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Tuesday, 2022-08-09

Top Ten Flies for Ireland

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The Sooty Olive

 What’s amiss?  Right, a “Lake Olive” is missing.
The Sooty Olive is one of the better-known traditional Irish patterns.  It imitates a number of different species of Chironomids, collectively known as “Duck Flies”.
Their time is the spring; April is a great month for the Sooty Olive.  When trout don’t take the Butcher too well anymore, but Wickham’s and Invicta are not working yet, that is when the Sooty Olive has its heyday.

I always have it on the point with a Bibio as dropper; they are just a great team.  Particularly when the first rises occur, the first rings appear on lakes and rivers this combination is often priceless.

Again, the hooks for this one should be sturdy down eyed in sizes 10 and 12. Of course there are plenty of variations, versions and interpretations: with (deer) hairwing, silver ribbing, gold ribbing, Golden Pheasant Topping tail, Pheasant Tail wing, brown or ginger hackle and so on. I am tying this version here since 1979 and it always works well for me (and of course for Mr. R.R. Robinson, who, stubbornly calls it “The Shitty Olive”).



Hook – wet fly, down eye in sizes 10 or 12
Thread – black
Tail – Golden Pheasant Tippet
Tag – (optional) copper wire, 3 turns
Rib – copper wire
Body – olive coloured wool, dubbed
Hackle – black hen, can be tied in as “false hackle”
Wing – bronze mallard, rolled, or similar coloured feather.

The Sooty Olive

Angler’s Nightmare II

Thank God I have holidays. Standing in the airport, luggage reclaim area, waiting for the conveyor belt turn and cough up my travel-bags.  I am so much looking forward to fishing the rivers and lakes for Salmon, Sea and Brown trout in this country known as the “Angler’s Paradise”.  When my bags with clothing, fishing gear, wellies and waders roll finally towards me, I can hardly wait to get into my rented car and drive off to all the adventures with all these fish I intend to catch.

The northwest is my destination.  This part of the “Angler’s Paradise” has hundreds of rivers and lakes, all teeming with fish.
In a little village, somehow disfigured by surrounding housing estates (one place looks like the other), I find a B&B called “Forest View”.  From my room I can see the “Forest” is a planted coniferous monoculture, parts of it are already blanket harvested.  The tree stumps and ditches look like a WW I battlefield after the corpses have been removed.  In the distance wind turbines.

I am in the tackle shop to buy a licence.  There is a conservation stamp I have to pay for.  It doubles the already hefty normal price of the thing.  Therefore I get a few numbered plastic gill tags and a sheet of paper, the logbook.  A glossy brochure tells me which rivers are “open” and which ones are “closed”; catch and release is recommended anyway.  Every river has a so-called conservation limit, with quotas set accordingly.  And surpluses that can be harvested.  The language somehow puzzles me.
Yer man in the shop tells me that I can’t get a permit for any river here.  I have to drive to the so-called Angling Centre in F.  There I’ll get my permit.

After half an hour’s drive past housing estates and coniferous monocultures, in the distance wind turbines, I arrive at the so-called “Angling Centre” in F.  The centre is closed, a note at the door says: Closed.  Permits available from Angling Centre in G.  Sorry for any inconveniences caused.

I drive to G, past housing estates and coniferous monocultures, in the distance wind turbines.  In the so called “Angling Centre” there, on producing the licence I’ve bought an hour ago, I’m told it’s not valid, because I’m outside the area now.  You see.
Unless, of course, I wanted a permit for the river at F.  That would be within the area, or, of course, I can buy another licence, with conservation stamp, for the same hefty price, for this area.
I don’t want that; but want to buy a permit for the day, also at a hefty price, for the river at F.
He asks me: “what beat?”
I ask him: ”what beat?”
He: “There’s a beat system in operation.”
I: “On a spate river?”
He: “Yes.  We have nine beats there. 1 is at the top; beat 9 goes down to the sea pool.
I: “What would you recommend?”
He: “You can change beats at lunchtime.  But I’ll be gone after one anyway."
I: “It’s over an hour’s drive back and forth, and it’s eleven already.”
He: “You should book a beat for tomorrow then.”
I: “But there is no rain, the river will be down by tomorrow.”
He: “That’s true, so, what beat do you want today then?”
I: “Well, it’s actually only half a day left now, can I get an afternoon or evening ticket?”
He: “Nope.”
I: “Well, I guess I’ll come back another day then.”
He: “That’s fine with me.”

I leave the place, drive around in my rented car, have a look at some more housing estates, pass through coniferous monocultures, wind turbines in the distance and come accidentally to a lake that looks good.  At a little pier there are some boats moored, chained and locked to the pier’s posts.  There is a huge sign as well: These waters are controlled by the M. Anglers.  Permits available at Post Office in C.  NO bank fishing.  NO outboard engines.
Where is C?  I consult the map and off I go to The Post Office.  It is closed for lunch.  So, I find an open pub and have a BLT sandwich and a pint of stout.  The price is steep, particularly the BLT, but after the pint my brain is soft.  What does it matter?

Back to the Post Office I.  The lady behind the glass is nice and friendly, sells me a permit for the lake.  When I ask for a key to unlock one of the boats she says: “I don’t do the boats.”
I: “What do you mean?”
She: “You have to see Paddy O’.  He does the boats, has the keys ‘n all.”
I: “Right.”
She: “He lives with his sister out by B.”
I: ”Oh.”
She takes a piece of paper and draws me a map so the I might find Paddy O’.

I drive along housing estates and pass coniferous monocultures, wind turbines in the distance.  Following the crude map the Post woman gave me is relatively easy.  Paddy’s house is marked with a capital X and I can, to my great surprise find it after only half an hour or so.  The sister opens the door.  Paddy is at his niece.  No, she hasn’t anything to do with boats or keys.  But the niece is living just yonder that there hill.  Only five minutes to drive.
She writes the name and address on a piece of paper for me and off I go.

After driving around for another half hour past housing estates and coniferous monocultures, in the distance wind turbines, and after asking at three bungalows, I find the house in question.  The niece opens the door and tells me: “Paddy’s gone to the pub.”
I: “Which one?”
She: “Sometimes he goes to the Rusty Mackerel, but he could also be at the Cul a Dun and he surely likes the Bridge Tavern.”

I drive past housing estates and coniferous monocultures, in the distance wind turbines, looking for a pub with Paddy O’ in it when, thank God, I wake up.