My brother Sean and our close friend Mark McCann head off fishing the mayfly every year on Lough Arrow and it is one of my few regrets about living in Spain and working as a teacher that I am unable to join them. I do however insist on getting a full report and Sean invariably provides an account in his own inimitable style. Mr McCann has also contributed to the cause this year and I have therefore, in the finest tradition of plagiarism, stolen their words and pictures, without their knowledge or consent, and include them here for us all to enjoy.


From Sean (Seamus)…..


Apologies for late mayfly report. As time does not permit a tendency towards prolix I shall be brief….a big high pressure decided to sit it’s fat ass over Ireland and we were most concerned that the weather would try to destroy us and everything we stood for….but occasional (sometimes strong winds) helped our cause and we got a bit of everything except rain. Most pleasant weather overall. Huge numbers of mayfly…never seen the like. But the good weather probably meant a short, intense hatch rather than one that dribbled on for a few weeks. We caught about a dozen trout in all. We seemed to do reasonably OK compared to most reports. We had postponed the trip by a week because of the long winter/crappy spring and I’d say in terms of the hatch we got it just right. Fish were nearly all of similar size – about 1.25 lb with two going to 2lb. Small for Arrow and everyone seemed to be catching fish in that class. Somebody caught a 7 pounder while we were there but I don’t think it was one of us.

Main gist was that they didn’t want wets….nearly all our fish came to the dry fly…spent gnat and one particular green mayfly of my own tying that seemed to outgun everything else. I should have had about 6 or 8 fish on it the last day but only landed 2. Missed half and had two come off. Mark was fishing a very similar fly that I also tied but the trout weren’t having it at all. You’d have bet your house that they would take that fly as well but they alas they wouldn’t. Why? We do not know. I will tie up another bunch like that for next year…and probably find they won’t work at all!

What did we learn? That if you’re very quiet you can catch trout on spent gnat in a flat calm. I was also glad to find that I could fish spent gnat in a big wave and tempt fish. One spell in a big wave the fish were going nuts for a while on spent. I had a few takes but missed them all. It is hard being such a tool. As mentioned they did not want wets…even in a very nice wave. We don’t know why.

Fish were moving in good numbers by and large (with the usual spells of absolute disinterest) but it was always interesting and always challenging. They didn’t come easy and we should have had a few more really if we were a bit less gobshite and a bit more cool.

Great craic overall…grand weather for camping, few pints in the evening, hearty breakfasts, Kelly kettle and pot noodles and Taytos and bullshit and all the rest. Damn fine time – you’re going to have to bunk off and do it with us. Don’t mind all that education nonsense. Life is short.

I have probably forgotten some important events and observations – perhaps Mark you can fill in any gaps? I will also send on some pictures…as will Mr. McCann. He has a better picture of the triumphant fly.

May the force be with ye.



And from Mr McCann……


I have nothing more to add ………….. I am still sulking like a spoilt chIld about my lack of success – and my failing eyesight / inability to see my dry fly at any sort of distance – for all I know the bleedin’ fish could have been taking the fly / rolling it around in their mouths for a few minutes to savour it before realising it was not the real thing – and then spitting the fecker out – all the while I was bloody scanning the wavelets to locate the shagger !


I hope to extricate a photo from Mark of Sean´s magical mayfly pattern and, if I am successful, I will feature it in a subsequent post. In the meantime here is a selection of the pictures from the boys´ annual mayfly extravaganza.




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Here´s my brother Sean with a Lough Arrow trout.


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And Mister McCann, his partner in crime (ignore the photo bombing dog)


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Mayfly: what all the fuss is about.