Connemara fly fishing

Wed Jun 23, 2004 11:36 am

I’ve been persuaded to subscribe to Irish Angler , that’s the good news. With the subscription comes a free fly fishing line. Bad news is , I’ve never done any fly fishing. :oops:

So the question is – is it worth me getting a fly rod and trying my luck sea fly fishing in Connemara in August this year??

Has anyone out there tried it? Could a novice learn to do it and catch at least one fish in 2 weeks from the shore/rocks?! I don't really expect too much but at least a mackerel!
Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.


Fly fishing

Thu Jun 24, 2004 6:15 pm

Was ther not an article about fly fishing for sea trout from beaches in a recent irish Angler? I think the writer gave details of what rod etc. would be suitable.


Thu Jun 24, 2004 10:55 pm

Hi Tim

Try under the ghillies guide as some of them will teach you how to cast. Use a short (river) rod, weight forward line, loads of backing, 4 lb leader and a big fly, something to mimic a sandeel. Even a standard mackerel feather will do but the bigger the better. I tried it last year (until the dog chewed on the rod :? ) and took a pollack on my first visit to a rock platform. An offshore wind and flat rocks definitely helps!

There have been several articles, one on Sea Trout and another on Bass in the Irish Angler. Drop Roger Baker an email and he might be able to get you back catalogue copies... especially since you're a subscriber!


Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:12 pm


Do you know what weight the fly line is? If you are going to try for Pollock and Mackerel in the summer months then 7 or better and 8 weight fly line will do the business. You should be looking at a 9 or 9 and a half foot rod. Most rods in this range tend to be for rivers and still waters and can be a little soft in the middle. Not good for throwing big flys. Try get something that's classified as middle to tip. This basically means, if you hold the handle of the rod, point it horizontal and have someone grab the top eye and pull downwards the rod will bend mostly in the tip and just into the mid section. These rods tend to favour the beginner as well. Any tackle shop should be able to help. Don't get an expensive rod to start off with as fly fishing can be a little frustrating when you start and you might find yourself tempted to quit. DONT, stick with it and soon you'll feel the power of a fish pulling back on such light gear. Anyone who's done it before will testify that you really get a feel for the way a fish fights. This setup that you will have, if you buy it, should be fine for still waters as well. This will give you a chance to practice as well and maybe even book a casting lesson.

Tight lines


Wed Jun 30, 2004 6:00 pm


Thanks a lot for the information. I’m done the business of sending money, but haven’t yet seen the magazine or the line so can’t tell you my starting point yet. Anyone got any idea when the next issue is coming out??

I have a rod in mind so I will ask the question about “middle to tip” and see what they say.

Like all fishermen who can’t go fishing, I’ve still been thinking about it and I’m more and more coming round to giving it a serious try. I must admit the most fun I’ve had is when I’ve been freelining, either with a piece of worm or a green crab and I guess fly fishing is a bit like that for direct connection with the fish. I had a look on Veals site and lo and behold, they do a “fly” that really is an imitation crab!

However they also do flies by John Quinlan. Some 4/5 years ago we knocked on his door in Waterville after someone said he was the man who could tell us where we might find some bass. Despite the fact he was busy with some overseas visitors, he not only found time to dig some ragworm and tie traces but he also took us to the beach and made sure we had cast in the right direction before rushing off. A nicer guy it would be hard to find. So you can guess what flies I’m going to buy – I just hope he gets some benefit!

Thanks again for your help.


email address

Thu Jul 01, 2004 12:12 am


I suspect he'll kill me for doing this but all emails to Roger, edior of IRish Angler should be sent to : -

Thu Jul 01, 2004 9:43 am


Your heading in the right direction. If you like free lining, then you'll love fly fishing. The only real differece being that the fly rod is even lighter again, adding to the thrill of the fight. Do give it some time though because it can be a little hard to get going. If there is a stocked rainbow trout water near you in the UK that would be an excellent option. Shelling out for a lesson can be a little expensive, especially for your first time out when to be truthful what you read in a book will get you going and then you can have an instructor fine tune your movement. If the trout fishery is a small one, the person that runs it might be willing to spend a few minutes with you to get up and running. Just keep you patience and it wont be long before you've got 5 rods about 15 lines and a huge flytying kit full of materials for tying some of "your" own special flies...................... Then, you'll be saying, "I wish that fecker Kev had never got me started, this bleeding hobby is costing me a fourtune" :D :D :D

Tight lines


saltwater flyfishing

Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:25 pm

just got in to the salt water fly fishing, basicly what u need is a 9 ft rod weight forward floating line to start, plenty of backing on the reel, i wouldnt go less than 10 pounds on the leader unless going for mullet. as far as what make i would go for the delta plus 9 ft rod, have one and they r great and not to expensive plus they have a lifetime gurentee, somthing like the air frame r airstream reels r grand too r an eco disk like the one i have. managed a mullet on my first day, have had macks pollack garfish and bass too, so its well worth giving it a go.

Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:54 pm

Hi LiamD

Nice work. I have something similar but only taken small pollack and a flounder (!) on it so far. What kind of flies are you using for the garfish - have you tried anything with glitter on it? I have these Kenyan flies sent as a sample including one or two in the shape of crabs! Any ideas?


Tue Jul 06, 2004 4:27 pm

well anything really, i use sandeel, prawn, crab, bread(for the mullet) and best of all poppers, i have never seen anything like a popper being taken off the surface. the garfish are easy to get interested but the main thing is to use a tiny hook as it is very hard to get a hook up with them. i buy mine from a guide in kerry called john quinlan, a great day has always been had anytime i go fishing with him. his website is

Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:32 pm

John Quinlan – the very man!! I am sure you are right, Liam, he’s a great guy!

Things have moved on a bit recently – I have now got my first copy of Irish Angler and it’s a great read and some good intelligent articles. Even the hotspot guide looks good…. :wink:
Particularly interesting was an article on fly fishing for pollack by Max Davi who recommends a full Sinking line. I’ve also got the free line with the magazine that turns out to be a WF7F Floating line, so that’s a good start!

Anyway, the plan is to buy a 9 ft No 9/10 rod (4 piece) classified as middle to tip, a WF sinking line and an WF intermediate line (to go with my free line), reel is to be a large arbour Okuma Airframe No 7/9 and a few flies and poppers from John Quinlan (courtesy of Veals). Should the lines be No 8 or 9?

From the reel, is it sensible to put on some mono followed by some 30lb Berkely Fireline braid (which I already have) and then tie on the fly line? Onto the flyline then goes the 4lb/10lb (6 feet?) leader and then the fly?

I have contacted a man in Connemara who can teach me the basics of casting and I don’t want to turn up looking a complete idjit so if any of the above is in that category please let me know!

Hmmmmm - that free line is looking more and more expensive every day, but then the biggest catch has always been the fisherman. :)


Wed Jul 07, 2004 11:54 am

pollock can b tempted to the surface especially at dusk on a floating line but a sinker r intermediate is best, a word of warning onthe sinking line, because u cant see itick a mark into the line at the point where the rods gets loaded, in other words if u try and cast with too much line under water u wil find that it shots back straight at your head, this way u always can feel the optimum point at which to cast.
maybe try and a get a 8/9 rod with a 8/9 reel and make sure everything is balanced. on the lines i would go for a new wf floating 9 and a wf intermediate 9, mullarkeys mail order do a great lint for about €5 and after all if u have it in the sea its not gonna last too long and at least this way u dont have to worry about rocks and mussels and on.
as far as the braid goes try putting the flyline on first then adding the braid so that u can get ur real perfectly filled, then its just a matter of emptying it and refilling it braid first. i have been told to go 12 foot and reduce it as u need to if it is windy, and as far as the breaking strain err on the safe sideif ur stuck in weed u will need maybe 15lb leader i only drop it for mullet

Wed Jul 07, 2004 2:58 pm

Tim - I have tried to PM you without success (I think). Can you PM me and then I can reply and perhaps we can talk about Connemara.



Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:20 pm

Thanks lads for all your help and I felt I owed you all an update.
I ended up with a 9 ft, 8 weight, 4 piece and 9 weight forward lines from Mullarkeys. Reel was an Okuma Airframe 7/9 . Had two shortish sessions with a professional coach, who normally salmon fishes. He said a couple of times the rod was quite powerful and seemed interested to know where I bought it. Perhaps he may be thinking of sea as well as fresh water fly fishing.
Anyway caught nothing but had some great fun trying to improve technique, so much so, I nearly forgot the whole purpose of fishing.. However, it made a blank day seem acceptable. Had a high speed fly hit the back of my head a couple of times, which certainly makes you check your technique for the next cast!

Two questions for you experts. I was eventually getting about 60 feet out (with some pretty awful style!) - is this about right? Secondly, it seemed to work better when I gave the line an extra tweak just before the fly left the water - it didn't always work but when it did, the line shot back very nicely. Is this another bad habit I've picked up?


Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:01 am

MAybe use the tweak at the end of the backcast, i have done since an old hand told me the lest hand is more important than the right in casting. As for the distance, it isnt as important as u might think as the fish u r going for will tend to b close in. And a few more clousers in the back of the head will soon learn ya!!!!!!!

Fri Jul 22, 2005 4:24 am

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