Posts Tagged ‘Mullet’

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.

Vartry Estuary Mullet, the Return Visit.

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

On a high from the success of yesterday I could not resist another crack at the mullet. I rang a friend Gerry Mitchell to see if he wanted to accompany me but he was busy at work, so off I went arriving at the chosen location about 13.00pm, just before high tide. Setting up the coarse float fishing outfit I proceeded to fire torn up pieces of sliced pan into the water. Fish were wallowing in the current, bow waving, and occasionally turning flashing silver off their flank. Showing signs of interest, the resident mullet ignored the floating pieces but were quite happy to suck in bread which had started to sink.

Thick lipped Vartry Estuary Mullet tempted by bread flake.

Trotting my float towards a group of about five fish, like the day before I momentarily slowed its progress causing the hook bait to rise. Immediately as the hook covering bread flake rose a mullet swam over and mouthed it, striking too early the opportunity was gone. Re baiting I cast again repeating the procedure. This time a mullet approached the bread confidently, sucked in and turned. A sharp movement of the wrist, an explosion of spray, and my reel screamed as the fish ran upstream. Severel runs later just as I was netting the mullet I heard a voice, “in already, that didn’t take long”. It was Gerry looking down from the bank, he had rattled into the work and finished early, the lure of fishing.

Gerry Mitchell playing a River Vartry mullet.

“Where would you get it, fishing for a euro”, said Gerry gesturing towards his sliced pan. Setting up he fished in a similar way targeting groups of fish and working the float down towards them. Within five minutes the words “I’m in” were carried by the strengthening easterly breeze. Looking up I saw Gerry playing a good fish. After a short fight he beached a nice mullet. Admiring the fish, easily four pounds plus, we took a few snaps and released it back from whence it came.

Gerry Mitchell with a fine Vartry estuary mullet.

After that things went quite. An easterly breeze had strengthened ruffling the water causing it to colour from disturbed sediment. We fished on for an hour, an odd fish bow waved or broke the surface, but no more bites were forth coming. However, with fine weather forecast for the weekend, and with the mullet bug really having took hold,  those River Vartry “thick lipped” would want to be on the look out.

Mullet fishing in the Vartry Estuary, Wicklow Town.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I have had a mind for a long time to go mullet fishing in the Vartry estuary, Wicklow town. Having done my homework, asking people in the know, and walking various sections from the harbour right up into the broadlough, I established a pattern. A tide was picked, the weather was fine, the moment of truth had arrived. Mackerel was minced and combined with bread crumbs produced a nice ground bait which hopefully would entice the fish to feed. Armed with a coarse float rod and reel combination, using maxima straight through to a size 10 kamazan below a small quill float, I set off.

River Vartry estuary, Wicklow Town.

Having reconnoitered some possible fishing spots one area in particular contained a good number of mullet. Proceeding to ground bait it was not long before the fish started to swirl and move through the cloud of minced mackerel and crumbs, mouths opening and closing. Casting out I trotted the float with the tide. After a number of attempts, seeing some fish porpoising at the end of the swim I slowed the float. The bread started to rise up with the current, a fish turned and inhaled the hook bait. In the same moment I lifted the rod up, bang!! away went the fish.

Thick lipped mullet, caught on bread flake, Vartry Estuary, Wicklow Town.

What a scrap, staying on the surface the mullet tried to swim upstream. Applying side strain it eventually stayed in the bay making runs to all points of the compass. Twice the mullet came close to the net only to take off again. Eventually on the third attempt she was landed. A fine fish, broad shouldered and deep set, hooked well in the upper lip. After a few photos the mullet was slipped back to swim off at a rate of knots, seemingly none the worse for wear.

See also: Vartry mullet, the return visit.

See also: Open sea mullet 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,, 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.