A sea fishing trip to the Beara Peninsula over the October weekend delivered in spades. The weather was typical for the south west ranging from mediterranean, to monsoon, to full on gale, however given the nature of the terrain a fishy mark was always available and boy were the fish obliging. Over three full days shore angling intrepid visitors from England Roger Ball, Dave Hoskins, Rob Hume, and I landed ten species of fish to include pollack, coalfish, codling, wrasse, mackerel, scad, mullet, plaice, dab, and dogfish. With a sizable conger lost at the waters edge and one or two marks off limits due to the sea and weather conditions our species tally could definitely have been higher.
The Beara is a rocky outpost in Ireland’s south west totally undiscovered in terms of sea angling. Having fished there on four occasions previously I am aware of its potential but this trip really took the biscuit. Circumstance due to the weather put us on marks we had not considered initially and the results were startling. With out doubt our group enjoyed the best mixed shore fishing any of us have had in twenty years. It was not just the species count but the quality of fish we encountered. Pollack to over six pound, four pound plus wrasse, codling up to four pounds, dinner plate plaice, and a specimen 1.lb 8.oz dab. Cornwall is England’s equivalent in terms of sea angling and the boys as one agreed that there is just no comparison, the Beara wins by a country mile.
Methods used included jelly worming and spinning for pollack, coalfish, mackerel, and codling, float fishing for mullet, down the wall for wrasse, and general shore casting over clean and mixed ground for a range of species to include the flatties. On a couple of occasions the flat rocks below our self catering cottage provided a nice platform to fly fish for pollack with a bonus fish being a large scad, a first for me on rod and line. Besides lures we bait fished with fresh mackerel, ragworm, locally collected hard back crab, and lugworm. The latter of which were big, black, and fleshy, ideal for the job in hand and devoured by the codling we encountered.
The first full day of fishing took place under ideal conditions of blue skies and flat calm seas. We were privileged to the point of distraction of seeing nature at its finest. Dolphins chasing shoals of mullet, mackerel, and herring, the water in front of us a virtual aquarium. Crystal clear and deep blue the kelp swayed, dense shoals of fish darted their sides reflecting the light, unseen predators from below causing the surface to occasionally boil, and this a backdrop to some top notch wrasse fishing. Presented with hardback crab or ragworm they attacked the baits with gusto, beautifully coloured and real bruisers what an afternoons sport.
The holiday provided lots of moments to savour and some real surprises. Over fishing in Ireland’s coastal waters has decimated cod and flatfish stocks rendering shore fishing for both a limited exercise. Working on hunches for the flat fish we hit pay dirt with plaice to over a pound and a cracking specimen dab for Plymouth’s Dave Hoskins, without doubt the best flattie fishing that I have encountered this side of 1990 in terms of numbers and size. Who needs to travel to Iceland with shore sport like this on our doorstep.
Yes we had to work hard in terms of accessing marks, collecting quality bait, and braving the elements but it paid off. Ireland and the Beara peninsula opened the door to wonderful sea fishing opportunities for us capped by the best winter cod session any of us have had again this side of the early nineties. It might be that a set of circumstances have come together based on EU quota restrictions coupled with a good year class but the south coast of Ireland has a young cod stock again. Hopefully the powers that be give it a chance to grow and mature, we can only live in hope that those that manage get it right this time. That said let us not get morose, the Beara peninsula, West Cork, Ireland from May through to Christmas is a superb sea fishing destination for the shore angler. Its secrets unlocked with every new visit, this trip surpassed the wildest expectations of four seasoned sea anglers, a beautiful rugged location, a sea angling paradise.
Further Information: Beara Peninsula Guide.
See also: Beara Peninsula Magic.