Gone fishing with John O’Hare

Jimmy O’Donoghue (The Guard) RIP was, as his nickname tells you, the guard on the Kenmare to Headford railway train. Originally from the parish of Glenflesk, he lived in a cottage opposite the hospital cross which is now owned by John Murphy, honorary secretary of the Kenmare Trout Anglers Club. Jimmy was a wonderful trout fly fisherman so the walls of that old cottage could tell you stories of big trout caught and lost up to the present day, history keeps repeating itself. The first time the local anglers ever heard of the existence of the Mugs Lake was when Jimmy guided a group of them up there many years ago. We always believed the real name of this body of water was Crohane Lake after the mountain where it is situated, but now we have been told during a chance meeting with a nephew of Jimmy’s that the first lake’s name is Lough na Braud and the second lakes name is Carraig na Vheata. This may not be the correct spelling but we wonder if Braud has anything to do with Bradan or salmon as a consequence of the large fish that lurk in it depths.

In some parts of the country (not here) the salmon fishing season is open. To date however no fish has been caught. The Drowse, which drains Lough Melvin and which comes up with the first salmon of the year every year, is according to reports everywhere but in it’s channel. The same story stands for the Liffey, it is hard to understand how the clouds could hold so much rain water. But they do. The fishing for salmon in Killarney opens on January 17th. Again, weather conditions being what they are, I would not hold my breath for another few weeks. Something else to ponder is whether you can fish legally or not as, due to some glitch or other between government departments, no licenses have been printed. This matter, I am assured, will be sorted out before you read about it. I should hope so. The good news for local anglers is that the Roughty River will be open again for fishing from March 15th. But with a reduced quota of brown tags. Let us hope that this year will make up for the last three bad seasons.

Jim Nash, RIP, who passed away before Christmas was a colourful character who liked to give people the impression of having great knowledge of salmon and their movements. Many is the time he would stick his head into the shop, especially if there were a few tourist browsing around, and say there are no fish in the Blackwater River and while they were looking in amazement at this man he was gone. Of course it was all devilment on Jim’s side and I often had a laugh over the effects of his words. He used to buy four or five pairs of Polaroid sunglasses every season. I could not figure out how we kept losing them until one day a fishery officer told me that if they saw Jim studying any pool in the river with his glasses they confiscated them. I cannot imagine another Jim Nash anywhere, he was a one off, as I said a colourful character that will be missed.

In the wind, rain, and hail swept graveyard in Durrus near Bantry the Kenmare Trout Anglers Club members stood shoulder to shoulder in a guard of honour with fisherman from other areas as Eric Dukelow was laid to rest. You may remember that at the last boat competition in September Eric thanked us all for his years in the club and said his doctors had told him he would be dead before Christmas. They were not too far out, he died in Bantry hospital just one and a half hours into the new year, having spent two days in their care. He was a very brave man who faced death with confidence, would you believe he sent us a Christmas card wishing us well in the future. His angling abilities were legendary, if Eric had no fish to weigh in a competition neither had any of the rest of us because he was the most consistent fly fisherman of us all, as those of you who follow prize winners in our competitions will have noted. During the church service the minister read out what the club had written in their sympathy card. It sums up the man and our feelings for him and, as his loving wife Patricia said, described him perfectly “As well as being a great angler, Eric was a man of integrity, honesty and loyalty. It was a privilege to have him as a club member and to call him our friend. We will miss him sorely. May he rest in peace.”
Eric Dukelow. December 1940 to January 2016.