So I joined the Griese River Trout and Salmon Anglers Association last week. Here is a not so quick report on experience so far!
On Thursday last, I applied for membership on the griese, the RGTSAA has 11 beats, from Colbinstown Bridge to Kilkea Castle spanning about 15 miles through south Kildare. As an avid wet fly fisher on the Slaney, I wanted to try hone my dry fly skills on a smaller, trickier river, the Griese is close by and offers decent trout to 1.5lbs which is great for me, as the Slaney has an abundance of fish, but of a smaller stamp!
After the application, within an hr or two I had a reply form the secretary explaining the details of my application and letting me know the dates of the next meeting regarding membership. The following evening, I had been accepted – That was quick!
Searching the excellently detailed and informative website, I went over the maps and then headed out on a couple of scouting missions before I headed out with a rod. Trout were clearly visible on bridges around Kilkea, Ballitore, and Moone – Its a fairly good sign of fish – fish!!!
So the bank holiday Monday arrived and after work I headed towards Moone, through the pillars, and over the bridge. Beat 8 was the target, the maps perfectly directing me to water. After a brief chat with a local, to be sure to be sure I was in the right place, I text the relevant authorities and landowners as requested for access, and after 2 quick thumbs up I was in and on the water. Well, looking at water anyway!
Immediately on arrival I see a rise, my rod, pre rigged with a wet and nymph set-up, has to be re-arranged with some sort of dry, I can see from the depth of the water I will not be needing the wet setup for the moment, the water is shallow, even after a good spell of rain the previous day. I take the first thing I see in the box, a hawthorne, tie it up and lob it in and allow it to drift around the bend towards the rising target in question. the fish looks at it, then looks at me, then it, then swims off, as much to say “must try harder”.
I begin to walk and walk, surveying the land, the overhangs, the riffles and runs and then come to a realization – I’m not very experienced at dry fly fishing, I have very few sessions under my belt, and to be truly honest I’m not sure what to do here! 2 years of trout bashing up to 40 fish a session on wets and nymphs on the slaney has given rise to complacency and a learning “wall” so to speak. Why change what works?? I was finding out why – because im not going to fish the same river for the rest of my days! Of course, I could fish my home river with dries, of course I could fish the river Griese with wets, but on this beat the water was not wide enough for swinging really, so new tactics, for me, are required. I’m quite happy about this all the same!
So I have a seat, and a scour through my box, I look for rises, which are now few and far between, I start walking downstream, which doesnt help my stealthiness, the sun is low and casting a long shadow of myself across the river, the water is crystal clear! I have no rises to aim at so I revert to form, I put back on an Olive nymph and drift under a few trees while still walking along the bank exploring my new found watery road!
On my travels I gather an enthusiastic audience, who don’t help my situation, moving with me, and being young and vibrant, start tearing up the ground, shouting and roaring, and being general nosey parker nuisances!
Anyway I move along with my new friends, and eventually trees on both sides separate us and they wander off to do whatever it is they do before they become big macs! I spot a lovely riffely part of water but it’s out of reach, due to the arrival of my new friends father in the next field! I decide I’ll stay where I am!
Im a fair bit down river now, so as its starting to darken, I proceed back upstream to look for the rises and try to get my dry on!! Still not much action or visible surface breaks, im again stuck for clues as to the best thing to do. Any hatches that were visible had now dispersed and the temperature was dropping, with fog now rising off the water, im running out of time to hit my first Griese trout!
I see a rise or two in the distance, and now armed with a size 12 alder, I cast towards the targets who show no interest, an Adams is loaded, same result, a black spider, a blue dun, a grey flag, a dark olive, all follow suit, like throwing soldiers into a losing battle, they fail on all spied fish, the size 12’s probably too large to tempt, but thats all that was available – I really should sort out my boxes!!
So determined not to blank on my first outing, The olive nymph goes back on and I hunt for familiar water with slightly deeper pools. I find one, nice water, running under a tree with some casting room above.
I release line and plan to let about 30 yrds of drift out, before relying on the retrieve and the rising nymph to tempt just one trout to snack, first drift, first griese trout.
A very tubby fish who is obviously clearing his plates at every meal. If not huge, I was blank free and quite relieved. Like a striker going a game without a goal, getting on the score sheet is important before it becomes an issue. With that achieved I was happy, and with little or no light left I headed for the car.
I’m very much looking forward to working this river over the next few months, and learning all over again a style I neglected to take part in because of easier options. If your on the banks and see a confused looking male staring into water, come over and say hi, bring some advice with you!!