1 year ago

Fly Punk - Issue 3

  • Text
  • Fishing
  • Fishing
  • Trout
  • Carp
  • Lure
  • Dordogne
  • Suir
  • Flies
  • Thailand
  • Sharks
  • Reel
  • Pike
Fly Punk - No tweed, wicker baskets or trousers tucked into socks. Just a free digital magazine aimed at the fly fishing punk ... Read on and join the party ...

― Dominic Garnett―

― Dominic Garnett― Still think fly fishing is a sport of toffs and English chalkstreams? In this excerpt from Dom Garnett’s book of tales Crooked Lines, the author goes in search of Ireland’s River Suir and its original fly punk, Aidan Curran. N o matter how many times I pack a suitcase or study the guide, fishing trips in far off places always sidestep expectations. From the picture you build in your head to the flies and even the weather, something different always hatches. Things mutate. Sometimes you expect easy listening but you get punk rock. Which is funny, because rather than some grand Irish River, this particular trip begins in a second hand car in Tipperary. I hadn’t been to Ireland for a good eight years, but the one picture I found reliably true to life was my host, Aidan Curran. A redmohicanned punk with a taste for fly fishing. “I guess I’m not your typical game angler,” he chuckles, as the car rattles with loud music. No word of a lie. The bands we are listening to have names like Sick Pig, Crisis and Runnin’ Riot. “Pike fishing is definitely something that appeals to punks, but trout or fly fishing? It’s not such an obvious match is it? People think you’re pulling their leg.” Aiden’s dented car takes innumerable turns down crooked country lanes as we seek out the river. But behind his wild appearance is the subtler, laid back heart of an angler. In his own unique way, Aidan is just the next in a long line of colourful River Suir regulars, or should I say irregulars. Perhaps the greatest of them all was Liamy Farrell, described so beautifully in the writing of Niall Fallon as a “rotund, stocky” bull of a man with “rolling, limping walk.” Yet in spite of his burly frame and a rod that could have landed sharks, this grizzled character could make his fly land “like the kiss of an angel.” A refreshingly frank Suir angler from the present day is guide George McGrath, who meets us in stately looking grounds by the Ara, a pretty little tributary of the Suir. “Are you any good with a fly rod?” he asks, only half teasing. “Because if yer shite you won’t be ketching much round here.” With a slightly despairing shake of the head, George recalls an American guest with a PHD in entomology. A nice enough bloke with all the right gear who sadly couldn’t hit the Rock of Cashel at ten paces. Quality water is abundant here and in fact the Suir and its’ tributaries offer the highest density of trout of any river in Ireland and quite possibly Europe. But that doesn’t mean “easy” fishing, as George will testify. And he’s fished these waters for so many years I’m wondering if his folks had a fly patch sewn onto his babygrow. Lesson number one is in fly selection. The typical advice for Ireland is so often of the “big flies for big fish” variety and yet a peek at George’s box reveals a good deal of specials in the size 16 bracket, with both little olives and sedges prominent. I need no second invitation to poach a few of these. Lesson two, about the legendary fussiness of local trout, is dispensed in the field as Aiden and I hop onto the Ara for an initial foray. It looks beautiful in the sun. Shallow waters reveal trout by the dozen. They multiply before your eyes and are everywhere, flitting over the pale, sandy bottom of the river. You feel like you’ve stumbled upon paradise until you actually try casting for these little devils, which are among the spookiest trout I’ve ever come across in my entire sorry existence. For the first two hours we try everything: long, fine leaders; tiny flies; longer casts. It’s simply bordering on impossible to tempt these fish, or more precisely to get near them without raising panic. When I’d previously heard Aidan’s missives about the shyness of the fish I had joked about him getting his hair dyed green instead of bright red. I now believe you’d need to be a camouflaged midget, invisible or able to levitate rather than wade to get anywhere near the buggers. It is pure agony to see such riches slip away at every bend in the stream. Nevertheless, revenge is almost served as we have one final crack in a bigger bridge pool where a few more sizeable fish are lying and, touch wood, with more water to cover them don’t seem quite so desperately spooky. With George joining Aidan on the bridge I now have two extra pairs of watchful eyes -and extra pressure!- to try and end a frustrating afternoon on a happy note. “A little further upstream” or “Just in that hole, there!” come the regular words of advice. I can make out some shapes that are way bigger than the little runts we spooked earlier, but will they show any interest? The moment of truth comes as I manage to drop a heavy nymph so it passes right above a tempting little depression on the stream bed; a dark shape shifts across the current, there is a decisive flash and all hell breaks loose. For about five seconds the rod bends dangerously as I pay out line; next there is just slackness and a lone swearword. George’s next declaration has already been ringing through my head: “He won’t be coming back any time soon now.” With a week of sultry-hot, distinctly un-Irish weather ahead, most of our fishing the next two days takes place in conversations over coffee or beer. Trips to pretty local towns and crumbling relics appease our curiosity and also our womenfolk while we plot our next assault on the Suir. The area is full of spectacular ruins 36 | 37

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