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

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……….

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