Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Rio Grande. Stevie Munn’s South American Experience.

Some News on the Hardy Web Site about my last trip .


Hardy & Greys Pro Flyfisher Stevie Munn returns from the 4th National FLY FISHING MEETING OF THE RIO GRANDE-Tierra Del Fuego, held at the
Lodge: Maria Behety, where he was a special guest of the Association Riograndense fly fishing, Sponsored by INFUETUR (Secretary of Tourism) and hosted by Mr Angle "Goma" Carrillo. Stevie was among only two Europeans asked to give a fly casting clinic at this high profile event and was interviewed by Argentine T.V and sampled the fishing on the World famous Rio Grande River. The other was top caster Danish caster Henrik Mortensen. The show was a great success with Stevie showing fly casting with Hardy rods and reels which the local guides and anglers also tried and enjoyed. Stevie would like to thank all involved with this marvellous event and hopes he can return.
The second part of his trip Stevie stayed at The Estancia Despedida lodge, hosted by Danny Lajous and Ozzie , This is where Stevie landed his biggest ever Sea Run Brown Trout which tipped the scales just over 24lb, taken on a fly given to him by his show interpreter and now friend Jorge Luis Calvo Laubli or Tato for short the deadly pattern was a Black & Red Articulated dressing. Stevie tells us the Despedida lodge is lavishness and relaxing set in a beautiful wilderness with not only fishing on the Rio Grande but also the beautiful rivers Rio Menendez and Rio Mc Lennan. Danny and Ozzie are the ultimate lodge hosts. Their kind nature coupled by a rich fishing knowledge made me feel right at home. As the only owner-operated lodge on the Rio Grande, Despedida has the comforting feel of staying with your fishing family. Danny’s son Tommy and his friend Jorge are fantastic guides with an uncanny ability to find big fish that will take. Ozzie’s entertaining conversation at the dinner table ranged from Argentine history to rock, Jazz and blues music to world affairs. Chef Oscar served excellent four course meals with elements of Argentine and European cuisine that were well-matched with best Argentine wines. Stevie definitely will be back hopefully as a guest again to the show and also Despedida lodge now want him to promote and host trips to this wonderful destination to U.K and Irish anglers, so anyone interested in sampling this magnificent part of the world and its great fishing contact Stevie Munn by email anlingclassics@aol.com

The Lodge

The Show

Me & Fanny Krieger
Casting Demo .

My Guide Jorge with a Great Fish

A View going fishing

The Above where some of our best fish ,

Driving Though the Andes mountains at the bottom of the World to fly back.

anyone interested in sampling this magnificent part of the world and its great fishing contact me by email at anlingclassics@aol.com

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

I had a dream. The Irish Fly Fair & Game Angling Show.By Stevie Munn

For numerous years I wanted to run a high-quality fly fair and game angling show in Ireland. I always thought that our art and passion was never well enough represented in this part of the world, though many have tried and done their best and some shows and I must say some have been very good that I worked at , although normally game angling and fly dressing have continually shared with other angling disciplines, I always thought the country deserved a proper game angling and fly fair like those I had demonstrated at many times in the U.K and Holland, after all its one of the biggest sports in the country. So several years ago I bought the domain name Irish Fly Fair and started thinking how I could make this dream come true. I have worked a 100s of angling and country shows over the years so I had the contacts, I knew so many wonderful fly tyers, fly casters, traders and well known names in the angling world and they knew me, so I had the basic plan, but what I needed was funders and sponsors or even better very good event organizers to team up with me. I wanted a top class show but never had the money to put into it to make it what I required. This opportunity arose when I was working at a show in Dublin the Angling Ireland Expo and met Hugh Bonner from Mara Media who were running this show; I must say they are excellent event organizers and impressed me immensely. Irish Angler editor David Dinsmore knew I owned the name and suggested I talked to Mara Media, so I did and our first meeting went pretty good though Hugh did not agree to anything there and then but suggested we should meet again after he got his head around the idea . On the next meeting Hugh and Grace McDermott from Mara’s sales team, both attended and we all agreed that we should work together on the show.

We then started thinking about venues I originally wanted to have the show in Belfast or Dublin because of their large populations as I wanted a good turnout at the door as I knew this is how to keep the traders and everyone contacted with the event happy as I have had a lot of experience from that side of the fence, I wanted it when the game fishing season was over also for that reason , but Hugh suggested that perhaps Galway would be an excellent venue for a game angling show and the more i thought about it ,the more it seemed to make perfect sense, the west although it is in the midst of so much great game angling with world famous names like Corrib, Mask, Conn, Galway weir ,the Moy and the Delphi to name just a few, but this part of Ireland had never had a great angling show and this one would be dedicated to Game Angling which the west of Ireland has been a Meca for hundreds of years for Trout and Salmon anglers.
I wanted this show to have some of the best attractions for game anglers not just a show that the public paid into to browse angling shops, although trade stands are a major part of any show and it’s a great place for the anglers to get a deal on some new tackle but also with a large foot fall good for the trade stands who want to show off their products. I wanted a mix of top quality trade stands, fly casting demos, common interest stands, teaching, talks, fishing simulators, competitions and at its core a large host of the best fly dressers in the World that would keep the public entertained and pass on their knowledge. So this is what I and the Mara Media team went about trying to create.

The Venue for the show had to be impressive too. I wanted elegance, style and comfort for all that attended the show, the guys and girls that were working and demonstrating and the public alike, so Hugh suggested we used the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill, and what a venue it is overlooking Galway Bay and the Clare Hills, it is an Award winning 4 star hotel considered by many to be one of the top hotels in Galway. It has massive function rooms for prefect for trade stands and a huge conservatory which would be fabulous for fly dressers to give demos, so that’s where we have it .On the first morning of the show last year everything was in place we had an impressive list of fly tyers from all over the world, though with a strong Irish back bone, we had a large number of trade and interest stands, we had our fly casters and angling instructors, we had our well known angling celebrities, we had our experts like Dr Ken Whelan to give talks. We had everything in place to run our event, after many months of planning and hard work by me, my sister Elaine who built the web site and the Mara Media team ,who where a dream to work with I must say. We had promoted it to the best of our ability at great expense to Mara Media, with me pulling some favors from my contacts in the angling world. I remember standing at the front door alongside Hugh silently praying for the game angling public to arrive, I had not slept the night before the show, I was so worried that all our hard work, effort and their money was going to be in vain, I remember standing at 10.15am 15 minutes after the doors had opened thinking’ S##t’ what have I done. But then all of a sudden people started turning up and the door numbers became great the interest in the show from anglers was incredible they came from all corners of the Isle and many even from overseas. The feedback we had last year was fantastic with many saying it was the best angling event they had attended , you can read the feedback on our web site www.irishflyfair.com .

This year the show should be even better for the public as we have assembled the largest group of fly tyers ever to dress flies at a show in Ireland ,more than last year, at the moment I have no more space left for fly tyers we have around 60 of the World’s Best Fly Tyers from 15 different countries, we have also a larger number of trade stands selling all the top brands , we have great talks and fly casting by World Campion fly casters among them Scott MacKenzie, Glenda Powell and Hywel Morgan, we have tuition by APGAI- IRE that in their ranks have some of the highest qualified game angling casting instructors on the island such as Peter O'Reilly, Pat Hughes, Paddy Mc Donnell , Joe Stitt and Jim Hoy, we also have for the first time the youth fly tying competition, we have the fishing simulator from France and much much more, to keep you the angling public happy.

Here is a list of international fly tyers that I must thank as they are all giving their time for free, Alice Conba - Ireland, AndrĂ© Miegies - Netherlands, Andy Boekholt - Netherlands, Andrew McGall – Ireland, Arthur Greenwood - Ireland, Brian Burnett - Scotland, Caroline Emmet - England, Chris Reeves - England, Chris Sandford- England, David Wolsoncroft-Dodds - England, Dean Armstrong - Ireland, Declan Tuffy - Ireland, Dougie Loughridge - Scotland, Emyr Breese - Wales, Erik Strijker - Netherlands, Fergal McKiernan - Ireland, Frankie McPhillips - Ireland, Frank Moors - England, Frank Reilly - Ireland, Gary Bell - Ireland, Gerry Teggart – Ireland, Stephen Moates-Ireland , Glyn Davies - Wales, Ian McKenzie - England, Jim Lees - Scotland, Jeanette Linnarud - Sweden, Marc Fauvet - France, Jens Pilgaard - Denmark, Joe McDonald - Ireland, Joe Stitt - Ireland, Johan Put - Netherlands, John McLaughlin - Ireland, Lawrence Finney - Ireland, Michael & Betty Hayes - Ireland, Michael Monahan - Ireland, Mike Keady - Ireland, Mike Shanks - Ireland, Mikko Stenburg - Finland, Moreno Borriero - Italy, Pat Mulholland - Ireland, Dr Paul Davis - England, Paul Molloy – Ireland, Peter Dunne -Ireland , Peter O'Reilly - Ireland, Robert Reilly - Ireland, Sean Cassidy - Ireland, Sean Dempsey - Ireland, Stoyan Filipov - Bulgaria, Stuart Wylie - Ireland, Riny Sluiter - Netherlands, Ryan Houston - Ireland , Terenzio Zandri - Italy, Tom Delahunty – Ireland, Trevor Jones - Wales, Vytas Markevicius - Lithuania, Wendy Gibson - England, Roger Salomonsson- Sweden, Skuli Kristinsson- Iceland, David Edwards – England, Evert Eenkhoorn- Netherlands, William Heckel - USA,Walter Bayer - Germany and more . A pretty impressive line up you must agree.

This show is a must for the angling enthusiast with many clubs and anglers coming down and making a weekend out of it, we have entertainment on the Saturday night on top of all that. So I hope to see you all there please come along and give it your support, we need events like this to work in Ireland in these challenging times. If there are any companies out there who can help us in any way with sponsoring please contact us we would be only too glad to listen. I also must add again it is a pleasure to be working with all the Mara Media events team and I hope this event goes from strength to strength. See you all there in November.
19th-20th November 2011.

Hotel: Galway Bay Salthill Galway

Duration: Two days (Saturday & Sunday)

Times: Saturday 10-6pm - Sunday 10-5pm
For more details www.irishflyfair.com

For further information:
Hugh Bonner - (074) 9548935 - hugh@maramedia.ie
Grace McDermott - (074) 9548936 - grace@maramedia.ie
Stevie Munn - anglingclassics@aol.com

Monday, 6 June 2011

Silver Bullets on the Fly. Mullet the Irish Bone Fish . By Stevie Munn

Being a fly fishing fanatic i will cast for any fish as long as i can do it on a fly rod, although there are some fish i love to catch more than others, these are normally species that fight hard or are a challenge or both, if I’m lucky. As a boy I grew up fishing mostly for wild trout and Atlantic salmon as these where the fish my late father who was a very keen angler introduced me to, and they are both still a large and wonderful part of my fly fishing, but when home in Ireland i also now fly fish for Pike and some saltwater species and when on my travels i fish for Pacific salmon , steelhead , grayling, wild rainbows, you know the sort of stuff that almost all fly fishing fanatics like to chase, but there is a fish that i now target in the summer months in my native land that has to be one of the best sporting fish on a fly rod ,this fish is fast and strong and there are 100s of places around our coastline that we can fish for them ,it is the Grey Mullet. Now i know Mullet have always thought to have been almost impossible by many anglers to get to take on a fly rod some say you need to lure them by feeding them with bread flake and maggots then fish fly patterns to imitate what you have just fed to them, but this is not the way i like to fish although I’m not knocking anyone that does it , it’s just i don’t want to carry maggots and as for bread it makes me ill so I’m on a strict wheat free diet ,i don’t even like being near the stuff. So when i go fly fishing i like to travel light, it’s one of the things i adore about fly fishing all i want to take is my rod, reel and a box of flies, that’s about it I’m not bringing bait boxes and the contents of the nearest bloody bakery.

Now if you talk to anyone who has actually caught a mullet on a fly rod they will all tell you they are great fighters but talk to anyone who has been lucky enough to have fished for tropical bone fish in somewhere like Mexico or Cuba and has also been fortunate to have caught a mullet on a fly rod , they will tell you that mullet reminded them of the legendry ghost of the salt flats as they speed off ripping backing from your reel, and for this reason Mullet are often called in my part of the world called the Irish bone fish dew to being a speed king and silver bullet of a fish and one well worth fishing for and like the Bone fish in shallow water there is not many fish faster than them , so when i was asked few years ago by fellow casting instructor Leslie Holmes to come fish with him for them, i simply jumped at the chance as i knew Leslie is an angler that catches these fish on a very regular bases. Leslie lives on the North Coast of Northern Ireland where the River Bann renowned for its Salmon flows to the sea at Castlerock, the locals know this spot as the bar mouth, it is a huge estuary and i could not wait to fish it. When i arrived there i asked Leslie how he started to target Mullet he told me, it was while fishing at the Bar Mouth for Seatrout many years ago he often noticed very large shoals of Mullet cruising the margins in the estuary as the tide filled, which he tended to ignore other than having the occasional throw at them with his sea trout patterns but never having any luck with them he always gave up and went back to fishing for Seatrout. Then on a number of days Leslie made a point of walking the estuary as the tide filled, with no rod, solely to observe shoals of Mullet as they had begun to intrigue him . He then noticed that there was always a number of fish in front or to the rear of the main shoal. As the front runners moved up the shoreline in approximately 6 to 8 inches of water it became obvious that there was a sprinkling effect on the surface, seconds before an eruption of fish broke through the top of the water. This was one of those chance discoveries, as the conditions were extremely hot with not even a whisper of a breeze on the water, so Leslie was able to study these fish , he then returned home to give them some thought , where they chasing sand eels or small fry? They were definitely chasing something! He went through all his fly boxes and found some sand eel patterns and threw them into a salmon fly box which had a few other flies in it and grabbed a 9 weight rod which he used for Bass and got into the car and went back to the estuary.

He then went up the shore with a small sand eel pattern on, seen fish approaching, covered the front runner, and hooked the mullet but straight away the fish got off! This happened a dozen times. He then kept cutting the sand eel pattern tail back, and then the savage takes stopped. Exasperated he couldn't work out what was happening. Then for the hell of it, he did something strange he put on a small salmon Irish fly a size 16 Orange and Gold shrimp pattern. Fly on!! Shoal approaching, front runners pushing stuff up, covered with the little salmon fly, long straight draw on line and bang!!!! The rod practically got wrenched from his hand and off the fish went like a speed train , full fly line out through the top eye, backing screaming off the reel, blood flowing from his line finger, 80yards backing gone. Then the silver missile decides to turn and head back at him, and he is now running backwards to keep the tension on the fish. Eventually 15 minutes later a 6.5lb silver grey power house slips into the net, with the Currys red shrimp stuck in the side of a car tyre of a lip. So Leslie had cracked it but was it a fluke, so he sat down, shook for while and watched another pod moving towards him. Could it work again only one way to find out? He did exactly the same as before and BANG similar fight, HAPPY DAYS!!! 15 mins later 3lb Mullet lay in the net. (So the 1st one was not a fluke) Time to change the fly, just to see? On goes another Irish Salmon fly this time a size 16 Foxford Shrimp and another 4 fish in the net, the last one he dispatched to eat and also to check the stomach contents. Yes you guessed it, it was crammed full of sand shrimp!!! These were the little things sprinkling or fleeing the mighty Mullet. Since that day roughly six years ago Leslie has landed hundreds of Mullet with this method and now his secret was out.

Now it was my turn to fish for them, i had like most kids that fished growing up on Belfast’s Shore Road fished at times for Mullet in Belfast Lough with very little success, so i wanted to put Leslies tactics in to good practise and i did landing 3 great fish in my first outing with him all on small salmon flies and they all fought like express trains just fantastic sport on a fly rod. I have also caught them since then on small brown flies in very calm water, simple trout flies like the hares ear sometimes work, but i must admit the small salmon flies on size 16 and 14 hooks work so well i keep going back to them and it’s my belief that this tactic triggers a response similar to the behaviour of Daphnia feeding trout or at times pulling a small lure though Caenis feeding trout, they just can’t seem to help themselves so they chase and attack your fly , this can be really exciting especially if fishing in perfect Mullet conditions which is in a flat calm then at times just like trout fishing , you get huge bow waves flowing your fly , if this happens don’t slow down keep stripping back at pace and with luck the fish will stop you and then with a Mullet all hell will brake lose as he heads out to sea ripping line from your screaming reel . MAGIC. I now have fished many times for these great fish and am always looking around my coast line for new hot spots they are truly super on the fly rod , get out there and try them.


Myself and Les strongly recommend the use of a 9 foot 8 or 9 weight rod as he has experimented with 6 and 7 weights , with these lighter rods it’s almost impossible to set the hook with, you need something with a bit of backbone. My own preference is a Hardy Zane 9ft 8 or 9 weights with a Zane No 1 reel. Use a saltwater proof large arbour reel with a serious amount of backing attached with a WF 8 Floating line, a Mullet will test your equipment to the limit. Leader material consists of 10 feet of 10 or 12lb Fluorocarbon. Fly selection is dictated by weather conditions the flatter the water the smaller the pattern i.e. 16 for flat calm and 14 to a 12 when there’s ripple or wave on it.. One more tip that will hopefully bring you success is once you feel anything at your line strike as hard as you can, as if your life depended on it you have to set the hook, these fish do not have soft mouths as often heard amongst the angling fraternity.

The Orange & Gold Shrimp
Hook 8 – 16 single, treble or double.
Tag Fine oval or flat gold or silver tinsel
Rear Hackle Golden Pheasant rear red body feather, wound
Rear Body Gold Tinsel
Rib Gold oval tinsel or wire
Centre hackle Hot Orange
Front body Black Seal’s fur or Floss
Rib Gold or silver oval tinsel or wire
Front Hackle Badger
Head Black

The Foxford Shrimp
Hook 8 – 16 single, treble or double.
Tag Fine oval or flat silver tinsel
Rear Hackle Golden Pheasant rear body red feather
Rear Body Black Seal’s fur or floss.
Rib Fine or medium oval tinsel
Centre hackle Badger cock
Front body Fiery brown Seal’s fur
Rib Fine or medium oval silver tinsel
Wing. Jungle cock
Front Hackle Natural red (brown)
Head Black or red.

Info on Guiding for Mullet.

There are good guides in N.Ireland contact Stevie Munn and he can point you in the right direction. Email anglingclassics@aol.com

Leslie Holmes can be contacted on Email info@stonefalls.co.uk for fishing around the Bann estuary. Packages including accommodation can be arranged also Stephen Kennedy is a saltwater guide and runs the Strangford guiding company on Strangford Lough where you can also fish for mullet and Seatrout StrangfordGuidingCo@BTInternet.com

Fact File --Stevie Munn has fished many places in the world but grew up fishing on rivers and loughs of Ireland where he now often guides. He is a Hardy Greys Academy indorsed game angling Instructor, and helps run teaching courses in Ireland and hosts trips to Canada, he is a qualified Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor in Fly Casting (APGAI) and a Association Professional Game Angling Instructor in Fly Tying & Fly Casting (APGAI-Ireland) he can be contacted by email anglingclassics@aol.com or via the web sites www.anglingclassics.co.uk or www.hardyfishing.com

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Stevie Munn. Fly Fisher.: Hosted Fishing in British Columbia, Canada

Stevie Munn. Fly Fisher.: Hosted Fishing in British Columbia, Canada www.anglingclassics.co.uk

Hosted Fishing in British Columbia, Canada

Exclusive Escorted Salmon Fishing Trips to Canada BC

British Columbia, Canada, has some of the most phenomenal and exciting sport fishing opportunities the world has to offer. Every year the salmon runs, number in the 10's of millions. The sturgeon fishing is world class, and if that's not enough, they also have a fantastic steelhead and trout fishing. Simply speaking, British Columbia and it rivers produce an awesome year-round fishery that's tough to beat. Combine this great fishery with spectacular scenery wildlife and tips and help from a qualified Hardy Academy Instructor, and you have the opportunity to experience the trip of a lifetime! Fishing in British Columbia, Canada is nothing short of world class. Whether you are a die-hard or an occasional fisherman, we will spoil you with excellent fishing.

Fishing Trip October 2011

Sturgeon & Salmon - British Columbia - Fraser River -

The mighty Fraser River constitutes the back-bone of one of the world’s great salmon-yielding systems, comprising countless tributaries that have been spawning sites since time unknown. Amid breathtaking scenic beauty you’ll find yourself fishing the region’s local rivers - the Fraser, the Chilliwack, the Vedder, the Harrison and the Chehalis - for Chinook, chum, Coho, pink (running every other year, including 2011) and sockeye salmon plus steelhead, trout and the massive sturgeon (the latter being catch/tag and release only).

There are few places left where you can genuinely be surrounded by superb fishing and stunning scenery. The legendary Fraser River system, which to this day remains un-dammed throughout its 850 mile course, ranks as one of the world’s last great salmon producing rivers and still has no rival in its migratory salmon runs. There is no doubt about it sturgeon of all sizes are exciting - most adversaries leap upon feeling cold steel and 60-180lb. specimens are everyday catches on the Fraser and Harrison Rivers.

Normal Itinerary

This Year we are offering a deluxe trip with all meals but dinner.

5 days guided fishing, 8 night’s accommodations, 10 day trip, Airport Transfers.

Lunches for your fishing days,

Return flights from UK/Ireland

Accommodation Breakfast at hotel.

5 x 8hr day jet boat guided fishing

Shuttle to and from fishing

Rest day or fish the Vedder River

Any tuition needed


Fully qualified instructor

Local knowledge of the area and river.

discount on all tackle for your trip bought at www.anglingclassics.co.uk

Flyfishing guides on all boats

Meeting like minded anglers

Breakfast at hotel. & Lunches for your fishing days, most trip dont do this and charge .

Best Hotel in Area .


Your angling adventures can also include

Improve on your fly casting techniques
Double Hand Traditional Spey and Skagit casting techniques
Single Hand Casting techniques
Tackle talk, the basics required
Learn how to tie fly leaders and attach flies
Importance of fly selection
Top Salmon fishing & Sturgeon fishing
Top Class Salmon Fishing With Top Class Guides, Hosted By A Top Instructor.

The fishing is spectacular. The thunderous roar of the mighty rivers fills your ears, as you gaze up towards the sky you are greeted with breathtaking mountain views and towering formations of chiseled rock. Known as! The Great Outdoors!
Located just 1 hour east of Vancouver offering visitors a liberating and exhilarating experience.

Stevie Munn is a proud member of the Hardy Greys Academy, and The Game Angling Instructors Associations which comprise of instructors from around the UK and Ireland, who actively promote the best instruction service for anglers wanting to improve their technique. Stevie has been teaching game angling for many years and are devoted to fly angling at its best.

If you need more information on what you will need to bring please email

"I can't say enough. the best fishing trips I have ever had. I can't thank you enough."

Robert Hayes

We use Registered Top Canadian Guides in compliance with Canadian Law

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Eency Weency Spider. By Stevie Munn

Spiders are a series of fishing flies that originated in the North of England probably in Yorkshire, certainly over 300 years ago, often known as "North Country Spiders, they are soft hackle patterns which are deadly when fished upstream, across or downstream. They represent a fly fishing tradition which goes back many years and they remain in use today because they are so effective when fished in the correct way. These flies are constantly in use on rivers throughout the UK and Ireland and they are effective on most trout streams around the world. The origin of these patterns, as with most old fly patterns, is shrouded in the mists of time. Some of the first descriptions were discovered in an 1807 document written by a Yorkshire farmer named John Swarbrick. Due to the popularity winged flies at the time Swarbrick's spiders were used by a few local anglers for many years but as a result never really became popular. It was only during the late nineteenth century, that the spider pattern became a success with the publishing of Mr. T.E. Pritt's classic book, 'Yorkshire trout flies'. There were other exponents of the spider pattern writing at the time but it was Pritt's book that really hit home. Pritt saw that it was almost impossible to imitate an insect perfectly from an aesthetic point of view, but not from that of an impressionistic one, this is something many top fishing flies have in common.
The word "spiders" can be fairly misleading to some as these fly patterns do not actually represent a spider that you may find in your bath or one that spins a web in your garden, but rather they imitate a hatching insects caught in the surface of the river - or in the surface film of a stillwater. They simply got there name from the fact that they have a long webby hackle that when dry looks a bit like the eight long legs of an arachnid. A true North Country Spider should have a fairly short body by modern standards, no longer than from the eye to a point opposite the hook point or just past. The body should also be slim to match that of an insect and as I have said a long webby hackle that consists of one or a maximum of two turns of feather. There are many great spider patterns; the three I list here among my favourites fish them with confidence, they are true classics.

Partridge and Orange
HOOK 12 -16
THREAD: pearsalls orange silk
BODY orange tying silk (some recommend orange floss some give fine gold wire rib)
HACKLE: Brown partridge back feather

This Fly is one of my favourite spider patterns a truly great fly that can be fished right though the season on rivers for trout, one of my fishing pals Davy Telford rarely has it of his cast when wet fly fishing, It is not only a good fly on rivers as it is also a useful fly at duckfly time on the loughs although then I would suggest you use the floss body one and maybe add Jungle cock cheeks to the fly. Traditionally fished 'upstream and across' or on the swing, and dead drift like the other spider patterns. The fly can be fished on its own or as part of a team; normally I would fish it on the dropper. There is another Orange Partridge pattern, dressed by professional tyer Alice Conba from Ireland, It features a tail made of three strands of bronze mallard flank, as well as a more swept back, fuller hackle collar. This fly becomes much more a standard wet fly in her version and less a North Country Spider and would also be well worth a try, although I must admit the original for me is hard to beat.

Waterhen Bloa
HOOK: 12 -16
THREAD: Primrose yellow lightly waxed
BODY: Primrose yellow silk lightly dubbed with mole or a mixture of blue rabbit under fur and mole. The silk should shine through the dubbing. Oliver Edwards describes it as a mist of dubbing.
HACKLE: Feather from the marginal coverts of a waterhens wing, or sometime I use blue dun hen hackle.

I love this fly; it’s a true great and fish it a lot on my local rivers. The Waterhen Bloa is a brilliant large dark olive imitation and in the smaller sizes it is also a good blue winged olive imitation, this maybe the reason I like this fly so much as many rivers in Ireland where I grew up fishing have hatches of these beautiful upwing flies and the trout feed on them avidly. It’s also a fly that works on stillwaters like most of the spider patterns. I know many very good and famous river anglers from around the world that rate this fly as one off their personal favourites, to me it is a fly that most anglers fishing anywhere that gets an olive hatch should carry in their fly boxes, simply a great wet fly.

Partridge and Yellow
Hook 12 - 16
Thread. Yellow
BODY .Yellow tying silk (some recommend Yellow floss some give fine gold or silver wire rib)
Hackle. Light Partridge breast

I spent some time thinking what my third choice would be , I very nearly went for the Snipe and Purple , which is a great fly and one I have used and do well with and also toyed with adding the Greenwell Spider which is like all of the greenwell series simply one of the greatest trout flies in the world and I can’t express that enough it is one I use often and my father would not have went fishing without, but I decided to add The Partridge and Yellow as it is a true old spider pattern and is often my choice when the paler olive species are hatching. It imitates a large range of olives and other flies and it’s a fly that I have seen trout move quite a distance to take and it’s like the two other flies I have listed are simply super.

Small but nice , little sixmile water wild brown trout

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stevie Munn Fly Fisher: March , Run for your rods it’s over

Stevie Munn Fly Fisher: March , Run for your rods it’s over

March , Run for your rods it’s over

Hooray!!! Its finally here, my real fishing season that is, as in my part of this Island of Ireland the game angling season begins on the first day of March. I feel that I’m starting to come alive again like some woodland creature coming out of hibernation, as dedicated fly anglers we have survived the dark days of winter, we have endured the deadly cabin fever, some of us may have even suffered particularly badly and even fell prey to mind numbing daytime television and we may also even resorted to things that so called normal folk would do, working most days, house work, decorating and even washing the car from time to time, to try and take our minds off casting to a trout or salmon in a beautiful shining stream or wild Irish lough, but now we feel invigorated once again and we run around like frantic mad March hares, we are now busily doing hugely important tasks like sorting out our tackle, cleaning down our fly lines, fixing or replacing leaky waders, taking our fly rods out of storage, checking their rings or line guides and perhaps most importantly dressing wonderful flies to restock our fly boxes and grace our leaders and hopefully take us a fish or two in the coming season .
OK I know I may be exaggerating just a little bit, I know a lot of us now fish in the winter for rainbow trout at stocked fisheries and some off the salmon rivers have been opened in Ireland in January and February and perhaps some of us may have also been out in search of pike, which is becoming ever popular over the winter months with the fly rod and I know some of us may have even been fortunate enough to have even done some angling in a far of land ( infact I will Be fishing in B.C Canada) and all these parts to our sport can be great, but as local anglers we now have many more options as rivers and lakes open and winter starts to loosen its cold grip and spring pushes in , we will even feel like going fishing once more. Now here are three flies that will do very well in the coming months, I hope you will dress a few.

The Griffith’s Gnat
Hook: size 14 -26 (any fine wire fly hook)
Thread: 12/0 black
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Grizzle (genetic capes are best for this fly)
Tying tip: Start your thread and wind back to the bend. Prepare a grizzle hackle feather and tye it in. I add a drop of diluted head cement too the tye-in point, and let dry this stops the hackle pulling out and makes the fly a bit more durable.
The Griffiths Gnat has become a truly classic dry fly pattern that can imitate many of the items that are on a trout’s menu. I love flies with peacock herl in the dressing and this is a great fly that will take trout after trout. This fly was first designed as an emerging or adult midge or as a midge cluster pattern and for me it is a fly that every trout angler should carry in their fly box whether they fish on Stillwater’s, loughs or rivers. The fly was invented by an American fly fishing legend Mr George A. Griffith who to his immense credit was the founder of Trout Unlimited in 1959, which is America's leading trout and salmon conservation organization that does fantastic work, and now has over 140000 members. The Griffiths Gnat’s beauty also lies in its use of simple and common fly tying materials to produce one of the world's most effective dry flies. This fly will work right though the season at any time when trout are feeding on small insects, it’s a must have pattern.

The Blae and Black
Hook: 6 – 16 wet fly
• Tying Silk : Black
• Tail (optional) : Pheasant tippet or blood red feather
• Body : Black floss or seal fur some old patterns ask for water-rat or mole
• Rib Silver oval tinsel or wire
• Hackle : Black hen
• Wing : Grey duck, medium starling or hen blackbird
• Head : Whip finish, trim & clear varnish

The Blae and Black is a very old pattern and a fantastic one, in my research of this fly I have not found a date, most books suggest it’s a fly of Scottish origin and some tell me it is linked to another truly great old fly the Black Pennell, if this is true and it seems likely as its almost the same as the Pennell but with a blae wing, it makes the fly Edwardian and most likely devised by an English man, Mr H. Cholmondely Pennell, who was a well to do angler that spent much of his life fishing in northern Europe and wintering on the French Riviera ( Lucky man ). The Blae and Black is a very good choice early in the season if lough fishing at duck fly time, I will sometimes dress it with jungle cock cheeks for this type of fishing and fish it on the middle or top dropper, the trout most likely take it for an emerging fly . It is not only a lough fly and will also work well on the river and when dressed in its larger sizes it has often worked for salmon, dollaghan and sea trout, so it’s a truly versatile and extremely useful pattern.

The Camasunary Killer
HOOK – 6 – 12 wet fly or Low water single salmon 10
THREAD – Black
TAIL – Royal Blue Wool or Floss
RIB – Oval Silver tinsel or wire
BODY – In Two Halves, the First Half Royal Blue Wool or floss, the Second Half Red Wool or floss.
The Camasunary killer was first shown to me by a fishing pal of mine Mr Jackie Child, while I was fishing with him on the Rosses loughs in Co. Donegal many years ago, it is a fabulous fly that is named after a fishery on the Isle of Skye, that is off the coast of west Scotland. The fly first appears in a book called ‘Fishing From Afar’ by Stephen Johnson, who interestingly wrote his book in a prisoner of War camp in Germany after his plane was shot down during World war two. The fly has a reputation as a great Seatrout and Salmon fly and appears in another great book John Veniard's ‘A Further Guide to Fly Dressing’ published by A & C Black in 1964, in this it is stated by Peter Dean "It is without any doubt the most successful wet fly I've ever come across. Salmon take it as freely as sea trout, and in small sizes it is an excellent lake pattern, as good in Scotland and Ireland as in the south and west country’, high praise indeed it’s still a very popular fly and a know a lot of anglers who love this fly and for good reason ,I have been told by many that It works very well in the peat stained water of the Connemara fisheries, where it can be fished on the dropper or the point

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A Love affair with Dollaghan

I have a love affair with trout; to the non angler this may sound strange or even downright weird, but I must confess I love all wild trout but perhaps my favourite is the brown trout from Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland it

Is called The Dollaghan, a trout that I have fished for almost my entire life, and my father fished for before me.

The name Dollaghan comes from the Gaelic word dulach that means swift running and the translation of Dollaghan means ‘run of fish’ or ‘running fish’. Within the Dollaghan family there are a number of different trout that scientific studies have shown spawn separately and thus maintain a genetic isolation. Local names for these fish include Buddagh or Breddach which translate to ‘big fat fellow’ and are very similar to Ferox, there is also the Salmon Trout, a silver fish giving them a sea trout appearance. This is not the only similarity they have with their sea run relations, as like sea trout they are very light sensitive and shy, also Lough Neagh where they spend most of their life is although freshwater, like a sea the Lough itself is massive, the largest lake in the British Isles covering a vast 153 sq miles 400 sq km, I have been afloat on Neagh on Lough Neagh Fishing Tours boat and at times had to pinch myself , you can forget your not at sea as at times you cannot see land on the horizon.

Dollaghan achieve growth rates similar to Atlantic salmon while they feed in the Lough and on their return to their native rivers and can weigh from around two too well into the teens of pounds, and there are stories of bigger.

My personal heaviest to date was a large cock fish of around 10lb, but I have hooked larger and I know anglers who have been lucky enough to land some very big fish. Holding on to these big fish while you have just hooked them is very hard; you need a large helping of luck to keep them on. They have a hard mouth for a trout, and they shake their head while falling back, this is normally how you can tell you have just hooked something substantial and is the crunch time when they either stay on or are lost, to be honest most of the very big fish are lost, but in a seasons fishing I would normally catch quite a few fish over five pounds, big trout in anyone’s book anywhere in the world and there’s always some lucky angler that will get a real brute of a fish.

Tactics for Dollaghan seem to vary slightly from river to river, you can have good sport during the day, if the conditions are right, but the most successful time seems to be evening and night fishing, but if it’s a moonlit night it is often very slow, but strangely that’s often a good night for a salmon. The best conditions are thick cloud a day or two after a flood, when the water has cleared and if you know where they are the fishing can be great.

I love fly fishing at night - there is something magical about it, it’s the realm not only of Dollaghan but of bats, otters and owls, the stillness and the sounds of the river and the sights you see, for me it's wonderful. There are also some strange things that happen at night while you’re out fishing, sometimes it’s not for the faint hearted as your mind can play tricks on you, I had fished at night for years and am used to it, even so strange and funny things do happen. I remember fishing on the Sixmile on a very dark moonless and windy night, which are great conditions for night fishing, this night I was fishing with a fellow club member who had grown up on the Shankill road in Belfast and had no doubt seen his fair share of the troubles, we where fishing a famous night pool on the river when he let out a massive yell which made me almost jump out of my skin , screams in the dark when your least expecting them will make you jump believe me , even if you have fished a river for years at night, as I looked around I seen that my mate was lying on the river bank holding his face and shouting at me , some tosser hit me in the face with a stone, or it might have been, some bastard is cluding, that’s the Belfast slang, now growing up where we did we both know what its like to be hit with a stone, my problem was this was two in the morning in pitch dark, on a river bank miles from any towns, so whoever had thrown this stone was some bloody shot, it was only when I went to help my mate and picked his rod up I realised what had happened for hanging stone dead impaled on his dropper fly was a bat, which had been unfortunate enough to get caught on my mates back cast and hit the caster right bang in the middle of the face at about sixty miles per hour, the poor bat died on impact and my fishing partner had a very sore face, but we where both glad no one was chucking stones at us in the middle of the night, I always felt sorry for that kamikaze bat though at least he went quick .

Another night I was out fishing with my good friend Davy Telford and something unusual happened, Davy fishes with me a lot, he normally fishes rivers, and he wont mind me saying I sort of showed him how to night fish for dollaghan and he has got very good at it I must say, I say sort of showed as he was doing ok, I just tweaked him a bit and now he consistently gets fish at night, he fishes hard and there has been many a night I have let him fish though a pool before me only to be saying to him a hour or two latter, after he has had a couple of nice fish, Davy any chance of me having a cast, you see we take turns on certain short pools that we know that are good taking spots . This particular night Davy was wading down a pool we both like, I was sitting on the high bank above him watching, he was fishing his normal methodical way across and down ten times and then take a step, across and down ten times and then take a step and he was getting the odd take but the fish where not staying on, he was losing them, I knew this as about every ten minutes Davy would shout a curse word then tell me just lost one. I was enjoying the night just sitting there watching him and the things around me, when suddenly Davy shouted yes im in, good fish I shouted to him as I could see his rod tip bouncing in the dim moonlight, then Davy shouted God it’s a bloody monster mate and its running up the river past me, this has happed to us a few times and when it does its normally a very big fish and normally you lose it , but then Davy shouted something I have never heard anyone shout in all my years of fishing at night , Stevie he cried the bloody thing is now running up the bank on the far side above me , what I shouted , Davy cried its up the bank on dry land, and I could hear twigs cracking on the far bank , then Davy shouted its back in the water and its bloody smaller, by this time I was beside him and netted his fish and seen there was now a bit of the fish missing. It was then it dawned on us both what had happened, Davy got the take and hooked his fish which then was taken buy an otter hunting at night, the otter then swam passed him at a rate of knots and jumped onto the bank still holding the fish in its jaws with Davy pulling back the otter let go after a short run up the opposite bank and then Davy started to play his fish with a bite mark out of it. To this day Davy Telford is the only man that I know that has played a dollaghan and an otter at the same time.

Let me give you few tips on night fishing, do a thorough recce on the stretch you intend to fish during the day. And I don't advise wading unless you know the river very well, its good to know where you are walking; you don't want to end up swimming in a river at night! Wear a life jacket. For first timers I'd recommend hiring a guide. I learnt by growing up on the rivers, fishing with my father and trial and error. If you are on holiday or just visiting and want to maximise your chances of hooking a Dollaghan, a guide who knows the water and the tactics may help, if he’s any good. And if you're not used to the rivers and have never fished them at night before, a guide can help from a safety point of view as well. Also while fishing at night I do not shine a torch on the water it spooks the fish you should turn your back to the water when tying on a fly, its also good manners as there maybe other anglers around.

Tackle is very much a matter of personal preference. You could use heavy trout gear; I like a very stiff 9 to 10 foot rod. These are powerful fish I like a rod that can put a bit of pressure on them. Otherwise you can lose them in the rocks and snags, especially at night, as for flies basically they are fairly standard patterns, during the day small traditional trout flies like the Back Pennell, Dunkeld and the Gold Head Hares Ear take there share of fish. Then in the evenings I change to hair wing salmon flies or Irish shrimp flies these seem to work best at night, fished on an intermediate line and a short leader. Dollaghan will also take a floating lure stripped across the surface again similar to sea trout. Now whether Dollaghan feed on their return to the river is a point of conjecture and now I generally practice catch and release so, there are not too many stomach contents to inspect. However in the past my father and I did take our share of them and the stomach contents that I have looked at there is no evidence to suggest that these trout are gorging themselves. Perhaps like sea trout they do take the odd invertebrate. Certainly the Dollaghan do not eat lots when they are in the river and take like the salmon at times probably dew to pure aggression. Dollaghan have certain lies you will find them throughout the river system, but like any large trout they like a bit of cover - overhanging trees, undercut banks and so on. They will also lie around rocks and in deep runs and pools.

Nowadays, Dollaghan fishing is a lot more popular, and I think the attraction of these wonderful and unique brown trout is their size and that they are truly wild. While fishing in the dusk and into the darkness the excitement you feel if you get a take, not knowing if it’s going to be a 1lb or 10lb fish, or even a salmon (which happens quite often), this just keeps bringing me back night after night. In fact, the last few months of the season when the Dollaghan fishing is at its peak, is almost like being on the night shift. When my wife comes home from work at around six, I put the rod in the car and in 10 minutes I’m tackling up on one of my favorite beats watching the sunset.

In my job I have been lucky to fish in many places in the world, on many rivers and lakes, this is great and I hope to continue doing it, but it has also made me realize that what we have on our door step in the north of Ireland is wonderful and unique. Growing up on these local rivers I may have taken them and there fish for granted and I think a lot of local anglers still do, we just don’t realise what we have, but to be honest we are simply blessed. Now it’s not all rosie, we do have some problems, there’s to many houses being built along rivers, pollution from time to time , illegal netting on the Lough , just to name a few, but that said we still have good fishing and the Dollaghan still survive. If we could get the problems stopped we without doubt have one of the world’s finest brown trout fisheries. There are very few places in the world where you will catch quite a few wild brown trout over 5lb pounds every year. We need to start treasuring these wonderful fish their rivers and their Lough it would be a sin if it was lost.


Six main inflowing rivers to Lough Neagh which, are the river Maine and tributaries , Moyola, Ballinderry, Blackwater, Upper Bann and my local Six-Mile-Water. The right time can be from the end of July, after a spate, through to the end of the season on the 31st of October, email anglingclassics@aol.com web www.anglingclassics.co.uk . Pics By Davy Telford , mostly