky, the light changes and I too wait in anticipation for the new season of Spring and the challenges of 2008.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Qualified – Train the trainer, Advanced Trainer Leave No Trace Principles, Certified group facilitation and first aid.
For those anglers starting lure fishing in saltwater there are often many skills to learn and numerous equipment requirements and choices to be made. This can prove daunting to the beginner or even the experienced fishermen. With more than 30 years of bass fishing experience and working at my eight year as a bass fishing guide my saltwater lure & fly fishing workshops are designed to help you fully understand the equipment, and also to help you learn about presentation, advanced lure fishing techniques, and why it is important to understand various species their habitats, influences and life cycles.
You will also learn how and where to purchase and use the best equipment. Having completed the courses you will have a comprehensive understanding of this intriguing and fast developing aspect of saltwater fishing, each customer is provided with over one hundred pages of notes and continued e-mail support - plus I bet too we can have some fun along the way as we spend as much time as possible with practical application on the water.
Summary details ONE-DAY Workshop Lure fishing
Session One at the SEAi Centre – 3hrs morning
- Bass, mullet and seatrout a species overview
- Seasons, breeding, timings, feeding patterns
- History of, in Ireland
- General behaviour in locations like estuaries, rocky shores, open sandy beaches
- Discover how to read tides properly and the effects they have on our fishing.
- Understanding the finer points of weather influences on the Wexford coast
- Winds, Rain and its effects
- Air temperature
- Water temperature
- Discovering and understanding location development and bass patterns
Lure fishing gear · Rod types and their different applications · Suitable reels · Braids, fluorocarbons, mono and clips · Line loading · Unique fluorocarbon and mono knots for braid · Lures fishing and rigging · Lure choice and type (recommendations) · Surface lure fishing · Sub surface lure fishing · Surface baits and jerk baits · Soft baits · Metal baits
Catch and Respect – an integral part of the fishing
Because of the range of subjects we will continue together on the water after lunch this allows us to integrate the workshop with your personal experiences at sea.
Break for Lunch at The Yard Restaurant
Session Two on the water – 3 hours afternoon and evening
- Safety and a quick location audit for your safety and fish handling
- How best to stay comfortable and safe when fishing
- Learning 'Location development' over a tide
- Watercraft and ‘running down the fish’ · Correct presentations
- Lure choice and selection for any given time and location type
- Catch and Return – it’s much more than returning fish (discussions)
- An emphasis on returning fish even before and after the designated 'closed season' as conditions dictate
- An emphasis on NOT killing mature fish but returning them
- Fish handling regarding leaving the fish in the water when releasing
- Playing and then landing the fish –
- What to do over sand, rocks and other difficult areas
- De-hooking, Handling, Photographing
- Returning and recovery OR proper dispatching of fish and reviewing the legislation
Reviewing the different types of lure rods and their applicability to different types of lure fishing · The lure profile, colour, its action and its role in fishing when conditions are tough · Fishing and you—common errors to avoid and positive aspects to enhance · Advanced fishing tactics and strategies · Confidence when handling and returning fish and making super photographs Learning to apply your skills to a range of different saltwater fish.
Conclusion Photos and notes
Costs of workshop with options – Under 17’s with parent no charge
Option One - bespoke to your requirements Tea/Coffee on arrival
Saltwater Lure Fishing Workshop
Including Lunch at The Yard Restaurant Total Fee €165.00 for one person - €215.00 for two people (total) - €265.00 for three people (total).
Option Two - bespoke to your requirements One night stay with B+B 100 metres from SEAi HERE Tea/Coffee and light refreshments during your day
Including Lunch at The Yard Restaurant Total Fee €215.00 for one person – €255.00 for two people – 2 people maximum.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Qualified – Train the trainer, Advanced Trainer Leave No Trace Principles, Certified group facilitation and first aid.
Would you like to experience and face a new angling challenge? A challenge that will see you develop your fishing instincts and skills further than you ever believed possible, a challenge that will reward you with consequences that may change your life forever. If so then bass and seatrout fishing on the fly in saltwater is for you!
For any person eager to begin fly fishing in saltwater there are often many skills and numerous equipment requirements and choices to be developed and made.
This can prove daunting to the beginner or even the experienced freshwater fly fishermen. It can be very challenging even to contemplate.
My saltwater fly fishing courses are designed to not only help you understand fully the equipment and the required applications, but you will also learn about casting, advanced saltwater fly fishing techniques and watercraft. Why it is important to understand various species their habitats, life cycles and all of the influences.
You will also learn how and where to purchase and use the best equipment. Having completed the courses you will have a comprehensive understanding of this intriguing and fast developing aspect of saltwater sport fishing and all its dynamics. I hope too we can have some fun along the way as we fish in some of the best bass fishing locations this country has to offer.
Please be aware these introductory courses are not for ‘Experts’. I do run Advanced courses on request but this series is designed to make the fly fishing angler feel safe, comfortable and relaxed and to help remove some of the barriers that may exist especially when saltwater fly-fishing.
We will spend a considerable amount of time on the water
There is a comprehensive set of notes supplied and continuous e-mail support after completion of each workshop.
All fly fishing gear is provided should you need it including rods, lines and flies. I can run a bespoke one or two course designed around your needs. The two day course incorporates a half days guiding in some of Wexford’s best locations.
Options exist for both one and two day courses
Two Day Saltwater fly fishing course
Saltwater fly Fishing Workshop Summary DAY ONE
Part One – Day One
Introducing Saltwater Fly-fishing
- An introduction to Bass and seatrout in the salt
- Behavioural patterns of the fish and ‘water craft’ for you
- Discover how to read tides and the effects they have on our fishing.
- Fly Rod types and their applications
- Suitable reels
- The technology of a fly fishing line
- Leaders, loops and lines o How best to stay comfortable and safe when fishing
- A brief look at some flies for both species
- Accessories like the ‘stripping basket’
- Learn to apply your skills to a range of different saltwater fish.
- Catch and respect -
- Short questions and answers session.
Part Two – Day One
- Safety when casting
- The types of rods and their effects on casting
- The fly line profile and its role in casting
- The cast as it unfolds
- Basic efficient casting style for saltwater
- Casting and you—common errors to avoid and positive aspects to enhance
- Making your first cast on grass and later on the water
- Tangible evidence of rod line and leader working together
- Confidence when casting
- Brief intro to various types of cast
- Roll, overhead and single haul.
Saltwater fly Fishing Workshop Summary DAY TWO
Part Three – Day two
Beyond the basics – at the coast
- Various knots their uses and how to tie them
- Places to find fish and how and when to fish them effectively
- Correct decisions regarding fly selection
- Effective retrieves and how to use them
- Casting techniques when conditions are tough
- Casting big flies for big fish with safety in mind
Part Four - Day two – including a guided fishing session
Getting to grips with it and doing it for yourself
- How to improve your casting, fishing skills and knowledge.
- Techniques for big flies and strong winds
- The single and double haul
- Conclusion and summary of previous discussions, the future, you and SWFF.
Costs of workshop with options
Option One - bespoke to your requirements Tea/Coffee on arrival
Saltwater Fly Fishing Workshop
TWO DAY OPTION Including Lunch at The Yard Restaurant and one nights B+B
Total Fee €355.00 for one person - €215.00 for two people (each)
ONE DAY OPTION - bespoke to your requirements One night stay with B+B 100 metres from SEAi HERE Tea/Coffee and light refreshments during your day Saltwater Lure Fishing Workshop
Including Lunch at The Yard Restaurant Total Fee €205.00 per person – group rate available on request – 2 people maximum.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Catch and Respect for Bass
There is a skill in a proper release of fish.
Please limit your kill rather than killing your limit.
Catching a fish is a skilful process, releasing one successfully back to the sea alive and healthy also requires skill and good techniques.
Before you start fishing look closely at the area where you are angling and search for lies that you suspect a fish may run to for cover and use to his advantage for escape or possible hang up.
Plan regularly as you move and consider how you will play land and return your fish under the circumstances you are in. Check for your safety and a path to bring the fish through.
Some helpful tips for successful catch and release
Handle the fish as little as possible and try to keep the fish in the water when removing hooks.
Avoid lifting or touching the fish if you can.
If you do need to touch the fish make sure your hands are wet.
If you do need to lift the fish make sure he is supported evenly.
Avoid lifting the fish out of the water unsupported.
If you are using lures for the first time and are nervous of treble hooks consider using a boga grip for in the water releases.
NEVER lift or SUSPEND a fish from a boga grip.
It is not necessary to use a boga grip when fishing for bass, especially when using single or barbless hooks, cut down or eliminate its use entirely as you grow in confidence.
Have a plan for releasing a fish before landing it
Because time is crucial in keeping a released fish alive, work quickly and eliminate any over exposure to air.
Avoid using landing nets.
Do not drag fish over dry sand which clings to its slime.
Handling the fish with wet hands helps to avoid removing the beneficial fish slime.
Remove treble hooks carefully and quickly using pliers and try to avoid lip or flesh ripping, also avoid any contact to the red gill plate area.
When taking photographs make it very quick and always plan ahead.
Revive an exhausted fish in the water by pointing the fish into any available current until the fish recovers. Try not to recover the fish where water is muddy or sandy.
Points to Consider
Cut down on the number of hooks on your lures
De-barb your treble hooks
De-barb your single hooks
Try to land fish as quickly as possible to avoid over stressing them
Overplayed and overexposed fish die after release
A quickly landed bass will still have a lot of energy and is very inclined to shake his head from side to side – a dangerous time for both fish and angler for potential damage especially with multi hooked lures
Longer lures with multiple treble hooks cause greater damage to fish than shorter ones
If you intend to kill and keep a fish from time to time then carry the proper tool do the job. Don’t leave fish gasping and flapping on the shoreline but use a salmon priest to dispatch him quickly.
If keeping a fish consider keeping one that has spawned a number of times > 45 cms.
Try not to kill the fish that everyone wants to catch i.e. return bigger fish.
The following nine behaviours comprise the Federation of Fly Fishers' Code of Angling Ethics:
- Angling ethics begin with understanding and obeying laws and regulations associated with the fishery. Fly anglers understand that their conduct relative to laws and regulations reflects on all anglers. Angling ethics begin with and transcend laws and regulations governing angling and the resources that sustain the sport.
- The opportunity to participate in the sport of fly fishing is a privilege and a responsibility. Fly anglers respect private property and always ask permission before entering or fishing private property. They seek to understand and follow the local customs and practices associated with the fishery. They share the waters equally with others whether they are fishing or engaging in other outdoor activities.
- Fly fishers minimize their impact on the environment and fishery by adopting practices that do not degrade the quality of the banks, waters, and the overall watersheds upon which fisheries depend. These practices include avoiding the introduction of species not native to an ecosystem, and cleaning and drying fishing gear to prevent the inadvertent transport of invasive exotics that may threaten the integrity of an aquatic ecosystem. In simplest terms, fly anglers always leave the fishery better than when they found it.
- Fly anglers endeavour to conserve fisheries by understanding the importance of limiting their catch. "Catch and release" is an important component of sustaining premium fisheries that are being over-harvested. Fly anglers release fish properly and with minimal harm. They promote the use of barbless hooks and angling practices that are more challenging but which help to sustain healthy fish populations.
- Fly anglers do not judge the methods of fellow anglers. Fly fishers share their knowledge of skills and techniques. They help others to understand that fly-fishing contributes to sound fisheries conservation practices.
- Fly anglers treat fellow anglers as they would expect to be treated. They do not impose themselves on or otherwise interfere with other anglers. They wait a polite time, and then, if necessary, request permission to fish through. They may invite other anglers to fish through their positions. Fly fishers when entering an occupied run or area always move in behind other anglers, not in front of them whether in a boat or wading.
- Fly anglers when sharing the water allow fellow anglers ample room so as not to disturb anyone's fishing experience. They always fish in a manner that causes as little disturbance as practical to the water and fish. They take precautions to keep their shadow from falling across the water (walking a high bank).
- When fishing from watercraft fly anglers do not crowd other anglers or craft. They do not block entrances to bays or otherwise impede others. Fly anglers do not unnecessarily disturb the water by improperly lowering anchors or slapping the water with paddles or oars.
- Fly anglers always compliment other anglers and promote this Code of Angling Ethics to them whether they fish with a fly or not.
The following is a shortened version suitable to be carried by the angler:
- Fly anglers understand and obey laws and regulations associated with the fishery.
- Fly anglers believe fly fishing is a privilege and a responsibility.
- Fly anglers conserve fisheries by limiting their catch.
- Fly anglers do not judge fellow anglers and treat them as they would expect to be treated.
- Fly anglers respect the waters occupied by other anglers so that fish are not disturbed
- When fishing from a watercraft, fly anglers do not crowd other anglers or craft or unnecessarily disturb the water.
- Fly anglers respect other angling methods and promote this Code of Angling Ethics to all anglers.
© Copyright by the Federation of Fly Fishers, Inc. 2002