Irish Angling Guide & Casting Instructor
I was born on a small farm in the west of Ireland on June 12th 1963. In those days there were hardly any cars and most houses had no televisions or phones. My young fishing pals and I may have lacked a lot of today’s comforts, but fishing was our passion and the lakes, rivers, and streams of the West our playground. We were surrounded by opportunities and fished every day of the season, before school, on the way home from school and every spare moment during weekends and holidays. It was a wonderful training ground and we were all well on the way to becoming good anglers by the time we were 12 years old!
I count myself very lucky indeed to have been born near the banks of the river Moy, one of the worlds most productive Salmon Rivers. I was also very lucky in that some of the local master fly fishermen took a great interest in me, sharing their lifelong experience and taught me how to fish correctly. Men such as Ned Gallagher and Tommy Byrne shared their wealth of knowledge and technique, helping me to catch thousands of salmon by my early twenties. Great men, great times, and a great learning experience – I owe them a lot.
Surrounded by a multitude of pike lakes I grew up fishing for these magnificent sport fish from a very young age as many of my friends have. Being one of the first fishing guides in the west of Ireland to popularise fly fishing for pike I have introduced many trout/salmon anglers to this exciting species and all were astounded by the quality of the experience.
I spent a number of years fishing the English reservoirs for rainbow trout and some of the tactics that I learned there work very well for wild Irish brown trout. Fishing in England kindled an interest in competition trout fly fishing and even though I don’t enter many competitions now, I have had the honour of representing my provincial trout fly fishing team Connaught, on numerous occasions, and my country at international level. I was also privileged to be a member of the Irish Fly Casting Competition Team, becoming the only Irishman to have represented his country in both fly casting and fly fishing.
As a teenager I guided Tom Ryan, a great caster and fisherman from New York who showed me Doug Swisher’s (micro second wrist) style of fly casting. This really opened up my approach to fly casting and I went on to learn other American casting styles. The fly casting style used by former World Champion Peter Anderson from Scotland was, and still is the best fly casting style that I have learned because it utilizes wrist, arm, shoulder, and bodily movements in their most logically efficient manner. I have added various new techniques to my own individual casting style over the years, but remain firmly rooted in the Anderson methodology.
Over the years as a professional fly caster giving casting demonstrations and talks at fly fishing shows around Europe I have worked with many other superb fly casters such as, Steve Rajeff, Scott Mackenzie, Rolf Rennel, Lasse Karlsson, Silja Longhurst, Ed Ward, Henrik Mortensen, Al Bhur, and Mel Krieger and this has helped me to fine tune my own fly casting style, expand my overall knowledge, and improve my teaching methods.
This process of importing information from other knowledgeable anglers is vital to ones progress as an angler. A lifetime is too short to learn all there is to know about fly fishing totally by oneself, so why not benefit from the experience of others.
I would like to think that my many mentors and teachers are proud of their pupil, I owe them a lot. Some are now sadly passed on but I often think of them as I walk along the pools we once shared.