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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'.

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