Dan O’Neill, fly casting instructor and angling guide report on his latest perch session on River Barrow…

At last, we are coming to the end of what was and always is a long-closed season. This closed season, as many of us do, I promised myself that I would pursue the predators. With mid-term break due I had my apprentice and his fishing buddy free for a trip to the river. They were delighted to have the opportunity to get to the river and I even got to take my fly rod along. And so the trip began…

A visit to Peter in Piscari fly for some soft plastics, perch flies and a couple of Poly leaders was our first stop followed by some healthy(ish) snacks for our bankside lunch.

The car journey down was most enjoyable as tales and stories of “the one that got away” echoed. Memories flooding back from childhood as this was where I cast my first line and caught my first perch and many other species. Taking a look at the River it seemed to be just perfect, showing up some nice boils and currents that just had to have a couple of perch in. It was quite clear where my two guests were set on heading today as we have visited here before. They had their “go to” place so it was time to load up and be on our way.

Arriving at the spot it looked beautiful. The water was quite clear so we could see drop offs, weeded areas, small shoals of minnows and dace fry – it just was predator heaven. The lads began tackling up coming to me to check their knots and if their wire traces were correctly clamped. Looking at the area for a short while, both picked their areas and began to fish. It wasn’t very long before I heard a shout and Anthony was into the first perch of the day.


What a stunning fish perch are. Their colours are beyond explanation as is their design. There was absolute silence as we removed the barbless hook from the perch and took in how fabulous these fish are. As we released the perch it held for a second or two just in front of us showing off its stripes and magnificent dorsal. As the perch shot away small shoals of fry sprayed to get out of the way which almost looked like a little fireworks display.


Full of excitement the lads resumed casting to the features along their chosen areas. They both hooked quite a few perch getting more excited as each perch was landed and released, both Anthony and Rares had some perch over a pound which they were delighted with.

With the lads well on their way to having a double figure catch record I took out my fly rod. Gearing up to try perch on the fly I found a nice area near the lads. My first cast was parallel to the river bank and about 8ft out. Counting my fly down as it landed I began a jig retrieve. I knew these perch were here I just needed to find where and what way they wanted the retrieve today. After at least a dozen casts my line finally went tight and shot out to the middle of the river, an olive flash under the surface confirmed this was the perch I had been waiting on. After a nice battle the fish came to the net. I was delighted with my catch even more so that it was on my fly rod.

Barrow perch on a fly
Barrow perch on a fly

More perch did come to the fly as the day went on lovely – explosive takes and one right at my feet which took me by surprise.

Really looking forward to my next trip with Anthony and Rares, hopefully it will be 3 fly rods.

Go fishing…

For a full list of classes in various different aspects of fly fishing or guiding please contact me on the below details

Dan O’Neill

A.P.G.A.I Ireland casting Instructor

PH: 0857652751

Email: [email protected]