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THE UPPER SHANNON-CROSS-FISHING ON FOR TROUT

AND SALMON-SCENERY ON LOWER PART OF LOUGH DERG-HOLY ISLAND, &c.

( Concluded from our last Number, page 30.) SIR,

Nenagh, May 3, 1833. THE season for trout and (brothers also), were the leading

salmon fishing on this wa- men: one of them, self-taught, ter comimences in April, and in a made even his own hooks, and good year some capital sport they were as good as the best may be enjoyed; but this proved Limerick. Anxious as we were a remarkably cold backward to get to work, we hastily drove spring, and we made several at- in a good breakfast, and then, tempts with such little success with a hamper containing swags that they would not be worthy of of belly-timber, drove off to the mention: indeed, although the bay of Dromaneer, where the fishing here is of the very first Hogans were to rendezvous with excellence, it is only on occa

their suite of cots (boats), &c. sional and suitable days that The drive, four Irish miles, lies such is experienced, and the through a fine country, and passes sportsman must arm himself with by some pretty residences ; a double stock of patience, or among others, the ruins of that of perseverance, whichever he can Rockford, beautifully situated command, or he might be apt to among well-laid-out plantations take disgust at nearly a blank on the Nenagh river. This, the day or two, and retire in disgust, property of my friend, was thereby forfeiting the crowning burnt down by accident not of his toil in a glorious day's sport, long since, which occasions his which is always sure, sooner or present domicile in the town. later, to ensue. This truth was On reaching the hamlet of Droverified to a tittle ; for after trying maneer, we saw our cots balanceit on during the last week in ing on the gently-rippling April to little purpose, I was waves, as a sweet south-west wind awakened at day-break on the just stirred them under the walls first inst. with the cheering intelli- of the old Castle which abut on gence“ that the day was come.” the Lake. Nothing could be On rising I was so happily con- more exhilarating: a lovelier vinced of it, that I could not help scene never cheered the angler's exclaiming, like the chimney, eye in a lovelier morning : we sweeps, “Oh! rare May-day?” were certified by the most deliThe Hogans (brothers), who re- cious witnesses of good sport: side at Urra, near Peterfield, all nature was up, harmonious, had been desired to hold them- and rejoicingselves in readiness. These men, “A west wind kiss'd the May morn who are small farmers, keep

bright,

While varied clouds bedeck'd the sky; boats, fishing-tackle, &c. There The young Dawn met the God of Light are others at different places on With Nature's glorious minstrelsy. the Lough, but these men (de- “ Old Shannon hail'd us to his streams, servedly) are most in request. While balmy showers and sunny gleams

The springing trout were all at play: In former days the Gaynors Proclaimed the angler's favorite day.”

As Cross-lishing, particularly all arguments, that ad hominein, in boats, must be a system very he would require all his pluck, little known to the English activity, and decision. In the angler, and as I do not think it New World, cross-fisning would has ever been written on, I shall be eminently useful, and to those devote a few lines to describe it. who reside in the vicinity of In Scotland it is adopted occa- large lakes, but who may not sionally for salmon-fishing, and is have tried it. In describing it I there called harling, and as often shall give, chapter and verse, a (very improperly) trolling. It journal of our day on the first. is the most killing of all fly-fish. When the men had got their ing; and where the single rod morning” (a wet of mouncan be used, and in small rivers, tain dew called here pot-sheen), it is not in use among Sportsmen: two peculiar rods about seven but in such a vast expanse as

feet long, with very strong Lough Derg, where, although stiff tops, were stuck in the trout and salmon abound, yet ground upright, about twenty they are necessarily so scattered, yards from each other, for the a single rod might pass every- convenience of putting the flies thing almost in a hard day's up; they were furnished with work. All approach the Shan- reels and hempen lines of the non with intent to slayand thickness and taper of a full salthey may. A real good day is, mon line. These were pulled like most other good things in through the rings in the usual this world, not often attainable, way. To each end of them a foot and neither line nor net of any link or cross-line, as it is named, kind can depopulate this ex- seventeen yards in length, was panse. Some ridicule angling looped to swivels which as a solitary amusement: Byron, fastened at these ends, thus who was too un-Britishly con- uniting the two lines. From this stituted to have the feelings of a foot link at regular intervals Sportsman, has termed it a vice. were suspended fourteen lines, Cross-fishing completely sets that to which the flies were to be taunt null and void-nothing can attached. The foot link was be more social, spirit-stirring, or strong, not continuous, but in frequently noisy. Sportsmen lengths of sixteen hairs, slightly too, those who at least do nothing twisted and knotted together : but hunt, frequently affect to de- the fly-lines 'were also of horseride all fishing ; but I can assure hair, but much finer. These were the best of them, that if I had loosely looped to the foot or him on such a river as the Tay, cross-line, as without such prewith a fifteen-pound salmon in a caution when a heavy fish is on, rocky stream, and the banks and the great connected line in thickly wooded, at the end of a tension, it would twist notwithsingle gut, or in a cot on the standing the swivels, and the flyShannon in a rough day, with lines and flies would be coiled. two good Gillaroo trout of seven These fly-lines are secured and preor eight pounds a-piece frantically vented to and fro on the crosspulling different ways, he would lines by two knots on each side, find, by the most conclusive of (the flies generally used on the Shannon I shall subsequently bility of knowing what may take, take an opportunity of noticing). or the size, great attention and They thus maintain their equi- delicacy are necessary at the slightdistant position, and were placed est indication of rise or tug, as about a yard and a half asunder, carelessness or severity, when a their own length being just a big ’un takes, would smash all. I yard. The flies being put on, forgot to mention that in the midmy friend, taking one rod, placed dle of the cross-line, between the himself in the stern of one of the seventh and eigth hook, a white cots, rowed by one of the Ho- feather is always fastened, the gans and another man, while, hooks on either side which besimilarly prepared, I entered the long to the man whose cot they other boat. I have before stated are next to, and when a fish takes that they somewhat resemble a on either side the nearest man small Norway yawl. Mine was plays and lands, or rather boats, rowed by the elder Hogan and him, his companion going out, or an assistant. When we got out rolling uplineas the manæuvres of a few boats' lengths, we kept at a the scaly victim may indicate. distance of twenty-five yards from This requires great science and each other, the rowers plying at judgment, and has no little to do about two and a half miles an with the success of this peculiar hour, to afford time to the fish to sport. In this, as in all other discern and take the fly. The lakes (and many and various ones flies played a few yards astern of of almost every size and peculithe boats, which advanced in arity I have tried) which it parallel directions, the cross-line has been my lot to fish upon, I being slightly curved outwards have invariably found that the by the resistance of the water. best sport is to be had at that All the fly-lines were submerged precise spot which separates the with the exception of the two shallow water of the shores from nearest each cot: these are played the deep water, on the shelf of the like bobbers, which keep the rest submerged bank, let that distance in proper position. It might be be what it may, and about whatsupposed that the splashing ever sunken or apparent rocks (however gentle) of the oars

were

sheet of water ; on would deter the fish from taking; shoals also, and sand-banks. but every one who has fished The reason is obvious the food single rod in a boat knows how is here most abundant; and it close trout will rise to it; and may always be ascertained by the here it is more strongly exempli- colour of the water. Here, this fied, the flies in the middle being critical distance was about a hunseldom so effective as the nearer dred yards more or less; on it our ones—and for this reason my boats were so rowed as to make friend generally prefers but the flies lie, my boat being close as twelve flies, for then the tackle possible in shore, the sinuosities may be lighter: we had (as I of which we narrowly followed. have stated) fourteen, but there The inshore boat is considered the are some who imagine they can best berth, and commonly tossed never have too many lines in the for, or taken in turn : this day it water. As there is no possie was given to me as a bird of pasa sage. We had been out about deeper water. I now laid the ten minutes, and some surprise rod down along the side of the was expressed that nothing took cot, the top sternwards, keeping hold, as they were rising around, one hand on the line, and, slipwhen a wave of the water, similar ping it up to the top of the rod, to the last of those which throw- commenced to draw him alonge ing a small stone into a pond side, my hand playing the line: causes, and a right good tug in doing so, however, his strugdownwards on my fourth hook, gles were still sufficient to make opened the day's play. “ Yu're great care

may stud any

necessary, and to in him tight; ase off to him, or avoid getting your hands hooked he'll smash all to smiddereens,” by the adjoining fly-lines, which roared the elder Hogan: "hould I knew by experience. A small tight agin, or by J- he'll be gaff or cleek--the other loose under the cot-yu've turned him hooks make a landing net inelinately-now give him rope, and gible-is in use. This is a hook he'll hang himself may be-no, similar to the common one, but he's a raal one." Here he made more than double the size of the a rush, and both giving out line largest salmon hook, attached to fast, the hooks were soon fifty a long light pole, and requires yards astern. “Now hould him also some εkill in the managejust as you would a fine white- ment, as a bungler might touch handed young lady you was

the line, which would instantly handing into a ball-room." Here cause the loss of the fish, if not my gentleman, a Gillaroo, jumped the fly, &c. : whenever it can be two feet out of the water. He's done, moreover, time is taken to four pound certain,” cried I, insert the gaff' as near the gills as judging by his length. “Is it a possible, in order not to spoil the four pound fish play up music fish. Hogan brought this one like this? He's sivin iviry inch into the boat secundem artem, and of it I'll wager a noggin.” Ano- proved the accuracy of his judgther and another spring right out ment, as it was above seven of the water, but he was well pounds. To give as good an idea hooked; this tired him, and it be- as I can, I should say that the came time to take him in hand. Gillaroo are cod-shaped about Keeping a steady eye on one the head and shoulders to a ceranother's motions, we closed him tain degree, and this great gradually, but when near the breadth gives them an actual boats he made another rush, weight far beyond what their though for a small distance, and length would seem to indicate. here he was held steadily, until a They are a very resolute trout, little more force being gradually and afford great play. The applied, his nose was got above smaller fish are hauled up withwater. After a few seconds he out ceremony; but a herringbegan to flounder, and then it be- sized trout is unworthy the came safe to wind home. But in angler's notice on Lough' Derg, the imperceptible motion of the as the average is about 4lb. boats, we had floated inwards, It is certain, though perhaps and to avoid entanglement among it may not appear evident, that the rocks, we moved gently into cross-fishing is the most diffi

new

cult of all angling : it is more to looe no time through the deep difficult to manage a long line water. Being anxious to try for with twelve or fourteen, than a one of the large perch, I let a single rod with one or a pair of line out nearly a hundred yards fies: with the latter, the capture astern, baited with a loach (here of the fish depends on individual called Collia Rua), and very skill, while the former requires soon got a tug: it was only three the combined management and pounds weight, and deemed by simultaneous accuracy of both Hogan hardly worth the trouble anglers, and a corresponding of taking in. I was, however, of sympathy of skill on the part of a different opinion. the rowers, any infraction of

Having arrived at our which would in nine cases out of station, we went to work, but ten lose the fish. Moreover, it with no better success: just, often happens that two, even however, as we were going to three fish are on the line at the give up, a small one, about four same time, and as the difficulties pounds, here called a peel (in are increased, it is then that this Scotland a grilse), took on my sport really commences. With friend's side, and was secured the most experienced, if it occurs without much difficulty. As the that two weighty fish move off in large trout were to me “ metal opposite directions, by which the more attractive,” it was resolved cross-line and flies are stretched to stretch over at once to the to tension, the affair lies within Connaught shore ; indeed we the scope of mechanical philo- could do no better. The day sophy and the calculation of was at its height, and a bright relative forces, so that unless ob- sun and dead calm had set all to viated by the most critical skill, rest; so we took advantage of the one or both of the fish break idle hour, and steered for the opaway. It is in conjunctures posite coast, where, being shelsuch as this that the superior art tered by the Galway mountains of the angler is developed, from the westerly winds which

We continued fishing in the prevail in Ireland, and the nabay of Dromaneer for some time tural Alies being at the same in the expectation of hooking a time wafted off the shore, the salmon, in which however fish are most abundant. Indeed were disappointed, though a with an east wind few flies are to considerable river which passes be seen, and this Lake is supplied the town of Nenagh (and to from the western shore. This is which that fish resorts) throws not mere conjecture it is an asitself into this bay : our sport certained fact. Has any angler with the trout, however, was observed this of any other loch good. We now pulled away for or lough? In this trip another the Korakees, a cluster of rocky perch was taken considerably islands, about mid-way over heavier than the former one, but which is considered a more cer- this would not do. “It does’nt tain haunt for salmon. The dis- plase me at all at all; divil a one of tance was about two miles, and me will be contint wid liss than the lines being wound up as close betune seven or eight pounds.” as possible, the rowers gave way Nothing could be more beautiful

we

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