The ul­ti­mate catch

Three species hooked and landed on one amaz­ing cast at Car­row­more Lake

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - FIRST CAST -

COULD IT BE the ul­ti­mate fly-fish­ing achieve­ment? On July 1, Sean Keenan caught a brown trout, sea-trout and sal­mon on a three-fly cast at Car­row­more Lake in County Mayo. Mak­ing this feat more im­pres­sive, Sean was alone. His friends had thought there was lit­tle chance of a fish in a heat­wave. That morn­ing there was cloud cover with a 20mph-plus north-west­erly wind. Sean takes up the story, “I was en­joy­ing good fish­ing, hook­ing small sea-trout and brown­ies in shal­low wa­ter, usu­ally in the last four to five casts be­fore ma­noeu­vring from the mid­dle seat to start the en­gine be­fore I was blown on to the rocky shore. “At 2pm I was think­ing about fir­ing up the Kelly ket­tle as I drifted near the shore, when there was a boil and a deeper, bright flash in the area of my flies, the line went tight and I lifted into re­sis­tance. I was in. I thought I had hooked two fish: on the top drop­per and one of the other two flies.” Sean was fish­ing with a Sci­en­tific An­glers in­ter­me­di­ate sink-tip line with a dark-winged Bibio on point, a Stim­u­la­tor in the mid­dle and a Green Peter on top. He con­tin­ued, “I shuf­fled across to get the en­gine started while try­ing to keep con­trol of the rod. Waves were break­ing in the shal­lows mak­ing it more awk­ward. The fish went on a run par­al­lel to the shore. I tried to turn the boat into the wind and hold neu­tral in the wa­ter as the fish took spare line off the floor of the boat.” Then line got caught un­der Sean's feet and the wind started pulling the boat in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions as he was drawn ever closer to the shore. Even­tu­ally, af­ter fraught mo­ments, he got line and boat un­der con­trol and throt­tled away to safer, deeper wa­ter. Sean said, “I could now see a small brownie on the top drop­per. The mid­dle drop­per was free and there was a heav­ier fish on the point. As I played the fish, the brownie hung out of the wa­ter at times.” Sud­denly, there was an­other flash and more pres­sure on the rod. A fresh sea-trout had taken the mid­dle drop­per. Sean said, “With three fish pulling in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions I thought I was bound to lose one if not all, or the line might break. The fish on the point was def­i­nitely the heav­i­est. I didn't know what it was be­cause it was stay­ing deep in the peaty wa­ter. I sus­pected a good sea-trout. “I picked up the net and thought, ‘In what way will this work?’ The brownie was spend­ing time out of the wa­ter. Try­ing to lift the rod with his weight meant I had lit­tle con­trol over the other fish.” Sean came to the con­clu­sion he'd have to han­d­line the fish. The point fly was 7ft-8ft un­der the wa­ter so he lifted the rod back and grabbed the line with his left hand. It was now or never. Sean, “The pres­sure on the line was er­ratic and I tried to ab­sorb this as much as pos­si­ble as I pulled the line in hand over hand. I pulled the first fish on board and then within a few sec­onds got the sea-trout in the boat. Then I got a glimpse of the fish on the point: a beau­ti­ful fresh grilse. “I grabbed the net and the fish turned on its side just long enough to scoop the net un­der him and bring him into the boat.” All three fish were re­turned. Later that day, Sean landed two sea-trout on the same cast.

Imag­ine play­ing this grilse, brown trout and sea-trout at the same time.

Sean's deadly cast, from left: Bibio (point), Stim­u­la­tor (mid­dle drop­per) and Red-ar­sed Green Peter (top drop­per).

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