Pike and bream, roach, tench and perch were his original targets Â what British and Irish anglers call Âcoarseâ fish. Then, with experience and the passage of time, came brown trout and Atlantic salmon Â the more highly regarded Âgameâ fish Â as angling with lures and sometimes even Âgarden olivesâ gave way to dressed silk flies and fine handmade rods crafted from split cane. Moving from Northern Ireland to British Columbia in the 1970s brought an entirely new dimension to McMullanâs fishing life, as there were now Pacific salmon and legendary steelhead to be caught in stunning rivers too numerous to name.
The authorâs recollections range from stories of being that boarding school boy who would slip away from his still-sleeping dormitory before dawn to fish for tench, to the time when an Irish pig stole his salmon, to an encounter with a black bear in British Columbia that just might have been a serious threat. Pivot from there to reflections on the lives of commercial fishers of herring in the Irish Sea and trout in Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles, and finally to the ruminations of a now very experienced angler fortunate enough to travel twice to New Zealand to seek out big trout.
There is one more tale that just had to be included, and for the very first time it can be told. A yarn involving a nine-weight fly rod, a police bomb squad and one of the biggest international events to be staged in Canada in recent years. Definitely hard to believe, but all too true.
About: Through the pages of Casting Back Peter McMullan takes the reader from his youthful Irish beginnings in the 1940s to his time as a young journalist in Northern Ireland during the mid-1950s, through the 1960s and into todayâs western Canada and a totally different sport fishing environment.
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