Here’s why it’s the West of Ireland for me

Here’s why it’s the West of Ireland for me

I have fished my way around the world, both ways, taking in all the exotic game fishing meccas on the way. However, I have to admit, I would sooner go to my beloved west of Ireland than any of these other lovely places. This is how much I value what the west has to offer.

Last season on a day of baking heat and flat calm windless situation, I tried something new. It was late June and the salmon were not in Kylemore Abbey Lake and we could not wet-fly fish on Corrib in such conditions. While the rest of the party refused, I took up super young ghillie Stephen Greaney’s offer for a day’s trolling after Ferox on Corrib.

My Corrib-side stay at Basil Shield’s guest house meant it was straight out of the breakfast room and onto one of his fleet of boats. Stephen is his number one ghillie and as we motored out, I was very impressed with his enthusiasm and knowledge. Oh yes, and he made me leave my fly kit on shore so I couldn’t be tempted to change my mind from the trolling experience.

We were going to troll using a dead nine inch roach as bait. This was set on a barbless hook two treble mount and the exact amount of weight to fish at a constant 25 feet down. I used my own 10-foot spinning rod and a multiplier reel with 15 lbs breaking strain line. Stephen instructed me to be ready and let out some 100 yards of line, this I did and we were fishing. While we waited for a bite we exchanged big fish stories of the past and I told him my best brown trout was 8 lbs 2 ozs. He confidently said, “You will beat that today, these conditions are perfect”.

After 1½ hours of trolling the rod arched round and I was into a very powerful fish, but after ten anxious minutes Stephen netted my first ever double figure brown trout, a truly wild Ferox of 10½ lbs. I was over the moon: a few quick photographs and we returned this magnificent fish to the depths of his home. There is no reason to kill such a beautiful wild creature. A 5½ pounder followed, then it was on to one of Corrib’s 365 islands for lunch and a brew up.

Some anglers say that trolling is boring. but let me tell you, once YOU have tasted the sucess of catching one of these big boys, the anticipation is incredible – it certainly is far from boring.

It was now 6.25 pm and we were to pack up at 7 p.m. and once more the familiar tap-tap-tap on my rod tip, 25 feet down a giant Ferox trout was head butting my roach deadbait to try and knock it off its course. I sat ready and as it engulfed the roach deadbait, I lifted the rod at just the right moment, about 100 yards or more behind the boat the huge fish surfaced and the long battle began.

First it dived and ran off a couple of times making the reels clutch sing. Then I was reeling in with no resistance at all, ‘Its off” I said to Stephen and reeled in about 90 yards of line. But this big old fish was clever, it had slack lined me at terrific speed swimming straight back towards the boat.

Fortunately the barbless book held and I re-engaged the fight, some twenty minutes went by with just steady strong pressure being applied and now it was close to the boat’s side. ln the gin clear water we could see it was hooked by just one hook of one of the trebles. So with my heart in my month, I took great care in playing this obvious once in a lifetime fish for the next few minutes when Stephen slid the net under her. It was now 7.10 pm. I was on such a shot of adrenaline because we could both see the fish was not only massive but a most perfect conditioned specimen. We let it rest in the deep landing net giving it time to recover. Then the weighing and the photographing and away back to the depths, oh yes the weight 17 lbs 3 ozs! I had gone over 40 years without catching a double brown and now I had a brace of them in one day. The west of Ireland can make your fishing ambitions come true alright.

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