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My 2021 Fishing Season in Pictures

The 2021 fishing season has been one of the strangest of all for most anglers here in Ireland. Lockdowns prevented anyone from travelling to fish outside 5kms for the spring season. I made do with local urban rivers but fished very little as my heart wasn’t in it having fished them since I was a boy.

As the water temperatures started to increase there was some movement with smolts  heading downstream, the Mary Banger streamer came into its own.

When restrictions were lifted, Ciaran O’Kelly and I, always gluttons for punishment, decided to try a new river. We moved a really good trout who coughed up his breakfast!  and matched the hatch beautifully with this streamer I made from hen pheasant marabou, cactus chennille and jungle cock eyes. I’ve being tying alot with pheasant feathers for the last few years and it is becoming a very popular material for modern streamers. I hope to make some available in the shop soon!,

Nice Loops by Ciaran on an urban river and possibly my favourite picture of the season.

Of all the fishiest people you could meet, Keith Wenham is one of them! looking forward to many more days fishing with you Keith.

Swinging for Salmon on the river Nore, one of the most beautiful rivers in Ireland, Unfortunately we were a day early and the river was dirty and rising. That didn’t stop me from enjoying every cast.

Mick Byrne from Carlow is on my mind with every cast on the Nore. I can hear him say “you could meet a gilleen there anywhere  young buck and by jaysus he’d pull ye”

A brilliant salmon angler from Co Carlow, he sadly passed away in 2019 and passed on a wealth of knowledge to many anglers who were lucky enough to know him.

Spring fish in good water. What to choose?

Score! A nice fish to start the day

Lots of casting required to find a spring fish

This salmon fishing is easy! Take a picture quickly and I’ll get another one! 🙂

See I told you, Springers are handy enough! Now can I go back to my trout fishing?

Connemara is possibly the best place on the planet to catch wild indigenous brown trout. Ignore these waters as being infertile at your peril!

The first big fish of the season was on the 6th of June. What a stunningly perfect trout that pulled the scales to 5.5lbs. Note the vivid redspots. It turned out to be my best fish of the season.(T.C’s fish is another story!) 

This one sucked on a Peanut envy on the 7th of June. I was on a role!

I brought the kids fishing for Rainbows and they had a ball!

Hares Ear F-Fly

This is my absolute favourite dry fly. A modified F-Fly. I’ve tied it on a strong hook with a wider gape than normal. It serves to cover the vast majority of olive duns on Irish rivers and its made a real difference for me with bigger trout.

Nice fish on the dry fly that took quite a number of casts to get as he was cruising up a pool on a beat continuously. I damaged my foot chasing him while running up rough river bank. My foot swelled up so much that I’d to take off my waders and scramble a long distance to the car in my underpants with T.C carrying all my gear (Long story which should be expanded in a blog post!) It’s hard to find fishing buddies who would tolerate such antics!

In the net with red spots poking through. He avoided a grip and grin on this occassion as was eager to get back to swimming and eating!

The Yellow Peril proved its worth over a number of seasons and will most likely make it into the Impact Catalogue for 2022

Night time surface fly guy, more about that soon!

Headshot of a stunning brown trout that I got on the F-Fly. 

Old school is fun too!

Big trout taking an Olive. Thankfully he lives in a place where no fishing is allowed.

We love the silver ones too!

Handy Dandy Forceps prototype!

An old friend, Lunar ac2 hubless reel christened, That reel is a stunning piece of art, thanks Liam Stephen.

T.C our man of mystery got the job done with the Knick Knack. 

Night fishing for trout in summer is hard to beat

Night fishing was on the cards with sustained low water levels. I had a fantastic night where I caught two big trout one after the other who were bashing into the margins on the Boyne. I only had to drop my streamer out off the end of my rod tip and give it a tug to get them ..pure magic!!

Wild Irish Trout

This was a very rewarding fish for me. I was faced with very high water and went scouting on a long walk for rising fish at 6am and spotted this one rising underneath a broken tree. My first cast landed perfectly at 50ft, under a branch and the fish head and tailed over the fly and off we went! For those marking their program, the dorsal fin is damaged from argulus, a paracitic louse that damages the dorsal fin and is prevelant on some of our river systems in Ireland. 

We launched Impact fly Fishing in August. The pandemic had slowed our plans, however we were absolutely thrilled with the response from anglers about the flies and what we were doing and straight away there were some fantastic results from customers! I am really proud of what we’ve done so far and can’t wait to share what’s coming.

Mary B strikes again. This one cartwheeled down the pool!

Two of the fishiest guys I know! Jasper Mathews, a west of Ireland fishing guide and a pioneer of big streamer fishing on lakes and Owen Pickersgill, a very accomplished angler. Great to meet people who love fishing as much as I do. I spent a day in the boat and an evening over a few beers with these guys and they talk my language about fishing.  If you want to see what Connemara is all about, get in touch with Jasper.

Monster Irish Trout on Streamer

I couldn’t leave this one out, even though I wasn’t there, I was actually on the phone providing encouragement for those onboard when the fish took! An incredible fish for Irish waters and well into double figures and on our Mary Banger streamer. T.C will say Mass in an upcoming blog on this one!

September 30th on the dry fly! This fish will live long in my memory as I had to chance getting into deep water to get him out of a weed bed after a whole weekend of throwing streamers. I was so happy to finish my season on this water with such a stunning trout

When the Salmon that have been in the river for some time they can be very aggressive. The knick knack upsets them greatly!

Hard to beat a day out with my good friend Pat O’Toole. Pat fishes more than anyone I know and enjoys every second. Love this picture where he is scanning for risers.

I finished the season with this beautiful hen fish from a river that has proved to be very difficult, over a long period of time.  The knick knack streamer was perfect in the peaty water. The winter will be much easier for me with the replay of the take and landing of this fish commited to memory and also because my good friend Ciaran, who has an equal streamer fishing addiction was there to net and photograph the fish.

Walking streams in December with T.C and Ciaran, we were lucky to witness shoals of fresh seatrout still running. What a wonderful country we live in. We really need to take care of it!

I would like to wish all our friends and customers a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to sharing more fishing photos in the new year.

Comments (2)

Absolutely love what you are doing. It truly warms my heart. I hope to visit and do some cross cultural urban and suburban fly fishing.

TC Valentine

Keith McDonnell

Ah another TC! Thanks for the comment and best wishes

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