Fishing notes with John O’Hare

Following on from my article on The Sheen, and indeed all of our local rivers, Dave Burke told me that they dropped fishing with the draft net because of the fact they were catching too many fish back in the 1960’s. In one haul alone they caught two hundred fish, and the market price for them was one shilling and sixpence a pound. No wonder it was not viable to keep catching them. On the same subject Keith Johnston told me that his father gave him what turned out to be a difficult task of sourcing wood boards to make fishboxes as the supply could not keep up with the demand. It is hard believe what has happened to our great salmon resource, all because of human activties. And the sad part is does anyone even care?

The Kenmare Trout Anglers held their first boat fly fishing competition on Clonee lakes on Sunday May 4th. It was a dull, overcast day with the odd light shower kind of the day. The hills were shrouded in mist, which put me in mind of a similar kind of day years ago fishing on Lough Corrib. I was being rowed around by an elderly boat man called Paddy O’ Toole. The fishing was as usual up there slow. For the sake of something to say I made up a rhyme which goes like this, ‘When fog on the hills you see, No fish will be caught by me.’
‘God knows,’ said Paddy little knowing I had just made it up!
There is a big grain of truth in all the old sayings, here are a couple more for you.
‘When the wind is from the East, the trout bite the least. When the wind is from the West, the trout bite the best.’
Or an even better one that I would vouch for, ‘A dark fly for a dull day, A bright fly for a bright day.’
I must remember your one to go with them.
Anyway back to Clonee Lakes, The trout fishing was aplenty despite the mist on the hills. The only problem for the competition was the size of the trout had to be ten inches or over to count for the weigh in. My partner and I must have caught and returned over an hundred trout, all just undersize, good for the trout but bad for us as only one of them was the correct size. But in spite of all it was a most enjoyable day out. With four of the boats pulling in to Phillips Island for lunch the joking and banter is what a club is all about sandwiches and treats, shared flasks of tea consumed. We missed Timmy’s ‘Kelly Kettle’ and back out fishing again. That is until six o’clock back to The Lake House where Sean and Mary’s dinners were consumed with relish, grand food, and big appetite by all. Naturally enough there was a winner of our silver cup. With six trout, Dick Elder, editor of this paper, was first and he also had the heaviest trout. Second was Con O’Leary with four trout and third was Mr. Jerry Bambury with three trout. To add an extra glass on the day, in the car park at the back of The Lake House after our meal and preparing to go home, I was chatting with Jason Thomas about the days fishing, when what appeared over our heads circling high in the sky and heading up to the valley towards Gleninchiquin but two eagles. What a wonderful way for the day to end with the sighting of those magnificent birds.

I will have to stop mentioning fishing until some few fish are caught. What a disaster the season to date has been. Johnny R, R.I.P, was a well known character on the upper Roughty. There were a few salmon in Goa-Heart pool and Tom Walsh, R.I.P, the fisheries inspector was keeping an eye on them. One morning they were all gone with signs of netting on the bank. Tom’s suspicions were on Johnny R. So he made a point of meeting him. ‘Did you see a few nice sized salmon on Goat-heart?,’ Tom asked him. ,I did indeed,’ said Johnny R, ‘There was a couple of good ones there.’ ‘Well they are all gone now,’ said Tom, ‘I wonder what happened to them.’ ‘Maybe sire, they got drowned!’ was Johnny R’s response.

The trout fishing is as mentioned very good at the moment with the large numbers of smaller trout being a good sign for the future. The Rainbow trout fishing is also very good. The sea fishing is slow enough but as I mentioned before the bay got a serious hammering in the winter storms. The closed season for Sea Bass is from the 15th of May to the 15th June.