You will hardly believe the tales from 'Fishing's Strangest Days'
THE year was 1935 and the venue Ballynahinch in Connemara. A gillie out with an American dentist, who had reached the last day of his holiday, desperately wanted to give his visitor a day to remember.
The river was low and clear, the sun shone intensely, conditions, in short, could hardly have been worse. But the gillie knew one or two pools that would be bursting with fish.
Salmon were not going to take a fly, spinner or worm, but there were other, perfectly legal ways to put a fish in the boat.
The gillie rowed the dentist out across a pool that was filled with jumping salmon. “You cast and I will row,” said the gillie. He rowed back and forth and the dentist cast continually in all directions.
Then something happened that the gillie had imagined might happen and a great silver bar of a salmon leapt into the boat. Unfortunately, no sooner had it slammed down on to the boards than it thrashed its tail, slipped through the gillie’s hands and splashed back into the water.
They gave up and retired for lunch. In the afternoon they tried the same trick again and, incredibly, it worked. Another big salmon leapt into the boat and this time the gillie threw himself on it and the American dentist had a splendid Irish salmon to take home.
Then there’s the story of the nine-year-old boy fishing for trout at Tweed Mill, Coldstream, Scotland in 1886 but instead caught a mussel four inches long and two inches broad, containing 49 pearls of different sizes.
He earned more for this one catch than his father, a farm worker, had earned in the previous five years.
These are two of the gems among 67 anecdotes to be found in Tom Quinn’s book, Fishing’s Strangest Days, which is full of extraordinary but true stories from more than 200 years of angling history.
The book is a fascinating collection of angling’s most outrageous stories from all over the world that almost seem too unbelievable to be true. It will make an ideal Christmas present. Fishing’s Strangest Days is published by Portico, an imprint of Anova Books www.anovabooks.com. Available in all good bookshops priced at €14.50.
Five pike-angling fanatics from the UK were on the Upper Shannon and lakes system last week and did their very best to catch every 20lb-plus fish available and certainly broke all records for the number of big fish in one boat, says Dave Houghton of activeirishangling.com.
Kevin Shore from Tarporley in Cheshire and Wolverhampton’s top rod, Gary Banks, teamed up for the holiday and finished with a few ounces short of 260lb (118kg) from 11 fish – and they had several that fell just short of the measure. Trolling with full size herring and mackerel was the key that produced this handsome big-fish list. Kevin said the weather created perfect conditions.
“I’ve experienced this situation once before with big winter fish coming to large baits and followed a week later by a hard freeze.”
The Minister of State for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd, has officially new access development for anglers on Lough Muckno in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.
The 900-acre lake can now offer drive-on access to 220 permanent pegs to share in great fishing for bream, hybrids, roach, pike and perch. For further details, contact Dick Caplice on 087-2405 317.
The Angling For All rainbow trout facility at Aughrim, Co Wicklow is holding a Christmas competition on Thursday, December 27th, from noon to 3pm.
Vouchers and plaques will be awarded in senior and junior categories and entry fee is included in admission ticket. Free tea and snacks available on the day.
Separately, the facility is offering juniors and students half-price concessions from Saturday, December 22nd, to Sunday, January 6th, inclusive.
For further information, call 0402-36552.