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I like to write and I like to party, but mostly just the writing. Disclaimer: A lot of these stories are true ones. The memory of growing-up in and around Killybegs. When you hold a mirror up to small communities, sometimes there are those who don't like the reflection. Capote knew this only too well. If you find the refraction just a little too much and would like the angle of incidence changed in your favor, please email me at georgevial@hotmail.com and I will be happy to make a name change here or there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fishing With Granda

Granda had a fish tank, that he made himself, in his shed and in it lived a trout called Roger. He was a large brown trout and helped Granda test all his inventions, the one we knew best was the Electric Fisher. It was a tool of science that helped people catch fish without killing them. It sent an electric shock wave through a pool in a river and then the stunned fish would float down stream into the net.

But Granda was also fond of more conventional methods of fishing too. He taught Derek to tie a fly and brought him on a business trip where they fished all the major rivers in the country. Derek came back with many big stories and I was sad and jealous that I wasn’t as close to Granda as he.

All the same, Granda would take us trout fishing up to Conlin Bridge and I got to enjoy those experiences. A trip like that would always start with the collecting of big fat worms. As kids we looked under rocks and logs in the back yard and put our finds into jam jars.

Granda had other methods of enticing the worms into his jar. One way was that he would squirt dish washing soap into the ground and they would rise up and out to escape the poisonous liquid. He had another method too that he didn’t use anymore. It was an electric method of extracting the worms from the ground.

It was a by-product he invented for his need for worms to feed his test fish. He inserted some metal prongs into the ground and then sent a few volts through the prongs. The worms would literally jump out of the ground and all he had to do was gather them up. He didn’t have this tool anymore because he gave it away to a young American intern he had a few years back. Since then the intern went on to become a millionaire using Granda’s invention to create his own business back in America. We never really believed Granda about this, until one day it was on John Cravin’s News Round and all Granda said was “that’s the little fecker, that’s the worm machine I invented.” It was then I knew how great Granda could have been if he wanted to be. But he was more content with an easy life. Money and he were like oil and water; they didn’t mix, unless artificially held together by an emulsifier that would eventually break down.

Anyway, after we had the worms, we all loaded into Granda’s car. Declan and Kevin Cunnigham would come too, they lived two doors down in No. 62. They had fishing rods that they used to catch bian in Kilcar and Derek had a rod too, but I didn’t have one yet and a red plastic spool of gut did just the trick for me.

I caught a nice big brown trout and Derek and Declan got their fair share too, but the catch of the day was a huge rainbow trout Kevin pulled in from the bridge. Its colors shimmered beautifully in the fading summer evening sun. Granda explained how it was he that introduced the rainbow trout to the waterways in Donegal. The brown trout was indigenous and he wasn’t sure if the colonization had been successful in this little river, but Kevin’s catch was a strong affirmative of that fact.

When we got back to 64 Conlin Road, fish were cleaned and Granny cooked them up for us. There is no sauce like eating food you have provided for yourself.

We don’t go fishing with Granda anymore, ‘cause he’s in a place where he gets to use a Hardy fly reel every day and the wind is always in his favor. I miss him and I wish he were here to show me how to tie a fly and let me know how it is to be a man. We all miss him and wish he were still with us. But in a way he is still with us ‘cause I will always have those memories and lessons learned from fishing with Granda.

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