Posts Tagged ‘Beara Peninsula’

Dab Hand on the Beara.

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Finally the strong winds of late abated and a period of calm frosty weather enabled a long since planned Beara Peninsula trip to take place. Primarily targeting winter species but with a view to gauging when the summer visitors finally depart, this early November visit would answer a number of questions while hopefully providing some quality fishing. Booking into Dromagowlane House the superb angler friendly B/B ran by Paul and Anne Harris, situated in Adrigole half way between Castletownbere and Glengarriff, my friend David and I were central to a variety of tried and tested marks which we couldn’t wait to get out on.

A dab double header from the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

First port of call was a specimen dab mark sheltered from the still big Atlantic swell and it did not disappoint. Clear skies indicated a frosty night to come, and a north west breeze made the afternoon progressively chilly as the sun went down. Fishing a falling tide David and I expected codling to show along with the dabs and so it transpired. Baiting up two hook paternosters with lug and ragworm we casted onto sandy ground 100 meters offshore. The first hour was quiet then a nod on my rod top followed by a purposeful thump produced a nice codling in the two/three pound bracket. Next cast a rattling bite translated into a fine dab, followed by a double dab header, and so it went on until night closed in.

A cracking beara codling which fell for lugworm.

Tired from our five hour journey we called it a day as darkness fell with five species (codling, pollack, plaice, dab, flounder) and at least one specimen dab under our collective belts. The next day fortified by a substantial Dromagowlane full Irish we headed to a favoured plaice mark. The day was a scorcher, hard to believe it was early November, hopefully the spotted beauties would still be in residence. Linking up with Mike Hennessy of Inland Fisheries Ireland we casted our lug, rag, and peeler baited hooks into a rising tide full in at midday. Bites commenced immediately with lugworm tempting a plump codling for yours truly.

Double flounder for David Murphy on his first Beara trip.

Things slowed up after that with dogfish predominating, that is unless you were David Murphy. On his first trip to this wonderful sea angling outpost he hit pay dirt with a succession of prime flounder, including a cracking double header all taken on lugworm. The plaice didn’t show but we weren’t short of flatties,  and with dogfish adding to our species tally we upped sticks around 15.30 pm with a view to targeting bass later that evening, of which more later…

For further reading, click on: Beara Bass.

See also: Beara Peninsula Guide.

The Right Plaice at the Right Time.

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

It’s fantastic when it all comes together. As anyone who reads this blog regularly will have gathered I love catching flatfish, especially big flatties. They look good, fight hard on light tackle (especially if boat caught), and taste great. Grossly over exploited commercially large plaice are a rare catch nowadays, in particular for shore anglers. Having fished a now favourite shore mark, initially on a hunch that plaice might swim within range, I was rewarded immediately with some fine fish to over a pound and a half. Instinct told me that bigger specimens were out there.

A three pound nine ounce shore caught plaice, wonderful.

So I was delighted when Paul Harris, who runs along with his wife Anne that fine angler friendly establishment Dromagowlane House on the Beara peninsula West Cork, Ireland, sent me the above photograph. One of six good plaice landed by two UK tourist anglers from that special mark. At 3.lbs 9.ozs it not only rubber stamps my hunch, but also shows how a protected location can allow fish such as the fine specimen above to reach a good average size, even in the 21st century. Great stuff….

Beara Peninsula Blues.

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

I love the blues, from the Delta to Chicago, Son House, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy, the music that gave us modern rock and roll. The swimming variety equally has its place, even more so if they exceed 100.lbs in weight and can be caught on a cloudless, windless, scorcher of a day miles out in the Atlantic off West Cork, such is the case presently as the annual migration of blue shark follow the Gulf Stream into Ireland’s warmed up coastal waters. Chasing shoals of mackerel blue shark although recorded all around the coast of Ireland are most plentiful along the southern, south west, and western sea boards.

A specimen 112.lb blue shark caught 12 miles off the Beara Peninsula, West Cork by Adrian Sparrow.

A pelagic species averaging 50 – 60 lbs weight in Irish waters, any blue over 100.lbs is considered a specimen, while the current rod and line record is a 206.lb fish caught off Achill Island in 1959. Lovers of deep water, they prefer depths in excess of 15 fathoms, blue shark first begin to appear in June/July if the weather is warm usually 10 – 20 miles offshore, moving to within 5 miles of the coast by August/ September before departing as our inshore waters cool down into October.

Feeding on mid water shoals of mackerel, sprat, and pilchard, they will venture to the bottom in search of food and are quite common in areas where whiting frequent. Sleek, steel blue in colour with a large streamlined head, pectoral fins like wings, and an angular tail, they are a indeed a handsome fish and a worthy quarry.

A 2.lb 14.oz Whiting for John Angles, skipper of charter vessel Tigger II out from Castletownbere, West Cork, Ireland.

John Angles is the skipper of charter vessel Tigger II working the fish rich waters off Castletownbere on the Beara peninsula, West Cork. When conditions allow he will take out groups of up to five angler’s blue shark fishing, charging €440.00 per charter which is very good value. On his first trip after blues this season an hour into the first drift Adrian Sparrow hit the jackpot with a spectacular 112.lb specimen. Two further blue sharks of 55.lb and 75.lb were boated also on what was a red letter day.

John along with his wife Maree runs Inches House and Boat Angling Centre, offering B/B and self catering accommodation close to the village of Eyeries on the Beara peninsula. They can be contacted through their website www.eyeries.com, or by phone at, +353 (0)27 74494. Why not combine a shore and boat angling safari to this beautiful corner of Ireland, John knows plenty of first rate shore marks and can advise on a range of species from pollack and wrasse, to conger, ray, bull huss, flatfish, codling, and bass. While offshore, besides the blues, he can put you over quality mixed ground fishing for haddock, cod, whiting, pollack, and coalfish, before hitting the rough for large conger and ling.

Sea Fishing in Ireland. Coastal Mullet.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Setting out onto the headland we chose a bluff in the distance as a fishing platform and walked towards it. The sun was shining but the winds were still strong from a west/south west direction. Even though the seas had abated all our favourite rock marks were dangerously unfishable. Only for the shelter of the aforementioned bluff Roger and I would not be fishing today at all. Approaching and looking down we saw at first what looked like a raft of floating weed which on closer attention proved to be a large shoal of mullet about 2 – 3 metres wide and about thirty metres long feeding on the surface.

Shore caught mullet from the Beara Peninsula, West Cork.

Waves were bouncing off the cliff face, surging back on meeting the next approaching wave they clashed producing a foam line where obviously food particles or plankton were collecting so concentrating the mullet. Setting up a coarse float rig using a large balsa float cocked with four swan shot Roger proceeded to break up sliced pan, wetting the bread before moulding the pieces into a ball before tossing it into the sea along the foam line. On impact the bread broke up into fine particles and small lumps. Almost immediately the mullet started feeding which was not our normal experience, it usually takes longer if at all. In fact they went at the bread with abandon and were not in the one bit shy which we put down to the choppy sea.

Shoaling mullet on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

Roger folded a ten pence piece size of bread around a number eight hook and cast out. The float bobbed in the waves and grey ghostly shapes came over to investigate. She slid under and with a turn of the wrist the mullet was hooked. Line fizzed from the reel against the pre set drag, however this was a small fish weighing about 2.5 lbs and was soon in the net. Out went a new bait  followed by a dipping float and no connection. This form was repeated over another couple of casts before Roger set the hook on a better fish. Backwards and forwards the mullet ran boring deep on occasions the fish would just not give up. Eventually I readied the landing net and a fine fish slid into the folds. Broad backed this could be a specimen, we will never know for on removing the hook it flipped and landed back in the water.

Roger Ball playing a Beara mullet.

Roger fished on quickly landing another good mullet before he set the hook into another strong fish. This time there was no mistake, after a good tussle the mullet was netted transfered to the weigh net and brought the scales down to 5.lb 4.oz a specimen. We shook hands on a fine achievement, the mullet were on but it took skill and knowledge to winkle out four in the manner that Roger did given the conditions.

A specimen 5.lb 4.oz Beara Peninsula mullet for Roger Ball.

Two more mullet were landed by yours truly before we turned our attention to wrasse and pollack. Mullet have a mystique about them that they are impossible to catch. Roger is a Cornish man and a regular visitor to this corner of Ireland primarily for the fishing. He grew up targeting mullet and is not phased by any situation, “if you get them feeding they are no more difficult to catch then any other fish”. I would not doubt him and am indebted to his knowledge having now landed numerous mullet up to specimen size under his tutelage. Thanks Roger.

 

Sea Fishing in Ireland. Stormy Monday Flatties.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

It is always possible to find fish on the Beara even in the worst of weather as I found out over the last couple of days. Prospects looked grim for Roger and I with serial fronts blowing in from the Atlantic. Rain driven by strong winds which moved from north west to south and back again in the space of 36 hours makes for heavy seas and little shelter on this wonderful but exposed sea angling outpost. That said, a  weather window gave us an evening and one full days fishing before it all closed in again and we made the most of it.

A Beara flounder tempted by lugworm tipped with white ragworm.

Digging fresh lugworm and white rag  for bait we chose a relatively sheltered mark with flat fish in mind. Roger used a two hook flowing trace while I baited up a two hook paternoster. Distance has proved decisive on this location before and so it transpired again. From the get go dogfish made their appearance more or less every other cast to plain lug baits. Tipping off with white rag and being able to get that little bit further out due to the rig employed, a decisive pull down of the rod top followed by a slack line resulted in a fine flounder, the next cast producing a good codling. With night closing in we called it a day.

Evening sea fishing during rough conditions on the Beara Peninsula, Ireland.

The following evening during a temporary lull we used up the remainder of our lugworm fishing a different rock mark that again gave access to clean ground. This time we both used two hook paternosters banged out and what a session we had. Fishing about two hours into the rising tide we hit codling averaging 2.0 lbs on our first casts with no let up until the bait ran out. Super fishing similar to what we experienced last October capped off by a cracking pound plus dab, one part of a codling/flattie double header.

A pound dab tempted by lugworm while sea fishing on the Beara Peninsula, Ireland.

The fishing continued with double codling shots occurring at least three times. At close of play Roger had the best fish topping 2.5 lbs. We kept a few codling for the pot returning most to the water. Two year classes were evident, one year and two/three years. Codling breed in their forth year so we are not out of the woods yet, however as stated before if this obviously prolific stock is managed rather than exploited then there is hope for the species.

A mixed bag caught sea fishing on the Beara Peninsula, Ireland.

The Beara is full of surprises, I have not caught codling like this in May since the late 1980′s, and as for flatfish well I will keep coming back. In the last three trips I have landed numerous plaice to 1.5 lbs and dab to a pound plus, with a friend catching a 1.5 lb specimen dab. This is quality fishing for the times we are living in, long may it last.

Ray time on the Beara.

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

In advance of my trip down to West Cork it is nice to see that the fine weather has brought in the Ray. Fishing Dunboy Head a Dromagowlane House regular on holidays from England landed a 5.lb 12.oz specimen homelyn ray. The dry warm weather had brought sea temperatures up to a balmy 15 degrees encouraging fish to move in earlier than usual.

A specimen 5.lb 12.oz Homelyn Ray from the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

Other fish of note included pollack to 6.5 lbs, huss to 10.lb 12.oz, thornback ray to 8.5 lbs, and conger to 20.lbs. As May progresses the fishing will continue to improve only slowing down inshore if there is a prolonged period of rain.

Thank you to Paul Harris, Dromagowlane House, Adrigole, Beara Peninsula, Cork, for the update and image.

Beara Peninsula Adventure

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A sea fishing trip to the Beara Peninsula over the October weekend delivered in spades. The weather was typical for the south west ranging from mediterranean, to monsoon, to full on gale, however given the nature of the terrain a fishy mark was always available and boy were the fish obliging. Over three full days shore angling intrepid visitors from England Roger Ball, Dave Hoskins, Rob Hume, and I landed ten species of fish to include pollack, coalfish, codling, wrasse, mackerel, scad, mullet, plaice, dab, and dogfish. With a sizable conger lost at the waters edge and one or two marks off limits due to the sea and weather conditions our species tally could definitely have been higher.

A six pound plus Beara Peninsula pollack for Roger Ball.

The Beara is a rocky outpost in Ireland’s south west totally undiscovered in terms of sea angling. Having fished there on four occasions previously I am aware of its potential but this trip really took the biscuit. Circumstance due to the weather put us on marks we had not considered initially and the results were startling. With out doubt our group enjoyed the best mixed shore fishing any of us have had in twenty years. It was not just the species count but the quality of fish we encountered. Pollack to over six pound, four pound plus wrasse, codling up to four pounds, dinner plate plaice, and a specimen 1.lb 8.oz dab. Cornwall is England’s equivalent in terms of sea angling and the boys as one agreed that there is just no comparison, the Beara wins by a country mile.

Double header plaice, a rare catch in modern times.

Methods used included jelly worming and spinning for pollack, coalfish, mackerel, and codling, float fishing for mullet, down the wall for wrasse, and general shore casting over clean and mixed ground for a range of species to include the flatties. On a couple of occasions the flat rocks below our self catering cottage provided a nice platform to fly fish for pollack with a bonus fish being a large scad, a first for me on rod and line. Besides lures we bait fished with fresh mackerel, ragworm, locally collected hard back crab, and lugworm. The latter of which were big, black, and fleshy, ideal for the job in hand and devoured by the codling we encountered.

Beara peninsula codling.

The first full day of fishing took place under ideal conditions of blue skies and flat calm seas. We were  privileged to the point of distraction of seeing nature at its finest. Dolphins chasing shoals of mullet, mackerel, and herring, the water in front of us a virtual aquarium. Crystal clear and deep blue the kelp swayed, dense shoals of fish darted their sides reflecting the light, unseen predators from below causing the surface to occasionally boil, and this a backdrop to some top notch wrasse fishing. Presented with hardback crab or ragworm they attacked the baits with gusto, beautifully coloured and real bruisers what an afternoons sport.

A four pound plus bruiser of a wrasse from the Beara peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

The holiday provided lots of moments to savour and some real surprises. Over fishing in Ireland’s coastal waters has decimated cod and flatfish stocks rendering shore fishing for both a limited exercise. Working on hunches for the flat fish we hit pay dirt with plaice to over a pound and a cracking specimen dab for Plymouth’s Dave Hoskins, without doubt the best flattie fishing that I have encountered this side of 1990 in terms of numbers and size. Who needs to travel to Iceland with shore sport like this on our doorstep.

Specimen Beara peninsula Dab for Dave Hoskins.

Yes we had to work hard in terms of accessing marks, collecting quality bait, and braving the elements but it paid off. Ireland and the Beara peninsula opened the door to wonderful sea fishing opportunities for us capped by the best winter cod session any of us have had again this side of the early nineties. It might be that a set of circumstances have come together based on EU quota restrictions coupled with a good year class but the south coast of Ireland has a young cod stock again. Hopefully the powers that be give it a chance to grow and mature, we can only live in hope that those that manage get it right this time. That said let us not get morose, the Beara peninsula, West Cork, Ireland from May through to Christmas is a superb sea fishing destination for the shore angler. Its secrets unlocked with every new visit, this trip surpassed the wildest expectations of four seasoned sea anglers, a beautiful rugged location, a sea angling paradise.

Further Information: Beara Peninsula Guide.

See also: Beara Peninsula Magic.

Click on: Video clip, Rock Fishing on the Beara Peninsula.

Rock Hopping on the Beara

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

When it comes to sea angling on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, I do not need to be asked twice. So it was with great delight that I accepted an offer from Roger and Corinne Ball of West Sussex, England, who were holidaying on the Beara, to join them for a couple of days and go fishing. Heading down on Sunday last the 23rd May I made on overnight stop at Dromagowlane House,  http://www.dromagowlanehouse.com/, a bed and breakfast specialising in sea angling breaks ran by Paul and Anne Harris, located in Adrigole, out the road from Glengarriff on the way to Castletownbere.

Fishing the rocks at Urhan, near Eyeries, Beara, West Cork

Leaving Dromagowlane early Monday morning with a present of frozen sandeels from Paul, “the mackerel are scarce due to the cold winter”, I met up with Roger and Corinne around nine am. Based on last years fishing Roger recommended a trip out to Crow Head rock hopping with Pollack and Wrasse in mind. Filling our ruck sacks with just the necessary tackle we said our goodbyes to Corinne and headed off. The day was sweltering with hardly a cloud in the sky, little or no wind, and temperatures certainly rising to the high twenties. Leaving the car at the end of a lane we set out across the headland on foot.

A fine Crow Head Pollack

Roger pointed out a number of rock marks that he had fished last year. One in particular stood out, a flat shelf with reasonable access, which we opted for. What a choice, plenty of room with options to fish Wrasse, Pollack, and whatever might be lurking in the deep. Tackling up with jelly worms attached a meter below a 60 gram barrel lead we commenced fishing. Casting out and letting the lead hit the bottom before starting a steady retrieve resulted in a string of Pollack up to five pounds plus hitting the lures. Fishing on occasions was frantic with both rods buckling over as Pollack hit the jellies and crash dived for cover.

Another Crow Head Pollack for Roger Ball

Mid afternoon saw our attention turn to wrasse. Roger had collected some hardback crabs from the harbour at Garinish, supplemented with Ragworm we set about searching likely holes earmarked by white water generated by the lazy swell. Simple one hook rotten bottom rigs weighted by spark plugs were cast in. Almost immediately the wrasse attacked the baits with their customary double tap bites. Missing more than we hooked, these Beara wrasse are very adept at stripping baits, we still caught our fair share in the two to three pound bracket. Pugnacious fighters the wrasse put determined bends in the rods, with Roger hitting a real mother which eventually made its escape in the kelp forest below.

Roger with a fine Crow Head wrasse

The fishing did not abate right through the day and before we knew it day had turned into evening. We upped sticks and headed for home tired but exhilarated. We had only tipped at the potential, mullet were a constant site patrolling the rock edges, and surely the deeps must hold conger, huss, and probably ling. Mackerel were conspicuous by their absence, maybe the cold winter has delayed their arrival. However, mid June should see the fishing in full swing, I cannot wait.

Click on : Open sea mullet on the Beara , to read about a session targeting coastal mullet.