My brother Sean and our old fishing buddy Mark McCann have just done a stint fishing the mayfly in Ireland. They fished Lough Arrow in County Sligo where Sean and I used to live many years ago in an building which had previously been a school house. I asked Sean to report back on his adventure and he sent me an email today. I will stick photos on some time if I can extract any out of Mark.

That´s enough of a preamble from me. Nobody writes a better fishing report than Sean so here we go…..

Pablo et al.,

 A brief synopsis of our recent adventure:

We did the full four days on Lough Arrow after changing our minds about going to Lough Sheelin. This we did, not because the Arrow trout were sacrificing themselves too readily, but because we did not want to waste time relocating, spending more money than we have and due to the persuasions of a member of the Lough Arrow trout anglers club who convinced us that the mayfly was not up properly on Sheelin and that Arrow is a much better lough anyway. We had enjoyed two challenging though very interesting and days on Arrow and with a better forecast we decided to plough on. The forecast didn’t improve much – strong, blustery winds, cold, occasional squalls, mixed in with some sunshine. It has been unseasonably cold this May and has held everything up a bit. Winds were mostly from the west and north west which makes for harder work – short drifts in towards shore and out again. One morning the wind came just right from the south and allowed us good, long drifts along Dodd’s shore. The fish obliged and could been seen firing spray up into the wind ahead of us as they slashed at the mayfly. We caught four or five trout and were all prepared to enter into record breaking territory when, of course, the wind shifted and the fish decided that things were getting too easy for us anyway. We ended the day with seven fish – our best day of the trip. The other days demanded the highest levels of angling erudition, insight and technique, manly determination and unflinching courage in the face of adversity. The fish rose sporadically to good numbers of mayfly, they ignored our efforts, they tweaked our flies, rejected them, got hooked and came off, some got caught – fifteen ended up in the boat, fifteen were returned and our interest and the sheer pleasure of being afloat in this most beautiful place did not wane for a moment. The Kelly kettle saw much action, we dined on pot noodles and cheap lager and biscuits and Tayto on islands with wild goats and secret, magical places and re-established tattered leaders before heading out again. This part of Ireland is stunning. I also had a peak at the school house and it is looking fine – trees are all much bigger now. Pity we ever had to leave it.

…Jesus I was really getting lyrical there but was interrupted by a pesky student….

There were a few times when we knew fish were feeding intermittently around us but we could just could not rise them. The tension just kept growing until I could feel myself becoming poisoned by adrenaline and a complex mixture of hormones exuded from the angling gland hidden under a fold of skin in my perineal region…mmmm, nice. Eventually I cast to a  rise and landed a fish. Head-wrecking, mighty craic.

On day one after struggling to catch two fish we overheard a fella who had caught eight on the dry fly. Great were our feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. At night we enjoyed a few pints in McDonagh’s pub – no external indication of it being a pub – always a good sign – where nearly everyone, including the women,  talked about fishing and where you could void your bowels whilst talking (about fishing) to someone taking a slash right next to you as partitions in the toilet were deemed unnecessary by management. We chose not to avail of the opportunity mind you although I could tell McCann really wanted to. He can be a bit weird that way as we all know. Subsequent days restored our faith in our abilities as the locals also struggled to catch. In fact, we did as well, if not slightly better than many and that allowed us to feel a smug, which is an emotion we enjoy when it comes to angling.

Meg came too and had a blast. She found Mark’s comfy padded seat the best place on the boat to be but he selfishly kept kicking her off. She spent the night in the tent under the quilt with me and found my feet the most alluring spot to be. And rightly so. Keeping her in the car while we were in the pub also ensured a nice dry dog for sleeping purposes. Other than that a generally damn fine time was had by all and it would rank up there with our finest adventures.

(I shall include more of you than just Paul and Marc – for the purposes of general communication). I trust you are all well Apologies for anything yucky but I know you all have the stomach for it. .

I would also like to thank my gorgeous wife Kate, whose generosity, tolerance, patience, selflessness and outstanding natural beauty made all this possible. Long may she continue in this vein as it makes bunking off for a few days much easier.

Is mise le meas,

Seamus Ni hOgain