Archive for February, 2012

New Angling Charter Vessel for Wicklow

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Co. Wicklow now caters for deep sea anglers thanks to a new service operated by experienced Irish international angler/skipper Kit Dunne. Based in Wicklow harbour approximately 25 miles south of Dublin, Wicklow Boat Charters enables access to fishing grounds north and south of Wicklow Head to include the Arklow, Horse shoe, and Codling banks, with key seasonal species to include tope, bull huss, ray, smooth hound, and spurdog.

Clients aboard the Wicklow Boat Charters vessel LISIN 1.

Bass, pollack, wrasse, dab, gurnard, whiting, and mackerel also feature in summer and autumn catches with best natural baits being crab, fresh mackerel, lugworm, and mussel, along with frozen squid. Depths can range from 30 feet (five fathoms) to upwards of 80 feet (13 fathoms plus). Tides in the vicinity of Wicklow head are strong requiring at least a pound of lead if fishing down tide, up tiding being a serious optional method.

LISIN 1 skipper Kit Dunne.

LISIN 1 is a very clean and well maintained 10.5 meter (35′) Offshore 105, with spacious deck and cabin space. Fast modern, fully licenced, insured, and equipped with all the relevant navigation, fish finding, and safety equipment, LISIN 1 is perfect for a club, school, or college charter.

Stern view of Wicklow Boat Charters deep sea angling vessel LISIN 1, moored at Wicklow harbour, Ireland.

Having taken a spin out with Kit over last week end and being familiar with the inshore grounds north of Wicklow head, I am really looking forward to fishing the various banks mentioned above this coming summer. To date they have been inaccessible to me due to tidal conditions and distance, now with Kits’ new service there will be no obstacle.

To arrange a booking contact skipper Kit Dunne:


Two Days on the Barrow

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Yours truly is new to this coarse fishing lark and it shows. Last Tuesday Gary and I met in Athy, Co. Kildare with a view to repeating our successes of last year where we bagged up on two occasions, firstly on a cold February in the marina followed by an early April session in the main channel. Recent catch reports gave hope of a repeat performance, well we were brought down to earth with a bang.

Casting the feeder, Athy, Co. Kildare.

On arrival the Barrow looked in perfect condition, setting up below the bridge Gary and I intended to feeder fish switching over to trotting a float if things were slow. Paul McLaughlin, who knows a thing or two about coarse fishing, showed up with similar aspirations and regaled catching of fish from our chosen stretch only the day before. Chalk and cheese comes to mind, yes we struggled, feeder fishing maggot and caster not a fish showed.

Paul McLaughlin winkles out roach fom the Barrow at Athy, Co. Kildare.

Paul set up above us and trotting started to winkle out a few roach and dace. Gary switched over and utilising his Adcock Stanton centrepin connected also with a few silvers. After a couple of hours we decided on a move, Paul went upstream and I believe started connecting with prime roach, while Gary and I drove downstream a piece only to repeat our performance, however Gar’ saved the day with about of roach, the less said about me the better.

A Barrow dace for Gary Robinson.

With bait left over I decided to fish a Co. Carlow mark the following day. On both occasions the weather was bright and dry with a steady crisp north west wind, cold but bearable. This time my faith was restored, if not a fish a chuck it was certainly a bite. Again using the feeder in a deep backwater swim dace, roach, and small perch kept the tip nodding. Dace giving their customary quick fire rattles, roach showing their presence with a purposeful tap tap type bite, while the perch just hit with a thump. Four maggot or two and two maggot/caster did the job on a busy fun afternoon. I’ll be back there soon with a ledgered minnow or lobworm, there’s a big Barrow perch loitering with my name on it….

2012 Irish Angling Expo

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Paid a visit to the 2012 Irish Angling Expo and spent an enjoyable few hours viewing the stands and catching up with friends. Boat builders, tackle shops, tourist boards, outfitters, and guides, were well represented with one of the busiest stands being the “Dublin Angling Initiative”, Des Chew and his gang of helpers doing great work. I really enjoyed the falconry exhibit, getting up close to a Red Kite and a Barn Owl was amazing. It’s rare to see barn owls nowadays gliding ghostly white when captured fleetingly within the beam of your car head lights. As for kites, well they are a common sight now locally after being reintroduced, what a wonderful spectacle when they flock.

Barn Owl.

It was nice also to see Irish anglers giving advice and tips, we do have our own “angling celebrities”. Speaking of which Jim Clohessy from Cork gave a fine presentation on the efficacy and use of soft plastic lures when chasing sea species such as pollack, cod, and bass. Hello also to Liam Kane, it was nice to meet you in the flesh, your articles in the Irish Anglers Digest have been avidly absorbed by me for over twenty years or even longer. I really enjoyed our chat, maybe we’ll get fishing yet this summer.

Mr Cork boat angling, Jim Clohessy in action.

Purchasing bits of kit, making a few contacts, and getting hooked by John Wilson, yes while the great man was giving a centre pin casting demo his terminal tackle wrapped around my arm, I’d say he hasn’t caught a bigger specimen this year. Yes, it was a grand afternoon.

Pike From a New Water.

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Living in Wexford I do not have access to great pike fishing and invariably have to travel. Yes, Blessington isn’t a million miles away and does reward experienced regulars with large fish, but for consistent sport Cork, the north east counties, and Longford/Roscommon/Leitrim are the places to visit. Long range piking is hit and miss in terms of catches, keeping an ear close to the ground helps, invariably though it’s a question of using the noodle, trying out new venues, and keeping a record of conditions and returns.

Waiting for a run, pike fishing in Ireland.

Sunday the 12th of February dawned foggy and still, conditions that would persist throughout the day, and with air temperatures hovering around 7 degrees David and I felt confident of a result from our planned trip to the north east. Choosing a water that had intrigued me for a number of years we did our homework, collected fresh rainbow trout for bait, and headed off. Two and a half hours later we pulled in at the venue chose our swim and set up.

Playing a small pike from an Irish lake.

Depth increased gradually from the forested shoreline to a drop off approximately ten meters out which quickly fell away and bottomed out at I believe ten meters. Ledgering fresh rainbow with the tail cut off to reduce spinning and release blood David cast to just beyond the lip, while I placed a bait well into the deep. Tightening up and setting the bait runners we waited. Within a half hour my line dramatically dropped, a slack liner I lifted the rod and carefully wound in to connect, the line kept dropping. Reeling harder I struck into nothing, so continued on to inspect the bait, teeth marks said it all.

David with a well conditioned Irish jack pike.

Twenty seconds later line began peeling off Davy’s reel, the same fish it had to be, counting to ten he struck into nothing, “that’s one lucky fish”. From then on David’s rod was charmed, suffering another dropped run David eventually connected with number three. Not big it gave a good scrap though and was in perfect condition, beautifully mottled. Shortly afterwards line began peeling again, after another lively tussle a similar sized jack was landed, and that was it for the day.

Perfect winter conditions for pike dead baiting.

On another occasion they could have been doubles or bigger, that’s fishing though. Five runs, two fish, a nice day out, and further knowledge gained. Talking to local people out walking, the water is known for medium sized pike, but fish to 28 lb have been recorded. David and I witnessed the potential and most definitely will be back, an abiding memory being a heavy swirl amongst a shoal of roach fry as light closed in….