Great enthusiasm all around for Match the Hatch angling event held near Balbriggan, Co Dublin
The group that took part in the Match the Hatch course gearing-up for a session on the lake at Courtlough
COURTLOUGH provided the ideal location for the day-long Match the Hatch course conducted by Prof Ken Whelan and angling guide Jason O’Sullivan, last Sunday. The venue, close to Balbriggan, Co Dublin, enabled in-house talks and lakeside modules to proceed with the greatest of ease.
On arrival I caught the tail-end of the first module. The group of 12 were watching slides – including lakeside images – in an introduction to still-water entomology .
A bitterly cold north westerly did little to deter the enthusiasm as we made our way to the lake for the second phase – to sample insect life below the waves. Kick samples revealed a wealth of larvae including the small boatman, damsel, blood worm, shrimp, snail, sticklebacks, etc.
One by one, these insects and crustaceans were identified by Ken as to their importance to the wealth and food chain of stocked still-water lakes. Courtlough is certainly well endowed, testament to its high quality rainbow trout.
Following a hearty lunch, it was back to the classroom for a comprehensive overview by Jason of flies and tying patterns adaptable to still water. A selection of his splendid fly- tying imitations were passed among the group.
The final phase brought us back to the lake to attempt to put into practice our newly acquired knowledge. Here, Jason first demonstrated his casting skills and recommended set-up preparations.
Fishing time was limited as darkness fell, sufficient time though for three cracking rainbows to succumb to the damsel (this larvae was the second most popular found in our kick sampling).
The day concluded with Ken conducting a biopsy on his 1.5kg fish, pointing out the relative intestinal organs that make these wonderful animals tick.
Those I spoke to were full of praise for the professionalism of the course, with one commenting: “I learned an awful lot today about what goes on behind the scenes. Hopefully, it will make me a better angler.”
The next Match the Hatch course is scheduled for March 1st at Rathcon Fishery in Co Wicklow (ratcon.com/ fishing.htm).
Courtlough Fishery is open all year round. Contact 01-841 3096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AST auctionThe Atlantic Salmon Trust Auction for 2015 has more than 150 lots, ranging from superb salmon fishing on the rivers Restigouche in Canada and Orkla in Norway, and most major Irish and UK fisheries.
As well as wild sea trout, brown trout and grayling fishing being on offer, there are a number of unusually interesting shooting and stalking lots.
The auction provides a sport to suit every taste and pocket, with guide prices starting from as little as €39. Bidding is now open and will close February 14th. For full details of lots on offer and on how to register your bid, seeatlanticsalmontrust.org/auction.
Magazine articlesRonan Gormley emails with details of a series of articles he pens in the Skipper Magazine and Dairy and Food Industries Magazine on the health and related properties of fish. The quarterly issues are geared principally towards fishermen, fish packers, processors, distributors, retailers and consumers.
“Positive new evidence on health properties of fish is emerging on an almost daily basis, so it is very important we consume fish at least two to three times per week,” he says. Check the link to SeaHealth- ucd at: ucd.ie/foodand- health/ newsevents/outputs/
Waiting for first salmonStill we await the first salmon of 2015. At time of writing there is no sign of a fresh Atlantic salmon in the fisheries that are open, which now includes the Kerry region. On the Drowes, manager Bill Likely says water levels were reasonable at 0.9m but sleet and snow on roads in and out of Kinlough has kept the anglers at bay. “Eight years ago, the first salmon wasn’t caught until 29th January,” he says.