By John Connolly
I have spent many good days salmon fishing the Moy and quite a few not so good as well. Depending on the weather conditions, water levels, the time of year and the mood of the fish the Moy can be generous to a fault with its bounty or as mean as scrooge in its reluctance to surrender a fish. Sometimes I feel it plays tricks with anglers on days when it wears them out, promising so much and yielding so little. Still all is forgiven when it yields a beautiful wild Atlantic salmon fresh from the sea and shining like a bar of silver.
It is such a day that I wish to recall. A Sunday in July 2019; not very summer like, breezy with some cloud cover as I wade my way to one of my favourite pools at Oldcastle. There had been a small flood on the River but by then it was falling and clearing giving rise to the prospect of some fresh run fish in the river.
On arrival the carpark was full and there were anglers a plenty all gearing up for the steep hill. Having studied the conditions briefly I decided that spinning was the best option, so I quickly tackled up and started to fish the pool at the bottom of the carpark. I had seen some fine fish in this pool in the past and had taken a few, so I started to fish with some feeling of optimism. The on about the third or fourth cast diagonally upstream and a slow retrieve that double pull that the angler dreams of with every cast – I had hooked a fine salmon. After a brief war dance on the surface the salmon came towards me and surfaced again in a desperate effort to shed the bait. He failed and took off upriver in determined bursts; announced by the screaming of the reel. I increased the pressure on the reel slowing him somewhat and with that he surfaced again about fifty yards upriver under a hanging sallies by the far bank. The sight of this could have had cardiac implications but I got him out into the middle of the River again and eventually subdued him and brought him to the net. A beautiful bar of silver straight from the sea. He weighed in at 13lbs. My day was made in little more than half an hour.
I continued to fish the pool and had by now lots of company but it seemed that it had given its reward for the day for try as we did no other fish was taken before we began to disperse to other locations up and down stream.
A few hundred yards downstream and another pool known as Foy’s often obliged with a fish on previous occasion, so I decided to give it a try. Having had a snack and little rest I proceeded to Foy’s pool and began to fish. After a while I was about to move on when once again, I felt that double pull – take and turn so characteristic to salmon. I had hooked another big fish. The usual battle ensued between the fish and the angler and after several determined runs filmed by an angler who netted the fish for me. The excitement of catching another big salmon was immense. This one weighed in at 12lbs just in from the sea. With feeling of exhaustion and elation I was over the moon with my two fish – a day on the Moy never to be forgotten. Who says lightening never strikes twice?