Archive | June, 2016

Henry’s Fork Marathon 2016

June 20, 2016

blog-June-20-2016-1-flyfishing-henry's-forkYou probably gathered by now that I’m behind on the blog.  There wasn’t time to write more than notes while in Ireland.  Then when I got back to the USA it was action packed with the Henry’s Fork Marathon and a family visit.  This photo is Granny watching some huge fish rise on the Henry’s Fork the night of June 20th.  I got home from Ireland this exact day and when Granny got off work we hustled to camp in the Gravel Pits near Osborne Bridge on the Henry’s Fork to catch the first full moon on the summer solstice since 1967.

 

June 21, 2016

blog-June-21-2016-2-Henry's-Fork-river-IDJetlag and rest aren’t words of my vocabulary.  Despite being exhausted from traveling from Ireland all day yesterday and the 7 hour time difference messing with my brain, I awoke at 5 AM to singing meadowlarks and Brewer’s sparrows.  They invigorated me to leap from bed in the back of my Exploder.  I woke up Granny and friend Scott Smith who camped with us and drove up to the Last Chance parking lot to make coffee and rig up for my annual Henry’s Fork Marathon.  (See Marathons – 2014, 2013 and 2012 to get the idea)

 

blog-June-21-2016-3-troutbums-henry's-forkIn case you don’t know what my Marathon is, it’s my longest fishing day of the year at my favorite place on the planet, the Railroad Ranch through Harriman’s on the Henry’s Fork.  I leave the Last Chance parking lot between 7 and 8 AM and walk all the way to the Osborne Bridge and back.  Never returning to my truck before 10 PM.  Then I follow up with a burger and beers at the TroutHunter.  This is my favorite fishing day of the year and I welcome anyone to join me.  This year, reports of tough fishing scared away many that said they were coming so there were only five of us.  All I can say is some people put too much weight on the catching rather than being with friends at one of the most incredible places on earth.

 

blog-June-21-2016-4-jeff-currier-hf-marathonGranny and I had my Simms pack full of food, beer and cigars and we all left the parking lot under unpredicted cloudy skies and calmness.  The temperature was 79°, unusually warm.  There should’ve been brown drake spinners on the water from last night’s hatch but there were none.  Furthermore there should’ve been PMD’s hatching and there was only a spattering of them.

 

blog-June-21-2016-5-harriman-ranch-henry's-forkAt 9 AM I saw a huge rainbow head poke the surface.  I got in position to catch him while the others relaxed and watched but the fish never showed himself again.  I went as far as to drift a few over where I saw him in hopes he was there but he didn’t fall for it.  Trout 1 – Currier 0.

 

blog-June-21-2016-6-railroad-ranch-henrys-forkBy 10 AM the clouds were gone and it was undoubtedly 85° and still rising.  Along with the heat came some of the most relentless wind I can remember in Marathon history.  I learned later from the news that gusts hit 45 MPH and the day’s steady winds were 30 MPH.  It was so bad that the slow moving waters of the Ranch turned to a frothing nightmare of foam and whitecaps.

 

blog-June-21-2016-7-osbourne-bridge-henrys-forkSuch conditions weed out normal fly fishers from the dedicated.  While we Marathoners continued to look for rising fish in protected slicks not one other angler remained on the river.  We pressed on and at 3 PM finished the first six miles of our journey and touched the Osborne Bridge, our halfway point.

 

blog-June-21-2016-8-flyfishing-the-Henrys-forkThe wind, heat and sun were so bad for fishing we could only laugh.  While some feel that beers are for after a day of fishing, today without beers would’ve been for the insane.  We got comfortable on the lava rock and sipped luke warm beers and celebrated the longest fishing day of the year.  All Ranch regulars know how to turn unfishable conditions into a fun day.

 

blog-June-21-2016-9-Henrys-Fork-with-jeff-currierAt 5 PM the five of us had five casts total and not one fish hooked let alone landed.  But the cool thing is we all had faith that the wind would stop and the brown drakes would hatch causing and absolute feeding frenzy.  Normally this is the case on a hot windy day in late June but instead the wind continued to rip as we slowly made our way back upstream.

 

blog-June-21-2016-10-jeff-currier-fishing-the-henrys-forkAt 6 PM the wind reared its ugly head a few more MPH.  Personally I was done laughing.  I’ve seen a few days like this and normally I can call it a day.  But not on my annual Marathon.  I lit a fat cigar and kicked back for about the tenth time of the day.  During my smoke I could swear the trees began to sway slightly less.

 

blog-June-21-2016-11-brown-drake-hatchIt was a big cigar that I didn’t finish till 7.  By now the wind dropped to 20 MPH and its sick to say it seemed calm.  I could hear again and the first brown drakes fluttered recklessly through the sky above.  Only occasionally would one make the water.  When the large mayflies did I watched closely hoping to see a nose pluck one off.  Finally I thought I saw one disappear.

 

blog-June-21-2016-12-jeff-currier-Henry's-forkThe disappearance of the drake was nothing more than a sloppy rise – or was it?  Could it have appeared sloppy only because a large trout plucked it out of a wave?  The answer was maybe so I stared at the spot hoping for a second look.  But not another drake or any insect for that matter floated over.  Finally I approached the spot with caution.  On my first cast with my brown drake imitation the nose I’d been waiting for all day engulfed my fly.  “On Scotty Boy!”  I yelled.

 

blog-June-21-2016-13-jeff-currier-winston-rodsScott turned just to see my big rainbow go airborne.  Wild leaps and fast runs is what the fish of the Ranch are known for and this heavily spotted bow didn’t disappoint.  I charged after him doing my best to avoid hitting backing and to keep the fish from the weeds.

 

I kept the pressure on with my 4-weight Winston.  I wisely use 3X and with this you can land any trout fast.  I broke his spirit on the second run attempt and stopping the third was hardly a challenge.  Moments later I beached my first big Idaho trout of the year.

 

blog-June-21-2016-14-henrys-fork-rainbowToday was my 29th Marathon and I’ve only been skunked of a big fish once.  I’d like to keep it this way for the rest of my life.  As I gazed down at this beauty I couldn’t help but smile.  It had been a tough day but all the wind, heat and lousy hatches dealt weren’t enough to hold me back from catching at least one.  “You’re next Scotty Boy”, I said.

 

There’s four things that can make a day miserable on the Ranch of the Henry’s Fork.  The first is hot temps.  We got screwed there.  Second is high wind.  Bam!  Third is bad hatches.  Yea we experienced that.  And last, is that when the sun sets the temperature plummets.  Unfortunately we had this also.

 

blog-June-21-2016-15-henry's-fork-marathonScott squared up on a nice fish minutes before the 9:35 sunset.  This was a big one that on each rise pushed a bow wave that was big enough to look like he was a swimming muskrat.  Scott laid his fly out there perfectly, so perfect I yelled that’s the one!  Sure enough it was.  But the trout was big enough to require the words “God Save the Queen” before you set the hook.  The New Zealand saying allows time for the giant mouth of a mammoth trout to completely close before you lift the rod.  Scott was a little too fast and he only nicked him.

 

blog-June-21-2016-16-henrys-fork-sunsetAfter that the sun set and against all probability of today the temperature plummeted.  When this happens the hatches stop immediately and the fish stop the feeding.  We walked slowly the final two miles to the cars from where Scott met his fish.  There was nothing.  We returned to the Last Chance parking lot at 10:50 PM.  Another Marathon and nearly a 16 hour fishing day in the books.

 

My Marathon is an incredible fishing tradition.  But remember, the Ranch of the Henry’s Fork isn’t for sissies nor is a sixteen hour day of fishing.  This fun day separates the crazy hardcore from the moderately faithful.  This being said, I hope next year to see you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Ireland Comes to an End

blog-June-18-2016-1-flyfishing-champ-jackie-coyneIt’s been a wonderful trip over here in Ireland competing in the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships.  I can’t explain how exciting it’s been to return to world competition.  It’s like I went back in time.  Furthermore, it had been fifteen years since I’ve seen many of my European friends.  We’ve had a blast together and last night after the final session we partied down till the wee hours.

 

blog-June-18-2016-2-joe-humphries-flyfishingToday was a relaxing day around the city of Galway.  Our generous sponsor and team captain Jerry took us out to some classic Irish Pubs for Guinness and fresh seafood.  Joe Humphreys has been craving oysters since we got here and he, Jerry and I knocked off two dozen of the tasty creatures.

 

 

 

blog-June-18-2016-3-team-italy-flyfishing-championshipsWe returned to the hotel for closing ceremonies.  This included a big dinner and medal ceremony.  The way things finished up is Team Italy took 1st Place, Team Scotland 2nd and Team Ireland 3rd.  We came in 5th place which isn’t half bad considering not one of us on the team had ever fished in Ireland let alone the competition water.  I wanted so badly for us to win a Team Medal for Joe but we had one too many blanks.  Thoughts of just one more fish will haunt for a few days.

 

blog-June-18-2016-4-jackie-coyne-flyfishing-irelandAs for Individuals finishes my longtime friend Jackie Coyne of Ireland took home the Gold Medal.  I’m extremely happy for him.  Jackie had a lot of pressure to do well as this is his actual home waters.  No doubt now he is the best fly fisherman on his waters and now the world!
I ended up with a very respectable 8th place finish.  Honestly I came here hoping to dip in the top ten but it didn’t seem very realistic against the Euros on water I’ve never fished.  Right behind me was Scott finishing 11th.  He and I carried the team and Jerry has already asked us to represent Team USA in Portugal in 2017.   We’ll see how my schedule shapes up.

 

blog-June-18-2016-5-flyfishing-irelandThat’s a rap on Ireland and the 2016 World Masters Flyfishing Championships.  I’ll fly home tomorrow and then it’s to the Henry’s Fork.  I’ll rest when I’m dead!

 

A special thanks to all my sponsors for this one.

Jerry Arnold – R.L. WinstonBauer Fly ReelsYetiSimmsYellow Dog Flyfishing AdventuresScientific AnglersCosta SunglassesKate’s Real Foods

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Last Day Surge in the World Flyfishing Championships

blog-June-17-2016-1-world-flyfishing-championships5 AM arrived without the need of a wakeup call.  I was ready.  Scott was ready.  We drank coffee and relaxed before a 6:30 breakfast then all of Team USA boarded buses for the last day and last two sessions of the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships.

 

blog-June-17-2016-2-jeff-currier-flyfishing-irelandMy first session (actually session 3 of the competition) took place at Lough Muck.  Muck has proven to be as testing as Lough Corrib.  The Wednesday afternoon session here caused seven blanks!  That’s incredible and I’ll admit I was a bit nervous on the bus ride.  But when I got there I liked the looks of my beat (Beat 9) and despite the harsh wind and cold I felt assured I’d catch a fish.

 

blog-June-17-2016-3-flyfishing-lough-muckJust like on Lough Fee session 1 I dissected the shoreline of my beat with dry flies.  The wind and waves made the idea seem questionable but I had to look for that quick easy fish close to the bank.  30 minutes in without a swirl I reeled it in and switched to nymphs.  Nymphs also failed.

 

blog-June-17-2016-4-world-masters-flyfishing-championshipsAn hour passed and I hadn’t scored a fish to liven up my young Irish controller, Evan.  The wind was borderline cyclone and thoughts of a blanking disaster did cross my mind.  I picked up my 6-weight Winston with the Stillwater line and went to work with the simplest but most proven method of subsurface fishing.  I tossed three Woolley Buggers as far as I could and let them sink the same ten count that worked on Fee and began retrieving in an erratic strip.

 

Erratic is the key.  I start with three fast short strips then jump to a couple long slow ones then some short fast strips again then stop.  In my mind I see a following fish and do whatever it would take to make him eat.  The method works like you cannot believe.  On my second cast I dropped a fish that felt good.  Next cast I got him – 21 cm – no blanking for me on Muck!

 

blog-June-17-2016-5-flyfishing-championshipsI’d scrape up two more solid wild brownies and finish with three.  Three doesn’t sound like much but in the end, the Frenchman had five, I had my three and the Scottish angler caught two and the rest of my sector opponents struggled.  I was on track for my plan.  I won 2nd place and scored a mere 2.  More than half my group blanked.

 

Results for Individuals in my group for Session 3

 

blog-June-17-2016-6-inagh-lodgeWe had a nice lunch at the historic old Inagh Lodge.  My lunch overlapped with Scotts.  Scott’s morning beat was on Lough Inagh and good news, Scott caught three and also scored 2nd place!  No doubt, he and I propelled the team!

 

blog-June-17-2016-8-jeff-currier-flyfishing-in-the-worldsMy final session was on Lough Inagh and I went head to head with Irishman Dennis whom I fished against in Poland back in 1998.  He’s a great guy and fished on Lough Inagh before.  When it came time to decide who was in charge of the boat – I trusted Dennis to choose our locations for the entire session.

 

blog-June-17-2016-9-competition-flyfishingThe wind still howled and the sun and clouds took turns.  The scenery was terrific.  I gazed around in all directions while we bounced over waves racing the other competition boats to get to our first location and the 3 PM start.  This was my last time fishing in Ireland perhaps for many years.  Perhaps even in my life.  I took it all in like we all should at such moments.

 

blog-June-17-2016-10-beadhead-wooly-buggerDennis led us to a rocky forest filled shoreline and soon our controller Podraig told us to start.  I was fishing three Buggers on my Stillwater with no intentions of changing flies the entire session.  This is about keeping your fly in the water for all the three hours not 21/2 hours because you’re changing them so much.  My point fly was the same one I used in the morning, a bead head bugger Scott tied for me last night.  The simple pattern had already been fruitful.

 

blog-June-17-2016-11-wolrd-masters-fly-fishingInagh had been fished hard for three sessions by some of the best anglers in the world.  No doubt I expected another tough three hours.  However, I won the practice session here on Tuesday by a long shot.  I was extremely confident until after the first hour when I hadn’t a fish.  I’d watched Dennis catch one and boil a few others on a floating line and some sort of wet fly he was keeping out of sight.

 

I thought hard about switching to a floating line and changing flies.  Who wouldn’t after watching Dennis?  But rather than spend the ten minutes it might take to make the adjustment, I stuck to my druthers and continued to cast and cover water like a machine.

 

blog-June-17-2016-12-lough-inagh-irelandAnother hour went by.  I’d pricked three fish and landed zero (my set up was ok).  They were typical short strikes that occur after fish have suffered from pressure.  Of the four venues in the competition, Inagh was the one I least feared to blank.  But here I was with less than an hour to go and not a fish on the score card.  It was cold but I was sweating.

 

blog-June-17-2016-13-world-championshhips-of-flyfishingWith 55 minutes to go it happened.  We were in a random spot, I guess you could say a desperate area hoping for one easy fish, when I got slammed.  This time he stayed buttoned on and I swung him to the net.  He was an obvious measurable brown trout.  Not only was I on the board but he was bigger than Dennis fish which means my fish scored higher.

 

blog-June-17-2016-14-bauer-fly-reels-jeff-currierI’m confident in my angling enough to know that if I was having troubles so were the other competitors.  Next on my mind was catch another.  One fish would score well but two would be even better.  With thirty minutes to go I landed yet another nice fish at 29 cm!

 

The “Currier” persistence continued.  Cast after cast covering every inch of water I could reach.  I knew there was at least one more in me.  With six minutes to go I got him.  He barely measured at 20.5 cm but he measured.

 

blog-June-17-2016-15-jeff-currier-flyfishing-championshipsI ended with three fish.  As I expected, the session was tough for everyone.  The big winner was Pierwigi with four then 2nd place for me with three.  I’d scored my second 2 of the day and beaten my own goals set before the day even started.  Consistency in the World Championships of Fly Fishing always scores best.  I was pumped!

 

Results for Individuals in my group after Session 4

 

It’s unexplainable how exhausting competing in the World Championships of Fly Fishing is.  I was knackered by the time I boarded the bus back for the hotel.  But I wasn’t tired enough to doze off.  What kept me awake was knowing I’d kicked butt today and that if my team did the same we might win a medal.

 

When I arrived to the hotel Jerry was waiting and quick to congratulate me on my day.  But then came the bad news.  While Scott also did well throughout the day, Jay and Joe blanked the morning session then in the afternoon Joe blanked a second time.  Had we one less blank we’d have won the bronze medal.  Instead we’ll smile with a respectable 5th place finish as a team and I got 8th as an individual.

 

Final Team Results

 

More tomorrow with closing parties and final results from the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships in Ireland.  This has been an epic day!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Day Off for the Cliffs of Moher

blog-June-16-2016-1-flyfishing-irelandThe one thing you get better at as you get older is putting the bad behind you and moving forward.  Yesterday’s terrible afternoon session for Team USA had me down last night but today I woke up and started preparing for the last two sessions for tomorrow.  I’m ready to go and have plans to not only avoid the blanks but also a goal to score no less than 3rd place in both sessions.  That would be huge for our team!

 

blog-June-16-2016-2-cliffs-of-moher-irelandFishing in the World Masters Flyfishing Championships includes a tour to the Burren region.  At 10 AM our Team headed on a bus tour with all the other teams to see some castles, hike and see the Cliffs of Moher.  It was a relaxing day and the Cliffs were one of more marvelous views I’ve ever set eyes on.

 

blog-June-16-2016-3-doolin-irelandOur last stop was a late lunch of fish and chips and a Guinness in Doolin.  This is a cool little town a couple miles from the ocean and minutes from the Cliffs of Moher.  When I come back to Ireland someday with Granny this will be a mandatory stopover so I can enjoy it for more than an hour.

 

It’s early to bed tonight and game on manana!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Competition Begins in the World Championships of Flyfishing

blog-June-15-2016-1-world-masters-flyfishing-championshipsMore than ten years ago I retired from world competitive fly fishing but this morning here I was – out of retirement competing in the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships on the lakes of Ireland as a member of Team USA.  My heart pounded with excitement as if my last tournament was yesterday.

 

The way the scoring works in the Worlds is this:  Each team has four members.  Competition consists of four three hour sessions on lakes.  Each team member is assigned a letter – A, B, C or D.  I’m D and today I competed in two sessions against all the other “D” folks from other teams.  Meanwhile my three team members fished against their matching letters from other teams.

 

blog-June-15-2016-2-flyfishing-irelandIn order to score a fish he must be 20 cm long.  It’s best to catch lots of fish rather than a couple big ones.  There are ten teams so scores after each session range from 1-10.  One being the best you can do and ten the worst.  The idea is to have the fewest points at the end.  So, if you win your session amongst your group you score a 1.  If you’re second you score a 2 and third scores a 3 and so on.  If you’re the big loser you score a horrible 10!  Or if you don’t catch a single fish, even if half your group doesn’t catch a single fish, you and they score a 10.  The bottom line is you absolutely must not blank in a session because if you score a 10 its hurts the team terribly.

 

blog-June-15-2016-3-jeff-currier-edoardo-ferreroThe team with the least amount of points in the end wins and the angler with the least amount of points wins the individual.  This is an Olympic style event so winners receive medals with grand champs receiving gold.  It’s an incredibly challenging yet fun event.  And I can tell you, I competed against many of these Europeans back in the day and some are the best anglers in the world including my friend here Edoardo Ferrero.

 

blog-June-15-2016-4-lough-fee-irelandMy morning began at 5 am with coffee and simply relaxing around the hotel.  At 7 am I was on a two hour bus ride to Lough Fee for my 50 meter long bank session.  The three hour session starts at 9:30 and you’re supposed to have 30 minutes to prepare.  The bus was late and it was more like 10 minutes.  I whipped together a double dry fly rig on my Winston 9’ 4-weight and three Buggers on my 6-weight with my Stillwater line.  When the bell went off I went to work with my dries as planned.

 

blog-June-15-2016-5-flyfishing-championships-irelandThe skies were partly cloudy and the wind ripped across Lough Fee.  I was in Beat 3.  To my left was the Scottish angler in Beat 2 and to my right was the French angler in Beat 4.  I was snug in between two of the best and all I could do was hope they didn’t catch every trout before they swam to me.  All other Beats were being fished as well by each country in the event.  Within minutes my dry fly was sipped by a 26 cm brown trout that I sped to my net at lightning speed.  I ran the little gem to my controller and I was on the board!

 

blog-June-15-2016-6-fishing-lough-feeI caught three measurable fish during the first hour on dry flies.  Unfortunately I watched the Scottish angler catch at least that however the Frenchman caught only one.  Once I wore my welcome out with dries I made a quick run through my water with nymphs.  The nymphs didn’t move a fish so rather than wasting time I put my Buggers to work.  It took some prowling but soon I found a pocket of fish about 60 feet off shore.  I had to let my flies sink a ten count but then two or three strips in I’d get hit.  I fished like a machine for the last 90 minutes of the session and put six more fish to the net.

 

blog-June-15-2016-7-jeff-currier-flyfishing-irelandI caught nine fish total.  My judge, who had been hearing how the rest of the session was going for other anglers shook my hand and he and his friends chanted, “You can make America great again!”  It was cute and simply told me I did well.  The end result was the Scotsman won the session with fourteen fish.  I got second and the Frenchman got third.  It was a wonderful start for me and Team USA.

 

Results for Individuals in my group for Session 1

 

blog-June-15-2016-8-Team-USA-flyfishingMeanwhile the rest of Team USA did well too.  Jay Buchner won his session on Lough Muck.  Scott Robertson scored a 2 on Lough Corrib.  And Joe Humphreys, although his score was a 9, didn’t blank on Lough Inagh.  Team USA was in second place!

 

Results for Teams after Session 1

 

My afternoon session was the dreaded and feared boat Beat on Lough Corrib.  Corrib is the lake that made us miserable earlier in the week practicing.  While I caught a few fish practicing they didn’t come easy and most of our team hadn’t landed a single one.  This is where if you don’t blank the team would score well and gold could be won.

 

blog-June-15-2016-9-flyfishing-lough-corribMy boat partner was Marry of Netherlands and she doesn’t speak a word of English.  Our controller (judge and boat handler) was Tom.  When we arrived it was sunny and the lake was calm.  Being we are required to wind drift, calm wasn’t exactly what we needed for covering water.  But we loaded up and at 3 PM the bell rang and off we went to cast relentlessly around a small island.

 

I stuck with the program learned earlier this week from our guide Michael Drinan of three wet flies stripped as fast as possible.  I couldn’t believe it, ten minutes in and I netted a fish.  I swung my net to Tom so fast it was unreal.  I stared at the bottom of the boat in relief.  The brown trout flopped in Toms measuring tray then Tom said look.  My fish was 18.5 cm – too short to measure.

 

blog-June-15-2016-10-world-masters-flyfishing-champsUgh!  I went back to work and an hour went by.  The wind stirred up on occasion helping us cover water but then it would die again.  We moved a couple times to other islands.  Of course the lake was covered with other competitors in boats and two hours in it was hard to find water unfished.  The stress was starting to build.

 

Mary was casting continuously as well but nothing.  I didn’t lose concentration and at last I hooked another.  I scooted him to the net fast as well but he was small.  Tom measured him and the fish was even more of a heartbreaker – 19 cm.  Only a centimeter too small!

 

blog-June-15-2016-11-flyfishing-championships-irelandI had a gut feeling I was in trouble at that moment.  Although I didn’t lose my concentration for a second, the last hour went by without a fish.  Day one, second session and I blanked on the cursed Lough Corrib and scored a disappointing 10.  I missed scoring by 1 cm.

 

The long bus ride back to the hotel was dismal.  Marry and I weren’t by any means the only blanks.  Six of us total blanked.  There were four happy contestants and six bummed out ones.  I walked into the hotel to sadly tell my teammates I failed in Corrib.

 

blog-June-15-2016-12-irelandNo one seemed too disappointed in me and there was a reason for this.  The afternoon was a disaster for all on Team USA.  Jay blanked on Lough Inagh.  Scott blanked on Lough Muck.  And Joe scored another 9.  Team USA dropped to 7th place in one disastrous session.

 

 

blog-June-15-2016-13-irelandScott and I are rooming together and to say we’re in shock right now is an understatement.  I can’t get it out of my head that I caught two fish on Corrib and both were barely a centimeter too small.  And I can’t believe the team had two more blanks.  We started so well.  But we wont kill ourselves.  We’ll pick up the pieces on Friday for the last two sessions.  Somehow we all have to do well and get us back to the top.  There’s no giving up.

 

Tomorrow is a rest day in which all teams are heading on a tour of the Burren Region.  Failure is in the rearview mirror.  Fun and success lies ahead.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Official Practice of the World Masters Flyfishing Championships

blog-June-14-2016-2-fishing-lough-inaghThe World Masters Fly Fishing Championships is a weeklong event.  Yesterday was the opening ceremonies.  Today is Official Practice.  Tomorrow we compete.  Thursday is an off day.  Then Friday is our last day of competition and Saturday is the awards ceremony and party.

 

blog-June-14-2016-3-fly-fishing-europeIn past competitions I usually took the Official Practice day to rest but this time it’s different.  We got to practice fish the actual competition water.  I’d been a fool not to go check them out so me and the team split up and went.

 

blog-June-14-2016-3-world-flyfishing-championshipsScott and I went on the boat to Sector 4 Lough Inagh then the shoreline of Sector 3 Lough Fee while Jay and Joe went by boat to Sector 1 Lough Corrib then to the shoreline of Sector 2 Lough Muck.  We all had a job to do – find out what flies worked best and what lines to fish them on.

 

blog-June-14-2016-4-inagh-in-irelandThe real mystery to be answered was: is Lough Inagh going to fish best with traditional wet flies like on Lough Corrib or could we go full on American fishing style with streamers and leeches?  Our weather for the day was the worst of trip.  There were high winds, heavy rain and it was cold enough to put on my Simms Waderwicks.  In the eyes of the Irish – a no less than perfect day for fishing.

 

blog-June-14-2016-5-lough-inaghOfficial Practice isn’t just practice for contestants but also a test for the Competition organizers to make sure the buses run efficiently and for the controllers (judges) to be sure they understand the scoring and etc.  Fortunately this tournament seems to be well organized and these things ran smoothly.

 

blog-June-14-2016-6-brown-trout-in-irelandWhen Scott and I arrived at Lough Inagh we hopped in a boat with controller Padraig Fahy.  Padraig is a super nice guy and guides the area.  He gave us a brief rundown on where the wild brown trout of Inagh are usually found.  Scott rigged up with traditional wet flies.  I experimented with dries and caught a fish stripping in to recast which enticed me to switch to Buggers on my Stillwater Intermediate line within the first half hour.  Scott moved a couple fish on his wets but my Buggers wrecked the place!

 

The end result of our three hours of practice on Lough Inagh was that Scott and I won the session over all other practice teams.  Scott landed four countable fish on wets.  I landed ten on Buggers.  We know what flies we’ll be fishing here.

 

blog-June-14-2016-7-lough-muck-irelandIn the afternoon our practice session shifted to the shoreline fishing competition lake, Lough Fee.  The rain stopped but the wind was easily topping 25 mph.  The bus dropped us off and Scott and I found a slightly protected point to fish.  Personally, I already have my plan for my shoreline sessions so rather than practice I took the three hours this afternoon to thoroughly get ready.  It was extremely relaxing.  I tied leaders and built a mini fly box of my tournament flies.  That’s it.  Ready to go!

 

Scott didn’t pick up a single fish on Lough Fee.  The small shoreline fishing lakes may be is difficult as Lough Corrib.  The best strategy for Team USA to win will be to limit our blanks.  More on how the scoring works tomorrow.  Ready to compete!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The World Masters Flyfishing Championships 2016

blog-June-13-2016-1-worlds-masters-flyfishing-championshipsToday was the first relaxation day since we arrived in Ireland for the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships.  Team USA slept in after a late night catching up with old European friends.  I didn’t move until around 8 AM.  After breakfast I gave my tackle a once over to get ready for the tournament.  The actual fishing starts on Wednesday.

 

blog-June-13-2016-2-team-usa-flyfishingAt 4 PM we boarded a bus to head to downtown Galway to kick off the opening ceremonies for the event.  We began with a parade where each team marched with their flags for about a half mile.  The streets are narrow and pubs line both sides of them.  There were a ton of folks lined up cheering.  It was a fun party atmosphere which is found throughout Ireland.

 

blog-June-13-2016-3-team-usa-flyfishingAfter the parade the mayor of Galway kicked off the tournament and we returned to the Connacht Hotel for a dinner celebration.  It’s been a long fun day.  Tomorrow will be official practice and we’ll get a chance to fish two of the competition lakes.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Learning the Brown Trout of Lough Corrib

blog-June-12-2016-1-flyfishing-in-irelandEvery World Flyfishing Championship I fished back in my day had one fishing location that caused havoc with the scores of the tournament.  It was usually a lake where only about 10% of the competitors caught a single fish and the other 90% blanked.  Based on our practice day Friday and news carrying on from other teams that practiced this week, Lough Corrib might very well be the “make it or break it” session.

 

blog-June-12-2016-2-fly-fishing-IrelandWe returned to Lough Corrib today in hopes we could build some confidence.  While our guide Michael Drinan manned one boat with Jay Buchner and Scott Robertson I manned the other and took Joe Humphreys and our captain Jerry Arnold.  It was our coolest day yet and the wind cranked.

 

blog-June-12-2016-3-flyfishing-lough-corribThe neatest thing about Team USA in this year’s World Masters Flyfishing Championship is that Joe Humphries is on it.  As most of you know, Joe is a legend in the fly fishing world and has been for more than 50 years.  Most incredible is that Joe is 87 years old and despite the fact that competitive fly fishing is no less then grueling, Joe is here to give 100% towards a medal for Team USA.

 

blog-June-12-2016-4-jeff-currier-fishing-lough-corribFortunately, the fish gods were looking after us today.  On our first drift I stuck a 10” trout.  This was by no means a dandy on Corrib but nonetheless a little gem that would’ve counted.  Shortly after in another drift I landed our first good trout of the week.  Due to photo disaster all I have for a pic is my Winston doubled over and bent to the cork.  All I can tell you is these big lake fish fight like heck and they are gorgeous.

 

blog-June-12-2016-5-jeff-currier-and-joe-humphriesWe stuck to the wet flies throughout the day practicing the technique that Michael taught us earlier this week.  Most of the team landed at least one fish of size that would score in the competition.  The highlight was when Joe got one to the net.

 

blog-June-12-2016-6-fishing-irelandWe’re feeling good tonight.  There will be no fishing tomorrow as it’s the opening ceremonies of the World Masters Flyfishing Championships.  The event kicks off tomorrow evening with a parade of all the teams in downtown Galway.  Then at the mouth of the Corrib River the competition will be officially kicked off followed by practice fishing on Tuesday then tournament fishing starts on Wednesday.  This is going to be an awesome week!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Wild Brown Trout of Ireland

blog-June-11-2016-1-lake-fishing-in-irelandGuide Mike Drinan brought us to a spectacular small shore fishing lake 30 minutes out of Oughterard.  The lake was shallow and weedy.  The skies were gray and blue with wind and occasional drizzle then sunshine.  Connemara ponies watched as we set up our rods then disappeared into the grassy hillsides.  This was Ireland exactly the way I always imagined it to be.

 

blog-June-11-2016-2-flyfishing-in-irelandInstead of running all over the lake firing casts I suggested everyone on Team USA take 50 meters of lake and fish it for three hours just like the two shoreline lake beats in the tournament will be done.  I personally wanted to test my skills at managing such a small piece of water for three hours and see if I could put a few measurable fish in my net.  I also wanted everyone else on my team to experience the same so our team has a chance to win next week.

 

blog-June-11-2016-3-wild-brown-trout-in-irelandBased on Thursdays practice I fished dries the first hour cautiously from shore keeping low and out of sight of these wild fish.  In the second hour I went with nymphs on a floating line and cautiously waded the shallows.  During the third hour I waded deep firing casts with my intermediate Stillwater Line WF6I with three different colored Wooly Buggers to try for bigger fish further out.  My plan worked like a champ.  I picked off three measurable brown trout on dries, three more on nymphs then ended with three more on the Buggers.

 

blog-June-11-2016-4-flyfishing-in-irelandWhile the browns you’ve seen on the blog this week are small these are wild as wild can be.  In many of the small waters here in Ireland the brown trout don’t get much bigger.  Ones that do are rare.  They are no less than stunning fish and test your fly fishing skills to the max.  Think of the wild brown trout here like you would the wild brook trout of the Smokey Mountains and it puts this place in perspective.

 

blog-June-11-2016-5-irish-pubsWe stopped in Oughterard on the way back to Galway at the same pub we ate at the first night.  The food is exceptional and this was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had in my life!  Tomorrow its back to Lough Corrib to try and figure out how to catch fish on what very well be the toughest beat in the entire tournament.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing on Lough Corrib in Ireland

blog-June-10-2016-1-galway-irelandWord on the street here in Galway, Ireland is that fishing is tough.  Ireland has been experiencing a record breaking heatwave with temperatures hovering in the 80’s.  Normal temps here are mid to upper 60’s.  Furthermore, they haven’t a drop of rain in the two weeks.  Again, very unusual and both have the wild brown trout sulking.

 

blog-June-10-2016-2-flyfishing-corrib-irelandToday we practiced for next week’s World Masters Flyfishing Championships with our guide Michael Drinan on the renowned Lough Corrib (Corrib Lake).  Corrib is one of Irelands best waters because of its big brown trout and Atlantic salmon.  The massive island covered body of water has intense mayfly hatches and normally in June offers some of the finest dry fly fishing in Europe.  But with the freak weather there are no rising trout and fish are hard to find.  This is unfortunate because Corrib is a venue for the competition.

 

But, with a guy nicknamed “Monsoon Currier” in town the weather has changed.  We awoke to a drop in temperature and a steady drizzle.  Mike was very enthusiastic with the more normal conditions.

 

blog-June-10-2016-3-corrib-lough-irelandWe practiced on Lough Corrib exactly as we’ll fish during the tournament.  That’s from a classic old wooden style boat drifting in the wind.  In each boat will be two competitors and a controller (judge) that measures fish and controls the boat with oars and motor.  Both anglers cast off the same side of the boat and neither can cross a cast to the others water which is from the center of the boat to the front or back.

 

blog-June-10-2016-4-wet-fly-fishing-in-irelandThe great thing about competing on the world stage is learning new techniques.  You might think a guy like me knows all methods to catch trout but trust me there are always new tricks to absorb.  While I’d attack a lake like Corrib back home with a three fly streamer or nymph rig, Mike assures us this doesn’t work here but rather it’s all “wet fly” fishing.  Basically they fish more traditional flies such as a Royal Coachman wet or Mickey Finn six feet apart with and intermediate line.  You cast far then strip short and fast lengthening strips as you go.  At the end you raise the rod and let the flies dangle for a few seconds then recast.

 

blog-June-10-2016-5-fishing-guide-mike-drinanThe wet fly lake fishing method flat out covers water and that’s the name of the game when fishing is slow.  However, we had two boats and six of us busting out long casts, stripping fast and changing wet flies.  We saw a few fish boil in the waves but not one of us connected by lunch time.  Mike felt bad but assured us that if a fish was going to bite it would be with the wet fly method.

 

blog-June-10-2016-6-fishing-guide-mike-drinanMike and Joe Humphreys were in my practice boat after lunch.  Though Mike is our guide I encouraged him to fish also so I could watch him.  There’s minute tricks to stripping and fishing in general that can’t be explained so sometimes it’s best to watch.  The weather got nicer as the day progressed and we were getting desperate for that first fish.

 

blog-June-10-2016-7-flyfishing-for-european-perchWhen it’s tough is when I usually come through.  My persistence paid off and I brought hope for the team by landing a small 10” brown trout (big enough to count next week in the competition).  Though I didn’t snap a photo of the tiny brown trout I did manage a snapshot of this tiny European perch that came a few casts later.

 

blog-June-10-2016-7-flyfishing-in-irelandAn hour before completing our day Mike landed another brownie.  By days’ end Mike and I each landed one and each had another on.  It was certainly a fun day if you like a challenge like I do but if today was tournament day there would be a lot of disappointment.  Jay, Scott and Jerry went all day without a touch.  Hopefully the weather continues to become more Ireland like in the days to come.

 

blog-June-10-2016-9-world-masters-flyfishing-champiionshipsWe ended the day like all days in Ireland should be ended.  We hit an Irish Pub called the Anglers Rest Hotel in Headford.  We enjoyed a few Guinness and crushed some fresh haddock fish and chips plates.  Difficult days of fishing must all end on a high note!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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