Angling for Anglers

By Robert McGarvey

If your top performers love to fish, the destination that’s sure to please comes with no language barrier and a lot more amenities than just fishing. Where is this fishing paradise? In a word: Ireland! “Tiger Woods loves to fish here. And of course he likes our golf, too,” says Ann Cronin, sales and marketing director for the Kildare Hotel and Country Club in Straffan, Ireland. Familiarly known as “the K Club,” the resort, situated around a converted manor house, features an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course as well as a private one-mile stretch of the River Liffey, complete with an island. “We host dinners and picnics on the island,” says Cronin. “It’s an unforgettable location.” However, the real draw of the K Club may be its fishing, or as the Irish call it, angling.

What to catch? Salmon. The first salmon of the year usually are caught as early as April and the season runs through September. How thickly packed is this stretch of the Liffey? K Club estate manager Sean MacManmon, nine times a member of the Irish National Fly Fishing team, holds something of a local record – he’s caught 19 salmon in a single day.

The K Club has everything from Shimano rods for salmon fishing to waxed Barbour coats and Wellington boots available for guests to use.

Brown trout are also abundant in the K Club’s river. They range from 1½ to 6 pounds, and the season runs from March 1 to September 30th.

Anglers have plenty of other places to test their skill, including innumerable lakes. Many argue that the River Shannon offers the best salmon fishing. Pike, another favorite fish, abounds in streams in County Clare. The same region offers sea fishing as well, with blue shark being especially common.

In fact, no matter where you are in Ireland fishing is possible because there are so many lakes, streams and rivers. Even Dublin Bay has plentiful marine life; it is most famous for its prawns.

Ironically, for centuries the Irish scorned fish as food. “It’s a poor man’s food,” went the saying. The notion was that anybody with a few shillings in their pocket would buy food, not catch it in the wild. Nowadays, however, newer thinking about Irish cuisine has put a spotlight on fish, especially salmon. In many of the smaller resort hotels, kitchens will readily cook guests’ catch of the day for dinner. Always ask, but the answer most likely will be yes.

Want to learn more about Ireland as an incentive travel destination? Ask the Irish Tourist Board in New York for “Incentive Ireland: Live the Difference,” a short colorful brochure, or visit the main Irish Tourist Board Website (