Keith Barry is one of Ireland’s best known faces. He has dedicated his life to magic and more precisely magic of the mind. In 2009 he won the Merlin award for Mentalist of the year award from the International magicians society. Keith has been doing his tv and live shows all over the world for a long time, and has worked on films with people like Woody Harrelson. And when not driving cars blindfolded and reading minds, Keith loves nothing more than getting away from it all with his other passion…. fishing of course!
Me: How did you start fishing?
KB: When I was about twelve or thirteen my Dad used to bring me mackeral fishing in Dunmore East and in those days that was all we did. We done that every year until I started college. When I went to college in Galway I lost interest in fishing. Then about four years ago I picked up some gear for catching macks again and we were back at it. Then I started trying around with using bait here and there on the beaches, and for the last couple of years I’ve been trying everything. I’ll fly fish, bait fish or lures for bass whatever suits best on the day.
Me: What is it about lure fishing for bass that you love so much?
KB: I didn’t know anything about bass until about three or four years ago. Then I started reading up on it. They are difficult to find and can be difficult to catch. I love fishing for them with lures and picking which lure suits which conditions. I like to fish for them in places where you never see another angler. On a light lure rod they put up a great fight.
Me: You also fish for trout, how did that start?
KB: I took up trout fishing about four years ago. I fly fish for them but I’ll also use spinners or bait. I fish the Dodder but mostly the Liffey. I was out today actually and the water was so clear. I saw a fish and said fuck me that’s an eel, and a big eel. It was massive but as it’s the closed season I had to leave it.
Me: You have a very busy work life, is fishing a good antidote for getting away from it all?
KB: Oh yeah completely, literally all I do is take phone calls and have meetings all day. Having to create shows and all the research that goes into it is very time consuming. So for me it’s the perfect hobby where I can go to remote locations and just switch off. I’m not thinking of anything else but the next fish.
Me: Does the mentalist aspect of your work enter into your fishing?
KB: It does, it helps the concentration and focus. The concentration helps my fishing stamina. I’ll fish for 15/16 hours no problem, I might take a piss break or wolf down a sandwich but that’s about it. And with work I have to stay fit so it all helps with the fishing.
Me: Have you done much boat fishing?
KB: I haven’t done much, but I often get the boats out in Bullock harbour. I do that a lot for mackeral fishing. It hasn’t been great this summer with wrasse, pollock and a few mackeral but last season I had some good sessions with a few smoothies and codling and stuff. I’ve done a few charters off Ross’s point in Sligo and I’m due to go out with Kit Dunne soon as well. So I do a bit but not much.
Me: What would be your dream Irish catch?
KB: I’d love to catch a double figure bass. I’ve come close before with fish up to 8lb, but a double figure fish would be great. Also I’d love a 20lb salmon, I know a guy who had a 24lb this year so something like that would be amazing.
Me: What are your fishing hopes for the future?
KB: I’ve done a fair bit of fishing this summer. As you know they fishing hasn’t always been great but I’ve had a few bass on lures and three salmon. My hopes are to get as much fishing as I can before the end of September as my work schedule is very busy for October. So hopefully a few more bass and hopefully a salmon. I may also try for cod and pike this Winter who knows. Failing all that I’ve been trying to drop hints to my wife about about a cod fishing trip to Norway for next year thats one I’d love to do.
Me: Keith thanks for giving us some of your time and hope to see you out soon.
KB: No problem Paddy anytime…