Archive for June, 2016

Kilmore in Jig Time

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

“Kelp below”, intoned Eamonn Hayes, stalwart skipper of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford based charter boat Autumn Dream, in unison 10 Welshmen focused harder on working their jig rigs 10 fathoms down, on cue rods curved and danced to the tune of hooked pollack and codling interspersed with ballan and colourful cuckoo wrasse. Not large but numerous, codling averaging 1.5 lbs with pollack slightly bigger, most anglers at days end boating forty plus fish (predominantly¬†returned alive) the heaviest being¬†a codling of 5 lb weight.

Daron Lawry displays a colourful Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford cuckoo wrasse.

Sea anglers off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford utilise the time honoured method of jigging three hook feather, rubber eel or shad rigs while drifting over extremely rocky, kelpy ground, baiting the bottom hook only with fresh mackerel or worm bait in the hope of attracting a larger pollack, cod, ling, ballan wrasse or pouting. The unbaited coloured feather or plastic lures proving especially attractive to pollack (colour black) and codling (colour red).

A plump Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford codling.

The trick to success at Kilmore Quay is to employ a 20 lb class braid set up with just enough lead weight (usually eight to twelve ounces) to keep the angler in contact with the sea bed while his/her line is working straight down below as against being streamed out by tide and drift. At Kilmore Quay a streamed out line catches the seabed more times than it catches fish, the result costly rig/lead weight losses and one pissed off angler. Vigilantly working the rig by constantly tapping/lifting and feeling the contours of the sea bed produces more takes from fish while minimising tackle losses, Kilmore’s reefs offering no mercy towards lazy or inexperienced sea anglers.

A Kilmore Killer jig rig.

My first sea angling session of 2016, it was nice to catch up with Alan Duthie and the boys from South Wales. Annual visitors to these shores, as a nation we cannot get complacent as to their continued repeat business. The reason these Welshmen and others come is for a different sea angling experience to what they get at home, Kilmore Quay offering a wider range of species amid a challenging sea angling environment of deeper water, stronger tides and rougher ground in contrast to the shallow, sandy estuarine ground the lads frequent across the pond.

My fishing diary accounts since 2008 for Kilmore Quay clearly record a decline in average weight for pollack, codling and ling encountered on the reefs surrounding the Saltee Islands albeit numbers boated are still holding. The once famous fishing grounds off Greystones, Co. Wicklow followed a similar pattern before the fish disappeared. Tourism sea angling as a viable offering needs fish as a key element of a unique experience to successfully attract paying customers. Kilmore Quay still enjoys that mix and long may it continue, but a word of warning: “We cannot afford to get complacent and I see signs that we just might be”.