Trout in the freezer without wetting a line

I know I should have been fishing today. The weather was good, the fish are a bit more active than they were a few weeks ago and I had an open invite to fish Lough Conn. Instead, I pottered around in an inconclusive muddle, half finishing odd jobs and doing bits around the house. By 4pm I was done with my chores and sat down at the vice to make a few flies. You see I received a present last week of a pair of hen pheasant wings and I have been looking forward to using these beautifully marked feathers. One of the lads at work, Francie O’Toole, brought the wings in for me after his wife had hit the bird when it flew into her car.

First up a made some Purple March Brown’s. I reckon I must be the only person in Ireland who uses this pattern but it works well on difficult days. Just tie a normal March Brown but make the body out of purple dubbing and rib it with fine oval silver tinsel.

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Next up were a few Invicta’s with an opal tinsel body, just the job when the trout are hammering pin fry in the shallows. I remain unconvinced this pattern fishes any better than the standard silver version but it looks nice and bright.

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Invicta with a mirage opal body

Just like the rest of the day I became distracted and started to experiment with new ideas. I was just finished the first of these, a super bright Orkney Peach Dabbler when Ben appeared. He had fished Conn all day with only one fish to show for his unstinting efforts, a brown of around three pounds. Initial congratulations were stifled when I learned this trout had grabbed not a dainty mayfly imitation but an 11c Rapala intended for salmon. We habitually return any browns which are boated while trolling for salmon, but this guy had swallowed the Rapala and was in no condition to be returned. So instead he ended up in my freezer.

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Conn is now fishing a bit better and some good catches are being registered by anglers. A steady trickle of salmon are entering the Moy system and are being landed throughout the length of the river. I also hear that the trout fishing has improved markedly (at last)

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The Peach Dabbler tied on a size 8 – could this work for salmon?

While I remember, Francie O’Toole gave me not just the pheasant wings but also one of the pens he fashions out of bog oak. It’s a lovely thing and nice in the hand to use when scribbling on paper for a change from endless key tapping.

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A pen made from bog oak

Next weekend is going to be more organised and I am planning to fish both Saturday and Sunday. The weekend after that I will be demonstrating fly casting and fly tying at:

Féile na Tuaithe 2016  /  21 & 22 May

National Museum of Ireland – Country Life

Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland

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