Dan O’Neill’s trout fishing adventures for 2024 are underway at last…

The first day of the 2024 trout season is now a memory, a very fond one. The river a couple of weeks ago looked like it was going to be just right then we had heavy rain pushing the water up and forcing anglers to rethink their first day strategies. I was booked out over the weekend so spent most of my time on the very beautiful Kings River. The Kings always was very special to me and it was where my old fishery manager started me fly fishing. I was taken back a bit by how narrow the river was back then as I was used to fishing the River Barrow. I remember Matt looking at me probably around August time and telling me, “You will work for them in there, see you in a few hours.”

Matt then handed me a rod all set up, a matchbox with about 4 flies in it and a tiny dot of something in the corner of the matchbox which I found out after was a little bit of brylcream as floatant. Simple times, no big chest packs or backpacks just a matchbox, a tippet spool and away I went for a few hours fishing.

Kings River

Back to this weekend now and the King’s River. On the 17th I had a man out who was no stranger to harsh fishing conditions. Chris Archambeau told me many tales of his fishing journeys and I was delighted to be on his list for this season. Looking at conditions we had decided to try various tactics. Chris was used to fishing dry dropper, so he started off on the tail end of the first run. Each time I watched the Klink run down the current I was expecting it to disappear but it just didn’t happen. On the run below Chris, I ran a small streamer, mixing up the drifts was key. The first hit came with a jig retrieve. It felt great to be hooked up to a brown trout after a long off season. A picture and I let this beautiful fish back. Once I hit that fish I went back up to Chris to give him the streamer rod. Casting in such tight quarters is so much fun, we both enjoyed roll casting and watching it all come together.

kings river

After the 5th or 6th swing the line went tight and Chris hit a nice brown trout, fighting hard in the energetic current. A lovely Brown Trout came to the net, wonderful red spots and just a fantastic looking fish. We ran the streamers a couple more times through both runs and had some plucks and landed a couple of fish also. Most of our takes were on leech patterns. I  was using the Cadence 9ft 6in 6wt, Cadence floating line with a 9ft 5ips poly leader. This set up was perfect for conditions today and worked well for both me and Chris.

Another guest I had out over the weekend was angler Neil du Toit. Neil was no stranger to fly fishing and it was obvious from the first cast. We went early as winds were set to pick up around lunchtime. Things were a little different today the river dropped back about 8-10cm and was clearing quite quickly. We picked a stretch that had 3 good runs that would allow us to change techniques to see what the fish wanted today.

Neil started out tight line nymphing in the middle run, a couple of takes and one dropped trout lead us to switch to New Zealand style. Neil was a very accurate caster, so it was great being able to get the rig exactly where we wanted it. It didn’t take too long before Neil hit a nice trout at the end of a drift. The trout was in good condition for the time of year and wonderful colours. I met a trout at the head of the run also and again it was a delight to see one of these fish after a long off season.

As we hit the halfway mark it was time for a cup of tea and a rice krispie bun made by Anthony for my guest and I. After this quick break we headed back into the river and used our preferred methods. We met a couple more fish and then drew a line under the day.

A wonderful day and as predicted just as we left the wind picked up. Delighted to start the 2024 season with such great company and looking forward to meeting both guys again soon.

Spring Angling Fair – Ardaire Springs

A date for the angling diary is 4th and 5th of May at Ardaire Springs, I will be there with APGAI and Cadence so stop by and say hello, Its sure to make a great day out for the family.

Casting classes

I will be holding a range of classes over the Easter break, for details email or call me on the contact details below.

Go Fishing…

South East Casting

Address Thomastown Kilkenny Ireland Mobile Phone: +353857652751