Beneath Your Feet
For this weeks challenge I’m on the floor…….
I was keeping a close eye on the weather for this meet and it wasn’t looking good. In fact I’d made a deal with the missus that I wouldn’t go to Kerry if I could go to Howth for a few hours last Thursday. We agreed, I’d go to Howth on Thursday (that’s another story) and I’d paint windows on Saturday. Of course Friday evening came round and another check on the weather gave an opening on Saturday so the painting deal went the way of a politician’s promise. The car was loaded Friday night, alarm was set for 3.00am which meant I annoyingly woke at 2.53am and it wasn’t worth going back to sleep for another 7 minutes so up I got. Bit of brekkie and we were on the road for the 5 hour journey to Derrynane.
The good thing about travelling at stupid o’clock is the roads are empty so the journey wasn’t too trying. Arrived at Francis’s fabulous house and deposited the fishing gear before heading over to Waterville to sign in for the weekend challenge. Our generous sponsor, Kevin Brain of KB Fishing had our competition cards ready and I picked up some bait for the day.
So back to Derrynane for the launch at 11.00am. Just to make things interesting, the tide was out which meant we had to paddle along the channel from the house, haul the fully loaded (read heavy) kayak across two miles of sand and launch into 20ft high waves crashing onto the beach. If you don’t believe me, watch the video…….
Ok, I exaggerated slightly about the 2 miles of sand and the waves but it was terrifying!
Our challenge for the day was to land 4 species, Mackerel, Pollock, Thornback Ray and a Flattie and if you got all those the bonus fish was a Trigger Fish. A hundred yards out I dropped my feathers to try for a mackerel and was delighted to pick up a nice size Pollock – good start.
That was followed shortly by some Mackerel – nothing spectacular in terms of size but luckily we have a small frying pan at home so the were all pan size!
Then things became a little trickier. I’ve never landed a Ray and my fishing technique is not the best. I paddled out to the mouth of the bay and met Andrew McIlhone (who incidentally had traveled all the way down from Norn Iron – an epic journey). Andrew hadn’t caught a Ray either but it wasn’t long before I heard his shout of joy as he landed his first one. No joy for me though as I tried unsuccessfully with my Mickey Fish rig baited with sandeel and fresh mackerel.
As I drifted back into the bay I started to get a few nibbles and thought this is it. After a few missed takes I eventually hooked what I hoped was my first Ray. No such luck! A dogfish had taken my bait and to make matters worse he managed to wrap himself around my wrist and scrape the skin raw. Unbelievable how tough and rough their skin is.
At least it was another species to add to my minuscule collection. Fed up with the doggies, I paddled back out to the mouth of the bay where the wind had picked up a fair bit and was making the water very choppy and uncomfortable. Still trying with the Mickey Fish and some Mackerel I started another drift close to Abbey Island. Not long in I felt a solid take and hoping it wasn’t another dogfish I struck and set the hook. This felt heavy and i was still hoping it might be a Ray so imagine my surprise when a fine Cod broke the surface.
My disappointment at not catching my Ray was far outweighed by my delight in landing a beautiful Cod. Not only that but a few minutes later I lost another one as I leaned over to try turn the GoPro on. It was only later on reading another club member’s blog post about this trip that I realised my Ray rig was’t right and it was unlikely to catch one. Ian Burton is a very experienced kayak fisherman and wrote about keeping the bait hard on the bottom. I’ll try that next time.
So at the end of the evening it was a long paddle back to the Ship House where we had our barbecue, told lies, drank beer, told more lies, had a raffle for the prizes, told more lies and eventually went to bed. Nothing like sleeping in the car with the rain lashing down and the wind howling outside.
Following on from Noel French’s guided tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral a few weeks back, we made our way across Loman Street to the beautiful Old Rectory. This magnificent house is owned by Martina Quinn and she kindly gave us (and there was a lot of us) a very informative tour from top to bottom – literally – she even brought down into the basement.
In the front sitting room, Martina gave us the history of the house and some of it’s occupants over the years. I’m not going into all that here but it was very interesting and one thing that did come across was Martina’s passion and love of the house.
Even to rector from St. Patrick’s Cathedral was enthralled.
We got to see all the rooms on all four floors but this landing caught my attention with the light streaming in through the window onto the gorgeous wooden floors. The hat stand was a bonus.
From the bright landing down to the dark lower floors we were greeted by the most amazing collection of books – all owned by Martina’s brother. Neatly wrapped in brown paper and tied up with old fashioned string, each bundle was catalogued and numbered. You even got to see whether they were clean or soiled copies! Who knows what treasures lie within.
And for the photographer pixel peepers, this one was ISO 12,800 f3.5 1/60th on the 24-70mm f2.8. Not bad, huh?
The weather of late hasn’t been playing ball along the East coast when it comes to kayak fishing. The wind has been relentless especially when I’ve had a bit of free time. In fact I had planned on a two day trip to Howth with the Irish Kayak Angling Club last Saturday and Sunday but it was cancelled because of the bloody wind. However the forecast for Monday was giving it calm with the wind picking up later in the day so nothing for it than to load up the car on Sunday night ready for an early start next morning. The water was flat calm at 8.00am which made for a nice easy paddle over to Ireland’s Eye.
The water was full of bait fish, mostly sandeels and the birds were feeding in their droves. Droves? Do birds do droves? Anyway, there were lots of birds, lots of bait fish but no mackerel.
If you don’t believe me, have a look for your self. Hard to believe there were no bigger fish feeding on this lot.
Having fished from early morning up until around 1pm without so much as a nibble I felt like giving up. However I persevered and next thing – BANG! A full sting of lovely mackerel out of nowhere. This is it I thought, I’ve found them. Of course multiple jumping mackerel leads to tangled lines so it took me a couple of minutes to untangle my feathers and get them back into the water again. Few seconds later the rod is jumping and I’m in again. Just two this time but while I was reeling them up I could actually see mackerel on top of the water chasing the sandeels and with that the gannets came diving to attack the mackerel! Fierce exciting stuff altogether. I quickly unhooked the fish and dropped the feathers again………….nothing!
That was it. It must have been a small marauding shoal of mackerel on the move and they just disappeared. I never got a bite after that.
I fished for another while with no luck so I paddled around to one of the beaches and filleted the fish. I planned on changing tactics and using the smallest fish for bait on a Shamrock Tackle Mickey Rig but noticed that the wind had picked up a fair bit. The flat calm water between me and Howth Harbour was now being whipped up and the white horses were showing so I thought I’d better head back before it got worse. It was one hell of a paddle back towards the harbour. The tide was strong, as was the wind and the waves were pounding me side on. That meant I kept having to paddle into the bigger ones which was bringing me back out towards open water rather than to the safety of the harbour. Thank crunchie my Wilderness Ride 135 is a stable kayak!
Back in the harbour I met a chap who had been fishing close to me from his boat and he’d managed just one fish for his day so i didn’t feel too bad with my five. We cooked them the next day for dinner and I have to say, there is nothing to beat the taste of fresh mackerel.
It’s a little known fact that we here in Trim are blessed with a magnificent cathedral right in the middle of our town. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built over a million years ago, long before St. Patrick ever did a Bear Grylls on a snake. Well maybe I’m exaggerating a little but it was built a long time ago and who better to tell us about it than our own Noel French.
For anyone that hasn’t met Noel, he likes his history. In fact I’d say he is passionate about history, especially the history of our lovely town and his passion shines through in his presentations. I had the pleasure of attending one of his presentations in St. Patrick’s recently and I have to say he brought the place to life with his stories, anecdotes and humorous insights into the most unassuming Cathedral you’ll ever come across.
Situated in Loman Street, the church is hidden behind high walls and surrounded by a beautiful old graveyard. Once inside though the building is full of historical gems. I’m not even going to try and mention them here – you need to go see it yourself.
I hope you enjoyed the trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral as much as I did. If ever you find yourself in Trim, make a point to visit this little treasure.
I haven’t seen one of these parades in a long time – not since our own kids marched in them. Back then they used to go out of the church grounds, down Emmet Street, along Market Street and then back up Castle Street to the Church.
In fact I spotted a post on Facebook by Anne Crinion who was a great photographer in Trim. She posted a photo of the procession from sometime in the 70’s and TBH not much has changed.
Well somethings have changed. For a start they don’t parade through the streets of the town anymore. Personally I think this is a pity but if they did I’m sure the “politically correct” brigade would be out in force telling them they can’t have a religious group blocking the streets. What’s the harm. Didn’t all the communion kids look great in their outfits so why not show them off around their town. So they confined themselves to the church grounds but aren’t we lucky in Trim that we have such a magnificent church and grounds. As you look down on the parade while they circled the church grounds you’ve got Trim Castle in the background.
Interesting to see in another 30 or 40 years will any of this still be taking place or will religion be lost and gone forever. I hope not……..
On the way can mean many things so for this weeks on the way I’ve come up with two photos. One on the way in and another on the way out…………
First up is a shot taken on the way into the Isle of Wight music festival.
Followed by a woman on the way out through plastic curtain doors.
Hope you like them……………….
Perched high on the hill the Yellow Steeple reaches out to catch the sun as it sets for the evening.
Jeez, that’s very poetic even if I say so myself. To be fair though, the photo worked out well enough and credit must go to the good lady wife Lorraine. It was her who spotted this was about to happen and she dragged me running across Porchfield to get into position.
Now this one was all my own work 🙂 though I think I spotted something like it on her Instagram
Let me know what you think our our sunset………
I usually try to avoid blurred photos but sometimes one slips through and it grows on you. This is an old one that I blogged some years ago. In fact it was a bit of a rant I had at the time about inconsistencies in photo competition judging. I’m not going to go into the details here but you can read that particular post here if you wish.
Anyway, back to my blurred photo. This was one of my early attempts at panning and TBH my technique hasn’t improved. It’s a swan flying along my local river and I made a complete mess of the attempted panning, ending up with a blur. However, in the true spirit of art, convert it to Black and White and hey presto – artistic something or other……..