Rays of Sunshine in Deepest West Cork

Weather is the final arbiter when choosing a fishing mark on Beara, the sun might be splitting the stones but if a force 5 or 6 wind is blowing in tandem then many potential rock angling locations could be ruled out for safety reasons, Atlantic swells are not to be messed with. However there are a number of fail safe venues on this rocky peninsula which are fishable under most conditions, fair or foul, the inner harbour of Berehaven home to a clutch of them. Yes, they have a tendency to be all or nothing but when they’re on the fishing can be top draw.

Dutch tourist sea angler Martin with a close on 9.00lb shore caught Beara Peninsula thornback ray.

Visiting Ireland on a fishing vacation for the third time since 2010 Dutch sea anglers Tony and Martin were targeting ray off a well known sheltered deep water rock mark west of Castletownbere. Cloudless blue skies, a baking sun, and a one o’clock neap full tide are not traditionally the best conditions to chase shore ray, however casting 100 meters out into 8 fathoms does improve your chances. There is though the problem of negotiating a steep sub surface rock wall which juts out some 20/30 meters in front of the casting platform, utilising a fast retrieve fixed spool or heavy casting multiplier such as a Daiwa Slosh or ABU 7000 deals admirably with that issue.

Pumping up a shore ray from a rock mark in West Cork, Ireland.

Tony and Martin were well kitted out and fishing ledgered mackerel proceeded to land a small spotted ray and a fine thornback running close on 9.00lb. I can still hear Martin repeating “Holy shit” as he pumped his first shore caught ray to the surface. Kiting through crystal clear water the fish could be seen meters below the surface which was a great sight to behold, and even more special as she glided back into the depths on release.

Dutch sea angler Tony with a cracking 2.7 kilo specimen ballan wrasse.

A feature of this location is the range of species that can be accessed to include pollack, wrasse, conger, thornback ray, spotted ray, tub gurnard, dogfish, and mackerel. Tony while fishing down the rock wall with crab connected with a great fish which tested his tackle to the limit. Once safely in his landing net he couldn’t contain his joy as a very colourful 2.7 kilo Irish specimen wrasse now had his name on it. Weighed on certified scales and returned it’s special fish like this that bring Tony and his friends back year after year.

A fine shore caught West Cork spotted ray.

Trying my luck the next day under similar conditions using fresh mackerel caught by friend Gary Robinson jigging from his kayak right in front of my fishing platform, I managed to land a nice spotted ray which again looked special as it glided through the crystal clear water on retrieve, not quite a David Attenborough moment but memorable all the same…….

Further reading: Beara Baskers.

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