About a year ago we visited Vincent and Céline from Coyolles Fly Fishing, as they invited us to join them for the Rise Film festival.
Rodtrip in Ireland episode 1
Rodtrip in Ireland episode 2
We had a really good time, watching awesome fly fishing films, meeting a whole bunch of fly enthusiasts and seeing Alan and Audrey from Castle Hamilton fishing again.
Alan asked us if we were interested to come back and do another film, this time to promote their beautiful Green Isle. No need to say we didn’t hesitate a second to accept the invitation.
For those who haven’t followed us last year, we were invited to go fly fishing for pike in the Killeshandra region, which has 360 lakes in their vicinity. So you can imagine that a hard part in planning the trip is in making a choice in the lakes and rivers you’d like to fish.
So here’s the story of part II at Castle Hamilton.
On May 14th, after landing in Dublin late in the evening, we took the bus to Cavan where Alan awaited us by car for the last few miles to the lodge.
The first night we went to the local pub for a quick meet and greet with our Belgian friends Bernard, Pascal, and their party of 4. Inevitably hours passed by in explaining us how their fishing had been the previous days.
On the first day, we went to the river outlet which connected to another lake. After a couple of casts, the first pike eagerly took our flies, even though we hadn’t entered our belly boats yet.
More pike followed in the lakes, but nothing really big so far. In the afternoon we met one of the guides, which took us with a boat to some of the hidden lakes of the river Erne system.
They looked like paradise, but the afternoon was too hot and sunny (Ireland really looked like the south of France !) to be successful. Fish wasn’t active until late in the evening, as we were our way back for dinner, unfortunately.
But hey, a BBQ meal accompanied by a breathtaking sunset at a very picturesque lakeside wasn’t bad either.
The second day, we started at medium big lake, one with some depth. We all took some fish, but again: blue skies, a warm and sunny day, fishing in T-shirts… Despite these conditions, the first couple of 90+cm fish took our flies, which were fished very slowly.
In the evening we picked out a smaller lake with lots of lily pads. A festival of small to medium sized pike kept attacking our flies, so we had a lot of fun, because even a 70cm Irish pike will put a serious bend in your 9-weight and make several jumps.
It was here that Gino found a small dead roach floating in the water, which made him open his fly box to search for a matching pattern. This was a good move, because it proved to be the most successful fly of the trip.
The third day, we went again for a medium big lake, and everybody caught well with several good pike, the biggest being a 98cm for Gino. We noticed the fishing was picking up really good that day. At the end of this tiring day, we regained strength with one of those famous Irish sirloin steaks. You have to try one (or more) when you go there.
The next day we did scouting on some smaller well-hidden lakes, with some of them giving us nice rewards! In the evening we tried a river on our way back, it turned out to be a real blast! Very nice pike was caught by all of us on a simple downstream swing, with the water being just clear enough to see your fly.
Suddenly, out of nowhere BAM, a savage take, followed by some serious line ripping out of your hands.
As the river was generous to me, I went off with Jeremy to a spot where I missed a pike, and positioned him on it. First good cast, coming into the deeper part of it, the pike surged on his fly and he landed a nice 75+ fish. As that hole was quite big, he insisted and took his second pike.
Five minutes of fishing in one spot … Good fishing + good angler and companion enjoying his friend’s success = memories to recall for many years.
That night, we all talked about how we fished, and about the hardest takes from those magnificent fish, whilst enjoying another BBQ at the lodge. Alan provided some serious good tasting steaks which where cooked by Bernard, the local guide. His knowledge about how to cook that nice meat is second to none.
The next morning we started a little later, I still wonder why : )
On the first lake, which was deep, Johan managed to get rather quickly a very nice 90+ pike, which was really fat. As fishing was slowing down, we changed for another lake, and this turned out to be the best fishing afternoon of our trip.
Pike were caught straight away, and when Johan fished some weeds, he connected to a huge pike, which came off after several jumps. The rest of the team spread out, and in this particular stretch, Romain caught his big pike at 104 cm, and Gerd one of 106 cm. More than 30 fish above 80 cm, and a dozen of 90+cm made our day.
Wow, this was the potential we were looking for! 6 fly fishing addicts, having fun like crazy in a beautiful lake with a crazy number of fish. And did I mention, they were all really fat?!
That evening we were glowing of happiness in the pub, celebrating the day and saying hello to our good friends Gerd, Pascal and their two other companions, who had to leave the next day. We really owe them a lot for their good advice.
Our last day of fishing started in … rain and wind?! We just wanted to find out how the pike would behave in these conditions. On the first lake Mathias did really well catching some very nice pike in succession, on a very quick retrieve. It was a coarse fishing lake, but apparently home to a nice population of pike.
In the afternoon, we decided to go back to yesterday’s lake to see if there were still pike to be hooked. And believe it or not, again, lots of big pike, with many just under a meter, were caught, kissed and gently released.
We were soaked to the bone, especially Romain with leaking waders, and his special bellyboat, which we called Pantzer (if you meet him at a river, lake, or the Charleroi fly fishing festival, you should ask him about it).
Another nice meal, a few beers, and we all fell asleep to dream about this magnificent area, lodge and of course uncountable lakes and rivers. The perfect spot for what a Rodtrip should be all about: friendship, good fun, good fishing, cracking the code, laughing, and for you guys, doing our best to make some nice footage, and make you dream along with us. We hope you enjoyed it.
One thing is sure, Ireland will become a yearly fly fishing pilgrimage.
Many special thanks to Alan and Audrey, Bernard, Vincent, Gerd, Pascal and their gang.