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Tuesday, 2022-08-09

The Bibio

This fly is one of these, or maybe the, never be without, when it comes to catching mountain lake trout. It is good for quite a lot of sea trout and salmon from the spate rivers as well. I saw Ray Robinson catching three grilse on a size 14 at the Eany in no time at all, and a fourteen pounder from the Owenea took it also; or as he put it: The Bibio strikes again.
Westport Angler William Hewetson gets the laurels for inventing the Bibio. It is supposed to imitate the Hawthorn fly, which appears in spring, when that tree is blooming; but the artificial catches fish from the first to the last day day of the season.
The dubbed seal's fur for the fuzzy body can be substituted by floss to slimline the fly. A version very well taken by the trout of the North-West, thick, fat food items don't domineer.


The Bibio is tied on a wide range of hook sizes, from 8 to 12 to 14 or even 16, depending what fish or water you have in mind.

Thread - black
Tag - ( optional ) 2 or 3 turns oval silver
Body - seal's fur or floss; 25% black, 50% red, 25% black
Ribbing - oval silver
Hackle - black hen or cock, Palmer style

Fishing and tying the Bibio

Perfect Orientation

Once upon a time, relatively early one morning, two anglers, lets call one Raimondo and the other Bohnsdorfer, were sitting in the latter's living room, studying a map. I always fancied going there, Raimondo said, squinting over the thick rims of his glasses, I mean, there is only that one lake in the whole area, but it could be well worth going up there, you know.
Bohnhsdorfer, just finished with preparing sandwiches for the day out, replied enthusiastically, I am happy with anything, as long as there is a fish to catch or maybe two.
Putting his glasses into a battered case and stuffing the thing in his trousers pocket, Raimondo got up to help his angling partner carry the gear down to the car, the map shows a fairly big river coming out of the lake, he explained, mostly an indication that there is fish in a lake.
After about an hour's drive, during which the roads became smaller and narrower with every turn, they found themselves on a sort of lane, grass growing in the middle, lots of pot-holes, a rugged looking mountain to the right, a little river below in the rocky valley to the left.
Raimondo stopped the car, took the map from the glove compartment, armoured his eyes with glasses, you see, we are here now, where the road crosses the stream running into the river down there. He brought the map closer to glasses and eyes, we should drive to here and then walk up from there, a right forefinger followed contours, right over the top, looks the easiest way to me.
So they drove on to come to an even smaller lane going down, crossing the river, to end at a farm-house with shed and outhouses; maybe we can drive down there? suggested Bohnsdorfer.
You are not afraid of walking, are you!?

But when the lake is somewhere beyond that there mountain, it would only be natural to park the car over there.
Okay, lets see whether we can find a place. Raimondo steered the car carefully to the left and they rolled down, drove over a rather instable looking little bridge, parked, got out of the vehicle, into boots, leggings and raincoats.
At that stage the farmer came from his shed, pushing a wheel-barrow, filled with steaming manure, straight to the bridge.
Hello, greeted Raimondo, do you mind if we leave the car here? We have this idea to go over the mountain and fish that lake there, pointing vaguely to where he guessed the lake would be.
Surely aye, responded the farmer, setting down his load, yous can leave the car there.
Great! I wouldn't have minded at all leaving the car up by the road, but this man here, Raimondo looking at Bohnsdorfer, is afraid of a little walk.
Surely, said the farmer before Bohnsdorfer began with his defence: the last time I was fishing a "remote" mountain lake with you, we walked for three hours only to find that there was a road going up to it from the other side.
Surely now, nodded the puzzled farmer; and Raimondo had a big smile on his face, but didn't you enjoy the little stroll then?
Here the farmer smiled, once, and pointed to an imaginary place behind the mountain, yous won't have to walk for three hours to get to that lake there.
What do you think is the easiest way to get up to it? enquired Raimondo.
Surely, the shortest way would be to walk over there now, and the man points again in his direction.
Wait, demands Raimondo, I thought the lake is over there, pointing out his direction.
Over there, the farmer's eyes follow Raimondo's extended index-finger, over there yous will end up at Lough Belshade eventually, but that is a long way walking, more than three hours.
Hmm, Raimondo gets out the map from his waxed jacket, fumbles in his trousers for his glasses, you see, the map gets spread out on the car's bonnet, we are here, there is actually your lane shown, here is the river. And the lake is over there, just behind the hill.

The lake is over there, a hand with an extended index-finger comes up, yous come to it when yous follow the river up.
That's right, Raimondo takes the glasses off, looks expertly at the mountain. The glasses go on again, to study the map further, but you see, the river comes around here, and the lake is then actually over there. Here, have a look for yourself.
Now, I can't see much without my glasses.
Here, try mine.
So the farmer puts on Raimondo's glasses, looks at the map, then up, and again at the map, and finally a bit confused into Raimondo's eyes, saying: I always go up there, cross the river and then follow it up.
Raimondo, taking over the map now, holding it at arm's length, because his glasses sit on the farmer's nose, insists: But you see, we are over here, and the lake has to be over there.
Giving the glasses back, pointing out his direction, the uncertain man says only: I always go up there.
Our two anglers express their thanks, fetch the rods and begin walking. The farmer watches them for quite a while ( scratching the back of his head ), before he grabs the handles of the wheel-barrow and pushes it up onto a field.
Raimondo and Bohnsdorfer have the first rest about halfway up the mountain, farmhouse, shed and outhouses are just visible below in the valley.
Funny, Bohnsdorfer says, that he thinks the lake is over there.
Well, replied Raimondo regally, he always follows the river up. We are just going the direct route to it, straight over the top.
And in the beginning he was so convinced he was right.

At about that time the farmer decides to have a break as well, walks into the house, where a caring wife prepares the tea. He eats a bit faster than usual and even cleans the table himself; to get space for the map he takes from a drawer of the dresser.
We are here, Raimondo has the map spread out in the grass, holding a compass in his right hand, so we actually have just to walk straight on. When we keep a little to the right we should come soon to yer man's river.
Meanwhile the farmer's wife has arranged spectacles in a comfortable position on her nose, no, it is here! she says, her fingers walk studying along the map.
The farmer himself, tipping on the map with a well chewn mouth-tip of his pipe, asks slightly challenging, but where are we then!?

Now, says she, that must be the river here.
Let me have a look at that thing again,
commands he.
The two anglers have progressed a good bit into the mountains by now and with a wee bit of doubt in his voice Bohnsdorfer remarks, maybe the man at the farm was right?
Not a chance in the world! laughs Raimondo, pointing to a hill in front of them, must be just over there.
Which lake did you say they wanted to go to? the farmer's wife puts the kettle on the range, to make another pot of tea, and to prepare dinner.
They had fishing rods with them ‘n' all, said he, not really going into the question.
Must be just behind that little elevation there, Raimondo points with his rod-tip to the next hill. That the sun was just about to set there was incidental.
The farmer, by now on his way to the pub, hopes to solve the enigma concerning the position of his lake with the help of a few pints. Map and the wife's older pair of glasses are buried in the pocket of his jacket.
The two heroes are not visible anymore because it is dark, only their voices can be heard; so, said Bohnsdorfer: you're sure man we're not walking in circles here? Or maybe yer man was right.
No chance! must be just over there, somewhere, insisted Raimondo and until they find a lake they walk happily ever after.

A Little Introduction to the Blue Stack Mountains, Co. Donegal, Ireland