Recently I was over in Ireland, I love the place, proper fishing, can’t whack it!
It was to be hectic though and stupidly so, three days to cram in five features, easy eh, not over there, wee roads and everyone driving at 80 kph. I started in Dublin, and ended up traveling all the way down to the south coast and then back up to Cork again. The trip went okay, day one was late tea, 10: 30, as our ‘chap’ insisted on walking the river to show us this that and the next thing. The food was very good, proper Haute Quizine, lovely but bed was late, 1am, as John Buckley, my host and my mate, who would be fishing and driving around with me had things to catch up on.
The next day we were up bright and breezy, no we were not, we were pooped, to go fishing. I shan’t elaborate too much, as this is NOT what this little bit of ‘chewing gum for the brain’ is all about. Anyway, we ended up coming off the river at a stupid time, and the restaurant was closed, not funny, we’d a sandwich at lunch time, so we were very hungry, still we drank beer, that seemed to help.
Next day we were up early again as we were heading off to fish Lough Sheelin, I was very, very excited, the weather looked perfect as we drove through Mounthugent, warm and over cast, perfect for the mayfly.
They look like this:
and they are BIG, if you’re not familiar, but hey you’re an angler, so surely you must?!
Well, typically, the weather was rubbish – bright, bright sun, stupidly hot and windy – by the time we headed out from the Cover House Hotel boat dock, with our hired boat.
John had been on the water two weeks previous and I’d never been on it, however mates of mines fished it in the International the week before, so I had some idea of what to expect but realistically we were going out blindfolded.
We fished the North east end of the water, concentrating mainly around the Church Island.
The fishing was nothing short of Utterly, Diabolically CRAP!
These are wild fish right? And the sun was splitting the stones and there was a wind, not good for mayfly or fish. Saying that, every now and then a whole pile of mayflies came shooting past our heads and off into the distance, but none were actually settling on the water, the wind was too strong!
We fished, John with his sink tip and wets, Dabblers mainly and me with two dries, I was – ‘ADAM ANT’, “stand and deliver, you’re money or your life!” – that I was going to get a fish on dries. I never. From 10:30 until 6pm we fished! John jagged a small one and I had not had a sniff, sweet Fanny Adams!
It seemed the pressure from the quality anglers the week before had made an impression on these wild fish.
We parked the boat on the East side of`Church Island, lay down and slept, for an HOUR!
We woke, actually I roused, as I never really slept but dozed as John’s snoring was epic.
Things had settled down a bit, it was still blazing sun but the wind wasn’t too bad and what’s more there were lots of Mayfly coming onto the islands to get themselves ready for action – rumpy pumpy – later on, things were looking good! back to the boat!
I should mention that I was fishing over-sized Jinglers, tied up for the occasion, they are river flies and they are brilliant!
A simple fly that is devastating!
We headed up to the shore and started a drift towards the island, we had the place to our selves too, halfway down the drift, a head came up and over the dropper Jingler, no action all day, one tiny movement 20 yards away, and my body kicks in automatically, lift rod, pull line, FISH ON!
I’ve only gone and caught one!
It went mental, but my nice soft rod was more than a match for it and after a few minutes I had it on board, a pretty wee fish of about 2lb! I would have been happy at that.
The colours, a whole host of golden hues glistened as I held it up for a photo in the, fading sunlight, pleased me like no other trout had done for a very long time. I’d came and I’d conquered, But wait what’s this…. As I slipped this one back another rose to my right!
Now then things were starting to happen, the spent fly was falling and the fish that seemed to have been non-existent through the day, were up, not in numbers but the odd fish here and there, class, this is what it’s all about! Like little kids John and I would gasp, coo and cal out to one another, “see that”, “Sh**, that was bloody massive, did you see it? “Your side, 30 ft, cover it!” Intake of breath followed in take of breath, followed expletives as a big boy moved, it was IMMENSE.
John took another fish, taken at the slide of a slick and I took another too, one about 4lb, a proper one. But we also hooked and moved some serious trout, god if only they’d stuck!
What a place, what a night, what a carry on! Sheelin was all I hoped it would be, and that was when it was fishing hard, I can only dream of how good it would be given good condition, one thing’s for sure… I WILL BE BACK!