Archive for November, 2012

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Winter Whiting

Friday, November 30th, 2012

A full moon coupled with a settled high pressure system in November/December equates to calm seas, frosty nights, and whiting, usually those pesky razor toothed six inch fellas that strip your bait in seconds or incredibly hang themselves on a 4/0 hook, but not on this occasion. Word on the bush telegraph from a very reliable source told of jumbo whiting knocking two pounds running a local beach mark. Without further ado an order for lugworm was placed and a date set for a 17.30pm start. With high water at six bells, retrospectively commencing an hour earlier would have been a better option.

Quality beach caught whiting from a south Wexford location.

On arrival Gerry, his son Robert, and friend Darren were in situe and already reeling in double and treble shots of fish, mainly whiting with an odd flounder and coalfish adding variety. Casting twin paternosters baited with lugworm/mackerel combinations into the gutter and seventy meters respectively it became apparent that fish were evenly spread out, both rods registering quick fire bites. From the off single fish and double headers greeted every cast prompting a decision to continue fishing with only one rod.

Reeling in a catch of winter whiting.

Bites came thick and fast over high water slowing down considerably an hour and a half into the ebb. Noticeably the bigger whiting were partial to a big fresh lugworm only offering, a smattering of pound plus fish hitting the shingle amongst their more common six/eight ounce brethren. It’s great to go fishing and bring something worthwhile home for tea, beer battered whiting fillets and chips a definite starter for ten. This time last year cod up to eight pound weight were showing in force, presently although conditions are favourable they are marked absent. Of course Minister Coveney increasing the Celtic Sea cod quota by 77% last December has absolutely nothing to do with their non show. Thankful for small mercies we’ll take the whiting, at least the rods are nodding, for now……….

Pike Fishing in Ireland. Trigger Happy Pike

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Anglers who fish for large predators such as pike talk about triggers, those little understood factors which motivate the fish to commence hunting or feeding. Fluctuations in water temperature, atmospheric pressure, stages of the lunar cycle, amount of light, pure hunger, or combinations of all play a part in rousing the predatory instinct. One day a water known to hold pike can seem devoid of fish, the next it comes alive, Saturday the 24th of November being a fine example of the latter.

A double figure pike for David Murphy caught on float fished roach.

A cold frosty morning found David Murphy rigging up at a favourite pike water. Employing two outfits both baited with roach, he float fished one and ledgered the other. Having fished the venue on a number of occasions his best haul to date had been a couple of fish. Little did David know when lobbing out his first rig, that this trip was set to go down in the annals.

A fine Irish pike from a small water.

In David’s own words: “It was a ripper of a day, the rods were flying off the stands, we must of had about 8-9 runs. The two pike were caught on the floats using dace and roach. The ledgered baits produced a number of runs of which there were two screamers. On one the line shot off the spool nearly causing a birds nest, this happened twice. You couldn’t leave the rods as about every 15 mins or so there was a fish on. The pike Robbie caught actually broke the top treble hook and we lost three pike by the bank, it was a cracker of a day.”

What more can you say, well done lads, that’s why we go fishing……….

Click on: Playing the Pike Percentages.

Sea Kayak Fishing in Ireland, A Ray Day

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Studying marine biology and angling, what a fabulous combination, theory and practice all in one. Gary Robinson took time out last weekend, making good use of a break in the weather, to launch his kayak with a spot of ray fishing in mind. Choosing a sheltered location he paddled forth, and with his echo sounder showing a depth of 40 feet (roughly seven fathoms), proceeded to lower his sand eel baited flowing trace to the bottom.

Sea fishing in Ireland, playing a nice ray.

Fishing over sandy ground it was not long before a lean on Gary’s rod signaled interest from down below. Heavy knocks ensued typical of ray. Giving the fish time (five or ten seconds) Gary tightened into the ray and began to lift and wind simultaneously. His boat rod took on a nice curve and after a couple of minutes pumping while reeling an opaque white disc appeared through the murk.

A quality thornback ray for sea kayak angler Gary Robinson.

Shortly after a nice thornback ray knocking six or seven pound, hooked just inside the mouth, lay flapping on Gary’s lap. Using his disgorger with the minimum of fuss, Gary unhooked the fish and took a quick snap before releasing the ray to swim back whence she came. Wasting no time in rebaiting, Gary dropped his rig to the seabed again, knowing that ray swim in groups he was not going to miss an opportunity. Within minutes a double knock ensued, and so the day progressed.

Kayak angler Gary Robinson and his customised craft.

Heading into his third season of sea kayak fishing, Gary Robinson through his own initiative has customised a standard sit on kayak to a very high level, and by applying a baby steps, common sense approach to developing experience and seamanship has opened up a whole new world of fishing opportunities for himself, culminating this season in a fish of a lifetime fifty pound plus tope. What’s next? If I know Gary it’s a twenty pound pike………

See also: I think I need a bigger boat?

See also: Craic on a Yak.

A Red Letter Evening

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Frank Flanagan, a Wexford based angler, loves his shore fishing and really puts the time in. With a range of angling venues close to his doorstep Frank can pick and choose his tides or grab a weather window, so giving himself a realistic chance of finding fish. Yes he is successful, having in recent years beached winter cod running close to if not over ten pounds and of course some prime bass. But those results were achieved by putting the time in, the hard yards as they say in rugby. This season has been no different, and like many of us Frank has struggled of late to find quality fish, however that all changed last night.

Wexford shore angler Frank Flanagan with a brace of quality bass to peeler crab.

Choosing a rising tide with high water around 19.30 – 20.00 pm, the evening was cold with frost forecast and the sea calm but coloured. Baiting pulley rigs with peeler to 4/0 hooks Frank belted out his rigs. No sooner had they settled then the action began with decent bass running four – six pounds slamming into the baits. Beaching seven fish while retaining two for the pot Frank is living proof that fishing is all about being in the right place at the right time. I’d go a little further though and add dedication, commitment, and experience to the mix as well. Good man Frank, well done…….

Shillelagh and District Hunt, Tally Ho Meet, November 17th 2012

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

David Nolan with the hounds.

Pierre serves up some Dutch courage.

Howard rallys the troops.

Mandy and Dixie ready to rock.

Tally Ho meet.

Following the hounds.

Ashley’s Mad About Fish Too, But Where Are They?

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Leaving the house at 08.00 am on a beautiful frosty Sunday morning with a view to catching a few flounder and latterly codling, yours truly spent twenty euro on bait, at least twenty five euro on petrol, ten euro on a bowl of chowder and a pint of stout, ingested loads of healthy fresh air, absorbed plenty of sunshine, and conducted a reasonable amount of sociable interaction over a twelve hour period, all of which resulted in one two pound school bass. Sea angling is a great pass time however, when four competent anglers fishing two rods each more or less blank on what are excellent tides while fishing normally productive venues, one can only deduce that somethings not right.

Sea fishing in Ireland for estuary flounder.

Initially fishing an estuary location known to deliver specimen size flounder, fresh lugworm and peeler crab baits were cast into the channel just as the tide was making, based on form a perfect time. Three hours later, not a nibble, with bait being reeled in untouched, extraordinary for that mark. Later casting into a lovely sea as dusk fell the twin surf poles should have been hopping, instead what transpired was a repeat of the mornings exercise, saved only by a late smash and grab schoolie.

Evening surf casting in south Wexford, Ireland.

Having returned to regular sea fishing in the late summer of 2007 I can categorically state that shore fishing within counties Wicklow and Wexford  has deteriorated year on year to date, with 2011/2012 being particularly bad. Yes there was a run of codling last winter, the result of a good year class in 2008 or 2009. Not surprisingly our illustrious fisheries Minister Coveney caved in to industry pressure and increased the Celtic Sea cod quota by 77% on what was a barely recovering stock, result bye bye codling.

To rub salt in the wound RTE broadcast their Nationwide programme, Friday 16th November (see RTE player), within which they extolled the virtues of buying fresh fish from a market stall in Galway city and the success of innovative value added fish products recently launched by a significant south east fish wholesaler. Now this writer loves eating fish and both recognises and values the commercial fishing sector. A major gripe though is that our national broadcaster constantly airs programmes such as the one mentioned above and also the popular Martin’ s Mad About Fish which give the impression of a rich bountiful ocean, unfortunately a far cry from the modern reality as witnessed last Sunday. A bit of balance RTE please……….

Fish For the Future

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The EU fisheries policy may seem complicated, but it is actually pretty simple: we must fish less now so we can fish more tomorrow. The infographic below explains the Common Fisheries Policy in five minutes.

Important discussions are taking place in the European Parliament right now and there are divisions between MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) across all national delegations and political groups.

Fish For the Future is a cross-party group of MEP’s who want to end over fishing and rebuild fish stocks. They are fighting against those who prefer the short term benefit of allowing fishermen to catch the last remaining fish over ensuring European fishermen a long term future.

The following graphic explains quite clearly the present state of our marine fin fish resource, and offers real solutions for rehabilitation and future management.

Beginners’ Guide to the Common Fisheries Policy – Fish For the Future
Courtesy of: Fish For the Future


Urban Pike

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The river Barrow has a large pike tradition, many to specimen size having been landed over the years. However, as this writer knows only too well, they do not give themselves up easy. Like any form of fishing, building up a bank of experience is the key to success, with a little luck thrown in of course. That said, anglers make their own luck, usually by researching their chosen quarry, methods, tactics, and most importantly putting the time in fishing.

Pike fishing in Ireland. A fine River Barrow pike landed by David Murphy on ledgered dead roach.

Having done his homework David Murphy chose a swim noted for its coarse fishing potential, regularly delivering good bags of roach, dace, and hybrids to match anglers. Occasionally a pike or two tempted by rich pickings advertises its presence by attacking a hooked fish destined for the keep net. Aware of this fact David sussed a couple of pikey locations and ledgered a dead roach presented on a running paternoster. Result, three runs and his first ever river pike knocking eight pounds plus.