Around 5 or 6pm today I will log out on the slim silver work laptop, unplug it and stow it safely out of harms reach in the grey bag provided by my current employer. Papers will rustle as they are tidied away and the desk cleared at last as this seemingly never ending week draws to a close at last. A few chores around the house will require my attention before we head out for a bite to eat in our favourite restaurant in town then a couple of drinks in a low key sort of celebration. What is there to celebrate? I am off work for the whole of the month of May, that’s what!
Not that I will be lying in bed or relaxing with my feet up of course, far from it as I have a lot of time on the loughs to put in over the coming four weeks. I’ll manage a little bit of fishing myself but mostly I will be showing other anglers the ropes, a pastime I thoroughly enjoy these days. Conn, Mask, Corrib and possibly Carra are all on the cards so far and I would not rule out Carrowmore and Beltra either. I am in the throws of organising boats at the moment which can be tricky at this time of year as every angler worth their salt wants to be out on the lake. Mayfly are hatching in small numbers and the trout will be switching on to them properly any day now. Mayfly madness is upon us once again.
In addition to the ghillie days I have solid plans for the resumption of my ’32’ project which has been sadly neglected so far this year. Having completed all the easily accessible counties by now, what remain are distant parts of the island involving long journeys. Early starts and late returns mean I can only fit in a handful of these trips this month but I’ll never have a better chance than now to make a real dent in the ‘to do’ list. Thirteen counties are all I have left to do, thirteen far flung loughs and rivers to conquer. Trout fishing is mixed in with some coarse venues just to spice things up a bit and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me feel to know these trips are on hand at last.
Flies have been tied and line the boxes. Gear has been packed, new casts tied and reels given a lick of grease. Every nook and cranny in the car is now home to bits of tackle. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. In terms of catching fish a lot now depends on the weather. A month of flat calm under a tropical sun will cause consternation but at my time of life just being out on the water is the most important part of May. Old friends will wend their way west and together we will cast flies, get soaked/sun burned, enjoy drawn out lunches on islands and creamy pints of porter to celebrate or drown our sorrows.
It’s funny how I have changed over the years. It used to all be about the fish, how many fish, catching the biggest fish or catching a specific species of fish. Blank days were a disaster in my book, a total and irredeemable failure. Now I hardly care if the trout don’t want to play or the salmon sulk on the bottom all day, there is so much else to enjoy the fish have become a lovely adjunct instead of the primary focus. Does old age have some benefits after all?
Today will drag its heels until I can finish up at work only for the next four weeks to rush past in a blur. I know how lucky I am and vow to make the most of May 2022, I’ll keep you guys updated as best I can.