Archive for August, 2015

My friend Harry Abbott has fished all over the place but one of the most unusual fishing destinations has been the remote jungle rivers of Thailand. He has often told me how interesting his experiences there were, not just from a fishing point of view, but from the point of view of wildlife and culture.

He was digging around in his computer the other day and found a couple of entries from his Thailand diary and sent them over to me. They are fascinating, and  he was kind enough to let me reproduce them here together with some of the photographs he took at the same time.

Take it away Harry…… Continue reading

If I had had any brains I would not have gone fishing at all yesterday. There were only a couple of hours left before Catriona got home from work and the house needed tidying. But I went anyway, but mindful of the fact that my time on the river would have to be short.

All this has happened before, many times. A decent kind of guy would forego the pleasures of the riverbank and, instead, attend to the chores that accompany marriage, fatherhood and domestic servitude in general. Thankfully, I am made of lesser stuff and so it was off to the Guadalhorce for me while the washing remained in the washing machine and living room looked as though a tornado had passed through it. Continue reading

On the way to the river yesterday I noticed bee-eaters on the telegraph wires as soon as I turned off the A357 and onto the rough track that leads to the Guadalhorce, and when I saw them it occurred to me that I had not seen these beautiful birds for at least a couple of months. They have been further north and now they are heading to Africa. Today they are on the telegraph wires in southern Andalucía, soon they will have the Mediterranean under their wings and, shortly after, the Sahara.

It remains very hot but the sting of July´s oppressive heat and humidity seems to be easing. They say that July was the hottest month here that has ever been recorded here.

It is not obvious that the summer is drawing to a close but it is waning, almost imperceptibly slowly. Changes are on their way and the bee-eaters know this. Continue reading

If your meanderings through cyberspace lead you occasionally to this blog there is a good chance you will recognise the name of Harry Abbott.

Harry is one of these guys who has fly fished all over the place and caught many kinds of fish and one of his fish, an Arapaima he taken in Thailand, is one of the most strikingly beautiful fish I have ever seen. Continue reading

When I was at the CLA gamefair in Leeds recently I had an opportunity to attend a presentation on Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter and conservationist who is remembered for killing a number of man-eating leopards and tigers in India in the early part of the last century.

This talk was given by a representative of the famous gun makers, John Rigby & Co. and, during the presentation, members of the audience were invited to hold one of the most famous sporting rifles in the world, a .275 bolt-action rifle which was presented to Corbett in 1907 for shooting the single most prolific individual man-eater in history, the Tigress of Champarat. Continue reading

I’ve been reading the scriptures lately. Nobody lasts for ever and so, conscious of my own mortality, I figure that I ought to check out what the whole deal about heaven is. From what I’ve heard, a life of tedious virtue is required to even meet the entry requirements. They don´t open the door at all if you´ve been fornicating, abusing others, lying, cheating or avoiding the washing up.

Is it worth it? I´m worried that heaven itself may turn out to be a disappointment! Sure, I know the clouds will be comfortable to sit on, and the food is bound to be good but, frankly, I´m not really into choirs. And there´s only so much harp music you can listen to. Sooner or later I know I will get bored and start itching, as I always do, to go fishing. Continue reading

The weather people were right about the wind yesterday and it was a good call to steer clear of Mask and Corrib. Instead we headed off to a little lough called Ballinlough which is stocked with some brown and rainbow trout. There was nobody at home at the house where you pay for a day´s fishing and no telephone number to call and so we decided to take out one of the boats and offer to settle up at the end of the day.

I tend to judge wind strength with my hat. There are two wind settings; one is low strength which allows my hat to remain on my head, the other is high wind which results in the hat being blown off into the water. In high winds I leave the hat in the boat to avert this kind of catastrophe but get cold ears as a result. It´s not a great system but, then again, nothing is perfect. As the winds picked up and dropped off yesterday the hat migrated from the wooden boat seat to the top of my head and back again. Continue reading

Our days here have settled into a familiar routine. If we had any brains we would be up at first light and looking for trout but this does not happen. We put the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of the Guinness brewery in Dublin. At dawn when the trout are active we are nowhere to be seen.

Breakfast is eaten at O´Connors just down the road from Mark´s place in Westport where we can steal a little internet and spend a little while in civilized company. This is where we are now. There is a toasted sausage sandwich in front of each of us, and a coffee to help kickstart the day. O´Connors is where we talk strategy and decide on a venue for the day´s fishing. Continue reading

When it comes to trout fishing here in the west there is a choice to be made. One option is to fish one of the big loughs like Mask or Carra in the hope of picking up some potentially large trout while another is to head to one of the many small loughs which hold good stocks of feisty little fellas.

Having had a slow day on Carra the previous day, we decided yesterday that we would head to the hills and see if we could catch some of the small dark trout that live in the mountain loughs. Continue reading

The pints we consumed were not celebratory as they had been the previous night but a consoling remedy after a day´s rejection by the trout of Lough Carra.

To be honest we needed little consolation. Everyone who plays the trout fishing game might expect things to be inconsistent, particularly at this time of the year but we were nevertheless surprised at how little activity we observed. Sean and Mark each had a couple of furtive rises but put these down to small fish but my own flies were untroubled over the several hours they were on the water. If we failed to catch it was not from lack of effort. We offered those damn trout everything they might have asked for, wets and dries and buzzers, and we drifted over very promising looking water. The weather conditions seemed fine. Who knows why things pan out this way sometimes. It is what it is. C´est la vie. Continue reading