Play this marvellous soundtrack from that well-known American film…..
Then, simultaneously navigate this link…..
This is the Lagan Canal in Northern Ireland.
For some 150 years it managed to trade, and a single horse and barge could move 80 tons about 25 miles in 24 hours.
The “Old Lock” is a magical place for me, particularly in those frosty and short days of winter, as here.
The first fish I ever caught (a tiny rudd) is just to the right in that picture, on a (by contrast) very hot summer’s day, in 1972. Damn it guys, 35 years ago!
This is the summit section of the canal.
It was not blessed with a lot of water, particularly in summer, but still it could trade until road transport overwhelmed it. It closed in 1958. Some progressive bozo knocked down a vital aqueduct in 1966, so restoring this old canal will not be easy, though there is some talk of it.
Northern Pike abound there, and near the spot in the picture called “misty swan” (and to the right of it) one bitterly cold December day very close to Christmas, I caught 7 of them there, all returned alive.
That would have been about 2003, perhaps.
Imagine the light fading to nothing, and a wind-driven very dry snow beating on me, but hit after hit from the fish.
I was using an American invention, the “plug”, wading in the margins, but it was unbelievably effective in the cold weedless winter water. In summer, moving artificial lures get ever-tangled in weed.
The other anglers (bait fishing) faded away as did the light until just two remained…. I gave the other guy a plug, as he had not got a hit yet. He did not have to wait too long.
Still the fish would hit, even when we could barely see anything, the light was so poor.
I guess they have been around a lot longer than us, have the Northern Pike, and can still see the lure against the sky.
My old man lives only about 7 miles from here, to the south.
Magical memories of a special place.