An Irish Anglers World

Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

The picturesque village of Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, is located thirty five minutes south west of the ferry terminal at Rosslare. Sea fishing out of Kilmore Quay, whether from boat or shore, allows anglers the opportunity to target fish to specimen size from a variety of interesting marks and locations. Launching pad for the annual Rosslare Small Boats Festival,, forty one species have been recorded on rod and line off Kilmore Quay, ranging from hard fighting Bass and fast running Tope, to the sleek Blue Shark.

Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Image courtesy of Teresa Hinchy photographer.

A fifty five berth Marina is home to a fleet of purpose built licenced charter vessels which operate on a daily basis, working the fish rich waters off the Saltee Islands, and the deep water wreck marks beyond. For the small boat angler a wide slipway, accessible at all stages of the tide, opens the door to a host of sea angling opportunities. Offshore marks synonymous with the area are the Brandies, Barrels, and Conningbeg Rock. Codling, Pollack, Wrasse, Pouting, Conger, and Ling, abound on these offshore reefs, with Ray, Flatfish, Smooth Hound, and Tope resident over the inshore banks.

Shore angling is equally varied. Local storm beaches are home to Bass, Smooth Hound, Tope, and Flatfish, with night tides being particularly good. Nearby, estuaries such as Cullenstown and Bannow provide autumn and winter sport for anglers targeting specimen Flounder, while big tides and settled weather in the summer and autumn offer the serious, bait, lure, and fly fisherman superb conditions to target Sea Trout, Mullet, Bass, and Gilthead Bream.

Joe Byrne, Courtown, Co. Wexford, with a specimen Cullenstown Flounder.

Directions to Kilmore Quay

• From Rosslare Ferry Port: Take the N.25 towards Wexford Town. Pass through the Villages of Kilrane, Tagoat, and Killinick. Two miles beyond Killinick turn left onto the R739, from here it is a straight drive passing through Ballycogley and Kilmore Village, before entering Kilmore Quay itself.

From Wexford Town: Approaching the roundabout located at Drinagh, take the N.25 signposted towards Rosslare Ferry port. After two miles the R739 to Kilmore Quay will be signposted on the right. Make the right turn and follow as above.

Angling Methods and Techniques

The Kilmore Quay charter fleet, traditionally fish the inshore reefs and wrecks in the vicinity of the Saltee Islands 2.5 miles (4.KM) offshore. Due to relatively strong tides, the rough nature of the sea bed, and the average depth fished (60ft – 100ft), three angling methods predominate, namely Gilling, Heavy Paternoster, and Heavy Ledgering.

• Gilling: Standard method used when targeting Pollack, Coalfish, and Cod on rough ground or over wrecks. Use line class rods, suitable multiplier reel loaded with braid, and single Redgills, Rubber Eels, or Shads attached to a flowing trace below a boom. Drop to make contact with the sea bed or wreck. Immediately start a steady retrieve. Count the turns of the reel handle (average thirty revolutions). If there is no take, drop down and repeat.

• Heavy Paternoster: Two or three hook paternosters made up of Muppets or Large Hokais. Can be combined with Pirks and other such attractors. Baited with strips of fish, squid, or combinations, will prove attractive to Cod, Pollack, Ling, Pouting, and Conger.

• Heavy Ledgering: 20-30lb line class tackle combined with a short flowing trace made up of 200lb clear nylon attached to 8/0-10/0 forged hooks below a boom. Beads, Spoons, Chrome bars, and Muppet heads can be added as attractors. Bait with whole Mackerel, Mackerel flappers, or whole Pouting, when targeting large Ling, Conger, or Cod. Lengthen the flowing trace to six or seven feet if fishing for Tope.

To avail of all the angling opportunities available, when planning an angling trip to Kilmore Quay be sure to include; 20lb line class kit for gilling, 20lb and 30lb line class kit for heavy paternoster and ledgering, full surf casting kit, 10ft pike rod for shore spinning (can double for Mullet and estuary Flounder), and a Bass plugging outfit.

A brace of Kilmore Quay Pollack landed by the indomitable Josie Mahon

Bait and Lures:

Fresh Mackerel, Frozen Mackerel, Frozen Squid, Ragworm, Lugworm, Crab, Pirks, Redgills, Feathers, Sadikis, Large Hokais, Shads, Lead Head Jigs, Plugs.

In season fresh Mackerel are plentiful inside and around the Great Saltee, and this bait covers most boat angling situations off Kilmore Quay. Fresh Mackerel is supplemented with Squid, and also frozen Mackerel as a backup. Ragworm proves particularly useful for the large Wrasse that abound in the area.

Small strips of Mackerel will prove effective for harbour Mullet, and for the specialist shore angler, a whole fillet or Mackerel head will tempt shore Tope, particularly at night, in periods of settled weather throughout the summer.

Lugworm is the most effective bait when targeting Bass, Smooth Hound, and Flounder off the South Wexford beaches. In summertime, if fishing within the estuaries of Cullenstown or Bannow for Bass and Flounder, peeler crab is the preferred bait. Lugworm then runs a close second but comes into its own again from late October.

Lugworm beds are located east of the harbour at Kilmore Quay, along the Burrow Shore just north of Rosslare Strand, and at Cockle Strand, inside the south east corner of the Bannow estuary.

From Carnsore Point to the east, westward towards the Hook Peninsula there are numerous rocky areas, tide rips, and estuary locations which play host to some of the best Bass angling in Europe. Bass to well over specimen size are landed each season on all methods from plugging and spinning, to fly casting, soft plastic jigging, and ground fishing.

Wreck caught ling, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland

General Angling Information:

Bass Fishing Bye Laws

  1. It is prohibited to take and kill or have in possession any bass of less than 40cm in length
  2. It is prohibited to take and kill or have in possession more than 2 bass in any period of 24 hours
  3. It is prohibited to fish for bass with any rod and line during the period commencing on the 15th May to the 15th June.

Pollack, Cod, Ling, Wrasse, Conger, Pouting, Bass, Tope, Bull Huss, Ray, Smooth Hound, Gurnard, Black Bream, and Mackerel, are some of the 41 species of fish caught on rod and line off Kilmore Quay.

Boat angling off Kilmore Quay is best from May to October.

Driftlining live Joey Mackerel and working lures over St Patricks Bridge, a rocky causeway to the east which is partially exposed over low tide and links the Saltee Islands with the mainland, provides excellent sport with Bass and Pollack.

Tope angling comes into its own from July onwards with plenty of male pack Tope to thirty pound+, and numerous specimens in excess of 40lbs landed each season.

The Kilmore fleet fishes on the drift unless the skipper is given specific instruction to anchor or target a particular species.

Gurnard, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Bass, Smooth Hound, Flounder, Plaice, Dogfish, Wrasse, Pollack, and Mackerel, are the main shore species to expect. Specialist anglers will target summer Tope at night and harbour Mullet. A species establishing itself in the local estuaries in recent years and becoming a more frequent catch is the Gilt Head Bream.

Beach fishing during the summer is an evening and night pursuit. However, daylight surf fishing in the autumn will produce Bass, especially if there is a roll on the sea.

When fishing beaches such as Rostoonstown and Ballyhealy, east of Kilmore Quay, or Ballyteigue Strand to the west, short casts of 40 metres will find the fish as Bass and Flatfish run close to the shore, particularly at night.

Lugworm is the key bait when fishing the south Wexford beaches, with Peeler Crab the top estuary bait.

Strong south or south westerly winds will blow rafts of weed onto the beaches rendering shore fishing impossible. At these times fish within the estuaries for Bass, Flounder, and Mullet.

Kilmore Quay Harbour Office: http:

Located on the west pier and managed by Wexford County Council under the stewardship of Harbour Master, Captain Phil Murphy, the harbour office looks after the day to day running of what is a very busy fishing port and thriving marina. Berth rental, weather reports, tide tables, Shower/toilets, and broadband, are just some of the information and facilities available to harbour users. For a full list of services access the Kilmore Quay Harbour Office website, email:, or phone: +353 (0)53 91 29955.

Health and Safety Notice: Never put to sea without wearing your life jacket.

Saltee Islands Gannets. Image courtesy of Teresa Hinchy photography, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

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