Posts Tagged ‘Kilcoole’

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 ┬álife 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.

Kayak Fishing for Tope, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Gary Robinson is an all round angler and a good one at that. He is quite comfortable trotting a quill float on the Barrow for dace, fly fishing for wild brownies on Roundwood reservoir, or targeting twenty pound pike up in Cavan or Monaghan. His latest venture was to seek out and catch a tope from his trusty kayak fishing the inshore waters off north Co. Wicklow. Now having seen and caught some biggies myself in recent years, the idea of hooking, playing, and landing one of these fast running bruisers from a kayak is nothing short of madness in my opinion, especially if it turns out to be the size of Gerry Mitchell’s monster tope from a few weeks back.

A north Co. Wicklow tope on the run.

That said, and allowing for youthful exhuberance, yesterday morning, Thursday 15th September 2011, Gary availed of a break in the windy weather to launch his kayak of a north Co. Wicklow strand. Here is his story;

I headed back down to a Wicklow beach this morning after a forecast break in the “hurricane” winds. I paddled out to my usual mark an dropped anchor for what will probably be my last roll of the dice for tope this year, from the kayak anyway, maybe one more day next week, we’ll see what the weather does. I had a couple of frozen macks with me and that is what I started with, putting a full one down on the tope rod. I put the tope rod in the rod holder and started jigging hokkais with the smaller rod just in case any fresh mackerel were passing through. They were and I managed to get a couple of fresh ones into the yak, backup for when I lost patience with the frozen. That took about an hour and with no runs by then i decided to change to a whole fresh mackerel bait. Whether it was coincidence or not I don’t know but the bait was on the bottom no longer than three minutes when the rachet started to scream.

I let it go for about ten seconds and then flipped the reel into gear. The rod buckled over…

Playing a tope from a kayak off north Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
….and the fish just kept on going and going down tide. After about a hundred yards or so I managed to turn her but then disaster, the bait was dropped. As I reeled it in, cursing away to myself the rod arched over again and I was back in business. I’m guessing the same fish was particularly hungry/aggressive and it held station, not wanting to come up off the bottom no matter what I did. This “Mexican stand off” ensued for a few minutes, as soon as I gained some line, the tope took some back. After what seemed an eternity the fish finally came into view…I got it up alongside the yak for a closer look and to size it up….

“No bother”, I thought and grabbed it by the tail to bring it up on board but this just made the fish very angry. With a couple of powerful flicks of the tail she was back on the bottom again and started to give me hell for another couple of minutes. Finally the tope accepted what was happening and I managed to haul it up onto the kayak and get to work on the hook. I managed a couple of shots when she was onboard but I figured out this morning that my next rigging project for the kayak is going to have to be a decent camera mount…..

One for the memory bank, a kayak caught tope, fantastic.

Tired after the ordeal, it took a couple of minutes of holding the fish steady in the tide before I felt the muscles in it flex. Wouldn’t be long now and sure enough the tail started to kick and thrash and just after giving me a soaking which must have been way of revenge, she slowly swam across the tide for about 20 yards and then descended back to the deeps.. By this stage the wind had started to freshen and the sea was starting to roll a little bit so I decided to quit while I was ahead and make my way back to the shore. What a morning though!!!!