Alan O’Neill of Fly N Lure tells us:

Two aspects that don top priority in an anglers knowledgeably status is where to find feeding fish and what lure or fly is suitable or capable of catching these fish. With the forever evolving world of modern angling every day seems to bring a new product to light but in certain circumstances the old and battered pattern slowly rusting away in the corner of your fly box, forgotten since your fresh water days, could now be the one to save the day.

The introduction of fresh water patterns like black spiders, hare’s ear along with varied crustacean and invertebrate imitations may very well prove to be productive for catching more than it’s fair share of marine species. One particular pattern the Diawl Bach is fast becoming a killing fly in the salt. This to me is great news because fishing the smaller nymph type pattern brings a little simplicity back into fly angling in salt water. Big flies mean higher rated lines which come of course with match weighted fly rods and to be honest most of the fly rods suggested by the experts and tackle dealers are way over powering for the truthfully, more commonly caught Bass in the 2 – 5lb range here in Ireland.

I myself have two salt water fly rods, weighted eight and nine and love the casting capability of both while fishing during our now customary wind cyclones, however even though I am fairly confident venturing out with any of the mentioned rods there is always the fact that the most of my fly caught Bass are below 5lb weight and higher rod rating, 8, 9 or 10 weights are most of the time suited for bigger flies and the Irish weather, but not for the more commonly caught sized Bass.

Don’t get me wrong, the Copper Coast and other areas with a similar habitat hold some massive fish that can be caught with the use of a fly rod, I’m talking about my average annual catch rate and about the future use of smaller flies tied on hooks like 10 or 12s, in more settled water like a lagoon or salt marsh which I think will appeal to any fresh water fly anglers intending to convert to fly fishing in the salt. With the lighter outfit more commonly used by fresh water anglers I think a whole new world can be opened up by catching the higher concentration of the younger year classes (and of course the occasional monster) that tend to avail of the slightly more thermal water of a lagoon / salt marsh.

The new range of hybrid Diawl Bach patterns imitating the sediment emerging inveterate during flooding tides, tend to fish well in these thermalised / nursery locations. If you decide to tie some of these nymphs, I personally use only one strand of peacock herl while tying Diawl Bach patterns and have found on more than one occasion that less is more for fresh or salt water fly patterns. A good friend, fellow angler and fly tier swears by the use of red material while tying hybrid patterns for this style of fly fishing, this is something that can be proved through trial and error, but it’s reaping the rewards that makes your effort all worth while.

I have little experience of fishing with six weights or the smaller trout sized patterns in the salt but just imagine the capabilities of fishing with a lighter weighted rod like a five or six # and no higher, accompanied by a team of corophium imitations on a leader of 12 foot plus with a breaking strain of eight – ten pound. This would be a familiar enviroment for the fresh water angler and with suitable weather conditions while fishing shallow clear water, this could possibly be one of the best salt water fly fishing experiences available to fly anglers with varied fly fishing backgrounds.

Don’t be put off by the use of lighter rods or finer leader diameter, quality fluorocarbon and a half decent rod will take fish well over the leaders rated braking strength. Some angler also seem to think that the double haul is an essential casting method for the salt and maybe put off by this, wrong, any angler that can cast thirty or so feet will catch Bass in the salt.  Here’s a photo of a  Trout I took while fly fishing, using a five weight fly rod, four pound (BS) leader and better again, a home made size 12 dry beetle.  The fish in the pic weighed eight pounds, double the weight of the rated braking strain of my leader.

There is so many species that can be targeted on light weight fly fishing outfits, give it a try, you may be surprised by how easy it actually is to hook into one of the many fish that are available to the SWFF,  fly fishing for all marine species with exception to Sea Trout is free of charge. If you have any questions on areas to fish, how or when to fly fish any location in the South East of Ireland, you can contact me by E-mail   [email protected]

Compliments of:
Alan O’Neill
Fly N Lure