Dan O’Neill had a change of scenery and a look behind the scenes at the weekend as well as trip out fishing and sad loss…

Delighted that the time is moving on and closer to the 17th of March. Some aspects of winter I will miss but there are many aspects of spring / summer that I am looking forward to. As the season gets closer I reflect a bit on the previous year. Wondering will the runs and glides fish differently this season, looking forward to meeting all the people I will get to take out, listen to their wonderful stories and hopefully get to catch a few fish while doing so, wonderful times lay ahead.

George McGrath in the studio

This week I had planned to meet George Mcgrath from YouTube channel Gundog and Fly. This trip would be a little different than our previous meetings as when we meet usually its at fairs where we would both get to say a quick hello and then be on our way to talk to people about the wonderful world of angling which is very enjoyable as we get to share stories and hear some interesting ones to. I  was dropping down to see George with my youngest apprentice Daniel for a chat about fishing this week. Once I arrived we went around to George’s studio. When watching Georges videos I always wanted to see the studio. Looking around it was a collection of rods, reels, feathers, many many many hooks and of course George. When it comes to fishing many who know me will tell you “He never knows when to shut up” and they are right. However, George’s knowledge and view on fishing is just amazing, it silenced me (for once). Listening to the way he described his approach to trout on the rivers he fished began building a picture for me and as he told his story I felt I was at the river’s edge with him. It was an amazing journey. I really look forward to going for a cast with George during the season. I did attempt one of Georges signature “sparkle duns” but unfortunately this one didn’t make the cut, which was strategic as now I must go back down to try again and hear some more stories of Georges adventures.

George McGrath

With some of George’s words echoing in my head on accuracy and paying attention to the fish’s behaviour I really needed to get out with a dry fly. Anthony wanted to hit Oaklands which is a fishery I am very fond of for many reasons but two main reasons. One the people who run Oaklands are genuine and encourage the angling youth strongly. Two, the location and fish are just superb fun and watching the carp move about really got Anthony excited and ready for action. After spending a long time looking around the tackle shop, we hit the lake. My two rods of choice were my Cadence 10ft pellet waggler and 9ft 9 8wt Cadence fly rod. Anthony also had his pellet waggler and the 12ft Cadence specimen rod for carp.

Oaklands – carp on fly and more

After a nice walk along the lake edge, we chose our peg which was peg 24. There were carp showing themselves all along our peg and to the right and left of us. We lightly ground baited to see what kind of response we got from the fish. After a few mins the float dipped and we began to get plenty of, bream, roach and rudd. The carp were a little higher up and I decided to put on a bubble head Caddis. I watched the fish in groups of 3 – 5. I wanted to target these groups as I felt they would compete for my offering giving me a better chance. I watched a particular group of fish and cast to them. They immediately dropped down in the water so I had missed my shot here. So, time for a “strat”. As I watched closer the carp were taking the same lines of travel on each patrol. I decided to cast to these lines well ahead of the fish.

Making my next cast I targeted one of the lines. The carp approached and one flicked his pectorals, reversed a little, pushed with his nose and refused it, thinking I missed my chance I watched the last carp of the group do the same thing, but this one opened his mouth and took in my fly. I lifted into the fish which dived for bottom as the hook set. The fight was on. I gained some line back quite quickly which was stripped back out just as fast. It was a really enjoyable battle that resulted in a lovely carp being netted by Anthony for a change. Anthony of course wanted to try one on the fly and soon enough had a lovely mirror carp of his own.

We really enjoyed our day at Oaklands where we got to use many different methods and catch some wonderful fish. We will no doubt be back there very soon.

Pat Hughes – a rememberence

Pat Hughes
Unfortunately, this week we lost a very dear friend and fellow APGAI Ireland member. Mr Pat Hughes held an advanced status in casting and assessed me for my APGAI Ireland casting exam. I also attended some shows with Pat, always managing to gain information. His knowledge and wisdom was infectious. Often, we would speak on the phone about casting and all things fishing.

I will truly miss Pat and his wise words but the words I received from my time with Pat I will never forget. Strangely enough I had a dream the night he passed away that we were all in Banbridge angling centre where I first met Pat. We were of course speaking of casting and having a general chat and good time as if it was a final farewell. Rest in peace Pat.

Go fishing…

South East Casting

Address Thomastown Kilkenny Ireland Mobile Phone: +353857652751

Oaklands Fishery

Address Marsh Meadow New Ross Wexford Ireland Phone: +353 51 445348 Mobile Phone: +353 87 6988979 Mobile Phone: +353 87 781 1042 Website: Website