Gone Fishin – On The Fly

My father fly fishing Blessington Lake earlier this year

So from canal, to lake, Carp to Pike, in my younger years I’m pretty sure I covered everything coarse fishing could offer. Around the time I turned 12 my father decided myself and my brother should be introduced to the drug that is fly fishing. Funnily enough, though it rules my fishing life today, I was anything but keen at the beginning.

Fly fishing has been around for thousands of years, and not a whole lot has changed in that time. The basic principle is that you take a hook and dress it with thread, feathers and other materials usually in such a way that the finished hook represents a natural fly that hatches on the body of water you are fishing. It is lure fishing of another form. The second unique trait of this form is that rather than the standard cast and wait approach of coarse fishing, fly fishing requires you to perform 2 or 3 “false casts” in order to dispense line on the light equipment, leading to the rather artistic visual produced by someone doing so.

Funnily enough, I can talk very romantically about fly fishing now, but it was anything but rosey starting off for me. For the first year or two, I was a little behind. My brother being older got the hang of it quicker and with him and my father catching fish, and me not, I was losing faith rapidly. The first trip out that I caught fish on the fly, I was ready to hang up the rod. The Yellow May was up, on the River Liffey in Kildare this is usually guaranteed solid fishing, and I was half dragged out for one last trip by my father. The first hour things looked as bad as they had until that point. I waded up a narrow side of the river by myself, casting aimlessly, disillusioned with the sport. Then, bang.

I won’t even try to accurately describe what it is like catching your first fish on the fly. You’re out in the middle of the river, on your own. The sun is setting. The rush of hearing a bite alarm go off on seeing a float disappear is immense, no disagreement there. But the pure euphoria when the water erupts below your fly, and you’ve successfully mastered the con to catch one of these wild and scrappy brown trout. Words couldn’t come close. I caught twice on the May that night, my future as a fly angler no longer in doubt.

I continued on with this passion in me for the sport, until it grew even more. I started tying my own.

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Bachelors Degree in Arts from NUI Maynooth. Double Honours English & Philosophy.

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