Running with the Hounds.

Beach fishing for smooth hounds on a particular mark that I frequent is all or nothing, long periods of inactivity punctuated by moments of magical mayhem. Not having visited the location in over a month and with bait left over from the night before, the decision was a no brainer. Six bells saw me setting up as the evening sun started to cast long shadows over the shingle from the low cliffs behind. Armed with big yellow tail lug and peeler crab, I cast twin two hook paternosters sixty meters out into the falling neap tide and waited.

Popping out a bait for smooth hounds, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

An hour went by and not a touch. Up to last year rods would be kept nodding at this venue, with species like flounder and codling filling in the gaps between the hounds and occasional bass. This season they have been noticeable by their absence, although bass do show when there is a roll on the sea from the south. The quietness though enhances the moment when a hound makes its presence felt, and how. I’m looking at the motionless rod tip, momentarily it quivers then bam over it goes, no need to strike just lean in the opposite direction, fish on. Running hard swimming left then right, quick silver turns a smoothie for sure. Eventually beached, in the four to five pound range, boy do these fish fight, defying their size, real athletes.

An average Wicklow smoothie tempted by lugworm.

Fishing two rods and varying the distance, what the hell this time they’re both going out to the same place. Ten minutes later bang over goes the right, a better fish running hard towards the shallow reef. A crash behind me, tripod in a heap and my second rod heading towards the tide. Rod in hand hooped over I pick up number two and wedge the reel behindĀ  a now collapsed tripod leg, the reel line taught and zig zagging, my gear is going nowhere get this fish in quick. Hound number one hits the beach, now for number two. Still on and pulling, this is some craic, everything now under control. Number two hits the surf line, both are bigger 5/6 lbs, quick double snap then away, out go new baits, the pack has moved on.

A brace of Wicklow smooth hounds, one to lug and the other on crab.

That was it, another fifteen minutes passed with only the waves lapping on the beach breaking the silence. Time to go, the mark has delivered. Stopping to take photos, even for that minute loses a fish or two for sure, but hey it’s not a competition, it’s about capturing the moment. Three fish of that calibre, magical mayhem, quality fishing.

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