Bucket List Trip
by John M. Scanlon, M.D. The sun exploded from behind scudding clouds to display Ireland’s fabled fifty shades of green coloring nearby Coomcallee Mountain. The thin graphite fishing rod in my hand bent abruptly. A powerful fish ripped line from the reel as I set the hook. Two leaps and a short tussle brought my first wild Atlantic salmon to net (shown). It was a grilse or first year fish of about 3 pounds that had run strong from the sea into Lough Currane. We returned it to the water unharmed.
Fishing the rugged west coast of Ireland had been on my “bucket list” of things to do for a very long time. A recent Maryland Coastal Conservation Association banquet offered a unique opportunity for an up-close, personal “salmon and sea run brown trout experience” plus lots of local sightseeing to the highest bidder. I won! What an adventure it was! My wife, Kathe, and I managed the 7-hour flight from Philadelphia to Shannon Airport quite com-
Ghillie Roger Baker holds a wild salmon as my wife, Kathe, looks on. 183