The Ghillie & The Beat, Fly-Fishing in Ireland | Luxury Travel in Europe with HIP Hotels TV

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It’s all about fly-fishing.

A beat is the right to fish a particular stretch of a river.

A beat can be leased or bought but even ‘beats’ that belong to private individuals do not guarantee access to the river. For that you need to negotiate separately with the farmer who owns the land.

There’s a fair amount of phaffing about with this sport but avid fly fishing sportsmen wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Ghillie is a highly skilled fishing expert that you hire by the hour to increase your chances of making a big catch. Hooking a salmon is not easy and the Ghillie rents out his talent and experience to help shorten the learning curve. They are the experts and they relate to salmon the way we relate to our horses or dogs.

Fly-fishing is quirky and peculiar. Science cannot even explain why salmon go for the ‘fly’ since they don’t eat on their way to their spawning grounds. They do their fattening up in the ocean before returning to the river to spawn.

More strangely still, women have more success catching big salmon than men. Most records are held by female anglers. The Ghillie will tell you it’s something to do with female Pheromones.

Apparently, the salmon are also very choosy when it comes to colour. Fly fishermen have pale coloured flies for overcast days and darker coloured flies for bright, sunny days.

Where to stay?

Ballyvolane House is a funky historic Irish country house in the green heart of County Cork with superb gardens and grounds, (all in that particular shade of green that has earned Ireland the deserved title of ‘Emerald Isle’).

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