Michael Walsh is a fifth generation Salmon Fisherman. He tells me he started out in the “Punt” fishing with his father (Michael “Muck” Walsh) when he was six years old and by the age of fourteen he earning a few bob for himself. “the netting was done at nigh” he explained “when the fish couldn’t see too well”. “We would drifting up and down the Barrow River off Ballyhack on the tide with the drift nets”. There was “friendly” rivalry among the fishermen and secrecy was vital so as to outdo your competitor.
Michael has always been an entrepreneur always smoking his fish in a small way for a few bob. The demand grew for his smoked salmon and he set up a more commercial businessand was ratified in 2013 to produce his smoked products by the government. As he took me through his production, his enthusiasm, the tender care and respect he gave to each fish was truly genuine. At forty seven years of age, he explains “my goal is to build an old traditional smoke house and create a name for high quality artisan smoked salmon, worldwide”
At the back of his production unit, was Ben. A big guy, a lovely person, who as I discovered had a degree in cycology. He describes himself as a “Professional Filetter”. It was his job to remove the salmon sides from the bone, which he did with great ease, and then individual pull out the small bones that remained.