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  1. #11

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    Thanks for these photos
    A bit more than 50 years ago, at the age of 11 or 12 I went out with my dad and elder brother, for my first nights sea trout fishing at Ballynahinch.
    We rented a house near Rounstone every year and the great majority of our fishing was for small free taking brownies in the lakes around Murvey but the highlight were the trips to Ballynahinch for the night fishing.
    You arrived in bar at about 7.00 and waited until Michael Vahey who ran the fishing arrived. After purchasing pints you eventually negotiated what would now be called a ticket for the night fishing. The problem for Michael was that pretty much anyone looking for a nights fishing had to buy him a pint as part of the negotiations. The fishing was available on the basis that the hotel guests, who in those days were almost exclusively salmon fishermen, didn’t want to go out a deal with the midges after a days fishing and diner. There was a strict rule that the night fishermen you didn’t fish for salmon.
    The fishing was fantastic with seatrout in the ˝ to 2lb range the norm with the chance of fish up to 3/12 4 lbs and the odd monster. While we mostly fished in the dark we often started early with the dry fly and that was really exciting.
    In those days this was purely a fishing hotel, many of the guests were of the “Old Major” variety and the food was I understand pretty basic. I used to stare at the salmon on the slab in the bar and it was great as a young teenager to chat with the old Ghilles particularly with glass of beer as the enforcement of licencing laws was a bit laxer in those years.
    When I was about 18 the fish farm opened (everyone thought it was going to help protect wild salmon – how wrong we were) and the seatrout fishing collapsed due to lice infestation. I think within a couple of years the seasons total catch was down to 12 seatrout – our best for one evening a few years previously was 21 and that was nothing unusual.
    Thankfully with pressure on keeping the nearby farm fallowed at smolt migration time the seatrout are back in reasonable numbers but it has someway to go to mirror the 1970s. But then you are never going to recreate the place where you caught your first seatrout.
    I have never fished the river since and the hotel is now luxury 4 star hotel. If your pocket stretches to it this is a fantastic location to get to see one of the best parts of Ireland and the quality of the food and accommodation is top class. Definitely a place to stay if your other half is not a fisherwoman / fisherman. The only problem is that, after dinner, the other half may not allow you to head out for a few hours at the seatrout.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    1,809

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaneybs View Post
    Thanks for these photos
    A bit more than 50 years ago, at the age of 11 or 12 I went out with my dad and elder brother, for my first nights sea trout fishing at Ballynahinch.
    We rented a house near Rounstone every year and the great majority of our fishing was for small free taking brownies in the lakes around Murvey but the highlight were the trips to Ballynahinch for the night fishing.
    You arrived in bar at about 7.00 and waited until Michael Vahey who ran the fishing arrived. After purchasing pints you eventually negotiated what would now be called a ticket for the night fishing. The problem for Michael was that pretty much anyone looking for a nights fishing had to buy him a pint as part of the negotiations. The fishing was available on the basis that the hotel guests, who in those days were almost exclusively salmon fishermen, didn’t want to go out a deal with the midges after a days fishing and diner. There was a strict rule that the night fishermen you didn’t fish for salmon.
    The fishing was fantastic with seatrout in the ˝ to 2lb range the norm with the chance of fish up to 3/12 4 lbs and the odd monster. While we mostly fished in the dark we often started early with the dry fly and that was really exciting.
    In those days this was purely a fishing hotel, many of the guests were of the “Old Major” variety and the food was I understand pretty basic. I used to stare at the salmon on the slab in the bar and it was great as a young teenager to chat with the old Ghilles particularly with glass of beer as the enforcement of licencing laws was a bit laxer in those years.
    When I was about 18 the fish farm opened (everyone thought it was going to help protect wild salmon – how wrong we were) and the seatrout fishing collapsed due to lice infestation. I think within a couple of years the seasons total catch was down to 12 seatrout – our best for one evening a few years previously was 21 and that was nothing unusual.
    Thankfully with pressure on keeping the nearby farm fallowed at smolt migration time the seatrout are back in reasonable numbers but it has someway to go to mirror the 1970s. But then you are never going to recreate the place where you caught your first seatrout.
    I have never fished the river since and the hotel is now luxury 4 star hotel. If your pocket stretches to it this is a fantastic location to get to see one of the best parts of Ireland and the quality of the food and accommodation is top class. Definitely a place to stay if your other half is not a fisherwoman / fisherman. The only problem is that, after dinner, the other half may not allow you to head out for a few hours at the seatrout.
    Thanks for that very interesting insight into how it used to be. Last season at Ballynahinch was a very good year for sea trout and this year will probably be even better. I would probably have done well if I had fished into the night but as you say with a non fishing partner it's not easy. I was happy to have 3 full days fishing and a couple of sight seeing days as well. It was great to see so many Sea trout about and the ones I caught had few sea lice.
    Also it was good to see how enthusiastic the fishery officers were that came to collect the data from the fish counter. They had worked the previous day until 2am and were back at work again at 8am!
    It is a wonderful place and the views are incredible. We drove up past Loch Inagh to Kylemore then to Clifden via one of the sky loop roads then to Roundstone and Ballynahinch.
    Great memories.
    Last edited by Chicharito; 30-06-2019 at 12:37 PM.

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