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Message in a Bottle!

October 15th, 2017 No comments

Shane and I decided we had time to walk in to the Black Lake and be back in time for dinner. The walk was usually 2 hours but Shane thought he might have a quicker way in if a certain bog road on google earth was firm enough to drive on. Thankfully it was and we had no issues getting to the end of the road. We tackled up and set off walking across the mountain with high expectations. Shane had visited the lake few times with plenty fish to the net each time. We got there after an easy 40 minutes, the sun was occasionally poking its rays through the grey clouds and there was a firm breeze blowing. I took the west shore and Shane took the east.. I was expecting quick action but it didn’t come. I could see Shane wasn’t catching either. We persisted down our shores and met at the bottom. I picked up one wee trout. Tiny, but still approximately 3 years old. Wild trout will grow as large as their environment permits and these acidic mountain lakes generally do not contain an abundance of food for trout, and so, they don’t grow very big. They are good to eat if you catch a few but today the catch was returned unharmed! We both agreed that there was no point fishing any more so we started the march back to the van. We wondered why the fish were simply not on? They had to be in there. Who knows! We could only speculate. We passed an old roofless stone building on the way – a very small one at about 7′ x 5′ inside. We went in for a look. I noticed a few old pots in the wall, also some kindling and a couple of sods of turf. Shane got down there for a closer look and could see a bottle with a cork in it. He tried to get it out but could barely reach, it was way in under the wall. Stubbornness got the better of him, he eventually he got it out with the aid of a stick. There was something in there.. a note we guessed. We could see paper wrapped in plastic. I popped out the cork. It took me a while to jimmy out the note but it came out eventually. Sure enough it was a message in a bottle which read: 26/6/05..  Hello to whoever found this note in years to come. My name is Jordan Keane 12 years of age. Me and my dad camped here this night. I caught a really big fish here about 12 inch long and caught 32 fish from 4.30am to 12.30am. Good bye We put the note back in the bottle, and the bottle back under the wall for the next person to find. We continued back to Shane’s van with a good story to tell and made it home in time for dinner. Iza, Irene, Shane’s brother, Tom and his girlfriend were there too. All friends from our early teens, its important to do this! Eat, drink, fish and be merry!!

I also did the rounds fishing some of my home waters. James and I had an enjoyable day out on Corrib. I’m no longer in the know on the lake so I chose a long drift which brought us passed many familiar points, bays and islands. Early in the day a beautiful bar of gold made a side swipe at my dry mayfly and stuck! A beautifully marked native Irish brown. There is a certain reverence towards an wild Corrib brown that I don’t feel anywhere else! James and I had a few more chances but we finished the day with one. A pint or 2 in the evening rounded off the day nicely!

John and I also had a day on Corrib. A very unusual day it was in that we put up a heap of trout but got nothing to the net. We must have risen 25 trout for the day on dries and wets. We altered our retrieve, fly size, fly patterns etc but nothing changed. That evening the pints were necessary after a frustrating day!

I had a great session after Irish Pollack off Roundstone. A Di7 with a short leader and a white marabou and possum sculpin head did the trick. Iza was with me putting her new camera through it’s paces and got some great shots! Lumpy seas, a spectacular seascape, willing pollack and great company made for the perfect afternoon. Dinner for the family compliments of the Atlantic Ocean that night!!

The way things worked out, Dad and I only managed 2 days fishing together. We fished 2 lakes we both love and have both guided on many many times, Lough Inagh and Kylemore Lough. The fishing was pretty slow on both lakes but we managed a few good quality seatrout in the 1 to 2 lb class in both locations. With our day on Kylemore we decided to try something different after a slow morning, so we went after large cannibal trout. We heard some reports that they were in the lake whch is no surprise, they are quite common in Inagh just a few miles away. We had a tip as to their whereabouts; the shallow near the bottom bridge, so we worked this area. The plan was to fish over the drop-offs with fast sinking lines. This is not easy from a drifting boat in black, peat stained water because its impossible to tell the depth your in by looking at the water. My thinking is that the most likely water would be along the sloping shelf from the shallow to the deep. Regularly poking the rod down to find the bottom kept us on the right depth – no depth finder! Every time we could not hit the bottom with the rod tip we’d go back on the drift in an attempt to drift along the sloping drop-off. We worked it hard for hours. I had one follow to the surface from a fish between 3 and 4lbs and so did dad. When we almost had enough of it I connected with one – a big one! It immediately broke the surface, certainly 6lb+, and then the fly came out. I couldn’t swear that it wasn’t a salmon but my instinct (or maybe blind optimism) tells me it was a large brown. A monster for a Connemara lake! For the last hour we worked the the top of the lake near the river mouth in the hope of a salmon. Dad got a solid seatrout not long before we called it a day but we’ll have to wait til next year for a salmon. Special thanks to Nancy for giving Dad and I a boat for the day. It’s always a pleasure to listen to her stories about the old days and the new. Did she ever tell you about the day she caught 7 big salmon out in front of the house? It’s a good one! Thanks also to my good friend, Macca!!

One other thing of note happened while in Ireland. I asked Iza to marry me and she said yes! I don’t want to go into the entire proposal story but it involved casting the ring to her on an 8wt on the wild west coast of Roundstone!

The NZ season is well under way. I’ve had very successful guide days so far! More on that very soon. If you’re thinking about some guided fly fishing in NZ this year why not drop me a line! ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines everyone!

Ronan..