Wrong place at the right time

A pleasant evening tempted me out with rod and line again but this session was a bit of a muddle truth be told. The Royal canal beckoned again but I wanted to try out a section that was new to me. I drove up to the stretch at Shandonagh Bridge, a few miles to the west of Mullingar on a thankfully dry April evening. Setting up below the old bridge over the canal I soon landed a large rudd which scoffed some maggots on the leger. Happy days I thought! An hour slipped past without further bites below the bridge so I moved the few yards to the other side. Again, I thought I was fishing reasonably well but one small roach was all I could tempt there. This was too slow for me so I decided to go back to Ballinea.

Of course I took the wrong road and instead ended up in Mullingar itself. Making the best of my mistake I parked up next to the big hole and set up my gear there where the dead end of a harbour comes off the main stem. A fellow coarse angler, equipped with every possible gizmo for pole fishing, set up at the same time as me about 50 yards further along and on the other side. I felt distinctly inferior as this chap unpacked and set up a seeming endless amount of tackle. I, on the other hand, plonked the decrepit old light leger rod a few feet out and untangled the knots in my float rig before casting that out too.

A couple of three inch rudd kicked off the session, not the most auspicious of starts. Things improved when the float dived and a nice one pound rudd came struggling to the net. From then on I was kept busy with good sized rudd and perfectly acceptable 12 ounce roach. The lad across from me took some time to get going but he started to catch too. It was hard to make out exactly what he was landing but I suspect it was bream judging by the dark colour of them. I still don’t fancy that pole fishing craik, it all looks a bit mechanical for my liking. The leger yielded a couple of fish but the waggler was slaying them. I loose fed two rod lengths out and enjoyed a hectic hour or so in the warm April air.

The catching slowed a little and I took in my surroundings. The trees around me were a hive of activity as crows and rooks cawed and built nests in the tops. Dog walkers proliferated as did joggers and cyclists, it was a very bust spot to be fishing. Traffic hummed by on one side of the canal and the lights of the town slowly came on as the evening deepened. The rudd came back on again and a lovely hybrid added to the general good feeling of this spot. Bites were an assortment of lifts, trembles and dives so I was kept on my toes and enjoyed every minute of it. I’m not a specimen hunter of competition angler, so an evening catching a lot of good sized fish was utterly enjoyable.

Hunger and tiredness finally got the better of me though and I wound in both rods and plodded off along the tarred path to the car park. In one final driving faux pas for the night I took yet another wrong turning and ended up on the long way home. I didn’t mind and the long straight road gave me time to appreciate the bluey-grey dusk descending on middle Ireland. A deep peace settled on me as I drove through the silky darkness, an appreciation of my little world. A few fish, some fresh air and the sights and sounds of springtime, it really does not get much better than this. Missing my beloved trout and salmon fishing in Mayo is irksome but making the effort to fish the canal is at least getting me outdoors with a rod.


6 thoughts on “Wrong place at the right time

  1. Thanks for your recent updates/reports. I look forward to reading every one. Get yourself retired asap 👍


  2. Some lovely rudd, well worth moving for. I’m glad I’m not the only oner that gets lost when I know where I’m going.


  3. You never stop learning at this game Clive. I am very aware that if the fish want maggots fished under a waggler I should be OK, but the trick now is to widen my repertoire. So much more to understand but confidence is high and that counts for a lot.


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