However, after the incredibly rough conditions from Mask the day before, we felt that we were well equipped to deal with whatever Carra could throw at us. Steven and Paul were both happy for me to take them back to my favoured bay where there generally seem to be olives around and the trout are not too far away from them.

As had been the pattern on the trip, Steven started rising fish before Paul, and if only he didn’t have what I heard called "Buck-fever" when I had my trip to Australia in November, I feel sure that Steven would have embarrassed the rest of us! It is funny how fishing dry flies can make people strike at every sign of movement around the fly; I am hardly one to criticise this, for I too am rather quick on the strike.

Steven is new to fly fishing this year and he keeps things simple; generally he sticks to just two flies, and he likes to fish dries (no – that is not entirely down to my tutelage!) He watches his flies most carefully and doesn’t get so badly distracted as I do by the variety of birdlife that abounds on most of the fishing venues that I have taken him to. It was great to see Steven cope well with tough conditions and catch in such difficult weather. I tend to use dry fly with anglers when I start them in the sport – partly because it is more visual and partly because I firmly believe it is more likely to bring success. Nymph or wet fly fishing is more three-dimensional; dry fly is 2-D.

Paul is an old fishing pal from back when I lived in Devizes. Over the years we have kept in contact, but rarely manage to get time to fish together. Paul is one of those anglers who reads all of the magazines and ties all of the flies. He has flies with bits of plastic on them; flies with rubber legs and flies that virtually fly. He has boxes with dries, boxes with wets and boxes with mixtures of both. Whatever is in vogue is bound to be in Paul’s box; yet regularly he fails to get above the average bag! I think this is a good lesson for budding trout angler. Try to get one or two methods or techniques that you become proficient at and work on them. Don’t fall into the trap of going for every possible style of trouting. If you look at top competition boys, even they specialise in just one or two areas.

Back to the fishing! We moved a lot of fish in the first hour but only one was boated. Maybe we were lulled into a false sense of security as by the time our lunch break on one of the islands called there was still just the one fish caught. But as we neared our chosen island we did at least move a few more fish.

After lunch Steven’s fishing was a revelation. To add to the one that he caught in the morning, he landed three more – and amazingly for Carra, they were all really good fish. One does tend to catch a number of undersized fish on this lough, but Steven and his olive dry just kept on catching.

On the first day of the trip I asked Padraig if the trout ever took the sticklebacks. He suggested that later in the season they become a very important item in the trout’s menu. Steven and Paul discovered that they were an important item in June too! Take a look at the spectacularly marked sticklebacks that I spooned from one of the fish. I have to confess that we decided to cook a couple of the fish, so this also meant that we could check out the eating habits of Carra fish. The proportions and colourings on those trout are just beautiful – will you find better looking fish anywhere?

This trip was really just a taster for Steven – he is only in Bath for a year and will return to Adelaide at the end of the year. He had heard heaps about the Irish countryside, Irish Ghillies and of course the "black stuff!" It was all a bit rushed – when can four days fishing in Ireland ever be enough? But we enjoyed it very much and I have already booked a return trip. Next year I am going to go much earlier in the season. I am determined to get a crack at those Mask and Carra fish with my "Pommie dries" – especially when the trout are on the duckfly early on.

Finally, if you fancy a few days on the loughs in the West, then I can highly recommend Padraig Munroe. He has excellent boats, a lovely comfortable home, in which you are made to feel most welcome by Padraig and all of his family who work together to help make things run smoothly. Be prepared to take some verbal abuse as Padraig certainly has a wise crack or two tucked up his sleeve.

His telephone number is:00-353-92-43192

Email address: munroes@eircom.net

However, if you would like me to organise a trip and accompany you, I would be more than happy to do so. You can get hold of me on my mobile number 07747 843548 – or email me on :

mart_chris@mcottis.freeserve.co.uk

Tight lines,

Martin Cottis