Posts Tagged ‘Estuary fishing’

Estuary Bonus

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Autumn in Ireland is when estuary fishing comes into its own and whisper this, we do not concentrate on them enough. Not easy to fish being heavily influenced by tidal movement, muddy, full of pesky bait robbing crabs, expansive in area the angler often faced with limited access points and of course so full of food items that one wonders would the fish be bothered at all taking a random bait. Well brothers and sisters the piscatorial inhabitants of estuaries do take a well presented offering so long as it is the correct one with green shore crab, especially when they are moulting, top of the hit parade.

Green shore crab in peeling mode, a top bait for many sea species.

Targeting flounder yours truly ordered and collected two dozen ready to pop fresh peeler crab from Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies before heading towards a new location for this angler with exploration in mind. Estuaries by their nature are not designed for static fishing most species moving up and down the main and various side channels with the tide quartering for grub. Usually following a set pattern it is not unusual to meet fish like clockwork at a particular point relative to tidal movements and the time of day, only regular fishing trips unlocking these secrets. Experience will suggest ambush points such as estuary mouths, the main channel and the entrances to creeks and pills and it is these that one should gravitate towards if unfamiliar with a particular estuary location.

Estuary bass from south east Ireland.

Commencing to fish an hour after high water having checked where the main channel was located relative to my chosen mark on “Google Earth”, a flowing two hook paternoster baited with whole peeler was precisely cast into the slowly emptying creek. Setting up another identical rig ten minutes later it happened, down went rod number one, a true wrap around bite delivered with real purpose. No messing here, surf pole in hand leaning into an obviously large angry bass the rod kicked, thirty meters out the surface boiled and thrashed before dicentrachus moving up through the gears exited stage right. Negotiating an inshore bladder wrack bank no sooner did its belly hit the muck then the hook fell out, quick finger under the gill and a plus silver beauty lay safely above the tide line.

Estuary flounder from south east Ireland.

Lighting up a grey, damp, blustery day estuaries can do this, flounder were the target species however coalies, codling, gilt head bream and bass all in season frequent the same locations creating opportunities for mixed bags and welcome surprises, this fish being no exception, wonderful. Safely returned, it was not long before a good old tap, tap, lean indicated flounder, the first of five it topped a pound and a half in weight. Two quality fish in the space of ten minutes, within an hour as the creek emptied bites ceased necessitating a move to a deeper location and a date with gadus morhua but that’s another story……..

Flounder on the Drop.

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Collecting bait from Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies at the unearthly hour of 08.00 am on Sunday morning, I headed towards a favourite mark for a spot of flounder fishing. Timing my arrival to coincide with high water at 09.00 am, and with the venue fishing well for both bass and flounder, I was confident that Joe’s fresh peeler crab and lug would do the business. Setting up two rods with identical two hook paternoster rigs incorporating long flowing snoods, 2/0 hooks, and beads, each rig was baited identically using crab on the bottom hook with lug on the top.

Early morning flounder from a south Wexford estuary.

The first hour was quiet accept for the resident crab population who devoured the lugworm within seconds of hitting the water, thankfully the crab was more resilient. With bait being used up at a rate of knots I switched to using only one set of gear. About two and a half hours into the ebb as the surrounding mud banks began to show and the estuary channel became more defined flounder began to show interest. My rod top started to nod repeatedly and then leaned over, fish on. Reeling in I could feel the weight, entering the shallows a quick dip of the head, a few flaps of its tail and a good flounder slides up the bank.

A brace of quality estuary flounder from Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Bites were now coming thick and fast and it wasn’t long before I had beached three good fish. Noticing a couple of anglers setting up near me and wanting to save bait for a few hours beach fishing in the afternoon, I packed up and wandered over. Pat Murphy and Tom Dunphy are locals who fish this estuary regularly and know its form. Within the past week they have had bass to over 8.lbs along with some quality flatfish. They weren’t doing to bad today either with six flounder between them, all on crab.

Pat Murphy with a nice estuary flounder.

Chatting about various angling based issues the time flew, Tom beached another couple of fish and then the bites went off. With the tide nearly full out most flounder had passed through or had settled down in the mud waiting for the first push of the flood. That would be two hours from now so with a plan to fish a nearby strand for bass I said my goodbyes to the chaps. Walking towards the car I reflected on what had been a very productive morning. Here’s hoping the afternoon is as good.

See also: Floundering Around in Co. Wexford.


Gale Force Wexford Flounder.

Friday, February 4th, 2011

I love flounder fishing so when Gerry Mitchell rang to say he was heading down to south County Wexford for an end of season flattie hunt he had an instant companion. Ordering lugworm from the human JCB, thanks bimbo, we arranged to meet at the prearranged mark around 10.00 am. With low water set for midday that gave us approximately two hours of the ebb and the start of the flood, a good time to target flounder at the chosen venue.

A quality south Wexford estuary flounder tempted by lugworm.

On arrival I could see that John “Ringo” Ring had made the journey as well. Deja vu kicked in, the last flounder hunt I had spent with John in November 2009 a gale had been blowing, today was no different. A south westerly increased through the afternoon blowing force 8 by the time we called it a day. Grey skies promised rain but luck was on our side as it did not fall during the session. On the previous occasion we had caught good numbers of flounder with “Ringo” excelling landing doubles and a fine treble. Today things were slower but we were still hopeful.

Estuary fishing for flounder, south county Wexford, Ireland.

Crab and floating weed can be a problem at this venue, today the crab were less active (a legacy of the cold winter no doubt), however weed was wrapping itself around our lines, thankfully not too much. As the tidal run eased towards low water it fell away. Correspondingly the flounder which had been conspicuous by their absence started to show. Gerry let a whoop as a prime flattie slid from the water being not able to resist Sandymount lugworm.

Gerry Mitchell with the stamp of flounder common in south Wexford estuaries.

It’s possible that the floating weed had been masking the bead festooned traces and lugworm baited hooks, because over the turn of the tide before the flood started to push up the estuary channel four good flounder were banked. Easily averaging a pound and a half and in great condition, Gerry landed a brace with a single to John and I.

John "Ringo" Ring with a quality County Wexford, Ireland, flounder tempted by crab.

All fish were caught on lugworm bar John’s which fell to crab. Considering six rods were in action baited frequently this may seem like a poor return, not so. February is the tail end of the season, most flounder having left the estuary on their spawning migration. The quality and size of fish were good, and as a parting wave to this writers 2010/2011 sea angling year the session was a complete success. Roll on May…..

Further Reading: Floundering Around in Co. Wexford.

Specimen Flounder from the South East

Monday, November 15th, 2010

They just keep coming, 9.ozs of specimen county Wexford flounder for Mick Doyle of the Greystones Ridge Sea Angling Club. A planned weekend session after the lunker flatties came right for Gerry Mitchell and Mick with a haul of five good flounder. Peeler and lugworm were the key baits and a definite pattern is forming regarding the stage of tide when these monster flatfish start to feed.

Michael Doyle of the GRAC with a 9.oz specimen Wexford flounder.

A perfect day for flounder fishing, frosty with only a light breeze. The cold slows down the activity of crab making hook baits last that bit longer so giving the flounder an opportunity to home in. Utilising flowing beaded traces which appeal to the inquisitive nature of flounder, it was not until late afternoon that the flounder started to bite.

Peeler crab, the top flounder bait.

In a flurry of activity the flounder came on with Mick landing the biggie to no surprise. Some people have a fish magnet built in and Mick Doyle has the gift, if there was anyone going to catch a specimen yesterday it was he. That is two specimens in one week from a cracking venue, they will not be the last. Practice catch and release.