The first occasion to take me away was for an all too brief trip to the Emerald Isle! I arranged a trip for a couple of fishing pals, back to Lough Carra and my old friend Padraig Munroe. I wrote extensively about Padraig back in 1999, after I spent a week with him. Padraig lives on the banks of Carra, has been guiding for many years now and has won virtually every competition you could imagine – in fact his whole fleet of boats are prizes he won in competitions.

Steven, Paul and I drove through the night to arrive at Partry, and after a quick "nightcap" we retired, dreaming of the massive trout on the lough. Early next morning we were fed with the customary cooked breakfast and then tackled up for our first session. We were on the water pretty quickly and I took one boat, whilst Padraig manned the other; Paul fished with Padraig and Steven with me. The wind did its best to keep the fish down, but in the first long (about an hour and a half) drift of the day we all moved a few fish. One of mine stuck, whilst Padraig persuaded two to keep a hold of his flies. Paul had just one and Steven was still blank when we stopped for lunch.

If you have never fished in Ireland with a professional ghillie, then you are missing out on one of life’s great treats. We pulled up on an island and the Kelly kettle was soon burbling away, whilst the cooker had white pudding, black pudding, sausages and bacon sizzling! The world was put to rights and every possible tactic for deceiving the wild trout of the loughs in the west of Ireland was discussed.

The afternoon session was a bit more productive, but I am afraid that the wind worsened and by eight o’clock we had really had quite enough of it. An early night seemed a good idea anyway as we had travelled late into the morning to get to Padraig’s place. Also the Guinness seemed like a good idea, and so we left the water earlier than we had expected and set off for the local inn to sample some of "the Black Stuff."

I will tell you how the rest of the trip went next week.

Tight lines,

Martin Cottis