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27 Mar 2012

Table of contents, Nomads of the Tides

The structure of the work will look something like the following:
Preface How Nomads came to be made                                          
Introduction Towards a history of Irish sea-trout angling                                     

PART ONE The First                            

PART TWO The Gazetteer                                  

(1) Donegal                       
(2) Sligo and Mayo
(3) Connemara                                                                     
(4) The South-west
(5) The South-east and East
(6) Northern Ireland

PART THREE  Tackle, flies and lures

Section I
1. Fly-fishing tackle
2. Dapping
3. Tackle for spinning and bait fishing
4. Bait collection and purchase
5. Lures
6. Accessories
7. Clothing, cameras and angling safety
8. Travelling with fishing tackle

Section II
9. The form and design of Irish white-trout flies
10. Fly patterns and fly-dressing

PART FOUR    Lives of the white trout: The Science

EPILOGUE     Casting at time

            (1) Nomads of the Tides
            April and May                      The First Phase: Mending and Feeding
            June and July                       The Second Phase: Running and Lying
            August and September        The Third Phase: Moving and Resting

            (2) Casting at Time

Appendix 1: Sea-trout and their names
Appendix 2: Recipes: smoking, frying, poaching
Appendix 3: Eating places for nomads in Ireland
Annotated bibliography; web references

Index (i) general, (ii) waters described in the text

The gazetteer is in some ways the operational heart of the book. A minimum of six sea-trout waters from each region are described in some detail, and each gazetteer entry has the same structure, (a) 'Location in space and time' (which allows me to say something about the history of fishing for sea-trout in or on that water) and 'Days (or nights) on the water' - first-hand descriptions of my experiences of fishing these waters during the 2007-2012 period.

At present, almost all of this material exists in advanced draft apart from the section on the North and Ken's chapter on the science. Our deadline is December 31st this year. We shall make it.

(Image: sign on the Newport River, Mayo, photographed in 2007)

8 Mar 2012

Fly-lines for Irish sea-trout

Like most sea-trout fishers in Ireland I generally use lines weighted 6-8, and of these the most used are 7-weights. For the record, here are some lines I habitually use:

WF8 intermediate (Hardy Marksman): soft (non-springy) line; dull brown colour; sinks c.1.5 inches a second. Used on larger estuaries or on stillwaters in a good blow.
WF8 floater (Loop Opti): good line for distance; long front taper; green; use for dry fly from drifting boat (single false cast to dry the fly and then work away)

DT7 intermediate: hard lines to find these days, but I love DT profiles because they land softly; the two DT7 inters I have are zealously looked-after and are both Shakespeare lines, one plum-coloured (and over twenty  years old, bought after reading a tip from that great sea-trout fisher Bill Currie), the other light blue. Sink very slowly (c.1 inch per second)
DT7 floater: originally a Mill End, a white line which I dyed to a soft brown; very soft; occasionally I team it with an intermediate poly-tip
WF7 floater (Rio Gold): great line, very stable (= predictable) loop formation, even at distance; factory-fitted loops both ends. I often team the line with an intermediate poly-tip if I'm fishing the wet-fly
WF7 sink-tip (Rio Outbound): the Outbound is a great line, made slightly heavier than normal and with a radical (clear) head. A distance-casting line par excellence. I sometimes (in windy conditions/big wave) use it on the estuary, though it's a bit too heavy-headed, I think, for e.g. Irish river fishing when the water's low and sea-trout are spooky
WF7 full sinking line (Hardy Marksman, type 'Wet2'): dark green; sinks 2-3 inches per second; I sometimes use this line on deeper estuaries, in high winds, or in the depths of the night when the fish are down

DT6 intermediate (an old Kelly Green WetCel line): great line, one of my standard lines when fishing over-the-front from a drifting boat; sinks very slowly, and floats when greased
WF6 floater (Triangle Taper): longish tip and long rear-head; yellow; good for roll-casting; another much-used line, esp. in calmish conditions or on small rivers at night; often teamed with an intermediate poly-tip

No need, of course, to rush out and buy, or indeed to carry, so many lines - my own stock has been put together over what are now two decades. I suppose if you had to buy and use just two lines they would be a WF or DT7 floater (you can turn it into a sink-tip by attaching an intermediate or faster-sinking poly-tip) and a WF or DT7 intermediate/neutral density.

I look after these lines with what amounts to obsession. They're usually stored in large loops off the reel during the winter, and then at this time of year are cleaned, re-installed onto the backing and so on. All knots (e.g. line to backing) are re-done annually, proofed with Knot Sense and then double-checked. All fly-lines are also given a good stretch and then are de-kinked before fishing. To de-kink a fly-line, simply trail it (no leader attached) behind a drifting or slowly-motoring boat for a bit, or stream it downriver, and then wind neatly back onto the reel. The alternative is to get your man to hold the end of the fly-line and then run away across a field as fast as he can. (He should hold the tip of the fly-line while he's running away, of course.) At the end of his run he should drop the line and go off and find your picnic hamper (and your spats) while you wind the line back onto the reel. Or if that's too much work, get him to (a) run, then (b) wind, then (c) picnic hamper/spats, in that order. (Tip: if he doesn't run fast enough, set him to de-coking the volcano.)

Hope this is useful to someone.