Sea Fishing in Wicklow, Hound Fest.

Entries in my fishing diary place July as the month when smooth hound hit the local beaches in earnest. A smash and grab raider fond of crustaceans and worm baits, they average 4 – 5 lb weight off the north Wicklow coastline, however many are landed above the Irish specimen weight of seven pounds every season. A tip off from David Murphy that they were in had me picking up some rag and lug from Joe Byrne in the Courtown Angling Centre, before meeting up with David and heading for a favourite mark.

A specimen Wicklow smooth hound for David Murphy.

We commenced fishing at eight pm to coincide with high water. A warm evening under a low grey sky was punctuated by an occasional light north east breeze, which ruffled the calm sea creating a single small wave on the beach. Conditions were ideal for smooth hound and dogfish too as we were to find out. An hour in with light fading the first tentative knocks to our rag and lug baited hooks resulted in small dogfish being hauled ashore, more often than not two at a time. Painful fishing in my book, “I hate dogfish“, but you have to put up with it.

An average Wicklow smooth hound.

Then everything went quite, it was now dark and our rods were silhouetted against the night sky. Boom, my rod arched over as the hound grabbed the bait and ran stage right. It’s always the case, when dogfish stop biting there is something worthwhile in the vicinity. After the usual left/right running battle the fish thrashed in the surf where David grabbed the leader and hauled it ashore. A quick photo and away. Not a moment too soon as David’s rod nearly bounced out of the stand.

Greyhounds of the sea, a male smooth hound from a north Wicklow strand.

Quite obviously a good fish which when eventually subdued easily broke the seven pound barrier, a Wicklow specimen. The excitement lasted ten minutes then they were gone, typical of smooth hounds who tend to travel in packs. Fishing on for an hour the dogfish returned which was our call to leave. A nice evening on the beach with a successful outcome.

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