A dry Daddy-long-legs pattern (sizes 10-12) is useful throughout the Irish sea-trout season but is particularly effective on freshwater when natural daddies are around in August and September. I fish this one singly during evenings on the river or again singly during flat calms on the lough, though sometimes I'll fish two dry Daddies (or a Daddy and some kind of Hopper) on a flat-calm lough just for the hell of it. Many writers have noted that sea-trout take dry-flies such as the Daddy far better when they're 'dragging', but I prefer the metaphor of 'skimming': the object of moving a dry-fly in the surface, when fishing for sea-trout, isn't to drag the thing about with a potentially fish-scaring wake but simply to twitch it so that it momentarily skims up and then skims to a halt on its hackle tips. Delicacy and subtlety are the watchwords.
Wonderful fly for Irish sea-trout and one that I've used since the mid-1970s. It's up there with the Teal, Blue and Silver and the Claret Bumble as one of my own most successful freshwater patterns. I favour sizes 10-12 (Kamasan B175) and also prefer a fairly fully-dressed version, with both GP tippet and topping at the tail. Wing is a rolled pad of rook fibres and the prominent jungle-cock cheeks stand out well against the black of the (fore) body and the wing. With this combination of colours the pattern stands out well laterally (as the fish might see it) or in silhouette. I find this one fishes best on the point of the leader...though that's because I almost invariably put it there.
I tend to use small doubles at night on the river. They're useful in the small hours but really come into their own in the hours around dawn, when sea-trout may move briefly into the cheeks of the streams or (continue to) hang in the pool-tails. I favour combinations of blue/black/silver and black/yellow/silver (shown on the right in the image). Hook size is 12-14 (Partridge salmon double). I try to ensure the wing isn't too long and often rib the body with red wire for a touch of extra weight: the usual idea is to swing the fly across the noses of resting sea-trout a foot or two down on an intermediate line.
I know. Almost every writer about sea-trout - Irish , Scottish, Welsh - rates the Teal, Blue and Silver. But they rate it with justice: it's a wonderful getter of sea-trout and works particularly well on fresh-run (or estuary) fish. Finnock take it well when the fly's tied on small irons (10-12); larger versions (sizes 6-8) are good at night in freshwater. Shown above is a size 12. These days I tend to prefer tying with holographic silver tinsel; I make sure the GP tippets are well-marked; the hackle is a light (teal) blue. Hook is that supreme wet-fly model, the Kamasan B175.
This website details some of the angling travels that are currently going into the making of a new book, Irish Sea-trout: Nomads of the Tides (Chris McCully and Ken Whelan, with images by James Sadler, forthcoming from the Medlar Press in 2013). Included here are also fragments of text, musings and speculations, fly-dressings and other material - about kettles, splices, (Irish) angling history and etymology - that we think is interesting. The book will represent not only an operational phase (angling travels in Ireland, 2007-2012) but also the long experience of fishing for Irish sea-trout that the writers share. We hope you enjoy these pages.