The spectacular and scenic Carron Valley Fishery high in the Campsie Fells in central Scotland near Stirling was the recent venue for the 2016 International Ladies Fly Fishing Championships held on Thursday 26th May – Where a selection of Fulling Mill wet fly patterns help them achieve a Silver medal.
The weather was variable, it varied between chilly and freezing cold depending on the wind! But armed with a selection of Fulling Mill flies that were chosen by our team coach, we were determined to do well and it proved to be the best team practice prior to a Championships Final ever by an Irish Ladies Team. The waters at the dam wall opposite the jetty proved to be one of the hotspots.
Recommended Wet Fly Patterns
The day before the rest of the team arrived, two team members, Madeline Kelly and Ruth Arrell, had travelled over early to get a heads up on the lake. Their first day proved to be a wash out, with torrential rain, putting a definite damper on the fishing. The 2nd day was much better. The wind was a south easterly and both shorelines of Bin Bay as well as a line up the middle were all fruitful with fish taken over the course of the morning. Many of the beautiful native browns with their very sharp and distinctive markings fell to various patterns: Connemara Blacks, Pearly Invicta’s and Dunkeld sparkler, while the resident rainbows grown on from fingerlings were drawn to the more usual rainbow flies, cat’s whiskers, various coloured blobs. The fish fought hard, regardless of it being a 20cm wild brown trout to a 2lb rainbow.
The angling was spectacular and the Irish team en route to Scotland couldn’t wait to wet their lines when they heard the reports!
The practice began in earnest on the Saturday with 5 boats out on the water, all the anglers left to check out a different part of the lake and to recheck the flies that had worked over the first 2 days.
Julie Gerry – Chairman of the Irish Ladies Flyfishing Association set up with a DI3 sweep line, a Cat’s Whiskers on the top dropper, to target the rainbows, a Dunked Special in the middle and an Oakham Orange on the point. The fish were immediately attracted to the Dunkeld Special, (this fly and the Oakham Orange were responsible for many of fish captured by the Irish team, especially the wild brownies).
The plan was simple – confirm that the fish were still interested in the fly and then take it off and try the next one.
All over the lake that Saturday morning the fish, both rainbows and browns, were obliging the Irish. Not only were they giving the team a possible selection of flies for final day that had now worked for 3 days but the fish continued to rise readily to even more wet fly patterns. You’d think the fish were starving as they were taking so freely, but in actual fact, they were well formed and in great condition!
The wind switched to a slightly warmer westerly on Sunday and allowed Team Flytyer Brian Kerr and his partner Linda Straghan to drift into the tiny bays in and around Tree Bay and to investigate 30 minute bay on the opposite side. A Cats Whisker on the top dropper a traditional wet fly patterns for the middle and a sparkler on the tail proved very effective for both anglers for the first half of the day.
The instructions of the coach Hubert Smith for Mondays practice were to switch between a Gorgeous George and a Cat’s whisker on the top dropper, depending on the light and the location. Liz Dermott, a new cap from Co Armagh, persistently did this during the afternoon as the clouds came and went over the sun. Suddenly her line went solid and for a disappointing minute or two, she thought it had to be a stone. But the ‘stone’ moved and 25 tiring minutes later in full view of the jetty she landed a magnificent fish estimated at 12lbs, Liz was awarded fish of the week by fishery manager Jimmy!
The day of the match dawned bright and hot with a light breeze. The Irish team had decided that due to the peaty water, the fish were liking the flashy coloured wet fly patterns, so a Cat’s whisker on the top dropper and the Pearly Invicta, Oakham Orange, Dunkeld Special and Peter Ross were high in the selection for the middle droppers. The Green Tailed Kate McLaren was also a fly not to be ignored.
A stronger easterly wind picked up later in the morning and it got very cold but the fish didn’t seem to mind too much! It soon became apparent that the fish had moved up in the water, so the Kelly Green, and slow intermediate lines were put up in place of the DI3’s, with the same selection of wet fly patterns and lures in our boxes.
A lot of the fish for Ireland were taken close into the shoreline. The closer the boat was to the shoreline the better to get the flies right onto the rocks. Both Browns and Rainbows were in tight to the shore, so we had to have a selection of lures and wets on our casts!
The result was Ireland took Silver with 49 fish behind Scotland with 71. Silver was a great result for Ireland. The best flies on the day was the wet fly patterns selection which included the Dunkeld Special, followed by the Pearly Invicta and Green Tailed Kate McLaren, with a good few fish being taken on the Cat’s Whisker.
“All Team Ireland were really pleased with the Fulling Mill flies, the selection and the quality were second to none”
Jenny Casey (Captain)
Susan Brown (Vice-Captain)
Top Irish Rod: Julie Gerry 13 fish with 7 of them coming to the Dunkeld Special
Team Ireland would like to thank Fulling Mill for the sponsorship, we are so grateful. The Irish Ladies are self-funding, and really appreciate all the help we are given.