Boat Fishing off Greystones, Tope Quest, A Result.

Exhilaration and frustration amid the mayhem, is how I would describe the roller coaster of emotions that encompassed the last hour of what proved to be a very eventful outing off Greystones. Although tope were the prime target, Gary and I also included four score of lugworm with a view to test fishing recognised marks on the Moulditch ridge and Kilcoole bank for codling, pollack, coalfish, plaice, and dab.

Gerry Mitchell with an absolute monster tope, certainly 60.lbs+, off Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Leaving the slip underneath a cloudless steel blue sky, mill pond conditions lay before us as we rounded the pier head and pointed Jean Anne south towards the Moulditch buoy. With high water at 10.00am our plan was to fish a number of marks inside the ridge and on the Kilcoole bank down to low water slack, before heading out to the deep channel and gearing up for tope. Anchoring first on the inside of the ridge, our lugworm baited hooks dropped to the kelp covered rocks below, the light southerly run a resultant of the current set of neaps making fishing easy.

Preparing the Jean Anne on the new slip at Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

The next few hours hammered home the truth, the once prolific cod shoals of the Moulditch have been replaced by dogfish. Not even a coalfish or small pollack found our baits, with the same result repeated on two locations over the Kilcoole bank. The once great fishing grounds “are devoid“, and that is official, of cod, plaice, and a host of demersal white fish species, reflecting the damaged ecosystem which is the Irish Sea. What we did find when fishing lug baits in the deep channel were small dab and lots of gurnard, not big, but fun to catch on a light rod with their rattling darting bites. Sadly though, the heady days of quality mixed species catches are for the present a distant memory.

Small grey gurnard, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Having anchored up east of the red buoy shortly after 14.00pm, to catch the start of the north run, Gary and I fished two rods each, one for tope and the other with worm baits. What transpired is the reason people go fishing, when it all clicks and nature combines with sport to generate vivid memories which will last a lifetime. The experience also drove home the short sighted policies which have decimated Ireland’s inshore waters, and equally highlighted what could be if the fishing grounds were restored, with recreational angling on an equal footing to commercial interests.

The Mitchell brothers, Dermot and Gerry, in tope heaven off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

A more expanded piece will give the full story, however as the north run eased yesterday evening tope filled the channel east of the Moulditch hitting baits with abandon, in particular those fished by Dermot and Gerry Mitchell, who arrived out shortly after lunch and anchored uptide of ourselves. I got hit by two fish, one on lugworm which initially I thought was the mother of all smooth hounds until after about four minutes the line was bitten through. Then another followed my whole mackerel sixty foot to the surface only to take the bait in full view 10 foot short of the stern. This tope in the thirty pound bracket took off like a scalded cat only to find a weakness in my trace and also was lost after a short fight.

Dermot Mitchell displays a fine Greystones tope, one of ten caught and released from his boat on a red letter day.

The Mitchell’s on the other hand couldn’t put a foot wrong and ended up boating 10 tope, experiencing numerous dropped runs, and like myself witnessed two tope follow a bait to the surface before one decided “this is mine”. A red letter day which no one who was there will ever forget, topped by a tope that Gerry caught on free lined whole mackerel which was estimated at well over 60.lb. At six foot long and as fat as a pig, it could have been more. All released to fight another day, these occasions are what sport fishing is all about, sharing a great day with good friends, generating timeless memories.

Click on: Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Sea Fishing Information.

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