Tight lines, my friend – angler and broadcasting legend Derek Davis passes away after illness

 

Derek Davis, my fishing friend for over 30 years, passed away quietly last Wednesday. What a great loss. He will be greatly missed.

Back in the 1980s, as a member of Dalkey SAC, we would meet in Greystones for the annual Knights of the Silver Hook boat competition, but perhaps his favourite venue was East Ferry in Cork, with skipper Brian Byrne, wreck- fishing for “the big ones”.

Abroad he was a regular visitor to Puerto Mogan in Gran Canaria with the Dennehy’s from Cork. The family had a fleet of tuna boats and Derek enjoyed many a battle with those “kings of the seas”.

Before my first visit to Mogan, Derek said: “Make sure to bring some Clonakilty pudding and you’ll be a friend for life of the Dennehys.” How right he was. Throughout the last decade he rarely missed our media fishing outings. He was there at Courtlough in October and only last month enjoyed his day at Annamoe catching the heaviest fish.

“For once I’m not the heaviest angler. I am delighted with my prize of a day’s boat fishing with skipper Kit Dunne out from Wicklow,” he said.

Just four days before his untimely passing I spoke to him about a weekend trip in June to fish Mask and Corrib. The townsfolk of Clonbur in Co Galway were looking forward to meeting him again and accommodation was provisionally booked.

There is so much more to Derek than these few words but I want to express my deepest sympathy to his wife Una, sons Michael, Colm and Sean, grandson Mikey and extended family. Tight lines, my friend.

The Minister for Marine, Simon Coveney also expressed sadness at his passing: ‘Derek was a big personality, a passionate and talented communicator on food and marine issues. His love for the sea was so evident whenever I met him. Derek was a much loved figure in so many Irish homes for the connections he created over a lifetime of broadcasting.

It’s Mayfly time

The Mayfly is up. The most productive time for trout angling, be it dapping, pulling wets or dry fly, has arrived. Perhaps Sheelin has yet to show its full potential but the many wild lakes of Ireland are now in full bloom. It is a time when trout feed ferociously on this one-day wonder and the angler can enjoy success with artificial patterns.

For me, the “spent” fishing is tops. This is a time when the dancing and mating stops above the tree tops and the mayfly descend back to the water to lay their eggs and die. It is a time when the big fish come out to feed and often grab the artificial.

Last year I enjoyed several magical evenings on Sheelin waiting patiently for the spent and then quietly manoeuvring to cover the rise with reasonable success. Take time out if you can to enjoy this spectacular extravaganza.

Sheelin boat prize

Lough Conn & Cullin Anglers will hold their annual fly-fishing competition on Sat/Sun, May 30th/31st, from Gortnor Abbey Pier, Crossmolina, Co Mayo. The two-day event carries a plethora of excellent prizes including a first prize of 19’ Sheelin boat.

Deadline for booking is this Friday with Pádraic Traynor (086- 6052687). Entry fee, which includes dinner on both nights, is €100 (with boat and engine) and €130 angler only.

Youth angling day

Waterford City and County Trout Anglers, in conjunction with Inland Fisheries Ireland, are hosting a youth angling day on Carrigavantry Lake on Saturday.

Youths can learn how to cast and tie a fly. The event is free and open to all.

Bonanza on Lough Owel

The Corcoran Cup Leinster competition held last Sunday on Lough Owel produced a great result with 224 fish by 46 anglers, 108 of which were entered on excess cards and returned to the water.

The winner, with 20 fish was the Wicklow angler James Fegan.

Free fishing day

Inland Fisheries Ireland is holding two free days fishing at Gormanston and Courtlough lakes on Saturday and Sunday to introduce young people to fishing. Full details at faw.ie

angling@irishtimes.com

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