As a child, Christmas was an amazing time in our house. Coming from a family of nine children, three of which were in and around the same age as myself and my twin brother, it was, to say the least, a time of great excitement and I can remember that unique Christmas feeling that used to descend on the house around the second week of November.
All the talk in the schoolyard was on what “Santy” would bring and everyone being on their best behaviour, for fear of the dreaded lump of coal instead of a shiny new “Action Man” or a new “Mitchel” reel. But like every Christmas, it came and went all very quickly and by about December 27, another long awaited event replaced the void that the Christmas had made in the anticipation stakes.
Back then, that day was January 1, which meant going out pike fishing with my brothers and my friends Jim Reynolds, Peadar Fitzpatrick, Dermot Logan and Fintan Reynolds.
It was a tradition amongst this little group to go out to the Cloone river, get in at “Dillon’s” field and walk down to the river with eager excitement and wild talk of who was going to land the first pike of the New Year.
If my memory serves me correctly, we always caught pike down in that spot. The most successful bait used and cherished above all others was the “Vobblex”.
This bait was a treble hook, shank covered in a rubber body that was in the fashion of a fingerling trout. Absolutely deadly, every time.
I remember we used to buy them in Boddys shop opposite the castle lawns in Mohill. Old Mr. Boddy was a gentleman and often threw in a few black eel hooks if you bought a couple of baits which would be made useful on Trout season opening day.
Those days of innocence and carefreeness are all well behind us now. I often wonder if the children of today are missing experiences like these. With their tablets and their video games most seem to prefer to stay indoors these days and I must admit I seldom see children out on the river or a young lad coming up the town with a fishing rod and bag.
Perhaps it is time for all of you readers to take your child to the river, let them experience the wonder of nature, maybe catch a fish and leave a memory of fishing with them that shall last a lifetime.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very peaceful and happy Christmas and a wonderful 2015.
Until then…tight lines.