Just the other day my brother Remko van den Berg handed me some old photo albums which belonged to my mother. While browsing through them, I stumbled upon an old postcard. It was sent from Ireland to Holland by my late Uncle Jan Baaijens (my mother’s brother) who accompanied me during my first proper fly fishing trip abroad in 1979. I was just 15 years young. And unstoppable 🙂
I was keen to catch my first Irish trout. However, when we arrived at the Glencar Hotel I was “welcomed” by some dead Salmon and Sea trout in the beautiful entrance hall. It was “the catch of the day”. It was a salmon & sea trout hotel. Not trout 🙁 That was a bummer. Since I was definitely NOT a salmon or sea trout fisherman. Yet.
The staff understood and helped me as good as they could. The advised me to fish this little feeder stream and it was indeed full of trout. But they were rather small. I was not happy. The next day I was invited by an other hotel guest, a strange Frenchman, but my uncle, who went for a hike, judged it “ok”. We fished the main lake (lough) from a boat he rented. I remember vividly how he rigged up a spinning rod and fixed a devon to the end of his line without a swivel. I was eager to explain that it would not be wise to troll a devon behind a boat without a swivel in between. But how to explain that in French? So, I did not manage to explain. The boat caught speed, he threw his devon out and started trolling. 20 minutes later he saw some turbulence behind the boat lazywatches and wondered what it was. It was his devon. 30 meters of nylon was twisted into one huge knot! (a birds nest). Merde! Merde! Merde! he shouted in French! O, how I remember learning my first proper French swear words 🙂
Well, I have many, many more fond memories of that somewhat awkward fishing trip to Ireland. Like catching my first sea trout and drinking my first Irish coffee as a reward, back at the hotel. For now, I would like to end this blog with the beautiful poem by Yeats which is printed on the back of the postcard I found.
Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glencar
In pools among the rushes
That scare could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
For the world’s more full of weeping
than you can understand.
W.B. Yeats (1889)