I just opened up my emails to find a couple of messages from Mark McCann with attached photographs taken during last Saturday´s fishing trip to Lough Lene in County Westmeath. His emails were both titled, quite aptly, “Lene pickings” which pretty much sums up our success in catching the trout that lough is reportedly heaving with. Our fishing party included also my brother Sean and his son Dan. Sean and Dan fished from one boat and Mark and I fished from another.

I know that Sean was keen particularly for Dan to get a trout on the fly but our plans were pretty much scuppered by the weather. Saturday was the very hot and the trout, not unreasonably, decided to keep a low profile. Lene is, by all accounts, an excellent trout lough and the club that fishes here has a whopping 600 members. There were many other boats out but the lough is big enough to provide plenty of space.

It is a shame that Dan did not manage to break his duck but that was not his fault. There were slim pickings on Lene on Saturday and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody seems to have successfully tempted a trout out of its torpor and deliver it successfully into the bottom of a landing net.

Lough fishing can be tough going. Most of my recent experiences have resulted in little more than a numb arse after hours on a wooden seat. Dan managed to remain upbeat despite the recalcitrance of the trout. He got to do a lot of the driving of the boat, had a day of instruction from his old man, had a swim in a lough and a tub of pot noodles made up with water from the lough boiled up in a Kelly kettle.

As we drifted, Mark told me that Lough Lene has an interesting history. Its largest island is Turgesius Island, named after a 9th century viking chief who led a raid of 120 boats, half of which sailed up the river Liffey and the other half the river Boyne. He conquered Dublin and then headed west in search of further spoils. Turgesius was, according to Mark, a real bastard. He came to a sticky end however when he was drowned in Lough Owel, another large lough not very far away.

Mark is great company on a boat and we could tell, even from a distance, that Dan was having a good laugh with his old man. Apart from the technical instructions on how to get his flies to work in front of a drifting boat, he was treated to, or subjected to (you will have to ask him) the usual mix of nonsense and bullshit and snippets of enlightening information that characterises Sean whether he happens to be afloat or not.

So that is how Saturday panned out for us. We fished on until the light faded and our thoughts were turning to the few pints we hoped to consume when we returned to our base in Tyrrellspass.

We would love to head back to Lene again, not just because we all feel we have a score to settle with the trout there, but because a day afloat on such a beautiful lough and in such company is the kind of treat that comes our way far too infrequently.

What a bunch of pros!


At least the cows were friendly
Time for a dip
This is a lovely place. There are quite a few boats but the lough is big enough.