Posts Tagged ‘jigging’

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Hey Joey

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Wild Swan rolled one mile south west of the Hook light house on a sea created by a stiff west south west wind pushing against a making tide, sea legs were the order of the day as we worked our hokais and feathers across mixed ground for pollack, coalfish, wrasse, and occasional codling.

A nice red rock codling from fishing grounds off the Hook lighthouse, Co. Wexford.

A trip arranged at short notice found myself and a group of Hungarian visitors sharing an afternoon charter aboard Wild Swan skippered by Jim Foley, thank you very much John Enright for letting us join your party. Leaving Ballyhack Quay at 12.30 pm we motored up the Waterford estuary past Arthurstown and Duncannon Fort before commencing an initial drift inside the Hook. Immediately we hit joey mackerel in good numbers, a plus and a minus it must be said, the fact that we caught so many is living proof of how the north east Atlantic mackerel fishery is being decimated at the present time, large numbers of juvenile fish a clear signal that the mature adults have been removed.

A colourful cuckoo wrasse boated off Hook Head.

Catching enough mackerel for bait and tea we motored out into a rolling sea beyond the brown water which flowed out of the estuary. Gannets, guillemots, and herring gulls followed the boat dipping into the water to retrieve tossed over fish carcasses shorn of their fillets for use as bait. Further cut into strips we baited our hokais and dropped them to the sea bed, which appeared to be mixed sand and rock. Mackerel hit regularly on both descent and retrieve but for the first hour ground fish proved elusive. A couple of moves eventually put us over productive ground with my rod bending over to a good red codling followed by a colourful cuckoo wrasse.

A brace of pollack.

Fish arrived intermittently over the next two hours, mainly smallish pollack with a smattering of coalfish, wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, codling, and dogfish. On another day we could have traveled further with ling and larger pollack in mind, but due to the conditions safety was paramount. At lines up though our group had boated seven species which under the circumstances was not bad, and we headed for shelter within the Waterford estuary a happy bunch.

Ballyhack, Co. Wexford based angling charter vessel "Wild Swan".

Skippered by Jim Foley, Wild Swan is a clean spacious vessel suitable for groups of up to 10 anglers. 2012 charter prices are €400.00 per day and €15.00 tackle hire. Why not give Jim a ring on 087 678 1245 for an end of season trip, Indian summers and calm seas almost a certainty at this time of year.

Further reading, Click on: Wild Swan off the Hook.

Boat Fishing off Greystones, July 24th, 2011.

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Greystones traditionally was a clean fish venue, the off shore mussel banks and the marly, kelpy ridge being home to a wealth of edible species with cod and plaice predominating. Fixated with boating our first tope of the season Gary and I set out for the third time ignoring the possibilities, however remote, that the fruits of yesteryear have returned to the old marks laid bare by over fishing, mussel dredging, and unregulated whelking. Instead we motored out towards Bray Head with mackerel in mind as bait for our toothy quarry.

Nearly a full string, mackerel off Bray Head, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Overcast, humid, and grey, light variable winds was the forecast, instead a fresh breeze blew from the north/north west creating a rolling sea. Plan B was now in action due to the deep channel off the moulditch being out of bounds, wind against tide known to generate steep short waves along the drop off east of the famous red buoy. Jean Anne, a hybrid lake boat, although wider in the beam and across the stern giving greater stability, is a plank too low on the free board so caution prevails.

Tidying the gear off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Again the mackerel were scarce, ones in the main being the order of the day, although on a couple of occasions the feathers were filled. Joeys again punctuated the catch along with a welcome codling, returned to grow bigger. A sign of better times? Fingers crossed. Having secured our bait we headed south to the kelp beds off the second river, tope have been caught from the shore here in the Autumn, so it was worth a try. No runs occurred but I can put to bed the theory that kelp does not now grow on the ridge and that this is the reason fish are absent, our anchor came up with a heap of brown weed attached, case closed.

A welcome codling off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

By now, 15.00pm, the breeze had shifted to the south and weakened, the sea had eased so we upped anchor and motored north east of the moulditch. Fishing whole and flapper mackerel we caught dogfish and small huss but again no tope. The tide, a neap, it has to be said was very slow with little flow and I am sure this was a factor. That said, three times out doing all the right things on the correct marks, with fresh bait, just the luck of the draw? We’ll persevere.

Heading for home, boat fishing off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

A decision was agreed on the way back to harbour, next time Gary and I will bring a bucket of lugworm and fish the leading edge of the ridge for codling, and try the Kilcoole bank for plaice, along with our tope quest. In that way we can not only achieve our predatory goal, but also increase our understanding of the present health of this once great fishery. Until then…

Boat Fishing off Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

A two day weather window enabled the Jean Anne to have her maiden sea voyage out off Greystones, Co. Wicklow. With settled anti cyclonic conditions, variable light winds, a biggish tide full at midday, Gary and I arranged to meet on the new slip at 08.30am. The new harbour, a monument to all that was wrong with the Celtic Tiger, looked impressive and even might have potential, if only they would finish it. For the moment at least though you can launch and retrieve a boat at low tide, I still believe however that silting will be a problem just like before.

Motoring north along the south beach, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Having planned a tope session fresh mackerel were a priority, at two humps off Bray Head we started trolling. An hour and a solitary mackerel later we were getting anxious, then off the cable rock we scored, mostly joeys with a few half decent fish, enough for bait though. With that we motored a mile or so to catch the start of the ebb at the back of the moulditch bank. Fishing into ten fathoms of water as the south run picked up a succession of doggies savaged our mackerel flappers along with one small huss.

Preparing to fish off the Moulditch, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Greystones fishing is an anti climax, it’s great to be out but you know what lies beneath and the evidence is all around you. Off Bray Head and southwards beyond the Moulditch strings of whelk pots litter the sea bed their presence indicated by makeshift plastic marker bouys. Three boats worked the area, one having steamed from Wicklow another from towards Dalkey/Dunlaoghaire. It’s called fishing down the food chain, these once prolific grounds in the recent past were fished by men with skill using traditional methods such as trammel and seine nets, long lines, and pots for large plaice, cod, sole, ray, salmon, sea trout, lobster and crab. Today these unregulated pirates in their smelly whelk boats take what is left after everything else has been removed, and to cap it all use edible crab for bait!

The new harbour entrance, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The tope, a ray of light amongst the desolation, did not show, still a little early perhaps. A few small boats were out though and it was nice to help on the slip and swap stories of the day, some traditions never change. Mackerel were scarce for everybody and any clean fish caught were small. Gary and I boated undersized gurnard, whiting, coalfish, and codling while jigging, and we heard reports of decent smooth hounds off the head to crab, squid, and worm baits. We will be back shortly for the tope and bigger huss which still run the deep channel, as for the rest? Forever the optimist….