Saturday, 28 July 2012

A special moment in the West of Ireland

For the holidays, I took the family to Connemara, County Galway, in the West of Ireland. I have been reading about and dreaming of fishing in this region of Ireland for over two decades now. You can certainly agree with Oscar Wild when he remarked how Connemara has a savage beauty.  It is a stunningly beautiful part of the World. The majestic Twelve Bens mountain range (Na Beanna Beola) surround you all of the time, as do countless lakes and bays. 

I fished Lough Inagh for the day in the company of a gillie, Cyril Conlon. This lough, as with Kylemore, are considered two premium salmon fisheries in the West Coast. I felt very lucky. I have had limited experience with fishing for Salmon and was receptive to any advice. Cyril's main point of not striking when a Salmon takes and letting the fish turn down on the fly is something I have been told before. Yet after over twenty years of trout fishing, whether one could resist the inclination to strike was another issue altogether.  

This was one of the nicest moments of the day. The ghille Cyril and I shored the boat, gazed at the lough on a beauitful July day and lunched. We sipped coffee and eat our sandwiches, chatted about the morning's fishing, fly tying, patterns and general fishing. Cyril recalled the glorious sea trout days he himself and others experienced in the West of Ireland before the sand-eel driven decline in the 1990s. I listened with both envy and sadness. It appears the sea-trout in the West of Ireland are returning. In this fishery alone, around 70 sea-trout were caught in the previous week. For a more informed insight on sea-trout fishing in Ireland, I would urge you to check Chris Cully's excellent blog on Irish Sea-Trout Fishing (see my blog reading list).  

Lough Inagh
I had great fun with the sea-trout. Although not overly large, they took readily to all three flies on the cast and they fought very hard. To one's surprise, the 'Goat's Toe' on the point took a few and brought a grilse up.  Cyril advised a spot where he considered a good spot for a Salmon. I did not argue. I replaced the Green Peter with a Golden Olive Bumble on the top dropper and fished with concentration and with a slight nerveness.    

A nice fresh sea-trout.
My First Salmon, a 5 1/2 IB Grilse from Lough Inagh, Galway, Ireland.

My smile says it all. After a battle of wills, loads of backing, the help of an experienced ghille with an outboard motor, I caught my wonderful prize. A 51/2 IB bar of silver, a grilse Atlantic Salmon. My first ever, on the Kingsmill's Golden Olive Bumble. A special moment!. The whole experience remains most vivid in my recollection, to include the Ghille's sheer and genuine delight when the fish was landed. The experience may eventually prompt a more serious interest in Salmon. Does this mean new rods, lines, reels and fly tying materials? My wife is worried!! When I start building a box of Salmon flies, we'll know the doubts have vanished.

The Ghille - Cyril Conlon (Galway)

1 comment:

  1. Now I'm retired I'm trying to get my wife to move to Galway. It's real Gods country.

    Nice story, well done on the salmon.

    Kind Wishes.