Posts Tagged ‘Beach fishing’

A Stroll Along Kilcoole

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, Ireland holds a special place in my heart, catching large red spotted plaice and brown/red mottled codling initially with my dad and latterly with friends such as Gerry Mitchell and Francis O’Neill “God Rest Him”. The village became my home for 16 happy years, a great environment for raising our kids, with countless happy memories and many friends made to include the aforementioned Gerry and the Meakin family both of whom I met yesterday while taking a stroll.

Ashley Hayden lure fishing on Kilcoole beach, Co. Wicklow.

Boy has the place changed especially down on the strand where steel fencing on the landward side of the railway line and chain link on the seaward side has created a disconnect between the beach and the village. Pre 2001 you could walk across the railway line at any given point and know one ever got run over by a train unless “with all due respect” they wanted to, which can still apply today if a person is that determined.

The resultant can be summed up in the words of Mrs Meakin, still a fit lady in her seventies who used to walk twenty meters across from her front door to the beach and go swimming every day. “Now in the morning I hear the water invitingly lapping and I cannot reach it due to the obstacle course in front of me”. In short her way of  life has been diminished by blind bureaucracy.

Equally I would say that the same blind bureaucracy killed the fishing when licencing the removal of the offshore mussel banks. Today on my stroll while casting a Kilty lure I caught a solitary launce in front of the “Big Tree”. I scared a sea trout and the bass may still be there, however no mackerel, no mussel shells on the beach and very little weed. Conversations with Mrs Meakin (over 40 years resident in Kilcoole) and her daughter Lizzy made it very clear, the inshore environment has changed radically, getting progressively lifeless.

One is not being negative in saying this, just realistic. Yes it is sad, but the people iterating it are perfectly balanced and happy, they just have lived, breathed and observed a fuller environmental alternative which can still be resurrected from the bland reduced diversity habitat Kilcoole presents today. Yes, the beating heart of Kilcoole’s wonderful seascape can be revived, it just needs good people to believe. A starting point is to support the idea of a community managed Marine Conservation Area between Bray Head and Wicklow Head………..

For Further Information Click on: Reviving North County Wicklow’s Inshore Fisheries Socio – Economic Modal.

Bass Hat-Trick

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

My surf pole bounced in its stand as the rod top first hauled forward then immediately straightened in unison with the main line billowing. Instinctively grabbing the rod I ran backwards into the darkness while simultaneously reeling, my rod heels over, a thump thump contact is made and a good fish swims diagonally to my right. Now retracing my steps towards the water while keeping a tight line a fine bass appears in my headlight beam, all silver and spray as the fish head shakes in the surf line.

Bass fishing in County Wexford, Ireland.

My third bass of the evening all of which were like peas in a pod ranging three to four pound in weight, plump hard fighters in great condition. This fellow like the others had taken freshly dug black lugworm presented on a two hook paternoster fished at about 60 meters into what was a flat calm sea. Earlier a slight breeze wafting from the south east had manufactured mini wavelets however it died off as night fell to create a muggy, foggy, still evening. The strand now deserted of holiday makers was pitch black other than for the narrow swath of light cut by my head lamp beam. Apart from the swoosh of a single wave an eerie silence prevailed.

Beach fishing for bass in County Wexford, Ireland.

On only my second visit to this particular mark, I had always felt it would deliver on a big night tide, this being a four meter full in at 20.30 pm my hunch was proved correct. The first bite as dusk merged into dark had been just a tickle on the rod top, barely visible I thought it was a flat fish. The second had been a rod pulling rush out to sea, rod top bending over and staying down, the third a slack liner as described above. Three bass complimented by two flounder all condensed into a half hour blur of action, then it was over and the road home called…………

Sea Fishing in Wexford: Welsh Rarebit

Monday, September 14th, 2015

South Wexford has the ability to deliver quality sea fishing even when the odds are stacked heavily against you. Stalwart supporters and promoters of Irish sea angling Alan Duthie, Daron Lawry, Clive Jones and friends were making their third trip of Summer 2015 to Ireland only for the weather Gods to throw an almighty spanner in the works. Planning a September shore and boat fishing visit strong south easterlies not only forced the boys to stay ashore they also pushed mountains of wrack onto the beaches making shore angling extremely difficult.

Welsh sea angler Daron Lawry displays a fine shore caught  Wexford bass.

Undeterred the lads asked around and plummed on a beach venue free from the worst excesses of floating weed and set about fishing. Using bait supplied by local digger Joe Carley the boys were soon into fish, mainly good sized flounder with the cream reserved for Daron Lawry who caught a grand 55 cm bass.

Clive Jones with a grand beach caught Wexford flounder.

Not to be outdone the lads beached numerous flounder up to three pound in weight exemplified by the beauty displayed by Clive Jones in the photo above, as they say, out of adversity. Autumn into early Winter is the prime time to shore fish Wexford with resident bass and flounder mixing with codling, coalfish and dab to give wonderful sport which usually lasts until mid to late January. Tight lines………..

Sea Fishing in Ireland: Clones Strand, Co. Wexford

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Sea fishing on Ireland’s east coast has literally gone to the dog’s and do not let anybody tell you otherwise. Three evening beach fishing trips to date this summer to once quality locations has resulted in dogfish and immature flat fish, whiting, smooth hound pups and tope pups with no adults of any description to include bass and smooth hound. Make no mistake, this boy can fish, correct baits were employed to include lug and peeler, fishing evening into dark. The powers that be need to kop on, a resource with the potential to create tourism employment and maintain existing service industry jobs is being frittered away for short term gain.

Sea fishing at Clones Strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

A mid July 2015 session last weekend on Clones Strand, Co. Wexford ended in frustration and disappointment as medium sized dogfish and mini smooth hound, tope and whiting kept taking baits because quite simply commercial over fishing has removed not only the adults but also the multi species biodiversity which used to exist along this stretch of coastline.

Across the water, not 50 miles away, is a market of traveling sea anglers worth €120 million, which is €20 million more in potential tourism angling revenue then Ireland earned in total for 2014 and that from just one angling category in just one country. Does anybody elected to or employed by Government realise this missed opportunity or do they even care?

Further Information see Angling Marks: Clones Strand.

Sea Fishing Wexford: Dogfish Central

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Ballymoney strand is a beach that I have never fished. Ironically, most of the beaches south of Arklow I rarely set foot on until the race to catch smooth hound picked up in the early 1980′s. In those days venues such as Morriscastle, Tinnebearna and Blackwater produced amazing catches of ray, spurdog, smooth hound, bass and the odd tope to those anglers who commenced fishing at dusk. Today, while the area can still produce quality bass catches most bites, if they do materialise will come from dogfish.

Evening sea fishing off Ballymoney strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Digging juicy fat black lugworm the day before I placed them wrapped in newspaper in the fridge to toughen up. The secret with lug when gathering is to separate whole ones from split by utilising two buckets. For some reason also two day old lugworm appears better at attracting fish, with dabs especially partial to sticky black gutless wraps.

Dogfish

Anyhow, back to the fishing. Meeting up as planned with the two David’s and coarse fisher extraordinaire Robbie on Ballymoney strand we set up to the left and commenced fishing round 20.00 pm. Armed with lug, rag and crab, smooth hound were the prime target with bass our secondary option. A light south easterly breeze created a bit of movement in the water which raised our hopes for bass. From the get go rod tops nodded that slow dogfish lean and so it transpired. Doggies homed in on whatever bait adorned the hooks. By half ten although both rods were kept busy I called it a night, catching and releasing dogfish not my ideal cup of tea. On the plus side, I’ve got my seasonal shore fishing hand in………..

The European Bass Fishery, Wake Up and Smell the Roses!!

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Let us be clear and with not a hint of arrogance this angler can catch bass. Living within south east Ireland yours truly has access to a variety of marks ranging from estuaries to rocky headlands, tide races to storm beaches, all local habitats where over the last fifty years bass once swam in prolific numbers, were summarily decimated by both angler and commercial activity in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s before making a partial recovery post 1990. Between 1998 and 2008 the recovering south east of Ireland bass fishery delivered consistent sport, enough to sustain a burgeoning tourist angling product. Today it stutters after 24 years of Irish Government initiated protection, why?

Competition landings of bass for Cork Sea Angling Club members 1963 - 2013.

Ref: Ed Fahy, 2014

Yesterday afternoon this writer after close on thirty hours of fishing effort over seven trips landed two five pound bass attracted by a shallow diving plug worked through a tide race within five minutes of commencing fishing. Great stuff you say, however the bigger picture must be taken into account, late summer/early autumn in south Wexford relative to the tides, times and marks fished should have delivered those much appreciated bass thirty hours previously, bass fishing in Wexford unfortunately experiencing terminal decline since 2010.

Irish bass from the archives, 2008 to be precise.

To place the feat in perspective Jim Hendrick’s last ever French clients, yes Jim has closed his successful and professionally run high end bass guiding business, South East Angling Ireland, after 10 years trading, encountered only 9 bass in over 120 hours lure and fly fishing over the last set of spring tides. Five years ago the same three anglers would have averaged 180 bass between them. Yours truly has lovely images of four bass caught yesterday ranging from 4 – 8 lbs. Until professionalism and responsibility is applied from decision makers, commercial interests and recreational anglers alike, An Irish Anglers World will not publish another bass image ever, the image above an oldie from 2008.

Recent annual bass returns for South East Angling Ireland.

Having attended and presented a perspective on the actual benefit of recreational angling to south east Ireland at the North Western Waters Advisory Council Bass Workshop held in Dublin Castle last Thursday 18/09/2014 it became clear how little is known about the species at official level and how the way forward to better management of the species is staring all vested interests in the face, sadly many but not all of them cannot see the wood for the trees. “When all interested parties to include the political establishment view the resource as a public owned entity then begin to learn, understand and accept the needs and wants of all interested parties, then reach out and through dialogue build trust the bass will survive and prosper”. Continue on the same old tack regurgitating the same old failed self centered mantras and you may kiss the European bass fishery goodbye, Ed Fahy’s “LPUE” graph a true reflection of where the fishery is at today………

Six Species from a Rolling Sea

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Codling, whiting, pouting, flounder, dogfish and bass, the beach mark which fished so poorly last week opened its autumnal door a chink and hinted at what is to come. A warm south east breeze pushed a heavy swell onto the strand creating a large, heavy, single crumping wave which roared on breaking before racing creamily up the shingle bank. Water fizzed, the air was muggy and mackerel fishers lined the strand as Ger and I cast southwards into the deep gully. Employing fresh black lugworm on a rising tide full at 21.30 pm, Ger hit immediate pay dirt with three schoolie bass weighing 2 – 3 pound each within the first hour, happy days.

Sea fishing in Ireland, playing a bass on a south Wexford strand.

Fishing slowed after the initial flurry, however as dusk merged into dark yours truly landed a whiting/flounder double followed by a dogfish, Ger beaching a pouting. Post full tide a succession of codling in the pound class came to both our rods. Indication of a year class probably spawned in 2012, these young fish which have been evident within offshore charter boat catches all summer giving hope for the future and of course the winter shore codding to come.

An Irish school bass for shore angler Gerry Mitchell.

Yesterday evening showed how much energy the sea has stored up, the single wave digging out a hole in front of us at least six foot deep which ran right along the strand, then filled it in again as the tide receded. Swimming here and or wading is a complete no no. Mackerel fishers who the previous night enjoyed good catches by casting their feathers and kilty lures into the marauding shoals found it difficult to fish this evening due to the forty meter wide maelstrom in front of them. Natures washing machine releasing stored up ozone and oxygen into the air, it is sights, smells and sounds like this which make sea fishing so interesting, all told a nice evening……..

Slow Evening on the Beach

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

An Irish Anglers World describes and illustrates Irish angling as it presents, good, bad or indifferent. When reading the posts one has to take into account the competency of the angler, experience, effort, bait used, time of day, tide and other such variables. However what should never be lost on the reader is that the accounts are true, accurate and written with objectivity, when its good its good and when its bad, well………

Gerry Mitchell beach casting off a Sth County Wexford strand.

A first beach casting session for this angler since September 2013 has to be taken into account, after all one has been out of the loop, that said, a sum haul of 2 small flounder, a 30 centimeter codling and a dogfish for two competent and experienced anglers utilising four rods over a five hour session is a poor return from a once productive strand. A waxing moon, tides getting bigger, dusk into dark and freshly dug large black lugworm all should have helped. Yes there was a light northerly breeze which flattened the sea and yes it was a falling tide neither of which in principal should have made a difference, still bait came in as it went out.

Twin Daiwa 7HT's.

Beach casting is this anglers favourite way to fish. A lot of effort, thought and cash was invested in last Saturday evening, departing early in the day to dig bait, lunch in a local pub, snacks, petrol which amounted to €60.00 and of course the €1000.00 plus worth of tackle that was employed on the day. Given a healthy inshore environment this angler would go beach casting at least once a week from June to December spending more or less the above amount on each occasion, that’s €1700.00 shared between garages, pubs and shops in the south east. No fish means no spend, it is about time that the Irish government realised that sea fisheries are a public resource and as such should be managed accordingly. No business worth its salt should mine itself into extinction, no business has the right to destroy a resource and at the same time seek recompense through political means for their folly. Yet this is exactly what the commercial sea fishing sector does and worse still Government complies, the famine like experience of last Saturday on a once productive south Wexford strand the sad outcome…………

The Lure of Sea Fishing

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

“That’s a grand looking lure Ger”, said I. Replying Ger iterated that it was a shallow diving plug with a particular action, “a cross between a surface and subsurface lure, watch”, and with a flick the lure was arcing through the air to land thirty meters out. On commencing the retrieve immediately a number of boiling swirls indicated fish, “get your spinner in the water Ash”. Fascinated by the offshore dance Ger’s words prompted yours truly back into life. Flicking out the silver Kilty, two turns of the handle and Bang fish on. Pulling and darting short runs commenced, an occasional flash of silver indicating where the fish was. Imagine the surprise when out of the calm sea emerged a garfish, an unusual catch for this neighbourhood.

Lure caught Garfish from a strand in Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

There was obviously a small shoal of them however no more were forthcoming. Proving an interesting end to another fine evening walking the strand while casting a line at various points along. This scribe has written at length about the damage wrought by unregulated whelk fishing and mussel dredging along the Co. Wicklow coastline, how an inshore aquarium was turned into a marine desert. Sadly one can also add the demise of North East Atlantic mackerel to this mix too. That said yesterday evening provided evidence that the sea possesses wonderful levels of endurance.

Fly fishing for bass, sea trout and mackerel off a Co. Wicklow strand.

Yesterday evening launce, a single small pollack and that garfish attacked my lure, a small shoal of about twenty grey mullet finned and filtered their way up tide parallel with the shoreline and a lone angler fly fished for sea trout, an odd fish announcing its presence, careening skywards then disappearing with a splash. A bass showed yesterday and Kit Dunne chartering out of Wicklow has contacted black bream, a mini revival? Time will tell, however to observe such marine life and behaviour along a much loved stretch of coastline after many barren years provides hope and that feels good……..

Bass from an Old Haunt

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

In 13 years I’ve only lure fished this once favourite mark twice, curiosity and nostalgia brought me back, will it still produce how has the workings of wind, wave and tide altered it? Not a lot really, a grey, calm, muggy first of September afternoon found me trudging up the beach to commence fishing on a neap high tide at a spot that pre 2001 delivered numerous bait and lure caught bass to 8.lb. With the ebb just commencing around 16.00 pm I cast my 32 gram silver kilty lure 70 meters out and slightly up tide, letting it swing round in the current and drop to a depth while counting to ten. Retrieving slowly with intermittent faster bursts a heaviness signaled interest.

Lure fishing set up, Kilcoole beach, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Greater sandeel or launce are common in this area and a good indicator that bass could be present, a foot long, green backed and silver sided, the first of three or four along with a small pollack attracted to the kilty lure as I worked my way slowly southwards to the car park. Water clarity was good, a sea trout jumped Polaris like and a fish, most likely a bass swirled in the back eddy up tide of the point. Dicentrachus remained aloof to my lure but no matter to be in an old haunt brought back memories and conversations with fellow anglers on the strand made for an interesting session.

A nice wee bass from Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

To Terry and Stephen, it was nice meeting and having a chat, your insight and sharing of information was much appreciated. As for Jeremy, well done on your first lure caught bass and thank you for sending the image. Over the years this beach has produced numerous bass up to specimen weight and it is nice to see that one or two fish are still about. With settled weather forecast for the next three days this soldier will definitely return for an early morning or evening session.