Posts Tagged ‘jelly worms’

Shore Fishing in Ireland, Pollack a Plenty

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Copper burnished sides, bottle green back, with their huge eyes and jutting jaw, pollack are a handsome predator designed to ambush small bait fish from below, swimming up from the dark depths at lightning speed akin to a fighter pilot attacking out of the sun. Present all around our coastline they are particularly numerous along our south western sea board and can grow to a very large size, double figure pollack on some deep water marks being a real possibility with the average size certainly running four pounds. A recent trip to a favourite West Cork haunt provided superb pollack fishing from a variety of shore locations along with an eye opening first kayak trip for close friend Gary Robinson.

An 4.oz shore caught pollack for UK angler Roger Ball.

Pollack like deep water kelp laden habitats where rock pinnacles or steep cliffs rise sharply upwards, the Beara peninsula in West Cork being home to an abundance of such marks. Jelly worming is a technique that lends itself well to these locations and over the last few days produced superb fishing for my friends and I. With depths ranging from 40 to 90 feet the experience is like gilling from a boat and equally as fun with on occasions a fish a chuck the order of the day. Rigs comprise Mr Twister worms threaded over 2/0 round bend hooks attached to 4/6 feet of amnesia line, swivel, main line, bead, and running 60 gram barrel lead, which are then cast out and allowed to sink until the lead hits bottom whereupon the retrieve commences.

UK angler Dave Hoskins casting jelly worms for pollack in deepest West Cork, Ireland.

Reeling slowly the jelly worm rises up at an angle from the sea bed imitating swimming sea worms or sand eels. The pollack see the silhouette rise up and engulf before kicking the tail, turning and swimming back down again. To the angler a first sign is a weight coming on the line as the pollack grabs hold of the worm tail, just keep reeling and don’t strike. Eventually the fish will have all the bait in its mouth whence it will crash dive for the bottom, that’s when the fun starts.

A nice pollack in the five pound bracket.

Have the drag set right and hold on, during this trip friends Roger Ball, Gary Robinson, and I got smashed by fish diving towards Neptune’s lair with incredible speed and power. Allowing for that we still landed shore caught pollack to 8.lbs 4.oz and kayak caught fish into double figures, we know this because Gary brought two fish home which were gut hooked, one weighed 4.oz hours after capture which was dwarfed by a fish he caught and released later. The shore pollack fishing we experienced this week was superlative and as for the kayak angling, “ridiculous” said Gary, he’d never caught so many large fish in his life. Without doubt big pollack are a sport fish to be reckoned with, in my opinion right up there with bass. They may not have the staying power, but that first crash dive, wow…….

Further reading, click on: Jelly Worms for Shore Pollack.


Rock Hopping for Pollack and Bull Huss.

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

For the last session of our weekend on the Beara David and I chose a rough ground venue much favoured by Paul Harris of Dromagowlane House. On the morning in question Paul kindly offered to show us the way down to the mark, as it is down a maze of twisty lanes and thus difficult to find. On arrival Paul gave us a heads up of the location, species present, and the best fishing spots. Thanking him we said our goodbyes before sorting out our equipment and packing what we needed into rucksacks, then made our way out onto a low headland. The morning was dull and windless and the sea flat calm ideal for a spot of rock hopping. David was mad keen to catch a conger, while I was hoping for a bull huss.

David Murphy with a nicely coloured Beara Peninsula pollack.

Finding our first fishing location, a steep cliff giving access to deep water, the rock formation thankfully was stepped and so quite easy to climb down. Choosing a rock platform high enough above the lazy swell to act as a base, we decided to warm up with a spot of jelly worming for pollack.  Using a ten foot spinning rod with matching reel, I rigged up a trace comprising a 60 gram barrel lead above a bead and swivel to which was attached by five foot of amnesia a 2/0 kamazan 496b. Threading on red jelly worms David (using similar tackle) and I commenced fishing, casting 70 meters then letting the lead touch bottom before slowly retrieving. The pollack initially were not obliging but after about an hour things picked up with takes occurring regularly. Pollack up to 4.lbs hooped our rods over crash diving towards the kelp, it was great fun, they are a true sport fish.

Jelly worming for pollack on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

Replacing the jelly worm with a set of hokais I commenced fishing for mackerel to no avail, with only one frozen mackerel between us conger king David took control. Setting up a rotten bottom ledger rig he cast out our sole predator bait about 40 meters tightened up and waited. Within five minutes the rod top nodded then heeled over, lifting into the fish his Zziplex beachcaster took on a mean curve. A tug of war fight with occasional strong dives  ensued, after a couple of minutes the fish showed in the clear water below. Occasional flashes of a white belly and a dark back initially had me thinking conger, but on reaching the surface Dave and I were delighted to see that it was a fine huss.

A mean Beara bull huss for David Murphy.

In fact a very big bull huss, well over the mark and mean to boot vomiting it’s stomach contents up as we attempted to extract the hook, edible crab and fish bones comprising a lot of the contents. Pitch black with characteristic blotches on it’s tail we took a few quick snaps and returned it to Davy Jones locker, where upon he swam away none the worst for wear. Dave was shaking and absolutely delighted, as was I, our species count was now up to a creditable eight and we had broken two Beara ducks thanks to a cracking bull huss and the quality bass fishing from the evening before.

See also: Beara bass.

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 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.

By Hook or by Cullenstown?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Fishing unfamiliar marks is a challenge that broadens our knowledge and improves our skill as anglers. New places, fishing conditions, and people, contribute to the fun of the sport, making the effort and preperation worthwhile even if we do not always catch fish on the first visit.

Bass fishing, the bar at Cullenstown, Co. Wexford

The estuary mouth bar at Cullenstown looks a dangerous enough mark to fish at the best of times. The volume of water flowing out through the approximately eighty meter gap is phenomenal. On arriving yesterday I spied a lone angler a hundred metres off the main beach, fronted by crashing grey waves and completely surrounded by moving water. An hour off low tide, reasoning that he was local and knew the form, I waded out. Mainly hard sand with occasional patches of shifting gravel, the water although never more than calf deep had such a force that I could not help feeling uneasy. One slip here and you are gone. Exchanging greetings we talked fishing. Paddy Deveraux has shore fished Cullenstown all his life. He has had bass to off the bar, always uses lugworm, and even fishes the mark at night, retreating to the main beach just before the tide turns. Not for the feint hearted, I’ll stick to the beach and fish the incoming tide thank you.

Hook Head, Co. Wexford, Ireland

The previous evening an exploratory trip to Hook Head after pollack using jelly worms resulted in a string of small fish. The biggest pollack, in the three pound bracket, seemed to prefer 60 gram barrel leads as against the lure. Twice in full view this fish came up from below hammering the lead, pulling the rod tip over, before diving back into the kelp. Hook Head is flat and the rock platforms, numbered for competitions, are stepped making them ideal for fishing. The water offshore is not deep, I counted to no more then ten before the lead hit bottom.

Beach fishing along the Hook peninsula, Co. Wexford

Later that evening Davy and I surf fished a likely bay at the base of the Hook peninsula close to the village of Fethard. Using lug for bait and on a falling tide to be honest we were not overly optimistic. With rocks at either end of the strand we knew that bass were present but would they show. A flounder and a schoolie bass later our hopes were raised only to be dashed by a blanket of weed washed across with the ebbing tide from a far corner of the strand. Calling it a night further investigation revealed that an incoming tide coupled with a southerly breeze will bring bass onto this strand. Outside of that lure fishing the rocks can be productive with fish to double figures, however there is no pattern with the result that fishing can be hit and miss.

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,, 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.