Category: Fish and fishing


I have a fish tank in my lab which is a constant source of interest to the students I teach. Frankly, they spend more time watching the fish swimming around than they ever do listening to me. There used to be a much-admired crayfish in there which would astound everybody by periodically shedding its exoskeleton and looking like it was dead before appearing from behind a wooden log.

What a party trick that was! Continue reading

Every now and then my brother Sean and Mark McCann manage to get a few days of fishing and head off into the hinterlands with fly rods thrown into the back of their cars and their heads swimming with dreams of trout and Guinness, both of which essential to the success of such ventures. Very occasionally I get to join them but it is increasingly hard to do because I live a long way away and the best times for fishing in Ireland tend to coincide with my busiest times at work. Continue reading

For some time now I have dabbled in painting fish in water colours and, until now, the subjects have been fish that I have become acquainted with first hand including brown trout, perch, carp, black bass and gypsy barbel. I have just broken with this little tradition by painting a fish that I have never seen in the flesh but that strikes me as a beautiful subject – the Golden Dorado. It´s no surprise that I have never seen or caught one. If I were to do so I would have to book myself a flight to South America. Continue reading

I don´t know whether brown trout are dumb or not. There are quite a few fishermen out there who say that our old friend Salmo trutta is actually pretty thick. Others take the opposite view and consider trout to be smart on account of their fussiness and selectivity, the very same traits oddly enough that are cited by their opponents as evidence of their stupidity. I will leave this debate to anyone whose flies have been refused all day and are seeking solace over a beer or something stronger. My own take on the matter is that trout are smart and dumb at the same time, an attribute, if you think about it, that is not uncommon in human beings. I would go a little further in suggesting that our native brown trout are the intellectual superiors of the rainbow trout, although I´m sure many will disagree. In either case we´re not talking about organisms pushing their way into the higher range of IQ scores. Continue reading

I have just gone and tied up three stupid-looking flies. They are simple variations of the mop flies that seem to be the rage at the moment but, when I look at the things, what comes to mind is the rather strange hairdo of Homer Simpson´s wife Marge. If I were to give a name to this fly, which I won´t on account of their being nothing much original about it, I might go with “Mrs Simpson´s Special.” Continue reading

My brother Sean and our close friend Mark McCann head off fishing the mayfly every year on Lough Arrow and it is one of my few regrets about living in Spain and working as a teacher that I am unable to join them. I do however insist on getting a full report and Sean invariably provides an account in his own inimitable style. Mr McCann has also contributed to the cause this year and I have therefore, in the finest tradition of plagiarism, stolen their words and pictures, without their knowledge or consent, and include them here for us all to enjoy.

 

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It was very nice to meet up with Simon Thompson on Wednesday evening and to spend a little time with him on the river. Work and other commitments made it a pretty brief visit but we managed a couple of fish between us and Simon was out again on Friday and had some more.

Today I was at the river again and had a mighty tussle with a carp. I had been given the cold shoulder by a bunch of carp on this stretch of the river a little while back and felt that I had a score to settle. Continue reading

My neoprene fishing boots have seen better days. They are full of rips and tears. In places they seem to be hanging on by a thread. Thinking about it, my neoprene chest waders are just as bad. I took these waders on an outing to Concepción reservoir after work on Friday and it turns out that, despite my best efforts to patch them up, they have nearly as many holes as my landing net. When I finally dragged my arse out my float tube after three hours casting to largely indifferent black bass, my legs looked like water balloons and the water sloshing around inside the waders was waist high. Continue reading

Yesterday I managed to fish in two rivers at the same time which, when you think about it, is a hell of a stunt to pull off. Geographers tell us that when one river flows into another the “new” river conventionally retains the name of the larger of the two and the river with the lesser flow is meekly assimilated and its name disappears from the map. Continue reading

I ought be be honest with you. Until very recently I have felt rather ashamed of my box of flies. Whenever I meet up with another fisherman I am invariably shown fly boxes with everything in order – nymphs, dries, lures all in neat rows. Everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Continue reading