An Irish Anglers World

Beara Peninsula

The Beara Peninsula in West County Cork is a wonderful, wild, unspoilt, and in this modern age still underexplored corner of Ireland. A finger of rugged beauty jutting out into the Atlantic comprised of what could be the oldest known rock formations in the country. Accessed from Kenmare on the northern side or Glengarriff to the south, the Beara is a sea angler’s paradise. For those hardy souls who like to travel light, explore and uncover new marks, and do not mind losing some end tackle, look no further. Marks can vary from piers and shallow sandy beaches, to rock marks with depths of 100+ feet within lobbing distance of the shore. From the rock marks, wrasse, big pollack, mackerel, open sea mullet, bull huss, trigger fish, and conger abound, while the possibility of landing a double figure ling from the shore here is very real. Thornback, spotted ray, and dogfish are common over sandy ground particularly in the vicinity of Castletownbere, with certain protected sandy bays still home to reasonably sized plaice, dabs, and codling.

Gortahig Wrasse, Beara Peninsula, West Cork

Charter vessels based in Castletownbere fish Atlantic deep water reefs, pinnacle rock, and wreck marks, for cod, haddock, pollack, ling, cuckoo wrasse, conger, and blue shark. On request, if the weather is not suitable, ray and smaller species can be targeted within Castletownberehaven, a large natural harbour inside Bere Island. In common with all peninsulas, no matter where the weather is coming from there will always be a sheltered spot to fish. This, and the hardy nature of the terrain, makes kayak fishing a genuinely exciting prospect, and arguably the best way to open up the secrets of this beautiful western outpost.

Codling from deep water reef off the Beara

Adrigole, Castletownbere, Allihies, and Eyeries are the main towns and villages. Accommodation providers range from Hotels, Guest houses, B/B’s, Self Catering Chalets and Houses, to Camp sites, and the quality is good. The area is home to a number of well known Irish artists, sculptors, and craft workers, and historically was an important copper mining centre, the evidence of which can still be seen in and around the village of Allihies. In fact Ballydonegan strand, close to Allihies, is a man made beach consisting of crushed spoil which was extracted from the mines and dumped, so forming the feature that we see today.

Beara Pollack

If planning a trip to the Beara make sure to bring full beach casting gear, 20 and 30 pound test boat kit, and a ten foot pike rod for heavy shore spinning and float fishing, a full selection of terminal tackle and lures to match, and a box of old spark plugs from a friendly local mechanic. Rotten bottom rigs are the norm here and spark plugs are a lot cheaper then lead. Bring a medium ruck sack, plan the day accordingly, and only carry what is needed, as some of the best marks require a good deal of walking.

Strap Conger, Gortahig

Purchase an ordnance survey map of the area. The OSi Discovery Series, 1:50 000, map numbers 84 and 85 cover the Beara. These are vital and will help open up the fishing possibilities, as has been said the angling potential is largely undiscovered. Marks that are known include the DOD Pier and Dunboy Head, both within Castletownberehaven. DOD is good for ray and mullet, while Dunboy produces ray, dogfish, gurnard, pollack, wrasse, and conger.

Gurnard from Dunboy Castle, Castletownberehaven

Out on the peninsula Dursey Sound in and around the cable car gives access to superb mackerel, pollack, wrasse, conger, and mullet fishing. Gortahig, which is located between Eyeries and Allihies, is a good mark for pollack, wrasse, conger, and mackerel, with the Blue Islands, close to and north of Allihies, providing fishing over sand for plaice, dab, dogfish, pollack, codling and Trigger fish. Outside of that start discovering, most rock marks will produce the usual suspects and some of the biggest Bull Huss that you have ever seen. Enjoy the scenery, the purple rocks, wonderful seascapes, and how the light constantly changes. This is a beautiful location and one of Irish Sea anglings must visit wild outposts.

For more information: Beara Peninsula Adventure

For further information: Winter Codling on the Beara Peninsula.

For further information: Rock Hopping for Pollack and Bull Huss.

For even further information: Double Top on the Beara, October 2014.