Archive for September, 2013

Time Out for a Masters Degree

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Undertaking an MSc Masters in Business, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship through Waterford Institute of Technology, for the next twelve months angling will take a back seat with only an occasional foray out. The blog in effect will temporarily cease although a monthly article will continue to be posted.

On the tiller.

I would like at this juncture to thank all vistors to the site both regular and new and look forward to getting up and running again properly sometime around May 2014.

Tight lines,


Beara Bruiser

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

There are a few shore marks in Ireland where one can cast a line with a real possibility of landing a fish of a lifetime, most of them located on the Beara Peninsula. Sea anglers unfamiliar with the area will have their work cut out trying to find them, however that is part of the fun. Traveling down since 2005 and knowing through experience that certain rock marks give access to depths ranging down to 100 feet or 16 fathoms, a double figure ling has always been a possibility. Well done then to regular UK visitor Chris Blewett who landed an 3.0z ling from a secret location.

An 3.oz ling for UK visitor Chris Blewett.

Having over the years met two local people, one a schoolboy, who have landed shore caught Beara ling into double figures, Chris’s is the largest caught that I am aware of, roll on the twenty pounder. Thanks must go to Paul and Anne Harris of Dromagowlane House, where Chris was staying, for use of the image. Chris’s second stand out fish, his first being a rare specimen plaice, landed from this remote sea angling outpost.

Promoting Sea Angling in a Digital World

Friday, September 13th, 2013

150, 000 UK based sea anglers travel to fish spending eight days per calander year outside England and Wales (Drew and Associates, 2004). Establishing where this cohort resides then subsequently presenting a balanced portrayal of Irish sea angling and how to access it, developing contacts and building trust (Relationship Marketing) will result in dividends. Analysis of a recent post on shore fishing published on this site entitled “Fishy Rambles in Deepest West Cork“, dated 03/09/2013, is quite revealing.

A nice shore pollack for Dave Hoskins a visitor from the United Kingdom.

Providing a link to the report within a post on a well frequented UK sea angling forum, ten days later the thread had received 747 visits. Delving further through Google analytics it became apparent that 289 people had made a unique visit to view “Fishy Rambles in Deepest West Cork” from the aforementioned link staying on the page for 1.53 minutes, ergo they read it. Further analysis showed that 9 visitors proceeded deeper into the site seeking linked information. This development is very positive for it tallies very closely with accepted sales returns eminating from the web of between 1 and 2 percent. By extension based on an excepted industry metric, of those 9 who sought further information there is a real possibility that 3 to 6 of them may very well end up sea fishing in West Cork within a year or two.

Comments from the thread would substantiate that claim.

  • Great report, I love reading them, keep them coming.
  • Great report buddy, some classy fish there.
  • Well done great report thanks for sharing.
  • Some nice fish. A great session.

Dan O’Brien, the Irish Times economics editor, addressing staff of BT Ireland earlier this year referenced “Market Penetration” as a key area of innovation that the indiginous Irish business sector, of which tourism is a key component, should focus on and develop. The above exercise would tend to endorse his view………..

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Only in Ireland will we spend €110,000 establishing the value of recreational angling while continuing to abuse and destroy the very resource which enables the pursuit. Analysis of the recently published Tourism Development International report put the direct value of sea angling to include domestic and tourism receipts at €127.5 million. With income from tourism sea angling amounting to €33 million, a figure which if a more focused marketing approach was implemented could be increased greatly, why at Government level do we still continue to not recognise the product category, but instead continue to view sea angling as just an add on bonus.

Let us preserve pollack like this.

Since 2005 I have been taking at least two sea angling breaks a year shore fishing in West Cork, staying in B/B’s and or self catering. Through this website yours truly has championed the quality sea fishing that this beautiful exposed south west corner of Ireland has to offer. Over the last three trips a decline in fish size and numbers has become evident on the marks that I fish, so much so that I started to ask questions, the result is sad and can only be described as two fingers being raised from both certain local people and official Ireland towards those who cherish and support this wild rural area.

Wrasse now targeted for the Chinese market.

At the start of 2013 this writer was criticised for publishing a piece assessing Ireland’s Tourism Sea Angling Product entitled “Reading Between the Lines“, as if the piece was treasonous. Eight months on I stand by what I wrote all the more. On some West Cork rock marks that I frequent wrasse are being targeted and according to my research gill netted for the Chinese market, pollack also are being gill netted so much so that the average size on certain locations has dropped dramatically, grey mullet, normally prodigious, where nowhere to be seen on my most recent visit, and the few patches of inshore clean ground are now being trawled, where not three years ago specimen dab abounded there is now little or nothing.

Specimen dab for Dave Hoskins from Plymouth.

Where once the fleet from Castletownbere went offshore and the only inshore fishing noticeable was potting, now apparently according to a very trust worthy local source anything goes, from commercial jigging to setting gill nets so close to the rocks in search of wrasse that they are exposed at low tide. I’ll say no more, instead I’ll quote the English and Northern Irish tourists.

“Trawlers were working close to shore. No sign of mullet anywhere. This and the lack of decent pollack is a real worry. I am inclined to Dave’s (Dave Hoskin’s a tourist sea angler from Plymouth) view that this is a result of commercial overfishing as it is a dramatic deterioration and we have seen the evidence of the trawling”. Roger Ball, UK tourist angler.

we used to go to dingle in kerry every year for a bass session, but have given up on that side now due to the illegal netting. it’s all getting a bit out of hand now ffs. and sadly the locals know who the culprits are but nothing ever seems to get done about it“. Al Marsden, Nth Ireland, (lifted from Henry Gilbey’s Facebook page, 03/09/2013

there seems to be more commercial activity locally, I saw the average size of pollack decrease every year since I started operating”. John Angles, ex charter skipper.

Further reading: Postscript to Reading Between the Lines.

Fishy Rambles in Deepest West Cork

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

South west Ireland besides being wild and rugged delivers some of the best mixed species shore fishing this country has to offer. Pollack, wrasse, conger, and in season mackerel are the mainstay, however for the intrepid sea angler prepared to put in a little planning coupled with a fair amount of effort bull huss, codling, dab, plaice, coalfish, ray (thornback and spotted), mullet (thick and golden grey), scad, garfish, bass, and trigger fish could also have your rod tip nodding. No LRF here, although if you want to practice this new branch of the sport by all means. My advice though is, leave the light rods at home because the four rocky peninsulas jutting out into the Atlantic give access to adult fish, most of which due to the nature of the rough ground habitat they reside in still can reach their full potential size, you have been warned, as this soldier found out the hard way.

A nice Beara pollack tempted by mackerel fillet.

Having never set foot on the Sheeps Head peninsula, and wanting to suss it out, yours truly took a left turn off the Cork ring road onto the N.71 passing through Bandon, then cut across rolling country taking in Enniskean, Dunmanway and Drimoleague before rejoining the N.71 south of Bantry. A short hop and another left turn pointed me towards the village of Durrus, then on out towards Ahakista a beautiful harbour community centrally located on the south side of Sheeps Head.

Ahakista harbour, Sheeps Head, West Cork, Ireland.

Quality self catering accommodation with two pubs close by, one serving great sea food, you couldn’t ask for more. A quirk of the local language which became apparant is the use of north, south, east, and west when discussing where people are traveling on the peninsula, for example one drives west from Ahakista to Kilcrohan, east to Durrus, and north if heading over to Bantry. Concentrating on the fishing, on this my first occasion down I generally just mooched, driving along lanes getting my bearings casting an odd line here and there, mainly for pollack, while conversing with people that I’d meet. What became clear is that very little shore angling is practiced, especially ground fishing, so who knows what could turn up.

A good pollack from the Sheeps Head peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

The south side of Sheeps Head has some nice pollack marks, evening fishing at two locations producing copper sided beauties to 5.lbs. Mackerel were running during my stay and mullet showed their presence in quiet backwaters. People that I met talked about “Connors” which is a local name for wrasse, so they are present as I’m sure are conger. The airport mark near Bantry is a 15 minute drive from Ahakista so include thornbacks, bull huss, and dogfish, the latter of which I caught when fishing a morning tide at the venue.

Beara mullet from the pond.

After a couple of days sussing out and sight seeing accompanied on occasions by Victor Daly (a great host) whom I rented the cottage off, it was off to meet UK based friends Roger and Dave making their annual Beara fishing trip. A species hunt, after 24 hours we had nailed six, by day two the marker was up to nine to include mullet, pollack, wrasse, dogfish, conger, mackerel, codling, flounder, and dab. This for me being just a flying visit we only hit established marks, that said the pollack and wrasse were there in force albeit smaller than usual and it was nice to see mackerel in reasonable numbers.

A strap conger caught shore fishing on the Beara peninsula.

The high light though was fishing a rough ground mark for conger. Using very simple end rigs baited with fresh mackerel we caught three straps to about 8 – 10 lbs before my rod registered a gentle pull, pull. Now in hand I felt the fish surge forward prompting me to lift and wind my Daiwa slosh simultaneously. Rod heeling over hard I knew the fish was clear of the bottom by the strong free movement registering through rod and line. After a couple of minutes pumping the conger surfaced, dark blue with a white under belly, a big solid head very thick set. Twenty pound plus for sure, I’ll never know the exact weight as a down swell caught it just as one of the lads was about to grab my leader. Thirty pound main line snapped like cotton, well that’s fishing West Cork style…………..

See also: Beara Peninsula Magic.