Paddy Joe Goes Fishing

Today, Paddy Joe is a very happy man.
He is going on his spring holidays. Every year, at the end of April, he sets up his
fishing camp on the shores of Lough Corrib, one of the most magical places in the
West of Ireland.
It is a huge lake., home to more than five hundred islands.
Every May is the Mayfly hatch. One of the most mysterious natural happenings in
the world.
Mayflies are very big flies, like small butterflies. They are born on the surface of the
lake, when the weather is dull and grey and the air , soft and moist. The colour of the
bushes, has to be just perfect. One morning, when the wind turns to the South, one,
then ten, then hundreds, thousands, millions of larvae rise from the deep, to
emerge as flies on the surface of the water. At first, they flutter, green and a bit
clumsy, and tremble in the breeze. They have to learn how to deploy and use their
new wings.
They get the trick soon enough, and fly to the bushes on the shore. They have to be
fast, otherwise, trout’s and other creatures, like seagulls, swans, Merganser and
Mallard ducks will gobble them up as they hatch, because they are very tasty.
They hide themselves underneath the leaves of the alder trees and hazel bushes,
and, within a few hours, they are reborn. They shed the outer skin of their large
clumsy bodies, and now they have a very fine and fragile cream body, black wings
and three fine long whiskers as a tail. When they are ready, they fly off to the
sheltered side of the bushes, and start their dance, up and down, all afternoon.
When the sun goes low on the horizon and the wind has died down, the smaller
male mayflies are tired from all their dancing and courting , and drop stone dead!
The female mayflies live a bit longer. They lay their eggs on the water. but they have
spent so much energy, they tremble for a while in the film surface and breathe their
The eggs sink slowly to the bottom of the lake and once they are safely hidden in the
mud, they become larvae, like small grey worms. After spending the winter wiggling
in the mud, once the lilac bushes on the shores are in flower again ,the larvae will
float up to the surface and become green juicy mayflies….
It is a very full and short life, full of joy and danger.
Nature makes millions of mayflies so, even if lots are eaten, there are plenty of them
left alive, to lay their eggs and repeat the cycle all over again.
Fishermen come from all over the world to fish the mayfly on Lough Corrib and
other lakes of the West of Ireland.
It is a magical time, a magical fly, and it is such a pleasure to be out on your boat and
watch nature, reborn, in action: geese, ducks, swans and otters all have their young,
and the grasses and the trees explode into thousand different shades of green. It is a
really good time to be alive and Paddy Joe would not miss it for all the gold in the
He sets up his camp, by his wee yellow caravan, shuts off the motor of his small
tractor, launches his boat in the water, takes his fishing basket and his fishing rod,
and then, at long last, he can forget about all his daily worries… and go fishing!