Archive for June, 2010

South Wicklow Beach Session

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Midsummer brings the promise of smoothies, bass, and tope. A bait digging foray to Rosslare provided quality lugworm, clam, and cockles (great for tipping off), plenty enough for an evening chasing smooth hound and bass off a local venue. With the moon nearly full and a nine pm high tide, prospects looked good.

Evening tide, South Wicklow, Ireland

A muggy evening with a light breeze from the south west is perfect for smooth hound, two averaging had been caught from the mark a couple of evenings previous. Five anglers fishing nine rods, ragworm, lugworm, clam, cockles, crab, we had to score. Proceedings started well with a couple of summer codling to 35cms in close, double dogs at range. Davy got a heavy double knock and missed, bass for sure. Thirty seconds later a slight lean on my rod tip then it hauls over hard, bang, fish on. Head shaking and small runs, a nice wee bass landed and returned.

South Wicklow bass

The night progressed with a couple of more codling, dabs, plenty of dogfish, just the one bass, and a few smooth hound pups on crab, but no big mommas. No matter, it was a beautiful evening spent in good company with the rod tips nodding, a few fish landed, and a nice bass to cap it off.

Sun, Sea, It’s Kilmore Quay

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

The reefs off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford provided top quality sport for nineteen members from the South West Wales Association of Sea Angling Clubs who were making their annual pilgrimage to this fishy corner of south east Ireland. Chartering “Autumn Dream” and “Enterprise”, skippered by Eamonn and Dick Hayes respectively the group landed ten species over their first day afloat to include; bass, codling, pollack, pouting, poor cod, ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, ling, launce, and mackerel.

Ballan wrasse, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

Azores style weather and a medium tide provided comfortable conditions to fish the rough ground south west of the Saltee Islands. Mackerel were scarce, the cold winter delaying their arrival, however fresh launce provided an ideal back up bait. Drift fishing being the order of the day various muppet, feather, and hokai rigs baited with ragworm, mackerel, launce, and squid combinations were lowered 80-100 foot down to be met with frequent bites so keeping the Welshmen busy.

Cuckoo wrasse, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

Tropical coloured cuckoo wrasse, ballan wrasse to 3.lbs, codling to 4.5 lbs, ling to 6 lbs, and pollack in the 4-5 lb bracket were the order of the day. Not big fish but plentiful, the majority returned on a catch and release basis. A feature of the day was good numbers of two year old codling, if these are allowed grow bigger by commercial interests then there is a future. Rag tipped with squid was the successful combination for quantity with those using larger hooks and fish baits catching fewer but bigger fish.

Codling, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

Each angler over the course of the day landed in the region of forty to fifty fish, good sport by any standards, 75%+ returned as stated. With two two more days of fine weather to come the plan is to fish for tope and hit the wrecks before heading home on Thursday. Shore fishing also comes into the equation and an evening foray to Forlan Point provided a welcome 5.5 lb bass taken on ledgered peeler crab, these Welshmen don’t waste any time.

Pollack, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

In June the sea fishing season is only getting into its stride off Kilmore with the best still to come. Fine settled weather allows access to the offshore wrecks while July sees the arrival of large tope many to specimen weight. Kilmore Quay is renowned for its general reef fishing but if anglers are prepared to be specific Kilmore will deliver. Tope, blue shark, large wreck pollack, ling, conger, and offshore bass are targeted by the charter fleet, just liaise with the skipper.

Ling, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

It was great to spend a day afloat with the men from SWWASAC. Jokes, banter, craic, and of course the fishing made the day go too quickly. In the evening after getting cleaned up the crew retired to Kehoe’s pub and parlour  for a fine meal and a few well earned pints to wash the salt away. The boys stayed in the Quay House bed and breakfast,, and I would like to thank proprietors Pat and Siobhan McDonnell for the lovely pre fishing trip breakfast. Likewise special thanks to the men from SWWASAC for making me feel so welcome, in particular to Alan Duthie and Denis Davis. Roll on the Burry Port open where “Old Yeller” will once again reign supreme.

For Further Reading Click On: Reef Fishing off Kilmore Quay.

Bass Time Again!!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

It’s funny, for a month you try to avoid catching Bass and they jump on your line, then the season opens and it all goes quite. A high pressure system over Ireland created ideal conditions for east coast lure bassing, calm seas and clear water. With a four meter tide full in around eleven pm hopes were high.

Early morning lure caught bass, September 2008

The tide was making two hours when Gerry and I commenced fishing. A perfect balmy evening, we thought that the world and its wife would be out, but low and behold we had the beach to ourselves. Fishing surface lures over rocky kelp covered ground washed by a strong tide, not a take was had for the evening.

Surface lure fishing.

The lack of bass did not spoil the session as the sea was full of life. Shoals of mullet broke the surface giving us false hope, and seatrout leaped skywards waiting for the first flush of rain to draw them into the rivers. By eleven o’clock we called it a night. Lure fishing for bass in June along the south Wicklow/north Wexford coastline can be a bit hit and miss, things don’t normally pick up until mid July, with August/September the months to really put the time in.

Seatrout weighing 2.oz, caught on a 32 gram silver kilty lure

Not giving up, a plan to fish an old mark the next morning had me rising early to meet the tide. Once the best bass venue on the east coast it has taken a hammering in recent years, unfortunately from ignorant anglers, we are not all holier than though. There was a time when other than those in the know you would not see a sinner on the mark and the bass fishing was superlative for fish averaging 5-6 lbs. One memorable evening a large seatrout led me a merry dance, weighing 2.oz it graced a dinner party for nine friends the following evening.

Bass tackle

Again the fish were marked absent but no matter, my double haul technique is improving and the fly was fairly whistling out. Fishing flies, surface lures, and old fashioned kiltys the venue while looking fabulous didn’t deliver. Still its early days, my best fishing here has always been later in the summer, and a return on the next suitable tides is definitely on the cards.

Slaney Evening

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

It is June and the seatrout are starting their annual run. On the Slaney this will take place from about mid June until mid August, peaking in mid July. Late evening into the dark, initially fishing a floating line or a sink tip depending on conditions, then changing to an intermediate for deeper work into the night.


Flies that work well are the Kill Devil Spider, Butcher, and Alexandra, the Kill Devil being particularly good at dusk especially on the point. Working the flies close to the bank under overhanging branches can result in spectacular explosive takes, which can feel savage the darker it gets.

Kill Devil Spider and Butcher

An early visit to the Slaney saw the river running low but with a slight tinge of colour brought on by a couple of showers during the day. There were plenty of parr taking the flies but that evening no seatrout, only a half pound brownie which slashed at the butcher.

River Slaney above Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

It was a beautiful evening to be on the river though with a family of swans out for an evening swim, and as dusk drew in the air came alive with a olives and sedges. Parr and small trout signaled their presence with dimpled and slashing rises to this aeriel feast, and a lone salmon exited the water 100 meters downstream, splash landing before continuing its long journey upstream.

Slaney Swans

Edenderry Three Day International Coarse Angling Festival

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

The Edenderry, Co. Offaly, International Three Day Coarse Angling Festival has been on the go for 21 years. Centred on well maintained competition stretches of the Grand Canal, the festival attracts match anglers from Ireland and the United Kingdom, many who return on an annual basis, both for the fishing and the craic. This year 35 anglers traveled from England on a special week long package to include coarse angling events at Prosperous, Co. Kildare and Enfield, Co. Meath, making a sizable contribution to the local midlands economy in these straitened times.

All told 59 anglers competed for upwards of €8,000 in prize money (D.O.E), trophies, cut glass, individual and team prizes, over the three match days, Monday 7th, Wednesday 9th, and Friday 11th June. The venues used being the, Tunnel, Toberdaly, and Killeen sections of the Grand canal in the vicinity of Edenderry. Main species to expect were Bream, Roach, Hybrids, Tench, and Perch, with the individual winner decided on a cumulative bag weight over the three days fishing.

Fishing Toberdaly, final match Edenderry Festival

The weather God’s were kind all week, however canal conditions varied from coloured water to gin clear which effected fishing at the various venues. Bag weights of thirty pound plus were needed to win day one but by day three winning weights were down to seven or eight pounds due to clearing water and bright conditions. That’s match fishing though, and the competitors adapted well throughout the week.

Michael Fitzpatrick with a pair of skimmers from Toberdaly

Capitalising on a good bag from match day one Frank Holding, Ted Carter Preston, went on to win the three day event with a combined weight of 11.oz. Second place with 12.oz was Danny Murphy of Renegades AC, with Paul Kelly, Edenderry AC, weighing in 10.oz for third place. Prize giving took place in festival HQ, Foys Bar and Restaurant Edenderry, where a slap up meal was served and festivities went on onto the night. Festival director Pauric Kelly and Edenderry club secretary Tommy Burke thanked everybody for taking part and are already looking forward to another successful event in 2011.

Six of the best

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Six species in five hours fishing, roach, bream, hybrid, dace, eel, trout, all in tip top condition. How many venues can lay claim to that level of fishing? A return visit to the River Barrow delivered in style with some quality bream and a bonus trout. The rain fell in stair rods for two hours solid but that didn’t deter from the action or the fun.

A brace of River Barrow hybrids

A big thank you to Gerry McStraw of Carlow Coarse Angling Supplies for providing his left over groundbait mix and offering some good advice on the chosen venue. Overcast, humid, and still, within an hour of arriving the heavens opened. Monsoon is the only description, no wind, rain straight up and down, our pitch became a mudbath, but the bites were frequent.

River Barrow bream

Feeder fishing at twenty meters with red maggot and Gerry’s secret mix bites came on within ten minutes and remained constant throughout the session. Initially hybrids, then a few dace, before a bream in the three pound bracket put a right curve in the rod. Not a dustbin lid but a welcome sight, my first Barrow bream. Davy did well on his first coarse angling trip, catching five species, including that welcome trout.

Wild brown trout

While unhooking the trout Davy found a length of flourocarbon attached to a maggot baited size 14 embedded in the scissors. “This trout is either hungry or very stupid. Remember the fish that broke you earlier on, well I think I have just caught him”. Then the ribbing started, all part of the gig. Eventually the rain stopped, a watery sun shone through, and a few more fish came the way of two muddy, wet, and happy anglers, before finally calling it a day.

Lazy Days on the Barrow

Monday, June 7th, 2010

A planned trip to Leitrim after Tench had to be abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances. New to coarse fishing and with all the bait and equipment at hand the June bank holiday Sunday saw Gary and I setting up pitch beside the River Barrow close to Graiguenamanagh, Co. Carlow.

Graiguenamanagh, Co. Carlow

“Graigue” is situated in a beautiful location, on a bend on the Barrow River, overlooked by Mt Brandon to the south and the Blackstairs mountains to the east. After a rainy start which served to freshen things up, the sun made its presence felt. A festival day was cranking up in the water meadow at Tinnehinch, people were out and about, and the river was being well utilised by groups in kayaks, canoes, individual motor launches, and narrow boats.

Narrow boat navigating the Barrow

The Barrow in this area holds stocks of bream, hybrids, roach, perch, dace, pike, and trout. A few miles upstream from St Mullins and fifteen minutes from the River Nore at Innistiogue, Co. Kilkenny, Graiguenamanagh is an excellent location to base a fishing holiday. The coarse fishing I am only learning about, but I have enjoyed many evenings casting a fly on the Nore for seatrout at Innistiogue, wild brownies at Thomastown, and of course the shad at St. Mullins.

River Barrow dace

Gary and I hoped to catch bream on the feeder. To that end Gary had been busy preparing particle mix to enhance the groundbait. Combined with sweetcorn, casters, hemp, crumb, various sweet smelling additives, and the hookbait “red maggot”,the intention was to create a swim by introducing groundbait through the swimfeeder. More or less filling the feeder with mix, casting out, waiting a minute, reeling in, filling up again and casting to the same spot. The tail, two foot of flourocarbon attached to a size 14 hook baited with three red maggots is ledgered below the feeder. After about five casts immediate bites from dace started to occur.

Coarse angling pitch, River Barrow, Co. Carlow

For about two hours we enjoyed regular bites from dace, some close to or over specimen size, and roach. A beautifully spotted trout enlivened proceedings for Gary before everything went quite. The sun at this stage was splitting the stones, swallows were chasing flies, dipping and diving along the river, with air temperatures well in the twenties. Continuing fishing into the afternoon, adjusting tail length, feeder types, and hookbait resulted in the odd small dace showing an interest. With no bream or hybrid action for our efforts, a little after six pm we called it a day.

River Barrow roach

An enjoyable day none the less in wonderful surroundings. The bream were not in our section but they were about and feeding. A match close by was won with thirty three pounds of bream and hybrids, while eleven bream were in the keep net of two anglers not a mile away from us on the same stretch. Lessons have been learned though, and I will be back at the first opportunity to land my first Barrow bream.

South Wexford Surf Casting

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

The close season for Bass should be amended to catch and release. Smooth Hounds run the same beaches at this time and it is impossible to be selective. Yes one could put the rods away for a month, fish different venues, or target other species, which as responsible anglers we do. However May and early June are synonymous with Smooth Hound fishing and the new fisheries agency “Inland Fisheries Ireland” really needs to look at this anomaly as a priority.

Waiting for a bite, South Wexford surf casting

With a nine o’clock evening high tide in South Wexford and word of smooth hounds running the beaches a trip was planned for Tuesday evening 1st June. A south easterly weather system had backed around to the north west creating a nice easy rolling sea with a heavy krumping wave on the beach, the water slightly coloured. There was little or no weed in the light run, except for a spell over the top of the tide.

A fine sunny afternoon, the first task was to dig lugworm on the burrow shore north of Rosslare Strand. Arriving at 15.30pm the slobs were empty apart from one lone bait digger in the distance and a chap raking for cockles of which there are many on this beach. Close to the road the beach was badly dug up as if a JCB had ran through it over the past week. I can only assume that a lot of professional bait digging goes on here. Walking the beach eventually produced a virgin area and in an hour I dug close to 100 of the best lugworm, big, black, and fleshy, just the job for the task in hand. Along with a few cockles and gaper clam bait for the evening was secured. Onwards then to the Millhouse Bar, Tacumshin, for a pint and a plate of traditional fish n chips with mushy peas, you have to set yourself up for these evening sessions.

Burrow shore, Rosslare

The plan was to fish over the top of the tide, commencing about 18.30pm and finishing around midnight. Setting up three rods to fish at various distances from the gutter to a clipped down banged right out we awaited developments. This particular stretch of coastline does fish better into the evening and at night, however I have had good fishing during the day, particularly in the Autumn. Codling, coalfish, bass, dab, flounder, plaice, mackerel, smooth hound,and dogfish, are species that I have landed in recent years here. A hunch of mine is that in certain conditions ray and tope are a real possibility also.

South Wexford surf bass

Bites came fairly consistently through the evening almost exclusively to the rod fishing the middle ground about eighty metres out. Funnily enough the flatfish, all flounder, bar one came at maximum distance, the gutter only delivering one. On the night no smooth hound showed up and my friend and I stopped fishing ahead of time. We were regularly getting fast bites which if hit early resulted in bass between 40-45 cm’s. All were hooked in the scissors and returned safely to the sea. Unavoidable, and with no smuts showing, we did the right thing and packed up. For what it was worth though an enjoyable, and post 16th June would have been considered a productive session. Species landed included flounder (all over 30cms), dogfish, and bass.