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27 Nov 2011

The work of Denis O'Toole: the Delphi

Denis has today very kindly sent me some photos of the flies he's making for the Nomads text - whose section on fly-making I'm coincidentally working on at present. Among Denis's tyings is that for the blue version of the Delphi. Now, I have no idea what the Delphi, either in the original black version or in this blue variant, is supposed to represent, if anything (a mutant shrimp? a small fish?) but I do know it's a wonderfully effective Irish sea-trout pattern tied in sizes 10-14. I use it often as a dropper pattern on the estuary if there's little seaweed in the channel (droppers and seaweed shouldn't mix) and it fishes at almost any position of a standard three-fly leader on the lough. For the blue variant I favour this kingfisher blue - something that Denis must have intuited - simply because it seems relatively visible in clearish water - more visible than royal or navy blue. And I like the mix of holographic silver tinsel, too, since that is less prone to rapid tarnishing than standard medium flat silver material.

13 Nov 2011

The work of Denis O'Toole

One of the great pleasures of 2011 was meeting Denis O'Toole. Denis has the distinction of having caught (and released) a 16lb. sea-trout on an Irish East coast river earlier this summer - a massive fish which took one of Denis's tyings of a tube-fly. Having fished with Denis and his angling companion, Dean Kennedy, I can say that Denis's approach to his sea-trout fishing is equally distinctive and knowledgeable. It's vanishingly rare, for instance, for me to peer into others' sea-trout fly-boxes and instantly find a fellow-traveller - someone for whom sea-trout fishing began as a hobby but acquired all the dimensions of a way of life - and in that respect, Denis's sea-trout flies were telling: wonderfully tied and with superb proportions. The tube in the shot, for instance, has a (hair) wing incorporating a bit of flash and one extending properly (no further than the beginning of the bend of the hook); it's tied on a (Partridge Salar) single; it's beautifully finished and likely to be durable. The pattern has a good silhouette, a slim profile, and the gleams of flash will catch any light transmitted underwater. It...speaks: 'I shall catch sea-trout - often'.

6 Nov 2011

Switch casting

Currently I'm working on a long section of Nomads text relating to (the history of) Irish sea-trout tackle and will shortly embark on another long section about (the history of) Irish sea-trout flies and fly-dressing. Here and there I've written about the techniques that may appropriately be used by fly-fishers and others. Among those techniques is the use of the switch cast, which seems to be fundamentally a modified single Spey. Accordingly I researched the history of the switch cast - and stumbled across this illustration ( from the pages of Kelson (1895). Absolutely splendid, isn't it?