Angling Notes: A Fine Line – gripping tales of a lifetime of wild brown trout fishing

George Barron’s book captures the author’s 50 years’ experience of memorable days

“Without change there can be no nostalgia”, according to George Barron in his latest book, A Fine Line.

With over 50 years ’ experience of fly fishing for wild brown trout he paints a bleak future for this unique species.

Barron firmly believes this generation or perhaps the next will be the last to fish for wild brown trout in Ireland and the UK. All natural waters, he said, are under threat, be they lake or river. All are under extreme pressure.

He cites changing ecosystems, commercial and agricultural pollution and lack of interest by government bodies as the main culprits. Disappearing fly-life from rivers, lakes and hills, cattle slurry scattered close to water courses and the deadly effects of chemical use on farmland and woodland are now a sad reality.

Most of this commercially-inflicted damage is preventable by the powers-that-be “‘but they close their eyes and turn their backs” while the once vibrant natural environment rapidly disappears, he said.

Looking back on a most enjoyable and distinguished lifetime of wild brown trout fishing, Barron provides us with an insight into his memorable days fishing on Scotland’s loughs, the Welsh mountain reservoirs and the great western lakes in Ireland.

Separating the three seasons – spring, summer and autumn – across three chapters, he reminisces on those never-to-be-forgotten days in great detail, which we all can relate to.

Nant-y-Moch reservoir high up in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales is his favourite retreat. After four decades competing in international loch-style and world championships he says “‘I just love being up there on my own, it’s my great escape”.

He recalls a bitterly cold April day on Moch during a snow storm.

“God knows why I was up there but for some mysterious reason the trout switched on. It could only be described as silly, almost a trout a cast from a bay that seemed dead minutes before.”

For the last 30 years, he has crossed the Irish Sea the same week each year to fish Lough Corrib. Driving into the town of Oughterard in Co Galway, he takes heart from the sign which proclaims ‘Welcome to the Wild Trout Capital of Europe’.

One special day “ticked all the boxes”. Heading out in the Doorus Peninsula area, the day began with driving squalls accompanied by torrential, cold icy showers. Against the odds, the fishing was brilliant.

Venturing in and out of Gibbon’s Bay and Lord’s Bay with boat partner Gerry Dixon, they lost count of the trout caught up to three pounds including ‘double-ups’. Over dinner, Dixon quipped: “Barron, you looked close to tears in the front of the boat coming home tonight”.

Today, it still makes the hairs on the back of his head tingle.

He is an advocate for size 12 hooks believing that the vast majority of wet flies tied would cover 90 per cent of those required to match most natural insects that trout feed on. Food for thought there!

As a top-notch fly-tyer he offers expert advice on match-the-hatch choice of flies each accompanied by exquisite photographs (75 in all) and their dressings.

Barron’s latest rendering is a snapshot of his memorable escapades in pursuit of those wily brown trout and a follow-up to his high acclaimed 2016 book At the End of the Line.

A Fine Line – Loch-style Fishing from Bank and Boat by George Barron. Retails at £25 (€29.59 in hardback.) Available in bookshops nationwide and

Life-saving award for fishery officers Kiely, Cremin and O’Riordan

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, recently presented three fisheries officers with the Seiko Just-in-Time Rescue Award for their heroic efforts in saving a life during a routine patrol operation.

Stephen Kiely, Sean Cremin and Tom O’Riordan contacted emergency services while administering first aid with their swift-water training experience, and CPR instructions over the phone. The Water Safety National Awards ceremony took place in O’Reilly Hall, University College Dublin.

Lough Lein Anglers AGM

The annual general meeting of Lough Lein Anglers’ Association, takes place tomorrow evening (Tuesday 10th) in the Dromhall Hotel, Killarney, at 8pm sharp. All members are requested to attend.