The ultimate catch
Three species hooked and landed on one amazing cast at Carrowmore Lake
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).