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The Con - Part 22

Started by otter, April 05, 2013, 06:34:26 PM

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Father Brennan walked downstream from the graveyard after Liam had dropped him off. He was in no particular rush and enjoyed the walk, noting the budding spring flowers and the first flushes of growth in the hedgerows. It was a good time of the year to be out in the fresh air, rejuvenating after the long dark oppressive days of winter. If one walked slow enough and observed, one missed little of nature's beauty. As he crossed a stile he spotted a Hare at the far end of the field, its ears raised, alert to the sounds of his footsteps. 'Be gone or I will have those ears' he shouted, grinning as he watched the Hare scarper towards a gap in the far ditch. The March Hare he mused, is it any wonder that Lewis Carroll seen fit to include one in his epic adventures of Alice.

Reaching his destination he took the braided sighter that he had been given by Doc and tied it to his leader, two medium weight nymphs underneath on five feet of fine tippet. He casually fished the shallows, working the nymphs occasionally, allowing his muscles to train themselves to this new method of fishing. The sighter was a Godsend to his tired eyes and when it dipped or paused he struck. Several precocious salmon parr were landed and some small trout also came to hand. He was pleased to see them, confirming that despite the interlopers, the river was indeed healthy.

Reaching deeper water he changed the point nymph to a much heavier one and then fished in earnest. With little pleasure he quickly hooked three rainbows and placed them in his bag. They were all about two pounds weight, each a clone of the other. Job done, he retired to the shelter of a tree, lay back, pulling his cap down over his eyes he soon drifted off to sleep. At about three o'clock he awoke to the sound of a text arriving on his phone. "Mary O'Neils cow has calved. Sean"; God almighty he thought;'is that the best Sean could come up with.'

He sauntered back upstream towards the graveyard and leaned over the wall. Once he was sure it was deserted he crossed over and followed the path to the oldest part searching for Mary O.Neils grave. The inscription was old and weathered "Mary O'Neil, Departed this life. 12 May 1926. RIP"; Father Brennan said a short prayer and then retrieved the package that was hidden behind the headstone. Lifting out the fine six pound trout he laid it on the grass. Though a farm fish, it was fin perfect. He had searched long and hard for a source for such a trout and eventually found a small fish farm in Cork that could oblige. They had a stream that ran through their land and by penning off a small section they kept a small stock of mature fish that had been reared separately. These were sleek creatures, fighting fit from their life of battling the stream and as close to the real McCoy as you could get. He placed it in the bag alongside the rainbows and made the long trek back to the car park.

One by one the anglers returned. Leaning against Liam's car a young angler that he did not know approached him; 'Hello Father, nice to see you at the competition, I'm Davy, Davy Hughes, you might remember my father, Seanie;' Father Brennan beamed; 'Seanie Hughes son, well I never; I haven't seen you since you were a grasshopper; Your father was one of my best friends and a better angler would be hard to find. Your mother Davy, is she well. I lost track of her when she moved out of the parish; 'She is still with us Father though not in the best of health;' Father Brennan felt guilty at his neglect;' Davy, I'll visit her before the month is out.'

Father Brennan paused, lost in thought, remembering his old friend; 'By God your father was some man to stalk a trout. Do you know that he stalked a single trout for a season and a half; such was our friendship that he showed me her lie below the graveyard. Poor devil, isn't he at rest, not a stone's throw away from that lie. One and a half seasons, every chance he got he stalked her until finally she made a single mistake.

There had been a huge hatch of large Caddis and she lost her sense. Taking one pupa after another, in her greed she edged out into the stream away from the submerged tree trunk and when your father's pupa drifted towards her, she could not refuse it;' He could see that Davy was enthralled, his face flushed with excitement on hearing of his father's exploits; exploits that had been denied him by his father's untimely death. 'That was some trout but one mistake was all she made. She bored for the weeds and broke free, leaving your father staring at the shrivelled nylon. To his credit he never complained once, in fact he was happy as it confirmed her as nearly the greatest trout that ever swam this river;' 'Nearly?' asked Davy.

Lighting a cigarette he grinned; ' Aye Davy nearly, but there was a better one, two fields further down. I reckon she was around eight pounds, maybe nine and feeling sorry for your father I revealed her location. He had her within a week, clipped off the top corner of her tail and handed it to me after mass; I told him that I would have the tip of the bottom of her tail before the end of the season;' He paused again, allowing Davy the time to respond.

'Did you catch her Father?' Father Brennan nodded; 'I did, two months later and I clipped her tail. But it was a shallow capture for your father had left us and I have never told anyone till to-day;' Davy though enthralled, did not believe one word of this unlikely story. He lightly slapped the priest on the back and laughed out loud; 'Father, my mother was right. She said you were an awful man for the fairy tales when it came to the fishing;' Father Brennan raised his hands to heaven; ' Lord, another unbeliever, what have I done to deserve this;' taking a small package from deep within one of his zipped pockets, he lay it on the bonnet of a car. He removed the plastic cover and then the aged brown paper underneath revealing a small sheaf of paper. He carefully unfolded it, revealing what could be best described as a fossil. Nothing remained of the piece of the trout's tail, but the imprint was unmistakeable, etched for all eternity on the paper; 'Do you believe me now?' he said as he carefully refolded the package; 'I never had the pleasure of showing it to your father. You keep it and someday show it your own lad.'

Davy was speechless, a solitary tear running down his cheek, he accepted the gift, carefully stowing it away; 'Father, I know now why my father loved you more than his own brothers, thank you. You fished when the trout were all wild, would you like to see that day come again?' Father Brennan greeted such a question with an immediate reply; 'I would Davy, more than anything. What have you in mind;' Davy's face lit up, the response was exactly what he had hoped for; 'I have been trying for years to convince the committee to stop the ridiculous stocking but to no avail. Ever year despite my efforts, we are thwarted. It's a secret ballot; God knows how that came to be. Last year we lost by one vote, one miserly vote is all that separated us from the pleasure of real fly fishing. Will you join the committee? Jim Breslin quit last month, he was with us but finally gave up. With you and God on our side, maybe, just maybe, we can convince one other to see common sense. Well Father?' Father Brennan stuck out his hand; 'you are your Fathers son Davy, by God we will see it done.'

'Right lads, lets weigh these trout;' shouted Jimmy Egan, standing behind the Ferrari, a scales on the ground beside him. Mick Murphy responded; ' 'You go first Jimmy and put us out of our misery;' a few more shouts; 'go on Jimmy, you first;' Jimmy Egan revelled in being the centre of attention and slowly took his bag of fish from the car. One by one he laid the rainbow triplets on the scales and with great ceremony took the last fish out of the bag. A few gasped, as he placed a fine "wild" brownie on the scales. Mick feigned to walk away; 'We may as well go home. The committee should pay someone to cul all the brown trout out of the river, only then, the rest of us might have a chance;' 'Jealousy, she is the greatest enemy of common sense;' thought Father Brennan. The brown trout was then weighed separately, five pounds four ounces. Jimmy beamed at the rapturous applause. Each came forward in turn with their trout but Father Brennan was stunned that Liam was the only angler to match Jimmy with four trout.

Liam shouted across the crowd; 'Father Brennan, did you blank? 'I did no such thing;' he replied in mock indignation; he walked to Liams car, returned and tossed a bag at Jimmy's feet. The look on Jimmy's face when he took out the trout was worth recording and Liam had done just that, handy things camera phones. All eyes were on the scales, as the dials settled, Mick leaned over the stunned Jimmy and called out the weight; 'Mother of god, it's Jonah's whale, six pounds and three ounces;' Jimmy gathered his wits, looking up, searching for Father Brennan in the crowd, failing to locate him; 'Great trout Father, it's a shame she is alone;' he almost stumbled as the bag containing the three rainbows landed at his feet. Liam got a photo of that as well.

Liam took one more photo for posterity, Jimmy shaking Father Brennan's hand as he handed him his trophy.

to be continued


Thanks for sharing this...


Just got a week long fix, superb.

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