Dan O’Neill, angling guide and casting instructor at South East Casting, reports on his time at the Irish Spring Angling Fair…
Blessed with sunshine and being able to have a sneak peak into the future of Irish angling made for a superb weekend. I am fortunate enough to be a part of APGAI Ireland and even more so that they asked me to help the kids attending the Spring Fair air to catch their first trout in the kid’s zone. Watching the kids line up with flies they tied with Mr. Arthur Greenwood and Mr. Joe Stitt was just magical. Some flies with very interesting names came my way and earned a nice rainbow trout in the lake at Ardaire. The guys across from me that were assisting with the bait and lure fishing also took me on a little trip down memory lane, watching them cast and teach just as my dad did with me many years ago. There was a constant flow of young enthusiasts which really took me back, it reminded me of myself at that age tying flies and going to the Gowran river to see if I could tempt a trout.
Every young angler that came to me had a little story to tell and as their fly was tied to the tippet the look on their face was just inspirational and truly showed that angling has a solid future with young anglers like this. It would be unfair and untrue if I said that one or two of these young anglers made an impression on me because in fact every single one of them left an impression on me and one that brought me back to my childhood where my angling adventure began. I have no doubt in some years from now that they will be around a lake doing as I am doing and maybe even writing about it to.
I was very impressed how quick the kids picked up the casting. Listening to every word we said and carrying it out with ease. I must mention I was far from on my own here. I was a part of a very professional team of guys (Ray Mceeman, Peter Wadding, Mick Crowley) who were also very impressed with the calibre of young anglers we were lucky enough to meet.
A very important task it was to put the future young anglers on the right path. There are some anglers however that are already on the path (myself included) that sometimes need a little guidance or advice as to how they are getting on or perhaps they are at a crossroads with their chosen discipline needing a little direction. Looking around at some of the world’s top anglers they never stopped greeting people, talking to them, giving advice and just making themselves so approachable,. Angling bringing everyone together making it a very large group of friends advising and assisting to make the angling journey clearer for people. All the people in the marquee and grounds were so helpful and took the time for every person that came to them ensuring that the advice given was solid.
Of course I couldn’t go to an angling fair without my apprentice. Anthony jumped out of bed Saturday morning to head with me to the fair. Once we got there it was straight to the lake for him and started casting which didn’t stop for him until 7pm that evening. Having people come up to me to compliment his persistence was a credit to him. He landed some nice trout and didn’t stop until he hit a double figure fish using his new favourite pattern the APTS bloodworm. The weekend was very beneficial as he got some great tips to improve his skills from world class anglers and fly tiers (Just don’t listen to Dad).
A great weekend and a very big thank you to Ned (Ardaire Springs) and APGAI Ireland for the opportunity to fish with such a promising group of young anglers who I have no doubt I will see again.