Estuary Codling.

It’s been blowing a gale for the last few days and the beaches are choked with weed. The codling must be having a feeding frenzy but how do you get at them. Eureka, head towards the Waterford estuary, there’s plenty of shelter from those southerly winds and numerous accessible marks to fish. The beach at Duncannon shimmered under a glorious sunset, four dozen hard won black lugworm glistened in my bucket, their tell tale casts and blow holes only making an appearance shortly before the sun set on the Waterford shore.

Winter sunset on Duncannon strand, Dec 1st 2011.

Darkness was closing in as I made my way to the Strand Bar for a bite to eat and a pint of stout, before heading up the estuary to a mark that had been producing of late. A handy spot, you can drive the car up, step out and fish. Making my first cast an hour and a half into the flood, a two hook paternoster loaded up with fat juicy lug, the gripper dug into the mussel bank and my rod tip curved as the current took hold. Immediately, thump, thump, thump, the rod leaned over as the most certainly hooked fish swam up tide. I could feel the kicks and heavy knocks through the rod and shortly after codling number one was swung ashore.

Pat Power with a nice Waterford estuary codling.

Nice fish”. “First of the night”, says I, before belting out cast number two. Pat Power, a local angler had come down to try his luck. While he was setting up my rod gave a double knock, strike two, “Hey you’re doing well”. “Yes, two in two casts, all on lug”. Pat using peeler crab found fish harder to come by although an odd codling, whiting, and coalfish came his way. So it went on, cast after cast bites every time, I lost count as to how many fish came my way. Double headers, dab, whiting, more codling, the sea bed must have been carpeted. Then an hour before high water it all stopped.

Five Waterford estuary codling from an evening December tide.

Now eight thirty pm, a hard frost was falling through the still night air. What a session, especially the first hour. Bites had been thick and fast, producing some fine codling. As the tide rose funnily enough the fish got smaller, by session end most were just on or over the 30cms. Waterford estuary has to be a nursery area for codling, and if so must be designated such. Retaining five codling for din dins, catch and release applying to the rest of my catch which easily topped twenty fish, I headed for home and a warm fire. Brrrrr.

See also: Christmas Coalies.

See also: Mixed Bag from the Waterford Estuary.

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