The Complete Guide to Coarse Fisheries in The Irish Midlands

This 118 page book is the first in a series of five, the intention of which is to give detailed information on coarse fishing locations throughout the Irish Midlands.

Firstly I should point out that it’s not like the majority of guides you see today, there’s no clinical layout, and the information contained within draws on over 40 years experience from the author with regard to the 69 locations listed in this first edition.

Along with details on how to get to the locations, how they are best fished from boat and shore, and what stocks are contained within, the author also details his experiences whilst fishing the many waters listed, along with those of his long time angling companion Paddy, which make for most interesting reading.

The guide is written in typical Irish style, lots of humor, and largely anecdotal. Furthermore, it has a very personal feel, it’s almost as if the author is letting you into a series of secrets about each water as he recites fishing experiences over the years.

One particular story that the author tells springs immediately to mind; a session on Lough Acrick in the mid 1970’s, where, after fishing the venue for the first time, Bernie and Paddy take thirteen pike with the best a fine 22lb 3oz specimen. At the end of the session, a superstitious Paddy refused to go home until a fourteenth pike had been banked.

Without wanting to spoil the story too much, the result is that Paddy ends up getting towed out into the middle of the lough in a boat with no oars by a monster pike! However, all ends well with a fine 29lb 9oz pike finally bringing the days tally to fourteen – A truly absorbing story which had me chuckling from start to finish.

Whilst clearly enjoying the craic, the author also expresses his care for the environment and the pike, the quarry which has taken him to countless waters over the years and features strongly throughout the book, and along with the informative aspect of the guide, it’s also nice to read the thoughts of a like-minded angler who cares deeply for the sport.

I suppose the strength of any book is how often you pick it up. I took the book with me on a recent trip up to the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland a few weeks back, and after a nice afternoons fishing resulting in a couple of nice rainbow trout, and a couple of drams shortly after, I settled down for an hour to read a few pages of the book, the result was that I read over half of it that night – it certainly kept me turning the pages!

There are one or two waters that the author hasn’t fished so details are a little sketchy, but these are largely made up for by the remainder, many with colour photos and maps.

I can recommend the book not only as an angling guide, but as an interesting read which will be of particular interest to those who enjoy fishing for pike; either way it’s a welcome addition to any book shelf, and I look forward to reading the next installment in this series of five.

The book retails at just £7.50, which includes postage and packing.

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November, 2002