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Wednesday, 2022-08-10

Top Ten Flies for Ireland

All the joys of fly fishing on one DVD


The North-West of Ireland it is; for about two dozen years or so I have confined my fishing almost exclusively to that region, spanning from Counties Leitrim and Sligo to the Rosses in County Donegal. Living right in the centre of this blessed part of the world, I never felt a desire to travel further a field for my fishing. The variety of waters is enormous; big lakes, like Lower Lough Erne and Lough Melvin, famous rivers, tiny little bog lakes, charming brooks and of course, not to forget, the Big Pond.



Dietrich Bohnhorst Collapses On Ted Hall's Chair

It is not tried here to produce a comprehensive guide to flies of that region, rather the contrary: the number of different fly-patterns to fish the North-West is surprisingly small; about twenty are enough. The flies mentioned here have served me best and are often variations and adaptations of the original patterns and tyings.
Angling and telling stories about angling are almost mutually dependent, invite to go out fishing again, to live more stories. And that is what reading and writing about angling should be: an invitation to go out fishing.


My angling and I, we are like an old couple; intimate for a long, long time; but still a passionate love. One knows each other so well, all weaknesses and strengths.
Jealousy is long gone, faith is certain, behaviour patterns so familiar: being together feels like an easy drop into a comfortable armchair.




My angling and I, we are hardly conceivable as independent from each other, our being together creates a symbiosis which finds its expression in what we mean for each other. Yes, we suit each other, people obviously notice that, ask about our relationship, want to know how we are.
My angling and I, we are like an old couple, quarrelling, being at odds with each other, can't separate either, yes, I would be totally free, but thank God, I have to fish.

Our Flies

When a fish observes a fly on the surface it swims quietly up and gulps it down.
Now, although the fishermen know of this, they do not use these flies as bait, for if a man's hand touch them, they lose their natural colour, their wings wither, and they become unfit food for the fish. But the fishermen get the better of the fish by their fishermen's craft. They fasten wool round a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock's wattles, and which in colour are like wax. Their rod is six feet long, and their line is the same length. They throw their snare, and the fish attracted and maddened by the colour, come straight at it
- wrote Aelian in ca. 200 A.D. about Macedonian anglers, who fished the rivers between Thessaloniki and Beroia; very obviously with an artificial fly, for a species with speckled skin.
Ancient artificial flies, Maori streamers made of mussel-shells and bones, colourful creations of South Sea islanders, monstrous looking medieval plumes have to be regarded as ancient parts of our fly-fishing tradition.

New materials and technologies in rod and line manufacturing, combined with an increased knowledge of behaviour-patterns of fish and its prey, led inevitably to a considerable refinement of our flies.
Synthetic fly-lines of various densities and weights allow presentations in almost every realistic depth. Fine monofilament as cast material allows the use of tiniest dry flies and nymphs. Synthetics in combination with special hooks facilitate either very naturalistic or extremely fancy fly-tying.
Still, the old patterns prove their catching qualities season after season. Our fly boxes reflect that: often the newest creations are right beside those old campaigners; wet flies going back as far as the beginning of the nineteenth century.
We get introduced to a fly and immediately, mostly the introduction itself, becomes a story belonging to us. There are flies accompanying us through life; always new old acquaintances. With extra confidence we tie them to our casts, they never disappoint, because meanwhile we just know them too well.