Chris McCully

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The causeway

Monday, 28 August 2017 at 15:59

Causeway This causeway links Northey island to the banks of the Blackwater estuary at Maldon. It was the site of a famous skirmish between Vikings and the Essex fyrd led by Ealdorman Byrhtnoth in 991AD. (Judging by angling reports this is also a good bass mark.) I wanted to visit because there's a line in the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon about Byrhtnoth 'calling over the cold water', offering battle to the Vikings -

...ongan ceallian þa ofer cald wæter Byrhthelmes bearn....

- and I wanted to see if a voice could in fact have carried the length of the causeway.

It could have.


Bricks in a field

Monday, 28 August 2017 at 15:45

Source It's been a tough month at work and I've been obliged to burn off two fishing days and scrap other outdoor plans. Since there's not much of August left then I feel distant from all I most love (and in truth, what I've needed and still need). Today, though, I had a morning free and did what I've been intending to do for the past four years - get up to the source of the river. Along the somewhat weary way I stopped off at - fine then, got lost in - several villages, tracking the river's course upstream and hanging over bridges as I went. I saw little except hordes of small chub, and sun-struck roach basking in the thin water of dusty fords. When eventually, after some map- and leg-work, I reached the source I found a field drain surrounded by an arch of brick. There was no sign, no monument, no information board and it was all the better for it.

Wet Snake

Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 20:29

Snake Grafham enjoyed - ha! - a rain-loaded blow from the North and choppy waves. The wind moderated, though not the rain, and I spent just four hours on the water. Scum lanes had formed running N>S across the lake and plenty of rainbows were in them, favouring the deepest, coolest water they could find and moving to any creatures they found trapped in or just under the film. I moved some fish to dries but then experimented with a Snake (pictured) and some Blobs, trying to excite the rainbows' curiosity. The theory was that fish would sight the Blobs, move to intercept them and then see (and take) the Snake on the point. I had any number of follows and hits but converted just two, the best a very solid rainbow of some 2½lb., before rain and work pressures took me away from the water at 1400. It was no triumph but it was good to get anything at all.

Fishers and men in Kerry

Friday, 28 July 2017 at 17:35

Fisherman Just back from Kerry, where we enjoyed a tough trip fishing for brown trout (in Derriana), bass (off the coast around Waterville and beyond) and salmon (in the River Inny). We did catch trout and they had an interesting story to tell us; we did catch - well, almost everyone but me caught - bass; and all of us abjectly failed in our attempts to catch a salmon despite perfect conditions. That last phrase is astonishing because even Goldenballs failed to catch a salmon...though he did catch a magnificent bass on the fly-rod, so I suppose he shall be forgiven. (Jesus, after all, was 'ere.)

In the images below you'll find some snapshots of our adventures. It was a grand and demanding week. Many thanks to our friends in Kerry for their hospitality, kindness, conversations and angling acumen.

Kerry bass: Schoolie

Friday, 28 July 2017 at 17:32

Schoolie The schoolies here in Essex run 1-2lb.and are sometimes smaller. In Kerry, where the coastal feeding is rich, the schoolies run 2-3lb. and are a wonderful angling proposition, though working out wind, tide and accessibility are ever-demanding aspects of fishing for them, particularly when you're working with the fly-rod.


   Here's Gardiner with a very fit school bass of around 3lb. The fish took a Clouser.


Kery bass: the river mouth

Friday, 28 July 2017 at 17:23

Mouth of the Inny I grant you it's not much of a snapshot, but we were all occupied watching and photographing Goldenballs tussling with what turned out to be a magnificent bass of c.8lb. (27½ inches long). The fish took a Clouser pattern in the mouth of the river. Strangely, and although five of us were fishing, it was the only fish that took during that morning, and the session seemed much more dour than our session the day before, when a high wind made the surf run and when the sea was full of activity - terns hunting sandeels and gannets diving out in the bay. That was an exhilarating experience altogether.

  This bass took Goldenballs well into the backing. To the observer (me), while the tussle progressed the line seemed at times to stretch almost horizontally from the rod-tip, so far away was the fish. It was a great moment when the bass was drawn up the beach - and better still when the fish swam away strongly after being unhooked, photographed and released.


Above Derriana

Friday, 28 July 2017 at 17:20

Above Derriana The loughs of the Cummeragh system - Derriana, Cloonaghlin, Namona, Currane and Capall Lough -all hold sea-trout but there are some tiny corrie loughs above Derriana. These are now inaccessible from Derriana though I have a hunch that in millennia past sea-trout and even salmon ran up here. One evening of pouring rain and ravenous wind we walked up to these high corries and fished for tiny wild brown trout. I may be wrong, but I doubt these loughs have been fished this year - or for many years past. Angler: Rod Robinson, to whom much thanks.

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