Friday, 27 April 2012

Salmon Fishing on the Yemen

I finally watched the long awaited movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and wasn't disapointed. The Shiek who is somthing of a visionary wants to make his dream a reality by building a river in the desert and stocking it with salmon where everyone can fish together! Its a completely wild and whacky idea. Along the course of the story a series of intriguing twists and turns happen and the idea becomes a 50million pound sterling project! The film draws together an interesting story of romance, dreams coming true, change, desruction and humanity.

One of my favourites lines from the movie: "Faith is the cure that heals all troubles. Without faith there is no hope and no love. Faith comes before hope, and before love." (Sheikh Muhammad ibn Zaidi bani Tihama).

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Iron Blue Dun Hatches on the Bandon River

Well after a very dry start to the season and the water on the Bandon River being very low we have finally had some good rain. This has increased water level. The brown trout are feeding well. There was a great hatch of iron blue dun on the river today with trout feeding non stop on the surface. The swallows were joining in on the feeding session, scooping the water surface of fly. Spring is in full bloom and all manner of wild life is alive and kicking on the banks of the river. Tree's and river side vegetation growing a wealth of green foliage.... Oh how its good to be alive and appreciate the goodness of the natural world and be one with nature on the river journey.
The Iron Blue Dun

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Castle Bernard, Bandon, Cork

Castle Bernard, Bandon, Cork
More rich history on the banks of the Bandon River

In 1788 Francis Bernard, who became the 1st Earl of Bandon demolished much of the old O'Mahony castle on the site, and built an 18th century castellated mansion in front of it and slightly to the east.The old O'Mahony castle had been renamed Castle Bernard in 1715 by "Judge" Bernard.

The new building was not strictly a castle, but rather an elegant castellated residence even though it continued to bear the name of a castle in the fashion of the time.

James Francis Bernard (nicknamed Bucksot Bandon), the 4th Earl of Bandon (1850-1924) was a British Deputy Lieutenant in Ireland and Representative Peer. Lord Bandon was a cousin of the Earl of Middleton, who was head of the southern Irish Unionists at the time of the Anglo-Irish War (1919-1921). Castle Bernard became known as one of the most hospitable houses in Ireland and the house parties held by the fourth earl and his wife were legendary. In an early morning raid on 21 June 1921 during the days of the Black & Tans, a party of IRA under Sean Hales called. They intended to kidnap Lord Bandon, but Buckshot Bandon and his staff had taken refuge in the cellars. Apparently disappointed in the first object of their call the IRA decided to burn the house. Hales was heard to say- " well the bird has flown, so we'll burn the nest".

At that the Earl and his party appeared from the cellars, but it was too late, the fire had started. Ironically the IRA carefully took out all the furniture and piled it on the lawn before setting the building on fire. The Lady Bandon of that time had to sit and watch the flames for some hours, when the flames were at their height, she suddenly stood up in her nightgown and sang God save the King as loudly as possible, which disconcerted the incendiaries, but while they may not have stood to attention, they let her have her say and did nothing about it.

Lord Bandon was then kidnapped by the local IRA and held hostage for three weeks, being released on 12 July. The IRA threatened to have him executed if the British went ahead with executing IRA prisoners of war. During his captivity, Bandon coolly played cards with his captors, who treated him well. Tom Barry later stated he believed the kidnapping helped move the British towards the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the cessation of hostilities.

The elderly Earl Bandon never recovered from the experience and died in 1924.Some years later, when the last of the IRA burning party died, the late Lord Paddy Bandon was asked to go to the funeral, which he did - in full funeral regalia of top hat and morning coat. Castle Bernard continued to be the home of the Earl and Countess of Bandon - they built a small house within the Castle boundary walls.The Earl died in 1979, and as they had no son the title became extinct. Lady Bandon died in 1999 aged 102.Lady Jenifer who inherited the property still lives on the grounds of the castle today.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Augustus Grimbles Salmon Rivers of Ireland

by Augustus Grimble 
Written in the late 1800's



With a catchment area of two hundred and thirty-four square miles, and a course of forty-five miles, in which it receives about one hundred and fifty miles of tributary streams, rises in the extreme west of County Cork from the eastern slopes of some desolate hills, whose western declivities discharge their waters into Bantry Bay, Passing by Dun- man way, Ballyneen, and Ban don, at each of which
places there are fair hotels, it meets the tide at Innishannon, there forming a narrow estuary ex-
tending towards the sea for eleven miles f and eventually finding salt water in Kinsale Harbour, This river has fallen off in a more marked degree than the neighbouring ones, but it is not such a large stream as the Lee or the Black water, and there is no doubt that the smaller the river the sooner will want of protection coupled with over-netting bring it to a nearly Ashless state.

The long, narrow estuary is netted by about thirty-five seine nets, which is many more than such a small river can fairly stand. These nets pay no rent, so that anyone can start a boat who pays the licence, a state of affairs displaying the most extraordinary indifference on the part of the riparian owners. Then practically the fish have no weekly close times, for spring fish are slow swimmers, and those that run as the close time commences are not above Innishannon Bridge by the time the nets begin work again. Though drift nets have been declared illegal, the protection funds are so small that the Conservators are not able to hinder their surreptitious use, with regard to which Mr. Moreton Frewens hatchery manager, F. Stenning, mentioned to the Fishery Commissioners a remarkable state of affairs prevailing at Kinsale, where the men of the Naval Reserve, when coming for their training, are in the habit of bringing drift nets, with which they poach salmon at all opportunities.

Also the shores of Kinsale Harbour are poached by trammel nets set at night, or by others that are professedly netting for sea fish. Again, in the river itself spurge poisoning is frequent, while fish are gaffed in large numbers from the tributaries before they have spawned, Of late years the poachers have found out a better method of using spurge, and now, instead of putting it in a bair and churning it with their feet after it has been placed in position, they gather roots and all, and crushing them in a turnip cutter, the juice is collected as it falls through into soda-water bottles, which can be chucked into the river without fear of detection. With regard to the massacre of fish in the tributaries, Mr. Frank M'Cotter stated to the Commissioners he was confident that fully one thousand five hundred fish were annually killed from the small streams within a radius of ten miles from where he lived ; that one man had told him he always took about one hundred and fifty fish each season out of one small stream ; while in a particular village every house in its long main street was well stocked with salted fish taken in the spawning season.


Fines have proved absolutely useless to put a stop to poisoning or killing fish on the spawning beds, and the only way to stamp out these lawless proceedings is to make them punishable by imprisonment without the option of a fine. In 1892 there were ninety-three rod licences issued, which had fallen to sixty in 1899, while as the rods diminished the nets increased from twenty-five to thirty three, a certain proof that they were making good profits.

The river opens on the 15th of February for the rod, the nets following on the 1st of March, while the former continue to be plied to the 12th of October, and the latter cease work on the 15th of August. It would be better for the fish if nets and rods alike commenced on the 1st of March, while the open time for the rods should certainly end with September, and even earlier would be better. The Earl of Bandon together with many other of the riparian owners are very clear as to the injury done by the rods during the first fortnight of the season, for though a bye-law has just been made which forbids the carrying of a gaff before the 15th of March, up till recently it was the custom for anglers to keep all kelts they landed, so much so that many local fishers took out a rod licence only to make money by catching kelts and selling them at \d. a pound to the Bandon fishmongers, who dealt in them openly. There is also in Ireland a curious creature haunting the banks of almost all the large rivers of the south, viz. the fish huckster, generally accompanied by a donkey-cart and scales.

He has a wonderful knack of turning up as soon as a fish has been landed, and then and there we have been offered 2s. a pound for a fresh -run February fish, and \d. a pound for kelts, while it was good fun to watch the expression of the old man's face when he happened to see one returned to the river. For those who fish to sell, the system has its advantages, but as it is a great encouragement to poaching, we should like to see these gentry suppressed, or at any rate duly licensed.

The Earl of Bandon, who has a twenty-five years' experience, used to kill in the eighties from fifty to sixty fish each season to his own rod, which, considering the extent of water he owns, is nothing wonderful. Since 1885, however, this gradually fell to five or six a season. In 1899 he only had three, and up to the 1st of May, 1900, the total was one fish ! The first eleven miles of the river from its source are all open fishing, which twenty years ago was the best part for May sport, for there are several small streams that form a narrow, deep lake, from which one rod has had as many as nine in a day. In the last two seasons the total take on this eleven miles has been five fish, which is now so bad that, though open 10 the public, it is rare to see a rod on it.

Mr. H. D. Conner owns what should be a fine bit of angling in the Manch and Carrigmore Fishery, extending for fully two miles on both banks, and holding fourteen pretty casts, easily reached dry shod by a sixteen- foot rod, though sometimes waders are used. Here, some time ago, Mn \V. Haynes and his son had thirteen fish between them in a day. Also at Woodlands Mr. J. A. Allman has a pretty reach of one and a half miles of the north bank, which he keeps in his own hands. Here in July, August, and September there are also sea trout to be had, the best flies being Carter s Favourite, Quin's Fancy, Orange and Grouse, Silver Rail, and Orange and Blue.

During August and September the sea trouting on the lower waters is pretty good, as from a dozen to three dozen may be got in a day above Innishannon and in the tidal water below, three-quarters of a pound being the average weight. From the opening day to the end of May is the best angling time if there were fish. The flies that are used on the Lee are good here, only dressed on smaller hooks. To these may be added the Blue Grey and Brown, with the Golden Olive, both of them fine patterns from Haynes, which could be put over any water with confidence.

It is a shame such pretty creations should be known only by the colours of their bodies, so we venture to suggest that the former might be christened "The Cork Beauty," and the latter The Butterman." Here are the correct robes in which they should be brought to the baptismal font.


Tag: Silver twist, orange floss.

Tail: Topping.

Body: Three turns of blue seal, two of monkey fur,
one of fiery brown seal, silver tinsel ; over
each of these colours are hackles to match,
the shoulder one to be more of a dark claret
than fiery brown.

Wing: Gold pheasant ruff, bustard, mallard, fibres of
wood duck, blue and yellow swan.


Tag: Silver twist, claret floss.

Tail: Topping and Indian crow.

Body: Rich olive seals fur, gold tinsel, hackle to
match body, claret hackle at shoulder.

Wing: Same as Cork Beauty.

It will therefore be seen that the Bandon as it is at present offers but small inducement to anyone to
go out of his way to visit it ; albeit, if well stocked, it would be a most pleasant river to cast, for it moves at a brisk pace, while pools and streams are in plenty.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Bandon River Sea Trout

I ventured out fly fishing for an hour of darkness tonight and caught this little sea trout on the Bandon River.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Spring Salmon Down Memory Lane

Here's a Spring Salmon I caught on the Bandon River on April 2007 (5 Years Ago!) I've caught much bigger salmon over the years than this one but will never forget the strength of this particular fish. It was a very fresh spring fish and made a great account of itself.