Filming on the fly


ANGLING NOTES:‘I HAD NEVER caught a salmon in over 41 years of fishing and we were out on a drift on Lough Currane and I said to Richie, ‘This is a bit of a dour place.’ Five minutes later I was stuck into my first spring salmon. Needless to say, we bleeped out all the profanities,” declared Charlie Stuart at the recent launch of the film, Sea to Stream – a Salmon and Sea Trout Season on Lough Currane, in the Morgan Hotel, Temple Bar, Dublin.

Following the success of their first venture Follow the Fly in 2010, anglers Richie Johnston and Charlie, and cameraman Gary Finnegan were encouraged to produce another film that focused mainly on Currane in Waterville, Co Kerry.

From start to finish this DVD is compelling viewing for the fly fisher, and the narration, again by drama and comedy actor Niall Tóibín, simply adds a “wish I was there” flavour to the hour-long production.

The inclusion of rousing background music by Sonja Krzyzanowski and Pauline Burke who wrote a piece specially for the occasion, also forms an integral part of the movie.

Sea to Stream brings us on a fishing journey of Currane, starting on opening day in January and continuing on as the season progresses. “In early season we see bigger fish in less numbers and from July onwards plenty of smaller fish in greater numbers,” Richie says. On each outing the two anglers catch spring salmon, grilse, brown trout and sea trout.

Photography scores 10 out of 10 in my book. The location is one of scenic beauty and experienced photographer Gary Finnegan captures this brilliantly in high definition. The helicopter footage also makes for compelling viewing.

The film departs intermittently from Currane to explore other aspects of the salmon and sea trout phenomena.

Top angling guide Neil O’Shea takes Richie to the nearby River Inny where first they try the fly and then a spell of spinning, both without success. On its day, the Inny is a prolific salmon fishery.

(Since the formation of Waterville Fisheries Development Group in 2002, Michael Roden has taken out a two-mile lease on the river to let as a source of revenue for the group.) The team spend a day on Lough Namona with Neil. Here they catch a number of brown trout and sea trout to 0.5kg (1.10lb). And there’s an evening on the famous Butler Pool that yields a grilse for Charlie.

A chance meeting with Sean Smith from the UK is intriguing. In May, 2010, Sean had the distinction of catching the heaviest sea trout ever recorded on Currane on the fly. The fish weighed 6.04kg (13.31lb).

When it comes to sea trout one man stands out from the rest. TC Kingsmill Moore was an Supreme Court judge who wrote A Man May Fish. This angling classic shares ideas about flies, especially bumbles the Claret, Blue and the Bruiser, to name a few.

His favourite water was Costelloe and Fermoyle in Connemara. Richie and Charlie visit this system to see where Moore gained his inspiration in the hope they too might be inspired, Tóibín says.

In appreciation of support from the people of Waterville, the crew showed the film to a packed audience in the Butler Arms Hotel last weekend.

Sea to Stream retails at €20 and is a must for all fly anglers. It is available from tackle shops nationwide and

PS. I hear a third film may be in the making on bass. Watch this space.

* Oughterard Anglers’ Association is holding a mayfly competition on Lough Corrib this Sunday (May 13th) from Oughterard Pier starting at 10.30am. Prize-giving and entertainment will take place at Faherty’s Bar on the Square. Entry fee is €20 and €10 for juniors. Further details from Tucks Fishing Supplies, 091-552 335.