Richie Ryan, the saltwater fly guide from Cork Harbour, was back on the water with one of his favourite fishing partners last week…

And so Louwrens Badenhorst returned to Ireland to fish, mainly for pollack on the fly, one of his favourite quarries. Bads, as he’s known to his friends, sees the huge potential of fly fishing for the humble pollack in Ireland. He visits his friend Jacques Bronkhorst every other year to saltwater fly fish. With the good weather this year these guys managed to launch the Doc’s boat Celine 7 days in a row, a record for them. I’m invited along regularly as fodder for slagging and to learn from these expert South African anglers.

Jaques and Bads

During one of these outings Jacques happened to mention that there was the Blessing of the Boats at the local slip where we had launched but we’d miss it. We fished away. The fly fishing on the day, as Eamon Dunphy would say, was good but not great. When it was time to head home we noticed a large group of people heading down towards the slip. It was the Blessing of the Boats, a noble Catholic tradition. Picture the scene, 2 Protestants waiting patiently to recover the boat while the ceremony was progressing. God bless the priest, he spotted these 3 anglers and thought they had come in especially and headed down the slip with the Holy Water to bless the Protestant boat. As he approached I whispered in Jacques’ ear that this was not going to end well! Bads semi genuflected and bowed his head as the Holy Water was generously sprinkled on the boat. Unfortunately the priest didn’t allow for the tide and I reckon he had an ingress of water in his shoes.

Blessing of the Boats
Blessing of the Boats

The following day we three, complete with Blessed boat, headed to fly fish for pollack at one of my favourite marks. As we were about to launch the Doc received a text from my wife Liz not to head to sea in a holy boat! From the presentation of the first fly things could not have gone better. The pollack were in a voracious mood. The small clousers were being devoured at a furious pace by hungry pollack. Really big fish were landed , this was the best fly fishing we had ever had. The two  South Africans turned to me and said ” this is world class fishing” . I had to agree.

Jaques with a good pollack caught on fly

Inevitably the talk turned to the previous days blessing of the boat. It had worked an absolute treat. I was definitely going to have to get my own boat “Sea Hawk” blessed !

Not a “Bads” fish…

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