Hardy Fin & Fly

Oh Daddy Boy by Tom Sullivan

September time on the Irish loughs brings with it a sense of urgency. Why? Because around the corner comes the month end then that will be it for the year. With only a couple of exceptions most of our wild Brown Trout loughs close on the 30th of the month.

With this in mind there is always an increased effort to get back on the water for a couple of forays before the impending final day when at the end of it we say ‘adieu' to another season.

September sees no major hatches of aquatic fly while there are chances of a smattering of Sedges or the appearance of an autumnal lake Olive hatch there is nothing of major importance. Pulling wet flies is regarded as the default method particularly as there will be fry around hence the popularity of fry imitators; Silver Dabblers Minkies and the like.

At this time of year with the advent of spawning Trout tend to congregate and shoal up and can become quite aggressive so pulling wets through them can illicit responses that are more of an aggression impulse than a feeding one. However one boon at this time of year is the Daddy Long Legs. This terrestrial starts to appear in numbers at the end of August and owing to its size whenever this gangly morsel gets blown on to the water the Brownies can find it quite irresistible

There are a couple of ways to fish the Daddy. The most popular and my favourite is to pair them as a team of dries from the drifting boat. You can fish them wet as well either as a bob fly ginked and tripped through the waves or alternatively as a point fly to represent a drowned fly. Interestingly one of my favourite Daddy patterns for the wets is the Silver Daddy and I regularly get asked is that taken as a Daddy imitation or a fry imitation? I reply by saying "That's a very good question I'm glad you asked me that"... and then I hedge around the subject! To be honest sometimes when something is working we don't always need to know why suffice to say that we know it works!

For the dries my set up is as follows; 10' #6 rod as this has the just the right softness to absorb what can be exhilarating smash takes and yet has the backbone to punch the line at right angles across a stiff breeze if you need to cover a fish you've seen moving out to the side. Length of cast is minimum 16' 8' to the first fly dropper and then 8' to the point I tend to use fluorocarbon but if there is a big wave I will use copolymer to avoid drag.

Fishing in a charity comp on Corrib last September my boat partner and I decided to each try different methods. I was to concentrate on dries and he on wets. In what was we would consider a perfect day for wets with a good lively wind blowing and high cloud cover we witnessed very few naturals but that didn't stop them harassing my team of a Red Daddy and detached foam body version. I landed 3 cracking Trout that averaged around 2lb each and rose plenty more yet the wets could only bring up the smaller fish. I had thought initially that I had drawn the short straw by having to fish Daddies not at all!!

Don't be afraid to give them a go even if there aren't a lot of natural Daddies showing - they can and will bring fish up and quite often they are the Trout worth catching!


Tom Sullivan is a member of the Greys ProTeam. Living in Ireland much of Tom's fishing is concentrated on Lough Corrib where he spent many years working as a professional guide.