Posts Tagged ‘GAIA’

GAIA Ireland

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

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.

River Suir in Spate

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.

River Suir on an autumn day

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.

Mark Patterson with a Suir fish

It was a great weekend and one that I look forward to going back to in 2011

A Blackwater fish of 12lb


Mullet on the Bann

Friday, June 18th, 2010

I had the very good fortune to spend a day on the Bann estuary at the beginning of June in the company of Leslie Holmes and Mark Patterson both GAIA instructors.  It was Leslie’s boat and we met in Colraine boat moorings at 9am shortly after high tide.

The plan was to follow the tide out and locate fish on the  shallow sand banks.  I had no idea what to expect.  The tackle was heavy reservoir tackle #8 with bags of backing, the fish are in shallow water and when hooked just ran for the deeps.  Flies were small salmon flies on long shank trebles size 14 and 16.  Arndilly Fancy and Bann Shrimps were the favoured patterns.

Flats Fishing

We patrolled the shore line and when we saw fish pulled the boat ashore and cast to them.  The retrieve was to let the fly sink and figure of eight it back making the sand puff up with each pull.

Conditions were bright with a northerly wind not ideal for this estuary. We did see fish shoals of them grey shadows moving across the sand as the boat approached and I did manage to get a fish to take but it was on and off in a flash.

What next? Well I did feel the power of the fish and they strike me as an ideal target species in the summer months when the rivers are low and salmon are just not around.  They seem to flourish in hot still conditions with bright sunshine.  The Clyde does have them and after research have discovered that they are present in numbers around Erskine harbour and the Black Cart so that’s where I plan to try.

If in Ireland contact Leslie for a day as a guide, he also has a very good rainbow fishery Stone Falls where I managed to finish the day with a 3-4lb fish.

Tweedswood Day Two 13th March

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Andrew Toft with tight loops

Another great day on the Tweed day two of our GAIA meeting.  Brilliant weather sunshine strong wind, very bright and cold, 60 GAIA members and guests assembled for a day of development and fun.

Further successes from yesterday were Dudley Hosfield and John Symonds GAIC Salmon, Richard Jacques, Mike Lonsdale GAIC Trout congratulations to them all they worked hard to achieve their success.

Tweedswood Viaduct

Back to today we had arranged workshops with Ronnie Glass Scottish Rivers team member on Grayling fishing, Kenny Galt from the Tweed Foundation who gave interesting discussions on Tweed fly life.  Gary Scott was Salmon fishing and Andrew Toft was Fulcrum Casting.  Peter MCCallum and Wendy Gibson were our fly dressers they were joined briefly at lunch by Pat Stevens of Flytek.  Louis Noble and Mark Roberts were giving APGAI casting overviews and the master of spey casting Peter Anderson gave a demo over lunch always a joy to watch.  Finally Ray Morris discussed customer service before dinner.

The casting was well received some of my pals from the Glasgow casting club were bowled over and I know were inspired to join GAIA  and plan taking a GAIC assessment next time around which is great.

Gary Scott

We also had some boys over from Ireland who were amazing and gave freely of their time Philip Maher, Mark Roberts and Leslie Holmes.  Leslie is a Mullet fisherman with a fly and I have planned to go fish with him in June of this year which I am looking forward to doing.  Other invites include a trip to Waterford in September for an FFF meet which I will do.

Other notes for me to remember are Loop Opti Lake  and the Michael Evans are lines for me to get hold of as they cast a treat and the Sage XP 4 piece 5 or 6 is a great rod that I have to look out for so if anyone wants to sell one please get in touch.

Peter Anderson holding court!

Finally a big thanks to Kevin Patterson ghillie at Tweedswood who was patient with us all for two days
and who helped me organise the event.
These photos incidently are by kind permission of a successful candidates John Symonds who obtained  his GAIC double handed  assessment.

GAIA Weekend

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Well the weekend has now arrived and we are on the banks of the Tweed at Tweedswood near Melrose.  What a fantastic river the Tweed is and what a beautiful fishery.  GAIA members from all over the country and Ireland North and South, have collected to carry out assessments of new members and to develop their own personal skills.  This is the largest collection of GAIA members ever to assemble in Scotland.  What I like about this organisation is its willingness to assist all its members, no matter how experienced, they are always willing to help.

Mark Roberts and Allan Carter

Something like 18 guys lined themselves up for assessments in single handed and double handed casting in both GAIC and APGAI, we had 10 pass.  These tests are nerve racking no matter how experienced you are.  Three of us were reassessed myself Alberto and Brian McGlashan in single handed trout and Philip Pledger in double hand salmon all three of us passed.  Alun Reece is a new APGAI trout and Scott Loudon and Ray Morris GAIC trout I will get more names tomorrow. 

 Tomorrow is a CPD Day and we are expecting approximately 60 guys to come learn and play

Happy Scott Loudon and Brian McGlashan

Sunset at a busy Tweedswood

GAIA @ Tweedswood 13th March 2010

Monday, March 1st, 2010

GAIA (Game Angling Instructors Association) have a spring meet annually in Scotland. We say spring but it always seems to be bitterly cold and we have even been known to have snow.  For the last few years I have organised the event this year the numbers have grown and we are anticipating about 50 members and guests to be present.     

The week end is used both for assessments and continuous professional development for existing members.   Assessments is an opportunity for new recruits and associate members to sit the GAIA certificate for both Trout or Salmon casting and fly dressing.  This would enable them to become full members of GAIA.   Existing members are also encouraged to develop their skills by undertaking an Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors (APGAI) assessment in the above disciplines.

Part of being a member of GAIA and a game angling instructor is that you also commit to continuous professional development (CPD) in order to maintain and develop your skills.  This year this takes place on the 13th March and we have arranged a full program.   2010 program

Our CPD day is also open to non members, an opportunity for anglers interested in either being an instructor or wanting instruction to come and observe.  We also guarantee them a casting lesson from one of the countries finest instructors, the charge for non members is £55 for the day it includes attendance at all the workshops and lunch.

Gary Scott Spey Casting Workshop 2009

Ronnie Glass Grayling Workshop 2009

If you get an opportunity get along,  for directions and details of the fishery go to