This report in from Dan O’Neill of South East Casting from a recent visit to the Blackwater Fishery:
As anglers, it can be mystery or even beauty that keeps us going to the river’s edge, in a boat on a lake, or just our general favourite spot for what we like as anglers. Before we get to these spots, some of us have little rituals or habits that are a part of our day. For me, the smell of Gillette shaving foam, Old Holburn and a subtle splash of denim aftershave always indicated fishing. My Dad would always have a shave before we went to our favourite fishing spot which was usually Ballyteighleigh in Borris, Co Carlow. When I would wake up on a Saturday morning and get that scent, I knew it was to the river. Just off track a little here to show how my young angling mind worked at the time! When the new fancy razors came out – the ones with 5 blades – I bought my dad one for Christmas as I thought he would shave faster so I could get to the river quicker, good times, good memories.
The reason I told the little story above was that this weekend I was at Blackwater Fishery with Glenda Powell and Noel Fitzmaurice. Glenda and Noel were holding an event at the fishery for people to come along to learn, have an angling chat and try out some Cadence products. I was with my good friend Paul on the trip down and it was great to see him as we seldom have time during the angling season. I have known Glenda and Noel for some time but never had the chance to get to the fishery, as again my own fishing takes over once the new year hits.
On arrival to the fishery, we made our way to the ghillie hut which was just at the side of the river. Lovely decorations and rods outside it made it look like a postcard picture with the river beside. After talking to Glenda and Noel for a few minutes outside, we made our way into the beautiful hut. The smell of mulled wine (non-alcoholic, my new favourite), freshly cooked scones, homemade meatloaf and leak and potato soup (made by Glenda herself) was wonderful. I took a seat and met the other people who came along to the day’s event. I looked up at one stage and the hut was full. What an atmosphere, to be able to create an environment where people who had never met each other before felt like they knew each other all their lives is a very special thing. Angling has a habit of doing that, I have spent many hours in a boat where the only language spoken is fishing, there were laughs, smiles and a little eye rolling at times, but we got by and got fish.
I think helping people to pass hurdles they meet during their angling journey is very important, events like this are very important to gather information and allow people who have faced the hurdles you are now facing to help you get past them. The angling community is a great place to grow and add to your knowledge, you can pass on some of your own knowledge also or take some away with you and pass that on. One day an elderly man who used to help me with my casting and fly fishing said to me
“the things I show you Dan, will you do me a favour when I’m gone and show someone else and repeat to them what I have just said to you”,
this man wanted to help me and ensure that his help continued when he was fishing that river full of fish in the sky.
I now have some new scents to add to my memory that will bring back my wonderful day on the Blackwater learning from true anglers and people who are passionate about their sport – those wanting to pass on knowledge and help our community grow.