Boat Fishing off Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

A two day weather window enabled the Jean Anne to have her maiden sea voyage out off Greystones, Co. Wicklow. With settled anti cyclonic conditions, variable light winds, a biggish tide full at midday, Gary and I arranged to meet on the new slip at 08.30am. The new harbour, a monument to all that was wrong with the Celtic Tiger, looked impressive and even might have potential, if only they would finish it. For the moment at least though you can launch and retrieve a boat at low tide, I still believe however that silting will be a problem just like before.

Motoring north along the south beach, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Having planned a tope session fresh mackerel were a priority, at two humps off Bray Head we started trolling. An hour and a solitary mackerel later we were getting anxious, then off the cable rock we scored, mostly joeys with a few half decent fish, enough for bait though. With that we motored a mile or so to catch the start of the ebb at the back of the moulditch bank. Fishing into ten fathoms of water as the south run picked up a succession of doggies savaged our mackerel flappers along with one small huss.

Preparing to fish off the Moulditch, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Greystones fishing is an anti climax, it’s great to be out but you know what lies beneath and the evidence is all around you. Off Bray Head and southwards beyond the Moulditch strings of whelk pots litter the sea bed their presence indicated by makeshift plastic marker bouys. Three boats worked the area, one having steamed from Wicklow another from towards Dalkey/Dunlaoghaire. It’s called fishing down the food chain, these once prolific grounds in the recent past were fished by men with skill using traditional methods such as trammel and seine nets, long lines, and pots for large plaice, cod, sole, ray, salmon, sea trout, lobster and crab. Today these unregulated pirates in their smelly whelk boats take what is left after everything else has been removed, and to cap it all use edible crab for bait!

The new harbour entrance, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The tope, a ray of light amongst the desolation, did not show, still a little early perhaps. A few small boats were out though and it was nice to help on the slip and swap stories of the day, some traditions never change. Mackerel were scarce for everybody and any clean fish caught were small. Gary and I boated undersized gurnard, whiting, coalfish, and codling while jigging, and we heard reports of decent smooth hounds off the head to crab, squid, and worm baits. We will be back shortly for the tope and bigger huss which still run the deep channel, as for the rest? Forever the optimist….

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