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Tuesday, 2022-08-09

Top Ten Flies for Ireland

All the joys of fly fishing on one DVD

The Black Pennell

H. Cholmondely-Pennell, Angler and Naturalist, tied this fly first, it goes back a long way to about 1860, when it was an immediate success in Scottish lakes. So it is a real traditional one for trout, and according to a well known angler from the Owenea a very good one, because: if you can't get'em on anything black and silver- give it up.
Actually you can't go completely wrong for brown or sea trout anywhere in the North-West of Ireland with a Black Pennell on your cast.


For me it works especially well as a small point fly when black gnats or other small midge type insects are on the water.
Hook sizes from 8 to 16; and materials should be used very sparsely, the hackle fibres a good bit longer than in most other patterns to allow lots of movement.

Thread - black
Tag - oval silver, no more than tree turns
Tail - no more than five golden pheasant
tippets, slightly longer than usual
Body - black floss
Ribbing - oval silver
Hackle - black hen or cock, fibres slightly longer than hook; one turn only.

Fishing and tying the Black Pennell

Heavy Rain

Heavy rain coming, doesn't mean that it isn't already raining; it was raining for days, Edwin's remark was just a hint, meaning winds will strengthen, rains becoming simultaneously more dense. We were packed in plastic, large peat-moss bags, cut open on both ends, worn like skirts, from the armpits down to the ankles. A waxed jacket on top; the right sleeve tied down with strong cord to the wrist. The elastic sleeve bands built into these garments proved not strong enough to keep the water out, because our right arms were almost constantly in the air to work the flies properly from the drifting boat. It was sort of cosy, really; heavy rain coming.

On Lough Melvin in early May, fishing the Invicta and Black Pennell; according to Edwin's philosophy you don't need more: a rather light pattern and a dark one, that's all you need to catch the trout of the North-West. ( Later he should say the same thing to me about the salmon of the North-West. )
Heavy rain and heavy winds came and white foam bubbles drew straight white lines across the lake. We fished our drift, everything dripping; I was wondering how fish managed to take a fly in rough conditions like these right out of the middle of a two foot wave. Edwin was bailing out water with an old plastic can, heavy rain coming, he laughed, pointed out to the seven trout on the middle bench, but we didn't do bad at all, and I hoped the day would never end.
Later in the evening, in a pub in Kinlough we sat down by the fireplace, chattering with the cold, so the publican brought in a portable gas heater, put it right beside us. Heavy rain coming, we sat there and laughed.