So there we are, after a two hours flight, we touch ground in Dublin. We’ve left a foggy and cool Brussels, and meet a rather pleasant weather.
Our expectations were of course the usual clichés for Ireland : lots of rain, wind, hail, rough people, lots of sheep, and perhaps a Guinness or two.
So what did we get ? Believe it or not : lots of sunny weather, temperatures up to 18°C, no wind at all, very low water levels, and actually not a single drop of rain in our ten days trip …
As for the rest, the people were most kind and open to talk to, incredible hosts who really do everything for their clients, nice fishermen, a daily amount of good beer, good food, and of course some toothy critters !
Arriving at Killeshandra, made our heartbeats rise, because you’ve got Town’s Lake at 200 m from the lodge, and even a lake on the Castle Hamilton property!
After meets and greets, and discovering our flyfishing’s nest, we had two hours left to spend on fishing. Alan, our host, asks if we are interested to have a short session on Town’s lake, and of course, we were ready and set in less than 5 minutes…
We got two big and stable loch boats powered by nice outboard motors, and our teams split up. Romain and Johan went for the inlet, and Jeremy and Mathias for the outlet.
After trying numerous spectacular holding spots, Romain gets two pike, and lost a couple, and Johan got his first pike of the trip near the boat launch. Mathias and Jeremy also got into some action, and we’re happy with this quick and promising start.
The next day we met Gerd, Pascal and Albert, also Belgian flyfishermen who are regular visitors of Castle Hamilton.
Their average catch rate go from 10 to 30 pike per day, per angler. During the previous day they found fishing very hard in these of conditions of sunny and windless weather.
They never had so low catches in the last years. So far the typical situation, that when you go out for a well organized trip to locations who are top of the bill, you discover onsite that fishing that year is the worst in the last ten years. But hey, we’re here, and who knows, luck gets on our side…
They took us to very nice lakes with uncountable holding spots. You just knew that on a given day in normal conditions, pike fishing must be outstanding.
Everyday most of us were catching some nice fish, but we still had to crack the code.
Then we met with Bernard Engle of Hengel Guides, the professional fishing guide of Castle Hamilton.
He’s a very nice bloke, with Southafrican roots. He does what a guide has to do : he takes us to again the most spectacular reeds beds, rivers, inlets, incredible bays, and rowed quite some miles !
But the big rivers and lakes systems are really hard to buy a bite, and the first key to success was to fish until dark and early in the morning, that’s when we got our fish.
Other fishermen struggled too, but there was this boat of a father and his daughter who caught two pike over a meter, after asking Bernard advice !! OK, on dead bait, but this kept us focussed to do just that on the fly.
We all know that 20% of the fishermen catch 80% of the fish, which means that you have to think when the going gets tough.
And thinking we did, as well as finding the fish at last. We searched for the harder to get to lakes, and fished the most difficult spots with a sudden rise of success. Johan and Romain took 15 fish/day in the last three days, and some nice ones too.
We even got Bernard, who’s a rather a good lure fisherman, into our flyfishing mode, and he too took some nice fish, on days that other lure fisherman were happy to return to the lodge taking one fish…
So, we finally cracked the code. We were really sorry that this Rodtrip ended without our film and photograph specialists, but we know two things.
This Rodtrip is dedicated to Jeremy’s mom, and the second thing is, we’ll certainly be back in 2016 to complete this story !