Fly Fishing and Fishing Hook Making at Moira Lakes
Last week I went Fly Fishing for the very first time.
Myself and Colum, an “experienced” fly fisher, took a trip out to Moira Lakes on Saturday afternoon. We had grand designs of catching some rainbow trout, filleting it and lighting the BBQ. Picture it now, the BBQ on the side of the lake smoking away. I had even planned a delicious Mediterranean-style recipe for grilling it up.
When we arrived at Moira Lakes, we walked round and through reception. We paid our fees for four hours worth of fishing, this seemed like a lot of time but what do I know. Colum even said to the receptionist, “That’ll get us started and if we stay longer we’ll pay at the end”. We walked around the lake to what looked like a good spot. We weren’t the only ones here, there were maybe four other fishermen whipping their lines above themselves.
We had a few exchanges with them as they told us the fish were biting on top (?). There was one elderly man casting away leisurely, I was informed that he is there almost daily. He gets dropped off and picked up by his son. There is an palpable sense of community here and if anyone felt that I, as a novice, didn’t belong, it certainly didn’t show.
It was chilly today but there way a bit of heat in the sun. There was a breeze running from right to left as we looked at the lake from our fishing spot. I left Colum to it for the first while. Happy to be outside and doing something, I sat on our bench and almost immediately fell asleep. I was definitely not bored, I was relaxed.
As I dosed, the elderly man was collected by his son. When I awoke, I was ready to have a go! Colum was a great teacher but despite this, I was still catching more grass from behind me than anything else. Apparently, the key is to get the line to land straight on the water, most of my lines resembled the letter ‘S’.
I took a break at one stage and seeing as fishing was on my mind, I whipped up a basic fishing hook with the ringpull of a drink can. This is a fun activity you can try. I’ve never tried to fish with them but I’ve seen a few people online saying that they definitely work.
Using a marker, draw a line to show you which parts to cut off. Cut them with a Leatherman or pair of wire cutters and shape. If you’ve a hoop on top you can tie it on normally. If you’ve no loop, you can use a traditional snell knot. Fishing hooks like this are so easy to make. I imagine they won’t catch anything too big or last very long but it could be a useful skill to have in a survival situation. Also, they’re in the Scouting Ireland Backwoods Adventure Skill programme, so all Scouts should give it a go at some stage.
Long story short, we didn’t catch anything. I nearly did though, I was told that when you get a bite, you pull it tight to get the fish on the hook. I pulled maybe a bit too hard… So I essentially catapulted this rainbow trout about 5m into the air, it landed with a huge slapping belly flop. It is called “fly fishing” after all.
When we packed up, Colum dropped one of his enlightened sayings – “That’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.”