Archive for November, 2011

Big Cod in the Surf.

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Frank Flanagan, a member of the Menapia SAC in County Wexford, kindly sent me a photo of a super cod that he landed during a recent beach session. Weighing eight pounds the cracking fish took Frank’s bait just behind the surf line. Southerly winds which had been blowing for the previous couple of days had obviously pushed feed inshore and the hungry cod followed.

Frank Flanagan of the Menapia SAC, Wexford, Ireland holds up a cracking beach caught cod.

Having enjoyed a productive session which included a nice plunp codling just a few days previous, and aware of similar catches there is no doubt that cod are running the shore in reasonable numbers this winter. They will most certainly be around until mid to late January, so get out there and enjoy what appears to be the best winter cod season along the southern Irish coast in years.

Mixed Bag from the Beach.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

It’s the 22nd of November and the temperature reads 9 degrees, with only two mild frosts to date we are a far cry from last year when we entered the freezer for a month of snow and double digit minus temperatures. Codling are definitely hitting the beaches with reports of fish to 5/6 lbs amongst the general run of two pounders. On some venues bass to 7.lbs are swimming with the codling, mobile phone images do not lie this really could be the best season in many a year. The key is to get out there regularly and fish the correct marks, tides, and times, high water at dusk or one/three hours after appearing to be the optimum.

Dusk, late November beach fishing in South Wexford, Ireland.

Arriving at my chosen location two hours into the ebb tide just as dusk was closing in around 17.00 pm, I quickly set up twin surf casting rigs utilising two hook (2/0 Kamazan 940′s) paternosters baited with lugworm, lobbing one in close and belting the other out. Using long (18 inch) snoods it quickly became apparent that schoolies and or coalfish were resident, quick single thumps of the rod tops announcing their presence. These fish tend to play with the bait, darting in for a quick nibble, shortening the snoods would have resulted in hook ups but I was after bigger things. A rattle and a slack line, rod in hand I tighten up and feel, a thump down is countered with a strike in the opposite direction, fish on. This feels like a good bass, pulling the rod around, quickly swimming in, backing up the beach and reeling like f**k I make contact, head shaking in the surf, a white belly in my headlight beam, MULLET? Now that’s a first, on lug of all baits, hooked fair and square in the top lip.

Beach caught grey mullet, on lugworm of all baits.

A few flounder, schoolie bass, coalfish, and dogfish follow in quick succession all on the inner rod before a classic thump thump slack line bite has me running up the beach again to make contact. Thankfully the rod heels over and I feel the kick of a nice codling, running 3/4 lbs lets hope that there is another. Shortly afterwards I get a repeat performance, another good fish on, the fight intensifies as the undertow takes hold then nothing. Reeling in I check the trace only to find that my hook knot has unravelled, you clot Ash.

A nice winter codling from a south Wexford beach.

Shortly after things went quite, I fished on until the bait ran out bang on low water at around 21.00 pm. It had been a good session with certainly the first two hours providing regular bites. In this day and age six species and two good fish in the three/four pound bracket is nothing to be sniffed at. With favourable tides over the weekend here’s to another crack at it.

Tally Ho Hunt.

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

The Tally Ho hunt meets a mile down our lane and cuts across the town lands of Toberlonagh, Toberpatrick, and Wingfield, negotiating dikes, ditches, banks, and gates. Overcast, misty, and damp, a good crew set out led by huntsmen David Nolan, Colin Jackson and Howard Woods. I lost them in the bog close to Abbeylawn, an occasional blast of a hunting horn and the baying of hounds receding into the undulating countryside the only evidence of their presence.

Setting off at Tally Ho, November 2011.

Howard and Mandy, Tally Ho Hunt November 2011.

Tally ho hunt, Susan.

Tally Ho hunt, Colin.

Rock Hopping for Pollack and Bull Huss.

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

For the last session of our weekend on the Beara David and I chose a rough ground venue much favoured by Paul Harris of Dromagowlane House. On the morning in question Paul kindly offered to show us the way down to the mark, as it is down a maze of twisty lanes and thus difficult to find. On arrival Paul gave us a heads up of the location, species present, and the best fishing spots. Thanking him we said our goodbyes before sorting out our equipment and packing what we needed into rucksacks, then made our way out onto a low headland. The morning was dull and windless and the sea flat calm ideal for a spot of rock hopping. David was mad keen to catch a conger, while I was hoping for a bull huss.

David Murphy with a nicely coloured Beara Peninsula pollack.

Finding our first fishing location, a steep cliff giving access to deep water, the rock formation thankfully was stepped and so quite easy to climb down. Choosing a rock platform high enough above the lazy swell to act as a base, we decided to warm up with a spot of jelly worming for pollack.  Using a ten foot spinning rod with matching reel, I rigged up a trace comprising a 60 gram barrel lead above a bead and swivel to which was attached by five foot of amnesia a 2/0 kamazan 496b. Threading on red jelly worms David (using similar tackle) and I commenced fishing, casting 70 meters then letting the lead touch bottom before slowly retrieving. The pollack initially were not obliging but after about an hour things picked up with takes occurring regularly. Pollack up to 4.lbs hooped our rods over crash diving towards the kelp, it was great fun, they are a true sport fish.

Jelly worming for pollack on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

Replacing the jelly worm with a set of hokais I commenced fishing for mackerel to no avail, with only one frozen mackerel between us conger king David took control. Setting up a rotten bottom ledger rig he cast out our sole predator bait about 40 meters tightened up and waited. Within five minutes the rod top nodded then heeled over, lifting into the fish his Zziplex beachcaster took on a mean curve. A tug of war fight with occasional strong dives  ensued, after a couple of minutes the fish showed in the clear water below. Occasional flashes of a white belly and a dark back initially had me thinking conger, but on reaching the surface Dave and I were delighted to see that it was a fine huss.

A mean Beara bull huss for David Murphy.

In fact a very big bull huss, well over the mark and mean to boot vomiting it’s stomach contents up as we attempted to extract the hook, edible crab and fish bones comprising a lot of the contents. Pitch black with characteristic blotches on it’s tail we took a few quick snaps and returned it to Davy Jones locker, where upon he swam away none the worst for wear. Dave was shaking and absolutely delighted, as was I, our species count was now up to a creditable eight and we had broken two Beara ducks thanks to a cracking bull huss and the quality bass fishing from the evening before.

See also: Beara bass.

Beara Bass.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The Beara Peninsula is not known for its bass fishing, in fact on the Richter scale of Irish bass angling the area probably doesn’t even register. However there are one or two locations which do produce consistent catches of Dicentrachus Labrax and it is with great thanks that I salute Paul Harris (Dromagowlane House B/B), John Angles, and Mike Hennessy for their collective advice and direction which resulted in a fine evenings fishing for both David Murphy and I.

David Murphy with one of three Beara bass caught on an evening tide.

Sustained for an evening session after bass with a bowl of hearty vegetable soup, brown bread, and a pint of plain courtesy of O’Neills bar in Allihies, David and I headed towards a noted low water bass mark. Having fished the location on numerous occasions with poor results, yours truly was a tad sceptical. Mike, Paul, and John all concurred though that from November through to January bass would show, some to specimen weight.

Waiting for a bite, November sunset on the Beara.

Fish close to the stream and you won’t go wrong“, and so it transpired. On casting my peeler and lug baited trace forty meters into the lazy swell, no sooner had it hit the bottom then bang and a slack line indicated bass. Instinctively running backwards I connected with the fish, a spirited schoolie of about 2.5 lbs which took crab. Dave was next in landing a carbon copy before on his next cast landing a fine bass close to 4.lbs. By session end amongst a few doggies we had landed five bass between us, my scepticism melting with each fish. The mark had delivered and upped the species tally for our November trip to a respectable six.

See also: Dab Hand on the Beara.


Dab Hand on the Beara.

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Finally the strong winds of late abated and a period of calm frosty weather enabled a long since planned Beara Peninsula trip to take place. Primarily targeting winter species but with a view to gauging when the summer visitors finally depart, this early November visit would answer a number of questions while hopefully providing some quality fishing. Booking into Dromagowlane House the superb angler friendly B/B ran by Paul and Anne Harris, situated in Adrigole half way between Castletownbere and Glengarriff, my friend David and I were central to a variety of tried and tested marks which we couldn’t wait to get out on.

A dab double header from the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

First port of call was a specimen dab mark sheltered from the still big Atlantic swell and it did not disappoint. Clear skies indicated a frosty night to come, and a north west breeze made the afternoon progressively chilly as the sun went down. Fishing a falling tide David and I expected codling to show along with the dabs and so it transpired. Baiting up two hook paternosters with lug and ragworm we casted onto sandy ground 100 meters offshore. The first hour was quiet then a nod on my rod top followed by a purposeful thump produced a nice codling in the two/three pound bracket. Next cast a rattling bite translated into a fine dab, followed by a double dab header, and so it went on until night closed in.

A cracking beara codling which fell for lugworm.

Tired from our five hour journey we called it a day as darkness fell with five species (codling, pollack, plaice, dab, flounder) and at least one specimen dab under our collective belts. The next day fortified by a substantial Dromagowlane full Irish we headed to a favoured plaice mark. The day was a scorcher, hard to believe it was early November, hopefully the spotted beauties would still be in residence. Linking up with Mike Hennessy of Inland Fisheries Ireland we casted our lug, rag, and peeler baited hooks into a rising tide full in at midday. Bites commenced immediately with lugworm tempting a plump codling for yours truly.

Double flounder for David Murphy on his first Beara trip.

Things slowed up after that with dogfish predominating, that is unless you were David Murphy. On his first trip to this wonderful sea angling outpost he hit pay dirt with a succession of prime flounder, including a cracking double header all taken on lugworm. The plaice didn’t show but we weren’t short of flatties,  and with dogfish adding to our species tally we upped sticks around 15.30 pm with a view to targeting bass later that evening, of which more later…

For further reading, click on: Beara Bass.

See also: Beara Peninsula Guide.