The Rivers Bush And Bann


From Ballyshannon the angler proceeds to the Enniskillen and Derry

railway, where he takes his seat for Coleraine; on arriving at this town

he need not expect much fishing, except that he may take a throw at the

head of the leap, and take also a view of that stupendous fall of fresh

water which there can be little doubt of its surprising him, with the

grand and delightful scenes around. When he gets on the suspension

b
idge, over the very top of the leap, he must hold by the rails to

steady himself, and consider where he really is; the noise which the

great body of water in the centre fall makes, when it descends into the

pool beneath, dins his very ears, this with the broad rapid running

river close beneath his feet as he stands on the light iron bridge,

holding by a single rail with his hand, must almost take his sight away;

and if he never had the pleasure of seeing the shadow of fear before,

rely upon it he feels himself in a fearful plight just then "for a short

time any how."



On the County Derry side the falls are not so strong, and on these the

"cuts" are erected, for no salmon could surmount the centre fall, and

these "cuts" are so high from the top of the leap, that the salmon

cannot get over them even in floods, except by mere chance. This

productive fishery belongs to the London Fishmongers' Company, on

application the stranger will be allowed on the bridge to view the

falls, and at the same time he will see the traps crowded with salmon of

all sizes, from the small "graul," as they call them there, to the

largest size salmon; sometimes the fish can hardly swim in these "cuts"

or "cruives" they are so numerous, what a treat for the eyes of the fly

fisher to behold. The angler may fly fish at will, and has his choice

either to go up the Bann to Kilrea, or go first to the Bush river, it is

only seven miles from Coleraine to Bush Mills, so that as he is now in

that town it would be advisable to try his hand at the Bush first, and

then proceed to Kilrea, on the Bann, about fourteen miles up that river,

by car.



When the angler arrives at Bush Mills, which he will do in an hour from

Coleraine, the inn keeper will make him acquainted with the rules of

the fishing. The river is now in possession of a club of gentlemen, who

will with great pleasure allow the stranger to fly fish.



It will be necessary to have a guide, who will show you all the best

throws for salmon; and when tired of fishing, point out the "Causeway"

to you, which is two miles from the town. The best of the fishing

extends about two miles--one mile below the town to the sea, and one

mile above it at the salmon leap.



There are some good throws on the top of the leap, and towards the tail

of the large pool beneath; another famous throw between that and the

town called "Lagan Drade;" at the top of this long pool there are two

large stones projecting out of the water, between which the current of

the stream rushes violently, in this rapid place between the stones the

fish will take the fly, and below the stones along the left side of the

Bush, and on the rising ground at the foot of the pool; if you can

manage to throw well over the bushes you will be very apt to hook a

salmon in the mid-water. There is another good throw below the bridge;

the deepest part lying along the gardens, and three or four more

between that and the sea; there is a large stone lies in the middle of

the river, over which the water may be seen boiling, if you can manage

to throw beyond it, and draw the fly across it letting it fall a little

below it, you will have a chance to hook a fish immediately. Just below

this stone, a little way from the sea, at a narrow part of the river, is

another capital place, fish it from the right side and do not come

abruptly upon the place or the fish will see you, which will prevent

them from rising, but this you can avoid, as you will see this

contracted part from the stone throw; prepare a good fly before you come

up, and keep as far off it as possible. It is a shelving elbow shaped

rock narrowing the river, so that your fly must be gradually moved down

commencing a few yards above the elbow rock, which cannot be seen as the

grass grows on it to the very edge, till you look over it into the

water; just as the fly rounds the point all the fish see it that are

lying under the brow of the hollow rock, where you may expect a rise;

this is the deepest part of the whole river, and the first resting place

for the fish after leaving the sea.



In this place the depth of the water requires a bright fly; the

following one will prove a killer:--Body, orange floss silk, a small

topping for tail with a fibre or two of mallard, ribbed with fine gold

tinsel, and a rich brown-red cock's hackle from the tail up, not too

long in the fibres, the hackle to be a little black at the head when

rolled on; the wing of copper brown mallard with a strip of wood-duck

each side, and a topping over all; feelers of macaw, and a black ostrich

head. Hook CC. Should you rise a fish with this old favorite, and it

does not take, try him once or twice more with it, and no doubt you will

have him. If he does not hook himself with it, change it for a light

blue one, the body the blue colour of the sky, legs the same, and a

mallard wing ribbed with gold.



You now come to the sea, at "Bushfoot." There is a pool here into which

the tide ebbs and flows, and at times the fish are plunging over and

over on the top of each other, which the fishermen net when this is the

case. When the tide is out the Salmon will rise and take the fly in it

freely, as the flowing of the river into it pushes out the brackish

water before it, and when the tide is flowing, before it enters the

pool, is the best time,--in fact, this is the best place to stay at for

the sole purpose of being enabled to fish, as the river above is so low

in summer, except after rains, that it is useless to try.



The Castle of old "Dunluce" is near Bushfoot, it stands on a rock close

to the cliff on the mainland in the sea, and is built on the surface or

top of the rock, close to its very edge all round, and the corner stones

appear to have been brought from the Giant's Causeway. There is a deep

chasm between the castle and the land, over which the range wall of the

old bridge is yet standing; the bridge itself is completely gone. This

narrow wall, about fourteen inches wide, may be easily crossed going

into the castle, but on recrossing it to the land side it strikes terror

into the heart. Some years ago I visited this old ruin, and crossed the

wall into it quite easily and fearlessly, but on my returning, to my

great surprise, I was afraid of my life to recross it. The cause was, no

doubt, that the wall and yawning chasm appeared more under me on coming

out than on going in, the wall being narrow and the chasm deep. At last

I crept over it very slowly on my hands and knees, and it was with

difficulty I reached the land. As I sat panting on the grass, looking

towards the dark old pile, I vowed that the walls of "Dunluce Castle"

should never again hold me. I was most likely stricken with a fairy

talisman.



The "GIANT'S CAUSEWAY" is two miles from Bushfoot, where the stranger

may spend a few pleasant days with a kind friend, amidst rocks and

caves, glens and tremendous cliffs, causeways, chasms, and pillars of

wondrous height. These rows of pillars stand up the face of the cliff,

which is 360 feet high, from the base of which three broad causeways

extend, of honeycomb shape, nine hundred feet into the sea. The pillars

of these low causeways are generally six, seven, and many three and

nine-sided, and as even as if they had been cut with a chisel; they rest

one upon another in joints, the top one round to fit into the one

beneath like a socket, and the pillars are so closely packed, that you

can hardly get the point of a knife between them. There are other

pillars in the face of the cliffs, called the Giant's Loom, the Giant's

Chair, the Giant's Organ, and the Giant's Well. The natural wildness

and grandeur of these and the adjoining promontories, exceed any thing

that can be imagined.



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