The annual Mick and Sean Redmond Memorial competition was held last Saturday 29th May. A small boat competition held by the Courtown SAC in honour of two local stalwarts of sea angling now passed on. A catch and release event with a twist, the angler who catches the heaviest ray receives the Mick and Sean Redmond memorial trophy. Highly prized due to its significance the competition was fierce.
Offshore fishing along the north Co. Wexford coast is picking up now with a few tope being boated, a sprinkling of bull huss, and fair numbers of ray. Smooth hounds although on the beaches are scarce off shore, unfortunately clean fish although plentiful are small, really just juveniles. On the day we caught a succession of tiny codling, whiting, and dab, along with the ubiquitous lesser spotted dogfish. Positive on the one hand, at least the small fish are there, on the other, will we ever give them an opportunity to reach maturity?
A south east force six had diminished force three or less and become variable allowing the competition to proceed. A lumpy sea at the start fell away to a nice easy swell as the day wore on. Heading south and fishing the waters off Pollshone Head is always a good bet when seeking ray off Courtown, which is exactly where Mark Chambers on whose boat I was a guest anchored up. Along with singing Seanie O’Keeffe and Ned Carrick what a crew, the afternoon flew due to the banter and the crack while the fishing wasn’t bad either. With a nice coloured sea and a southerly tidal run conditions were good for ray. Employing a ledger/paternoster rig, baiting the paternoster with rag/mackerel strip/lug combinations for clean fish, and the ledger with whole squid aimed at ray, I hedged my bets.
Ten minutes in on the second drop down slowly trotting the rig down tide a ray signaled its presence with a heavy leaning thump/thump bite. Feeding line before striking old yellow took on a curve, while the weight and kiting of the main line through the water signaled the obvious. Shortly afterwards a nice ray broke the surface smartly tailed by Mark. Fishing continued with Ned loosing a good fish and eventually landing a ray on the last drop of the day. Back on shore with a number of ray landed the winning margin came down to two ounces, a thornie just short of ten pounds. A worthwhile fish to grace what was a fun day out and one of which both Mick and Sean would have been proud of.