What a weekend, I have just returned from a great 3 days in Ireland, Clonmel to be precise fishing the Suir and Blackwater and helping with GAIA assessments for Ireland. First thanks to Phillip Maher who went out of his way to ensure that we were all fed, watered and for some of us to catch a salmon. Phillip leases water on the Suir and Blackwater and runs a successful tackle business; he is also one of the best casting instructors that I know.
The plan was for GAIA members to collect, carry out assessments of candidates and fish for salmon, we fished from day break until dark on beats allocated on the Suir and Blackwater. The Suir firstly which was out of sorts and running about 18 inches higher than acceptable and coloured. I did however “meet a fish” briefly on and off but I did get to see it. Great expression that “meet a fish” Uncle Willie the ghillie used it all the time, I liked the idea that I would “meet” a fish. Some of the lads caught a few fish but mostly on flying C’s or prawn. The Suir is total catch and release and single hooks only, somehow whilst I was happy to fish singles I would have felt more comfortable with a double or treble to secure that fish. Silly really as carp fisherman seem to do remarkably well with single hooks.
Next day I was on the Blackwater at the top of the tide, at low tide at Cappoquin county Waterford. First time down the pool and I hooked a 12lb fish. That was my day off to a great start and as far as I was concerned complete we returned for breakfast then spent the remainder of the day on the Suir. I returned the next day to the Blackwater with Willie Holmes. Willie runs a fishery in Northern Ireland and a guiding service to Canada so if you want to catch a sturgeon he is your man. As it turned out he also was a pretty good salmon fisherman with two that day.
Mark Patterson ran the assessments for GAIA approximately 7 in total trying for their GAIC and APGAI qualifications I think in the end there were 3 passes.
It was a great weekend and one that I look forward to going back to in 2011