Lucky seven lakes

Mon, May 25, 2009, 01:00

ANGLING NOTES:SEAN McManmon is a man of many talents. As estate manager of the K Club for more than 20 years, he achieved the highest accolades for his presentation of the golf course, the estate and the lakes, and especially during the Ryder Cup in 2006.

Sean is first to admit his first love is fly-fishing. Having represented Ireland for many years and captained the Leinster team, he went on to coach the Irish ladies’ fly-fishing team for five years.

He has met many high-profile people, including George Bush Snr, Bill Gates, Pierce Brosnan, Sylvester Stallone and has, on many occasions, guided Mark O’Meara and Tiger Woods at fishing venues throughout Ireland. Earlier this year he attended the wedding of Todd Serbic (Tiger Woods’s caddy) in Florida.

Sean has now moved to Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co Meath, as estate manager. The estate covers 600 acres and includes one of Ireland’s finest Norman castles from the 12th-century.

Last Saturday week, along with some media colleagues, I took a fishing outing at the castle. I was impressed by the tranquillity, the atmosphere and the natural beauty of the demesne.

There are seven lakes at Killeen, several of which are stocked with rainbow and brown trout. Sean intends to include pike and land-locked salmon in the remaining lakes, with fly-fishing to the fore.

Following a welcome from general manager Barry O’Connor, we were soon enroute to the “brownies” on Lake Two. Rules on the day were: only one fly, single barbless hook, no wading and stewards to measure fish.

“These browns are virtually unfished for three years and should provide good sport,” Sean said. How right he was. Within the hour 10 golden beauties were landed and returned.

On to Lake Seven for the big rainbows. Hard fighting, rod bending, arm wrenching were required, as each one weighed between 1.4kg (3lb) and 3.6kg (8lb). They came fast and furious, the likes of which I have never witnessed before. With a tally of 40 between eight exhausted revellers, lunch could not have come sooner.

Things were to get even better in the afternoon. At the new north lake, David Gray performed well with a double-bead-head lure and Michael Flanagan found success on a Hummungus lure. Suffice to say all anglers caught fish, many fish – a total of 104 to be precise.

The key to this phenomenal success is that the seven lakes are each fed from wells with aerated pumps and sit over a limestone base. “They are a fantastic habitat for snails,” according to Sean.

Over a spectacular dinner in the clubhouse, he thanked the media for their attendance at the inaugural competition and looked forward to next year. He then presented the Killeen Castle Big Fish Media Perpetual Trophy to the winner, David Gray, for his catch of 16 fish.

Results: 1, D Gray (Star), 16 fish (688 pts); 2, M Flanagan (Sunday World), 16f (674 pts); 3, B Hayes (Waterlog), 15f (613 pts); 4, D Chew (ERFB), 14f, (598 pts); 5, D Davis (4FM), 10f, 466 pts. Longest fish: D Dinsmore (Irish Angler), 64cm.

Sean will be busy over the next two years as Killeen Castle is scheduled to host the Solheim Cup in 2011.

Individual anglers and groups are particularly welcome at Killeen. For booking details, email info@killeencastle.com or tel. 00-353 (0) 1 689 3000.

Anglers are proclaiming 2009 the best mayfly season on Lough Corrib for many years. Last week saw superb hatches and reports from around the lake of trout busily feeding at the surface.

Dapping and dry fly accounted for most fish. In the Oughterard area, over 700 trout were reported and at Currarevagh House, out of 140, over 100 were returned. Stephen Watson had

up to nine trout on some days,

all released, and John Molloy caught a fine 4.5kg (10lb) salmon on the dap.

At Camillaun Lodge, six Welsh anglers recorded 145 trout, with 31 retained. The Kieseweiser party had 48 fish with 33 returned, and Pat Doyle,

Dermot O’Mahony and Timmy O’Connor recorded 36 fish with nine kept.

In the Cornamona-Greenfields area, the fishing was described as very good, with anglers calling it the best mayfly fishing for 10 years. 233 anglers reported 729 trout in 589 rod-days, with the best fish at 4kg (9.5lb).

On Mask, fishing was very good with good fly hatches and lots of fish rising to surface flies. The European Cup was fished out of Tourmakeady and 110 anglers landed 105 trout over the 13 inch limit. Pat Feerick from Ballinrobe took first place with eight fish.

Over on Carra, the mayfly is yet to get into full swing, with hatches just getting going this week.

angling@irishtimes.com