All posts by: Tiernan Brothers

About Tiernan Brothers

Angling experts located on the banks of the famous River Moy, Foxford.

Salmon Lines Friday 27/11/2020

Good morning from a dry and cool Foxford. Not much news on the fishing front. The weather last weekend was bad and we did not manage to get out. Hopefully this weekend we will get out for a few hours. We have been working with our rod manufacturer on a couple of new fly rods, the prototypes of which we have now taken delivery of. I’m looking  forward to putting  them through their paces before we launch them early in the new year. We also have plans to take on a “big name’ brand and are in “negotiations” with the supplier. All going well this will happen before Christmas. For today we have a few Black Friday offers on the website, you might find something and a 10% bonus on Gift vouchers makes them a good investment TODAY , It’s back to normal tomorrow.


Following on from last week’s piece on fly lines I’ve attempted to take some of the mystery out of Salmon fly line choice. There is a vast array of Fly line available for salmon fishing and with all the jargon it does get confusing.  I’m not going to get bogged down on very technical stuff as I don’t believe that it’s hugely important.  You don’t need to know how to build an engine to drive a car and likewise you don’t need to know how to build a fly line to cast a fly.


Let’s look at the important stuff

The main difference between a Salmon line and trout line is the weight and profile of the line. Salmon lines are designed to load larger Double hand rods and cast heavier flies and leaders.  Like the trout lines we looked at last week Salmon lines have advanced a lot in recent years. Traditional weight forward and Double tapers have largely been replace by Integrated Spey lines, switch lines and Shooting heads.

Integrated Spey Lines

Spey lines are similar to normal weight forward lines with the characteristics of a shooting head i.e. a heavy front end followed by a level running line. The integrated part just means that the line is continuous with no joint between the head and running line. In comparison to the older styles of line they have a lot going for them. They are available in different weights and head lengths to suit different rods and casting styles. They have precise tapers and are normally colour coded to show the optimum loading point. For example a line may have three colours, a green head, a white running line and a bright orange section between the head and running line which marks the loading point. Generally when this orange section is at or just passes the tip eye the line should shoot well. Most Spey lines are marked using grain weight which is very accurate and useful when matching them with modern rods.


Switch Line

Switch lines are designed to be used with the increasingly popular Switch rod which I would describe as an” in between “rod. Not a single hand and not a long heavy double hand rod. Normally Switch rods are in or around 11 foot (3.3m) and have casting weighs of #6t to #9. On the Moy they have become very popular as summer or Grilse rods and are a lot easier to fish with than the traditional double hand salmon rod.  Switch lines are designed with specific head lengths and tapers to load the rod perfectly. It is well worth investing in a proper switch line rather than trying to work the rod with a traditional WF or DT.

Shooting heads

The shooting head is as the name suggests a head that is connected via a loop to loop connection to a level running line. Shooting heads can be used on single or double hand rods and are very versatile. Often referred to as shooting head systems which is a combination of running line, head and tip. Anglers will normally have a few heads in different densities which can be quickly and easily changed thus allowing them adapt to conditions. The same running line is used so the angler only needs to carry the heads separately.  Heads fit easily in the pocket and do away with the need for having separate spare spools with varying densities. The preferred system to match shooting heads with various rods is using grain weight. You may have to experiment a little to find the ideal weight and length for your rod and casting style but it is worth the effort. Some Line manufacturers like Rio have good guides for matching various rods and lines on their websites

Loop to loop connection

Running lines

Otherwise known as shooting lines, running lines are a level line attached to the backing line at one end and the head at the other end. Running lines come in various breaking strains and are made from a variety of materials. Most modern running lines shoot well and without kinking and tangles. Pick a recognized brand like Cortland, Rio ,Airflo or Scierra and you can’t go far wrong.

Backing Line

The backing line is used to fill out the spool so the running line and head are well forward on the spool. It’s also important to have an adequate amount of backing when that fish of a lifetime heads downstream in a swift current. Most modern backing lines are thin and strong so it is easy to fit plenty on the spool along with a running line and head.

Airflo Poly Leader


T-tips and Polyleaders

T-tips and polyleaders are accessories that can be added to either normal lines or shooting heads. The main reason for using these is to aid presentation. They are available in a range of lengths and densities from floating to Ultra fast sinking.  T-tips are level tungsten tips that sink fast. They are used to get the fly down fast, primarily in fast flowing water or when the water is cold. Poly leaders are more popular and are used throughout the season. Polyleaders come in a variety of lengths and densities but 5 foot and 10 foot are the most popular. It is useful to carry a range of these and similar to shooting heads they are not bulky and can be easily stored.

That’s not too difficult to understand but it’s enough for anyone to know to get started. I hope you found it somewhat useful. Tight lines if you manage to get out for a cast, I’m planning !

Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace

River Moy Updates

Fly Lines, AFTMA scale Friday 20/11/2020

Good morning from a damp Foxford. the forecast for the weekend is pretty good so we re looking forward to a few dry days. We went Pike fishing on Monday but it was virtually impossible, strong wind and driving rain. I don’t really need to say it but we caught nothing!. I hope you are getting out or at least thinking about fishing. I received a gift of an old Mepps brochure in the post, some interesting stuff in it and plenty to keep an angler content on a wet night during lockdown, “little amuses the innocent”

This weeks blog touches on the subject of Fly lines and the AFTMA scale. I hope you get something from it.


To say that Fly lines have evolved and advanced over the decades is a true statement. To say that a huge amount of this has happened in the past decade is equally true. Even for those of us who are involved in the tackle trade it takes keeping with. For someone wishing to take up the sport it’s a mine field and mistakes can be costly. To pay anything between forty and a hundred euro on a fly line and then discover it’s not what you actually thought it was is an expensive lesson. Yes, your local tackle dealer can and should be able to advise but as I said if they are not on the ball and keeping an eye on what’s happening they may not be up to speed. For example, if you asked a tackle dealer who retired 10 years ago what a “WF7 DI3 Sweep line” is, he or she may look blankly at you. 

AFTM Scale

The first real development in the Fly fishing industry was the standardisation of equipment. There was a time when different companies produced rods, reel and lines none of which were standard. A line made by one company may or may not suit a rod made by another company. There was a huge amount of guess work. Some clever people (The American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association)   got together and devised a scale, the AFTM scale. 

A basic understanding of this scale is all we as anglers need. Fly lines are weighed and rated with #1 to #15, these lines are matched with rods and reels. The suitability of a line for a particular rod is judged by the ability of the line to load the rod with the first 30 foot of line Is in the air  i.e when casting and 30 foot of line has passed through the tip eye, the rod should be loaded and ready to shoot line. So if for example a rod is found to load best at this 30 foot point using a #7 line, the rod is rated #7. A reel of suitable size and capable of holding a #7 line and an appropriate amount of backing was also rated #7. The rod was then marked AFTM #7 and the #7 line and #7 reels should be just about right. The system was never totally exact but we still use it today and in general it is good. 

Modern materials used in rod manufacturing have brought about faster action rods and a lot of these rods need to be evaluated differently than older models. While we can still apply the same AFTMA scale it is slightly more accurate to measure rods by grain weight. You will notice that a lot of modern double hand Salmon rods are marked using both systems. It is never going to be an exact science and I would personally never get too hung up on it. It is good enough to know that AFTMA stands fro American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association and that a #7 line should be about right for a #7 rod, #8 for an 8 weight rod and so on. The profile/taper and density of the line is a far more important factor, especially when it comes to catching fish. 



 The profile of the line is basically the shape of the line, the way it is tapered. Let’s look first at typical line profiles for single hand rods, your basic trout rod.  There’s two main tapers, DT which stands for Double taper i.e. the line is thickest at the center and tapers to a point on both ends

WF which stands for Weight Forward i.e. the line has a thicker front end and a level running line at the rear end. 

Double tapers give us a more delicate presentation of the fly and are used a lot in dry fly fishing while weight forward lines tend to be less delicate on landing and are more suited to wet fly. The WF comes into its own when distance and resistance to wind are called for. Here in Ireland most Lough anglers would tend to favour WF lines while small Stream anglers would go for DT. 

There are other profiles which are specialist e.g  a level line used for nymphing. Not something we would use every day so again not something to get hung up on

So far we have the profile and the weight which on the fly line box would be written like this WF7 (Weight forward profile and #7 on the AFTMA scale) or DT7 (Double Taper profile and #7 on the AFTMA scale)


The next very important thing we have is Density. Fly lines are made in a variety of densities that will either float, hover below the surface or sink at various rates depending on the line. This is denoted by a letter used in the code printed on the fly line box or sometimes on the line itself, after the weight. F for floating, H for hover, I for Intermediate and S for sink. Generally on the sinking lines there will be further information as to the rate of, usually DI3 DI5 or DI7. If you have a line and are uncertain what it is, in general the darker the colour of the coating the faster the sink rate (Light green=floating,Brown=fast sink). As is the case with profiles/tapers there are some specialist densities, sink tips, ghost tips (a transparent sink tip) and buzzer tapers. All these lines would have the main part of the line floating with just the tip sections sinking at various rates depending on the line. Sweep lines allow a u-shaped retrieve path by having the sinking speed of the belly faster than that of the tip and running line. Due to the way this u shape draws the fly through the water column sweep lines are useful for searching for fish feeding at various levels.

Typical Code on Fly Line :  WF7F = Weight Forward #7 Floating

DT7S = Double taper #7 Sinking


Floating Line: By far the most popular fly line is the floating line and it is most fly anglers standard line. Certainly for anyone starting to fly fish I would recommend a floating line. Floating lines are easy to cast and useful in many situations. As we get more accomplished at casting and fly fishing in general it is a good idea to experiment with other densities. 

Intermediate lines: Will cut through the surface film and sink a little. It’s possible to get a slow intermediate or a fast intermediate. As the names suggest one will sink a little faster than the other. The slow intermediate would normally sink at about 0.5 inch per second and the fast intermediate at 1.5 inches per second. Intermediate lines are popular with Lough anglers for wet fly fishing especially on windy days when there is a big wave

Sinking Lines: Will as the name suggests sink. Something to have in the arsenal for the tough day, cold water, bright sunshine and when fish are playing hard to get. They are not for everyone and are pretty hard to fish with especially the faster sinking ones. They come in a range of sink rates. In general a DI3 will sink at approx 3 inches per second, DI5 at 5 inches per second and DI7 at 7 inches per second.

Typical Code on Fly Line : WF7S DI3 = Weight Forward #7 Sinking at 3 inches per second

Looking after your Fly line

Fly lines if cared for will last a long time and an angler can expect to get several seasons out of a line. Damage is usually caused by accident or abuse, its amazing how many lines get caught in outboard propellers!

The plastic coating of all fly lines is easily cracked and damaged. A beginner is well advised to start with an inexpensive line as they will be getting caught up in bushes and other bank side vegetation on a regular basis. 

Clean fly lines regularly using a mild detergent and lukewarm water.

Avoid exposure to strong sunlight or other heat sources.

In the closed season Store lines in large hanks.

Next Friday we will look at Salmon lines including Spey and Shooting head set ups

Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace

River Moy Updates

Friday 13/11/20 Pike on the Fly

Good morning from an overcast and wet Foxford. We have had a lot of rain in the past few days and water levels are well up. This is making life difficult from an Angling point of view! It’s bad enough to be limited to 5k but now we have to deal with flooded rivers and lakes that are barley accessible. We can plan though and be ready for when things settle down a bit.

Over the next week we will be introducing some gift ideas on our Facebook page, we hope you will see something you like. It’s an easy way of dropping subtle hints to family and friends. We are running a Like and share competition for a “River Moy salmon all rounder” Rod value 180.00, the winner will be announced on Friday 4th of December. To enter for free all you have to do is like and share this post which is on our Facebook page


Pike on the Fly

I have been asked a few times about Pike fly fishing. Have I tried it ?, what’s the best rod ?, is it worth trying ?, what’s the best month ?, all the normal question someone interested in getting into something new asks.

I have tried it; in fact I have done a reasonable amount of Pike fly fishing. I would not say I’m an expert at it but yes I have enjoyed it and I have caught a few Pike as well. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to share my knowledge with you and hopefully it will answer some of your questions or spark a new interest.



Pike fly fishing

Pike fly fishing is not about delicacy. You can forget about double taper lines and fine tippets. You can forget about small dry flies and Mayfly imitations delicately sipped from the surface. Start thinking instead of double hauling, stripping line and explosive takes.

What’s needed ?

Eye protection: This is a Must. We will be casting large heavy flies and often in windy conditions. Wear protective Glasses and a hat is a good idea as well!


Rod: A rod capable of casting large and sometimes heavy flies is best. Most Pike flies are tied on large single hooks 1/0 to 6/0 and can be heavily dressed.  The favoured rod  length is 9 foot (2.7m) with a line rating of #8 #9 #10. I use a saltwater rod that is rated #9/10 and I find it perfect. The rod needs a bit of ‘back bone” to handle larger fish when you are lucky enough to hook them. Although Pike are not noted for making long runs they can be lively, will jump and can play hard as they root for the bottom.

Reel: Any half decent fly reel that will hold a large line and some backing will be fine. It should have a good smooth drag. I use a cheap Okuma airframe reel and it is adequate.

Line: As always choice of line is a personal thing and especially when it comes down to which brand name to buy. You will need a line that is rated to suit your rod but most importantly the line should have a short front taper which will make it suitable for casting large heavy flies. Most good manufacturers have a specialist line suited to Pike fly fishing. The density of the line is important, so whether it will float, sink slowly or sink fast is what we need to think about. Your choice will be determined by where you fish and the time of year. For a rough guide, fishing in shallow water in summer a floating line is good. Fishing in a lake in December a slow sinking (DI3) or something slightly faster sinking may be required. Regarding the specialist lines, they are expensive and not necessary to start.

Leader: The leader is the piece of line between the Fly line and the fly, what the fly is attached to. For Pike we do not need a very long leader. We do need a reasonably strong and most importantly tough material. Pike have razor sharp teeth and will easily cut through most normal line. The best solution is to make a leader using a length (5 or 6 foot 1.5 to 2m) of heavy mono to which you attach a short (12 inch 30cm) length of suitable wire or steel leader. These steel leaders are available in soft wire that can be tied fairly easily or you can crimp on a small barrel swivel at one end and a snap swivel at the other to attach your fly. Make a few as they get twisted and have to changed regularly.

What flies will Pike take: I think you could wrap any assortment of fur and feather around a large single hook and stand a chance of a Pike “having a go”. However as in most fishing situations the angler who thinks and studies the situation will be more successful. Try to think about what the Pike are feeding on? Roach, Rudd other small fish, “Match the Hatch”. Think about where they are feeding and what the likely food sources will be, could the occasional frog be on the menu? Like other species Pike are more lethargic in cold water and less likely to “come up” for a fly. In summer Large fluffy balls of flies that resemble little ducks swimming merrily across the surface and in winter smaller flashy flies that resemble small fish fished a little deeper will be best.


Where and when to fish: One of the greatest things about Pike fly fishing is You can fly fish for Pike anywhere there is a pike to be caught. Rivers, Lakes, Canals are all possible and un like Salmon and trout fishing there is no closed season. There are of course regulations, most of these are concerning bag limits and sizes and I would always advise you check these out in the locality you are planning to fish, before you start!


To sum it up

It’s a fun and rewarding way to fish for another species. It is something that most trout and salmon fly anglers say they would like to try at some point and the equipment needed does not have to cost a fortune. It’s available on all our doorsteps and like them or loathe them Pike are fish and if we as anglers are willing to adapt and try something new Pike fly fishing offers us additional sport. So why not get geared up and give it a go.

We have a limited number of Cortland Pike outfits in stock , if you want one order today as these will be sold out soon

Have a good week and Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace

River Moy Updates

Friday 06/11/20 Chest waders & someone lost their socks!

Good morning from an overcast but pretty mild Foxford, the last couple of days have been nice and the floods are receding. I mentioned last week that I have been fixing up an old boat. We had a trial launch last Sunday. The plan was to do a little bit of Pike fishing but that did not work. The steering failed; they just don’t make quality cable ties anymore! After that I spent the evening tidying away my Salmon gear. My chest waders are tired looking and next season I will need to invest in a new pair. We get asked by a lot of anglers what are the best waders to buy. We try to answer honestly and give good advice. Hers a little bit of info if your waders have seen better days.



Chest wader

 Whether we class the Chest wader as a piece of Clothing or equipment it is a vital item for most anglers. In the old days the chest wader was made from heavy rubber with a fairly rough rubber boot attached. Pretty crude and ill fitting they served a purpose but could not be described as comfortable. Arthur Oglesby and Hugh Falkus always had a pair and the angler on the front cover of Trout and Salmon would wear a pair of rubber chesties while displaying his/her catch from the Spey or the Tweed. Time and things have moved on and the chest wader has come a long way in the past 30 years.


Sometime in the 80s neoprene waders arrived on the scene. A revolution, they were marketed as warm and comfortable. Warm they were, on a hot day it was torture.  Made of the same material as the traditional wet suit it was fashionable to wear them tight fitting, not something for the faint hearted. The struggle to get them on and off was another story and as a Guide helping often overweight anglers with that task was like a bad scene from are you been served. There were those who believed the secret was to wear the wader without clothes underneath which led to a lot of giggles and near crashes on the side of the N5. The ill fitting rubber boot was largely (although not completely) replaced by the stocking foot wader and separate boot. This was one of the most significant developments. It now meant that a good quality boot that was comfortable could be worn and walking was easier. The stocking foot was also more compact and easier to transport.


In the 90s, breathable Gore-tex materials started to appear and this was the advent of the Breathable wader as we know it to today. Lightweight and very compact, breathable was the ideal invention for the travelling angler. There was teething problems, mostly with leaking seems especially on the joint of the stocking foot.  In the beginning there was only a few manufacturers and all breathable waders were very expensive. Like most “new things”, after a few years more companies started producing them and the price came down. Prices vary greatly but now even the cheaper ones are pretty good. None of them are “Bullet proof”, breathables are NOT made for the angler who likes to hike through gorse and bramble, are certainly not a match for barbed wire and in general require care and need to be treated with respect.

If you ever want to make a tackle dealer cry just tell him your breathbles are leaking and you would like him to fix them,  Leaks are very difficult to detect!.

Once you have advanced to breathable and used them for a while it is very difficult to go back to rubber or neoprene. They don’t last a lifetime but overall are a good product




Thinking of buying here’s a few points to consider


Where do you fish?

For the angler who battles through rough vegetation, slides down the bank and is in general rough, breathable is a NO. Consider a pair of cheap rubber waders that can be patched easily. Ocean have a very good model which is good.


Do you walk a lot?

Walking for long distances in a boot foot wader (i.e. boot attached) is a bad idea. In general the boots do not fit very well and are not designed for hiking. A stocking foot with a good quality boot would be a better choice.




Do you travel?

Not that any of us are going too far at the moment but it is a consideration. If you plan to head of for a long distance fishing trip then breathable stocking foot with a separate boot is far easier to pack.


Do you fish most in winter? Spring or Summer/Autumn

For the winter angler, neoprene could well be the best choice. They are warm and snug. For the remainder of the season I would recommend normal rubber or breathable.




What is your budget?

Rubber /P.V.C will be the least expensive (Guide price less than 100 euro), Neoprene (Guide price 100 to 200euro), Breathable (Guide price 200 to 600euro) Consider, realistically the life of a pair of waders is one year, anything after this is a bonus. I know you may well be saying that you have a pair for several seasons and they are fine. True, this may well be the case. From experience in the shop most waders and breathable in particular are showing signs of wear and tear after one season. All waders need care; clean them regularly and when storing them for a period of time hang them up.


Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace

While visiting a stream earlier this week I found these socks on the bank ?? 



River Moy Updates

Friday 30/10/20 Spinning with “The Mepps”

Good morning from a wintery Foxford. Yesterday we had some serious rain, (the river is now at 3.2m at Ballylahan bridge!) and tomorrow we will have Gale force wind and more rain. This morning is OK, must be the calm before the storm. I was planning to go Pike fishing at the weekend but that is not looking good. Its something I have been looking forward to. I have fixed up an old boat and am excited about trying it out, however I don’t need a storm for the “Sea Trials” .

A few weeks ago I asked for some suggestions on subjects to write about in the Friday blog. One Angler, a customer from Dublin  suggested that I do something on trout angling but not using the fly. Its a big subject and not something one can go into in much detail in a short blog. Here’s a few tips for the angler who wants to try a little bit of spinning for a trout.

Which Lure to try:  I have already referred to the fact that Lure angling has come a long way and we now have many different lures to choose from when we want to fish for trout. With such a large selection to choose from knowing which lures to use where you fish will only come with trial and error. From experience I can tell you that on the Moy and its tributaries one bait has stood the test of time and is still as popular and effective today as it was fifty years ago, “The Mepps”, it is a very well known spinner. Mepps is actually a brand name for a range of spinners which originated in France. These spinners come in a lot of different sizes and models.


Which Model of Mepps is best: The Comet and The Black Fury are both excellent trout spinners and come in a variety of colours and sizes. The models we have found popular and that we know work very well are Gold & red spot and Silver & blue spot in the “comet”, the “Black fury yellow spot”. For trout the smaller sizes seem to be the most effective No.0 to No.3. While fishing on a stream or river I would opt for a No.1 or No.2 to start and if things were difficult drop down to the tiny No.0. On the Loughs the No.2 and No.3 seem to work best. The Comet Silver with blue spots is very good for sea trout while the gold and red spot works well for brown trout especially when there is a little colour in the water or on a dull day. The Black fury is very good in clear water and on bright days. Mepps have a new range of Tru-V (UV) colours which im sure will also be very good.  While I am suggesting these spinners for trout other fish will of course take them as well and sometimes in low water conditions they work well for Salmon, even in these smaller sizes. I would say the choice of which model and size to use is determined by the “general conditions” these include weather and water conditions.


Weather conditions: weather is another big factor in the successful angling equation. In general anglers prefer the weather to be Dull but not to dark with occasional periods of sun (just for the opportunity to wear the shades) interspersed with a moderate amount of cloud cover, an occasional shower, wet but not very wet (certainly nothing to test the waterproofs) in a moderate south to south west wind (that does not affect casting ability) YEAH!  It happens about once a year and at all other times we have to adapt. If it is cold we fish a little slower and deeper, if it is sunny we find shade or fish early morning and late evening, if it is windy we get the breeze on our back. The secret is to be prepared.

Water condition: Water conditions are possibly the single biggest factor. The condition of the water whether High ,Low, Rising, Falling, Clear or Coloured will have a huge bearing on the behavior and feeding pattern of the trout as well as where they are most likely to be found. It is always something we should check before angling. This becomes intuitive and is second nature to experienced anglers, most of whom you will notice leaning across bridges or stretching their necks to see across the parapet as they drive over any bit of water. It is well worth making notes and keeping a diary of your local water.

A few general things to remember are.

Stealth: The first rule of trout fishing is stealth. This is particularly true on a clear shallow stream. Trout will see you on the bank and are gone in seconds, vibration and noise will also frighten them easily. Move slowly and with care, stay low and use the bank side vegetation as cover.

Where to cast: Trout tend to lie pretty close to the bank or in pockets of water near a rock or other submerged feature that diverts the current. They will very often be found near bushes or trees where various flies and other insects are likely to end up in the water.

Angle and speed of retrieve: Try to cast at different angles to cover different possible lies. Vary the speed of retrieve and slow down a little as the lure comes close to the bank. Trout will very often chase a spinner and it’s only when it slows that they attack. Casting upstream and retrieving with the current can make the spinner appear to be tumbling through the water, something trout react well to.

Think of the future: Lure fishing is good fun and like all other methods on the right day it can be very productive. When you do hit this magical day, think of the future and don’t kill everything. It is nice to take a trout for the pan and I have nothing against that but no need to feed the village.

Care:  Always carry a forceps to remove hooks and a priest to dispatch fish promptly

Personal Rant.

While preparing this piece I got to thinking about Rivers and streams I have fished. One of the biggest difficulties I ever encounter is bank side condition and access. The ability to get onto the bank near the water or into the water if necessary along and with the ability to cast is crucial and not always easy . Its not such a problem in popular spots where others have beaten a track for us but in a remote location that’s not heavily fished it can be a nightmare. A huge amount of our streams and little rivers are overgrown. I don’t disagree with giving nature a chance to recover; farming practices and land use have been hard on it. I do believe that the I.F.I and whatever other authorities need be, lead the way and encourage anglers, clubs, land owners and the general public who could get use and enjoyment out of these places to open up proper access. Not just for angling, there is lots of ways to enjoy a river bank. Rant finished 🙂

Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace.

River Moy Updates

Friday 23/10/20 The Lure angler


Good morning from a showery Foxford. Back in Level 5 but sure we can still talk about fishing, explore our Limits and hopefully by December we will be back in action. Happy to see the IFI lads are out and about and I would have to say doing a good job. I have been in several places checking out the Salmon run and before long they have appeared (Now I’m putting 2 + 2 together, it could be me they are watching). Thankfully most of the old winter poaching traditions have died out but there’s still a few hungry creatures out there.

I’m involved in a little angling club in Foxford. It’s a nice little club and we are all like minded. Every season we have a few friendly competitions, a couple of social events and we try to do at least one project to help improve things. This year due to all the Covid restrictions we have been very limited in what we can do. On Sunday morning last we carried out a very socially distanced operation and put in place a memorial plaque for one of our Local friends Sean Wallace. Sean was a founder member of the club. We will have the official unveiling with all his friends and family when the time is right but for now it was nice just to get something done so we don’t end the year without moving forward.   After this P.J and I went Pollock fishing for a few hours. It was a nice afternoon, we struggled but finally caught some fish. I even managed to get a few on the fly rod, something I’m going to do more of. As we fished I was thinking about different methods, styles and preferences. It’s all angling and it’s what we Love


The Lure angler

For most anglers the introduction to fishing has been with a spinning rod and some form of lure, whether a mepps, lane minnow, flying C or whatever, we started off lure fishing and eventually picked up a fly rod. There is no doubt that fly fishing is a popular sport and becoming more so and to be fair it is a beautiful way to fish. However It’s not the only way and not everyone has had the opportunity to master the skill, not everyone wants to. I would consider myself an all round angler. I fish with flies, both fly rod and the less conventional bubble and fly but I also use lures and bait. I believe that to be successful one must adapt to the conditions. I don’t ram a fly only attitude down people’s throats and don’t believe we should do. If a person enjoys fly angling solely that’s ok and the same for the angler who enjoys Lure or bait fishing. There is room on the water for us all. At times there has to be a little bit of give and take but in general we can and should get along, most of us do.

There is lots written about fly fishing but here in Ireland we don’t see a lot of articles on Lure fishing. Other Countries have magazines dedicated to lure angling. It’s from these countries, their specialist anglers and magazines that we have gained a lot of our knowledge on lure angling, Pike and coastal sea trout angling in particular. I guided Danish anglers on the Moy 30 years ago who told me about fishing for sea trout using a variety of spoons and other baits, something I had not heard of at the time. This is now a fast growing sport in the west of Ireland and anglers are having great success. Anglers love to try something new and for anyone who has not yet tried lure angling I would say give it a try, there is nothing to lose.

For anyone wishing to start, here is a quick rough guide as an introduction.

Target species:  We can basically divide the target species into three groups: Game (Salmon and trout) Coarse (Pike and Perch) and Sea  (Sea trout, Bass, and Pollock). Check out what is in your area and start here. You can always visit other locations to target other species. A lot of anglers from the west go to the South East after sea bass while anglers from down there come here for salmon.

Equipment:  Rod choice is largely a personal thing but in general a 9 or 10 foot rod is a good length for spinning. The casting weight should be relevant to the lures you intend to use and also the species you are targeting. Not much point in using a rod suited to casting 50 gram pike baits to fish for brown trout with a 5 gram spinner. There are lots of rods on the market and even the less expensive ones have come a long way in recent years, light weight, powerful and well designed. There are a few exceptions but your local tackle dealer should know the better ones and if not we will happily advise.

Reels:  Some anglers, especially Pike anglers using heavy soft bait or jerk baits and Braid go for bait casters. Bait casters are a specialist tool and are quite expensive. They take a bit of getting used to and for someone starting off I would not recommend one. Fixed spool reels are easier to use and because there is such a range available there is something to suit everyone. As I said before, pick a reel you can afford but don’t expect it to last a lifetime. For lighter outfits (e.g a trout spinning rod) a reel in the 2500 to 3000 size is normally ideal. For most other species and methods a 4000 to 5000 size is fine unless you are targeting something pretty large when it may be better to think about a bait caster. Shimano and Okuma are still my favourite brands and both produce good reels.

Lines:  Again the range and choice is mesmerising  but it is very easy to narrow it down. Monofilament or Braid, both have advantages and disadvantages. Braid is very low diameter and strong which means it is good for casting long distances and for casting heavier baits. It is expensive but should last for a reasonable length of time. It can tangle quite easily and the tangles can be difficult to sort out. Monofilament is cheaper but does not “keep” as well as braid; it is particularly sensitive to sunlight. It has a larger diameter than braid so is not as good for casting.  I would say if you intend to cast larger and more expensive lures choose braid. For lighter work choose a good quality mono in a diameter and breaking strain relevant to the lure and target species. For example, if fishing with a light spinner or jig for trout or perch a mono of 0.18mm approx 5 lb breaking strain should be fine. For salmon and sea trout, a mono of 0.20mm up to 0.35mm approx 8 to 18 lb breaking strain is ok although 0.35 is getting into the thicker end of things and will restrict casting distance with lighter lures. For Pike and sea bass it is probably best to invest in braid as some of the lures are heavy and expensive.

Lures: There’s a vast array of lures available nowadays. Metal spoons and spinners, Plugs, Softbaits, Jigs, Swimbaits, shads and the list goes on.

Here’s a list of the ones we have found the best over the past few seasons.

Pike: Savage Gear 4D Line Thru trout, Savage Gear 4D perch Shad, Kinetic playmate swimbait

Salmon:Rolla and Ians Flying C, ABU Toby, Swinford spoon, Buch special

Brown trout: Mepps comet and Black fury  No.0,  No.1 and No.2 in Gold & red and Blue & Silver. ABU Tobys in 7 and 10gram weight, Rapalas

Sea Trout, Bass and Pollock: Savage Salt “Panic Prey”, Savage salt 3D Line Thru “sandeel”, Westin “Salty”, Savage salt 3D line Thru “Seeker”, Fire tail worm & jig head

Tips: Some anglers find lure fishing and spinning in particular hard on the back. A longer rod can help as one does not bend forward as much while retrieving the lure

Move : Don’t stay in one place all the time. Search for fish, trying different locations and possible lies or resting places. Rocks, tree stumps, reeds, Kelp beds, inflowing streams are always worth trying.

Line Twist: When using spinners that rotate ( Mepps for example) a swivel is very important to avoid line twist.

Change: When you know fish are there and are not taking your lure, don’t just give up. Try something different. P.J and I were Pollock fishing last weekend. We tried several different lures until we finally started catching on a sand eel imitation made by savage gear.

Care: If you intend to release fish, use a single hook instead of a treble and always carry a forceps.

Think: Don’t “chuck and chance” Study the water and think. Where are the fish? Is there a feature? What are the fish feeding on, What are the general conditions.

Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace

River Moy Updates

Friday 16/10/20 Hill Lough

Good morning from a dry and cool Foxford. Not far of frost these mornings but we have had a few beautiful days. Well we finally made it to the Hill lough I’ve mentioned a few times. Click the link below to watch a short video.

A little dark mountain trout

Putting our products to the test

This is a Hill Lough that I fished some 20 years ago, a re visit has been on the cards for some time now. The Lough in question is called Lough Alone and is in the Ox mountain range on the Mayo Sligo border. There’s a few of these loughs within a short distance of each other up there and all are reputed to hold good stocks of trout. We started the planning during the early stages of lockdown last march but as life often has it, things did not work out. The summer was a tough period for us and we could not get a chance to go. It was forgotten about for a while but as the season drew close to the end we again started planning. We dug out the rucksacks which had not been unpacked since March and did a little bit of prep. It’s not that the plan was going to involve any major hiking or anything dangerous but it’s always better to go prepared for the worst and hope for the best. I won’t go into detail just now but you can trust me when I say the bags were well packed and heavy!  The new plan was to visit the lough as soon as the salmon season ended on the last day of September.

P.J on his knees ,a moment of reflection

The first weekend after the season ended we were up early on the Saturday and ready to go but on arrival we could not see the mountain. Sunday was the same; the weather was brutal, heavy rain and wind so once again we failed to make the pilgrimage.  The trout season on a lot of loughs continues until the 10th of October. This lough was the same and so we still had the following Saturday, we hoped for better weather. Saturday came and the morning was wet, Im not going to bore you with the weather details but we were lucky enough to get a window of opportunity. We had the luxury of Google maps to plan the best route and I would say that yes we did pick the closest possible route, I’m not for one second saying it was the easiest one. I certainly was happy to have a change of clothes with me when we reached the top of the mountain.

As you will see in the little video I made we had a wonderful time. We hiked, fished and eat then hiked and fished some more. We didn’t catch any big fish but I do believe the potential is there and I will be back.  I would happily stay up there for a week and a visit to a remote hill lough is something I would recommend to anyone.

“Litter” The mark of the Gobshite

Just one little thing annoyed or upset me and that was the fact that the proverbial “Gobshite”* had been there before us. He had managed to bring his full beer cans up the mountain but for reasons only he and his ilk will know thought it best to leave the empty cans after him. This mentality is sad to say the least. It destroys nature. A friend has suggested that we include something in the blog to encourage people to take their rubbish home and stop this behavior. I know that a gobshite will always be a gobshite and nothing we say or ask will change them but for the decent people out there I would ask that you please consider the future and take your rubbish away. From now on as a reminder and in the hope that we can work together to solve the problem of Litter on our river banks and everywhere else I’m going to end the blog with “Leave no trace”


noun Chiefly Irish SlangVulgar.

a mean and contemptible person, especially a braggart.

a stupid and incompetent person.

River Moy Updates

Friday 09/10/20

Good morning from a dry and beautiful morning in Foxford. Welcome to the first Friday blog .It’s a strange feeling when the season ends and we move onto the winter opening schedule. It’s a nice to get a weekend of but it doesn’t come without a certain feeling of guilt and takes a bit of getting used of.  We had plans to go fishing last weekend but the weather was just to nasty. It rained very heavily on Sunday and by Monday morning the river was in the first of the winter floods. After bringing home the boat from Lough Conn We took a spin to a tributary of the Moy where good numbers of fish were moving (one trying to run up a rock in the video), a good sign for the spawning season ahead. I’ve had a few suggestions for topics in the blog over the coming weeks, including “more about fly patterns” “winter fishing” “Novice section” “Putting prawns on single hooks” “Fish takes” “ Lough trout fishing”  all will be covered between now and the start of the 2021 salmon season.


Time to put the salmon gear away, tidy the tackle bag and prepare for next season. Well that’s what I said to myself the other night and my intentions were good. I headed up into the attic and made a start. The start was the tackle bag. I opened it up and the first box I pulled out was my “favourite” box of baits. That box that all salmon anglers have stashed away somewhere. The box that contains those “special” baits. The baits that “always work” “You can’t go wrong with”………… and are now impossible to get. So impossible to get that we are afraid to fish with them, just in case we lose one. You know the box I’m talking about, you have one as well. It most likely contains a selection of Copper and silver Spoons, Devon Minnows of which the wooden ones are cracked and the metal ones no longer have paint left on them, a few Tobys (#the sweedishones ), a battered Mepps No.4, perhaps a Rapala, something strange like a Woblex that you found 40 years ago and kept “just in case”, a few scraps of lead and a rusty swivel. You just nodded in agreement, I knew you have one, we all do.

Mines an old tobacco tin of which the original owner has succumbed to inevitable effects of the original contents. The box has survived and I have had it for many years. My son Mike often laughs as he relives his youth telling me tales of the days when he took it fishing without realising the “value” of the baits and lost several. This makes me wonder exactly what I had or what did he loose.

I know for a fact that at some stage  I’m going to remember because every bait that ended up in that box did so for a reason. Each bait has a story behind it; the baits themselves are triggers to the memory. I struggle trying to recall a lot of things and on many occasions have stood in the supermarket and wondered what I came in for but every bait I take from that box is for me like opening a diary. I can see the Fish whether caught, lost or not hooked at all, the riverbank and the people I fished with. I can remember the conditions and the reason for choosing the bait.

For example, there is a stucki tuna in the box. A copper and silver spoon about 2 inches long with a half scale pattern. I caught my fourth salmon on this bait, a grilse of about 5lb . It was on a morning in June and I went fishing early. My intention was to sneak into the club waters and have a few casts before anyone else was around. I didn’t have permission or wasn’t allowed to go there but I’d be in and out and no one would ever know. As I headed for the club waters I could see there was a guy there already. A Belgian gentleman who regularly visited Foxford and was friendly with Tom Coleman, one of the older and better anglers in the town. Tom was also a well respected official in the Angling club! The Belgian and I had both chosen to try the exact same spot however he was busy setting up his gear of which he appeared to have lots. I was in a hurry; apart from the fact that I was breaking the rules, I had to get to school. Not that I thought that was important but it had to be done.

My rod was ready, set up the night before. The standard 18lb Maxima Line that was going to pull in any bush I hooked and certainly had the capability of straightening any hook Mustad ever made, on the end of it my Stucki. The normal and most popular spoon at this time of year was the Swinford spoon but I had chosen the Stucki as I had been told by one of the other Village elders that the Stucki was a great bait for a grilse and I had seen a few grilse the evening before. I quickly slipped into the spot before my Belgian counterpart. There was a good breeze blowing and a nice ripple on the water, ideal conditions for spinning. After no more than a few minutes a grilse broke the surface a few yards from the bank, I cast slightly upstream of it and started to retrieve. Whether or not it was the same fish I will never know but my rod doubled and I was in. The Belgian been a gentleman used his net to land the fish for me, he didn’t say a lot. I made good my escape and got through the day in school. Later that evening I was back in my usual spot at the back of our house, where we now have the shop. Tom  Coleman and the Belgian were upstream of me in the club waters, I can still hear Tom calling down to me as he walked home from the club waters “Mikeen ya better go home to bed soon if you want to be out early in the morning”. Not to long after he told me not to be afraid of him and fish the club waters whenever I want.  A happy memory.

I always say there’s more to fishing than catching fish. I didn’t get to far with the tackle tidying and I still have several baits in that box. If I start running short of blog material You will be hearing about them. Pull out a few of your old baits and see what memories they spark  and it’s a nice way to make a start on the annual Tidy up, “there’s more to a bait than the metal it’s made from”.

For today here’s a few tips on getting your gear “Winter ready”

Spinning rod:

Remove the reel from the rod, clean the reel seat and put a little drop of oil on the threaded section.

Examine all the eyes/guides for damage or wear. If there is one that needs replacing, now is the time.

Clean the rod and make sure there is no sand or grit on or in the joints

Check the cork handle and make sure it is not wet. If there is plastic on the handle, remove it as water can be lodged between the plastic and the cork and will cause rot.

Check the rod bag and the rod tube is 100% dry. Putting the rod in a damp bag or tube will cause mildew

Place the rod in the bag, the bag in the tube and store them up high where nothing heavy can fall on them


Spinning reel:

Remove all line and dispose of it properly, its always better to start the season with new line.

Clean the reel. If it has been used in salt water rinse it of and shake it dry. Leave the reel somewhere warm like a hot press for a few days then re oil and grease it. If this is a job you’re not comfortable doing drop it into your local tackle shop or we will happily do it for you.

Once it has been serviced wrap it in a clean cloth and store it for the winter.


Fly Rod :

Remove the reel from the rod, clean the reel seat and put a little drop of oil on the threaded section.

Examine all the eyes/guides for damage or wear. If there is one that needs replacing, now is the time.

Clean the rod and make sure there is no sand or grit on or in the joints

Check the cork handle and make sure it is not wet. If there is plastic on the handle, remove it as water can be lodged between the plastic and the cork and will cause rot.

Check the rod bag and the rod tube is 100% dry. Putting the rod in a damp bag or tube will cause mildew

Place the rod in the bag, the bag in the tube and store them up high where nothing heavy can fall on them


Fly reel :

Remove the fly line and backing line. When doing this it is best to use a line winder or you will end up sorting a big mess!

Clean the reel and oil and grease it.

Although fly reels look pretty simple, it is best to let someone who is familiar with them do any servicing. The drag system can be complex and if adjusted incorrectly can cause problems.


Fly lines :

Remove from reels and spare spools.

Use a clean cloth, gentle detergent and lukewarm water to clean.

Check the loops and the lines in general for signs of damage.

Coil in large hanks.

Most important: Label each line clearly with as much detail as possible. This will make life easier at the start of the new season.


I’m hoping to get out fishing tomorrow, more about that next Friday.

River Moy Updates

Friday 02/10/2020

Good morning from a quiet and somewhat damp Foxford. It seems to have got a lot colder in the past few days and one gets the feeling winter is not far away. The 2020 salmon season ended peacefully and as I said already it looks like there will be a good spawning season. We are looking forward to checking out the streams ans seeing whats about. There is still a few days left in the trout season in some places so I am hoping to get to visit a hill Lough. The rucksack is packed and the rod is ready,problem now is getting suitable weather and this weekend is not looking great, lets see how it works out.

We have a bit of “catch up” work to do to end the season and after that ill get to thinking about a few subjects for the blog, if you have any ideas please send me an email . For now take care and we will chat next Friday, Michael

River Moy Updates

Wednesday 30/09/2020

A dark and cloudy morning in Foxford, the rain has eased of. The river is at 0.43m at Ballylahan bridge. It may creep up a little later but this will not affect fishing today. Today is the final day of the 2020 Salmon season on the Moy, one we will not forget. From a fish stock point of view it has been a good year and it looks like good numbers will go on to spawn. For many people it has been tough, we hope it will improve between now and the start of next season when we will welcome you all back. Id like to say thanks to all our customers who supported us whether on line or in the shop. One angler who came in yesterday evening to pick up a spinner on his way home apoloigsed for only buying a spinner, these are the purchases that keep us going. We don’t expect people to always buy something when they visit but when they do it all counts and we do appreciate it. Thank you.

We plan to work on the website over the coming winter and I will keep a blog going here on Fridays, if only to keep in touch and let you know what’s happening in Foxford and on the fishing front. I still have a hill Lough to visit before the 10th of October….

River Moy Updates