Kanes Lake

English as tuppence. Changeless and brooding like an aging spinster, Drumreaske lake wore mystery
like a tightly wound scarf in a cold winter’s blast. Nestled away between Monaghan’s Drumlin hills
on the Scotstown road out of Monaghan town, sometimes known as Kane’s lake it was and, to an
extent, is part of a small country estate, as evidenced by the two gate lodges and ornate gate piers,
all bearing the sign of the “three fish” all belonging at one time to William F. De Vismes Kane, 19th
Century High Sheriff, Entomologist and Botanist. The private lane leading up to the main house
allegedly planted with many exotic species of Japanese plants.
To us as children of the 60’s and 70’s Kane’s lake was a source of intrigue and mystery. Stories of the
neighbouring Rossmore banshee and of the fact that the “Divil” lived at the bottom of the lake, and
of the giant plughole that was meant to drag the souls of errant children straight to hell made the
place more intriguing to young curious minds who loved a good scare and worthy of stealthy
Kane’s Lake had a reputation for huge allegedly uncatchable Tench that could be seen cruising the
margins, my baits ignored when dangled in their paths.
In the 80’s, being better equipped and learned, I had a session on the (now private) avenue stand.
This was largely uneventful until a massive thunderstorm broke out and pelted the lake with hail,
after which my slider float set at 21’ was never still and I weighed in over 50lbs of pale coloured
Bream some weighing over 5lbs. Sometime later, my angling mentor, Michael McCaughery asked me
to accompany him to Drumreaske and bring my black micromesh keepnet. A couple of Dublin lads
were fishing on the lake and landed Irish record Roach/Bream Hybrids (around 4lbs), the net was to
keep them safe until the ISFC arrived to verify the claim.
My only night fishing there was largely uneventful save for my one and only Drumreaske Tench, a
poor emaciated specimen, with one eye, whom I retrospectively named Baldrick. The session was
low tech, lighting was a candle and a jam-jar and bite indication was a fairy liquid bottle top.
Overnight my mind was rumbling with stories of the banshee, the lakes resident demon and the
plughole from hell. All through the night I was expecting characters from a Denis Wheatly novel to
appear in capes leading goats to a diabolical party somewhere near the brooding edifice. After I
released “Baldrick” I settled my nerves with a cuppa and ciggy during which I noted a large swirl
about 50 yards out to my left, then again 20 yards out then again under my rod tip. I was thinking an
enormous pike was on the rampage. My nerves didn’t get a break when a Perch of around 2 lbs
slowly emerged sideways from the depths, through the mist, impaled on a three-pronged spear
propelled by a black arm rising Arthurian Legend-like from the depths. Memories of the alleged
diabolical resident of the lake re-asserted themselves as I fell back “ass over tea kettles” in my hurry
to escape, only to be further infuriated by the hysterical laughter from other members of the local
sub-aqua diving club.
Today Drumreaske is only a shadow of its former glory, the sombre brooding nature of the water
remains as if it wants to be left alone with its memories. I have no doubt those big Tench are still
there waiting for a more deserving captor than myself.