The rain has been tipping down down for couple of weeks now in the West of Ireland. I had been fearing a drought after the cold dry months of January and February but the land has received a good soaking since then. Standing water in the fields and swollen drains bear testament to the change in the weather. Despite a forecast promising another wet evening I made my way across the Shannon at Athlone and bore North into the heart of co. Roscommon after work.
There is a little known canal at the tiny village of Lecarrow that I wanted to try, hoping there might be a perch or maybe a roach lurking in the dark water that fancied a maggot for dinner. I could not find out much about this place but I was in the mood for some fishing. All my mates are casting flies for spring salmon back in Mayo but here I am, exiled in the Midlands where the only salmon to be seen are in a tin on the supermarket shelf. Turning into the fine big car park I shut off the engine and stepped out into a very soggy landscape. The off chance of a few coarse fish will need to keep me going for now. Donning rain gear and grabbing the seat box I was soon off along the tow path under leaden skies. I knew it would be wet but I had not bargained for the wind which tore across the fields and drove the water into every nook and cranny of my so-called waterproofs.
What were laughingly referred to as angling stands turned out to be worse than useless. A high fence separated any would-be fisher from the waters edge. The only way I could float fish was by standing against the fence and pointing the rod tip into the water to stop the wind whipping the line away. This was far from ideal of course but with no other options I fished away. The maggots, purchased from a vending machine the day before, were tiny and hard to put on the hook with my frozen hands. I am guessing the air temperature was actually OK but the wind chill and my wet hands made my pale fingers unresponsive. I persevered though and found myself enjoying the challenge of simply trying to fish in the horrible conditions.
Loose feeding two rod lengths out and fishing double maggot through the swim failed miserably to attract any attention what-so-ever. The wind pushed the float from left to right so I was casting frequently. A kingfisher shot past me, a wonderful sight at any time but especially welcome on a rough evening like this. Still the rain beat against me as the wind increased in force. The size 14 hook on the end of my line was possibly too big but making any small changes to the end gear felt like a Herculean task in this wind. So the barbless 14 stayed where it was. The light began to fade, making watching the tiny orange tip of the float very hard to see. The fact I had it shotted down so only the tiniest part of the tip showed did not help. I suppose I must have cut a desperate looking figure there, scowling at a dot of orange in the wavelets and the rain piddled down.
I follow Sidestream Bob’s blog (highly recommended) and he recently wrote about avoiding the blank by capturing a small dace. I am generally not a competitive sort of guy but this evening I out did Sidestream when it comes to small fish saving the blank. The float sank out of sight and I lifted only to see a small leaf on the hook. I swung it in to clear the debris when the ‘leaf’ twitched. That was no vegetation, it was a minnow! It wasn’t even a very large minnow, but I had caught a fish. Apologies for the dreadful photo, everything, including my phone, was sopping wet by the time this little chap came along. He would have made an excellent perch bait but I popped him back into the canal instead.
Only a few more casts convinced me to call it a night and trudge back to the waiting car. By the time I had packed away the gear and removed my sodden outer layer of clothes it had become quite dark. Back along the old familiar road to my digs I motored via Moate, deep in thought about the wet evening I had just endured. The canal, though unproductive this time, looked like it could be a good spot. About 5 feet deep, linked to Lough Ree only a mile or so away, it really should be full of roach, perch and possibly some tench. It weeds up during the summer I suspect, but I might try it again in early summer. In truth a wet and windy night in March was always going to be a tough gig.
I knew when setting off I would get cold and wet yet that didn’t put me off one little bit. Work has been hectic this week so far and I really felt the need for a bit of time on my own by some water. Even I cannot dress up one small minnow as a successful fishing trip but a rainy evening in Roscommon made for a nice change of pace. Maybe I’ll have more luck on my next outing with the rods.
One thought on “Rainy Roscommon”
I should probably caveat Mr. Bumbler’s kind recommendation with a cautionary note that my blog is often a fishless angling blog. In fact that small dace was one of my red letters days.
Thanks for the mention though and remember better days are ahead of us!