Keith McDonnell of Impact Fly Fishing shared his latest blog post with us:

Green fields rolled past the car window with a blur of broken cloud and bursts of sunlight. Inside, this fish crazed angler gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white. Mayfly season was kicking off. The holy grail of Irish trout fishing.

My heart thumped in anticipation, a counterpoint to the rhythmic hum of the tires. It had been a long, wet winter and spring, and a river that last year yielded a fish over 6lbs for me, had become an obsession.

Many nights were spent tying beautiful mayfly imitations – spent gnats, duns and emergers.

Reaching the river, the air buzzed with anticipation. The water was very low and clear, a mirror reflecting the cotton-ball clouds. The airflow was easterly, not ideal. No mayflies yet.

I walked the fields scanning for fly and the rings of the rise, my boots sinking into the marsh with a satisfying squelch. Every step was a silent prayer that conditions, fly and fish would all converge to provide an opportunity to cast at the large fish I’d dreamt of all winter. Time stretched, I stood hiding behind a tree and measured it by the lengthening of my shadow as the sun slowly went down and off the water.

Watching the evening develop it cleared my mind of everything apart from the prospect of a large rising trout. Phone calls to my two friends on other stretches were frequent to discuss how the evening was developing and trying to reassure myself that the dead low water and easterly breeze wouldn’t matter.

Then, a flicker. A single black and white Mayfly, began to dance and wait for a mate, Slowly, the air came alive with dancing Mayflies gliding on the breeze as far as the eye could see. I resisted putting on a jacket. The river’s surface dimpled with rising roach who struggled to take the large flies from the surface.

One rise form was different though. A leviathan, broke the surface with a greedy slurp. It was clumsy, like he didn’t really know what he was doing and his body a mottled bronze against the sun-dappled water sent rings lapping up against the banks….

I was suddenly in stealth mode, staying well back from the river, I snuck into position and kneeled down behind tall grass.

I waited, the fish began cruising and took three natural flies quickly in succession under a tree. I moved above the tree and chose what appeared to be the best opportunity.

A satisfactory cast landed softly and the para-glider mayfly above and to the right of the swirl. Sometimes you know when you have done everything right and a response from the fish is a given.

The take was instantaneous, the heavy weight of the trout pulled the rod into a perfect arc. The big trout sat under the rod tip and held deep….

Find out how that battle unfolds at