Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fly Fishing Report From An Irish Angler

Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

A fish of rumour and conjecture became reality to me when I met by accident Denis O'Toole outside the Woodenbridge Hotel, Co. Wicklow. A man approaches me, "Are you Ashley Hayden who writes the angling column in the Wicklow People". "Yes I am", I reply. "My name is Denis O'Toole". Before he could utter another word I said, "So you're the man who caught this mythical sea trout". "That I am", said Denis, and after that it was like we had known each other all our lives.

To cut to the chase, rumour had abounded as to the capture of a great fish but nobody had seen the evidence. Denis, a professional fly dresser was holding his powder because he did not want the river being overrun. The time however had come to filter out the story, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. So in Denis's own words:


I and a fishing partner had been fishing on the Avoca one evening; we had caught several small sea trout and released them, the fish showed in the pool above where I was fishing, before it was fully dark, so I didn't try him straight away.

I fished some other pools while I was waiting for darkness to fall, at this point I did not know it was a sea trout.

I had fished down one of the pools when my fishing partner walked up to me and I asked did he want to go home or stay?? He said he would fish the pool that I had just been at as he had just changed his fly's.

Then I went down to the pool where I seen the fish move (Lucky Boy) I put on a 1 1/2 inch aluminium tube with a salar single (with the barb squeezed down) and started at the head of the pool, on my 4th cast while stripping the fly back he hit it with a BANG!! and all hell broke loose, all I could see was white foam on the water through the inky darkness, I thought I hooked FREE WILLY, the fish's 1st run tore off 20 or more yards of line downstream and he made 3 other big runs after this.

He was lying in only 3ft of water when he took, in total the fight lasted 20mins. He was then carefully weighed & measured and released back to spawn and produce more 16lb’ers.

I am a professional fly dresser and live locally, the tube fly he took was one of my own patterns called the Lava Tale, far too many big fish today end up in pictures with gill tags in them.

Tight Lines, Denis O' Toole.


  1. Awesome. Would love to be in Ireland hooking up huge fish on a fly!

  2. Especially a huge wild fish Sean. Denis's sea trout now holds the unofficial Irish record for a fly caught sea trout. He did not claim the title because he put the fishes welfare first, congratulations Denis.