Many years ago, a former boss Alan McGurdy introduced me to the concept of the “ideas man” and I am absolutely sure that I have met one of them (an ideas man) in the guise of saltwater angling guide Jim Hendrick, from Wexford. Jims innovative “Saltwater Fly Fishing Primer” took place earlier his week in Cobh, Co Cork. The months if not years of hard work, conceptualising and developing the schedule and pulling together a world class and expert team finally came to fruition with the implementation and delivery of what only be described as a fantastic event.

Earlier this week, Jim teamed up with Ladies World Fly Fishing Distance Casting Champion Glenda Powell and Expert Fly Tyer Brian Healey  to provide three days of integrated, blended and bespoke workshops that greatly complimented each other. The workshops provided participants with a solid base of saltwater fly fishing knowledge and techniques to enhance their enjoyment and understanding of all aspects of this challenging sport. The workshops consisted of individually focused fly casting tuition, in-depth fly tying and fishing techniques and guided field visits to some stunning coastal locations to put all of the learning into practice.

The Dramatic Co Cork Coastline
The Dramatic Co Cork Coastline
Vincent O'Sullivan on the Cork Coastline Mastered Overhead Cast, Roll Cast and Double Haul in 2 Days
Vincent O’Sullivan Mastered the Overhead Cast, Roll Cast and Double Haul in Just 2 Days

Each person received two workshops in each of the disciplines over the three days a total of six workshops. In addition to the basic principles in each of the disciplines the workshops provided individually tailored advice to take account of the participants needs.

Topics covered in the course included

Fly casting techniques SH – delivered by Glenda – improving line speed, casting bigger flies, body positioning and much more.

Casting Goals Set: Glenda  Demonstrates Principles of Casting on the Casting Field.
Casting Goals Set: Glenda Demonstrates Principles of Casting on the Casting Field.

Fly tying techniques – delivered by Brian Healey – tying techniques for BTD’s, saltwater sea trout patterns, and material management.

Vincent O'Sullivan Working Closely with Instructor Brian Healey
Flying Along: Vincent O’Sullivan Working Closely with Instructor Brian Healey

Fly fishing – delivered by Jim Hendrick – participants took their new improved casting and  newly self tied flies and undertook fishing on the wild  Co Cork coastline with Jim.

Jim Hendrick in Action on the Cork Coastline During the Week
Jim Hendrick in Action on the Cork Coastline During the Week

Jim was also delighted to be based at one of the countries longest established and well known bass fishing centres – The Bella Vista Hotel in Cobh, Co.Cork. Proprietor Kevin Murphy has vast experience both of bass fishing and bass fishing anglers!

Following the event Jim commented “I count myself lucky if when fly fishing that I can catch a bass at all especially under the circumstances I enjoy the most, wild wind, waves, clear breaking white water.

I do like to explore as much of any location as I can, and, after any day spent on the coast, I feel like I have a better understanding of the fishing, even if it’s a location I know very well.  Will I swing through it most of the time, will I strip fast or slow, will it be a big fly or small?  Probably any of these things and many, many more are significant.

The Irish Coastline is Vast and Many Places are Yet to be Explored
The Irish Coastline is Vast and Many Places are Yet to be Explored

Over the years, trying everything I had in my gear bag under different circumstances in a multitude of locations—and by paying close attention to the way this produced or didn’t produce fish—helped me understand the nature of bass fishing on the fly every single time I did it, especially when the fish were there! I got better at it, and today I am still challenged by it and will remain so for the rest of my life.

In the end it’s not going to be only the fish, but it is going to be a number of experiences, that culminate in any rewarding experience. The company, the casting, the environment, the weather, the flies, and the things you see and hear. Any bass on a fly on the coast is a bonus a reward.

Its Not Just Catching Fish, How About a A New Found Appreciation of Being Able to Produce a Beautiful Fly Like This
Its Not Just Catching Fish, How About a A New Found Appreciation of Being Able to Produce a Beautiful Fly Like This (Tying by Brian Healey)

This is what I tried to capture at the workshops in Bella Vista, and to a large extent I have a sense that this happened not for any particular reason other than the mix was right. Too much attention is often afforded the fish especially when you consider the effort the fly angler has made. It’s through the wider level of appreciation of a greater number of aspects of fly fishing that ‘catching’ isn’t the singular pursuit.

Heaven, Just Fishing in a Beautiful Place Like this is Enough, with Bass as well it must be Heaven!!
Heaven, Just Fishing in a Beautiful Place Like this is Enough, with Bass as well it must be Heaven!!

I learned a lot from the workshops, what I might change and adapt but ultimately I continued to learn what it is and means to be a bass fishing guide”.

Regards Jim @ www.jimhendrick.com

Participants and Tutors at the Saltwater Fly Fishing Primer in Cobh Earlier this Week
Participants and Tutors at the Saltwater Fly Fishing Primer in Cobh Earlier this Week