Posts Tagged ‘Peeler crab’

Down on the Jetty

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Pier angling is much maligned, associated with casual summer mackerel fishers and youngsters learning how to cast a line, both true. However man made structures such as harbour walls, pontoons, and jetties provide a haven for species such as conger, protection for juvenile fish, peaceful sub habitats within harbour confines of which mullet and flounder take a particular liking, and by deflecting tidal currents create conditions which attract and channel within season bass, codling, whiting, and coalfish.

A cracking pier caught flounder landed by Martin O'Leary, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Having experienced some cracking codling sessions through last winter fishing a couple of harbour marks within close proximity of each other, I decided to test the water a little earlier this season. Retracing a well worn routine of digging five dozen black lug followed by homemade cheese burger, salad, and chunky, very crispy chips, washed down with a pint of Arthur’s best, “you just have to look after yourself “, I drove around to my chosen fishing mark. A rising neap tide and flat calm sea limited proceedings, “a bit of a stir always proving better in terms of fish landed”, That said, the pleasant conditions made for a nice evening and from the get go fish were biting.

Digging lugworm on a sheltered strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Juvenile 25 – 30 centimeter codling were present in abundance, what I would term a “positive” nuisance, a good sign for the future but I wish something bigger would happen along. Double’s to both rods being the order of the day, practically every cast, with an occasional dab thrown in for good measure. Sharing the venue with Martin O’Leary, his young son, and nephew Darren (an up and coming Kilmore SAC member), using crab they tempted some nice flounder and an odd coalfish to up the species count.

Pier fishing on a crisp, frosty, October evening, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Using 2/0 round bends limited gut hooking with most fish returned to the water safe and sound. No big ones this evening although Martin landed a fine flounder, on the other hand, rods continuously nodded and many of the codling landed will be 1.5 – 2.0 pound weight this time next year, so prospects are good. The session was enjoyable, chatting, and sharing information with the lads. Most importantly though the two boys present caught fish in good numbers from a safe location. XBox or fishing? Fella’s you made the right choice……..

Further Information, click on: Estuary Codling.

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.

Sea Fishing off County Wicklow, A Tope Day

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The inshore grounds off Wicklow Head are renowned for their ability to deliver consistent animal fishing. Tope, bull huss, thornback ray, and smooth hound start to appear in May and inhabit the shallow banks and deeper channels well into October. One such person well capable of putting anglers on to these fish is International angler/skipper Kit Dunne who runs the charter vessel Lisin 1, a 35′ offshore 105, out of Wicklow Harbour, which is located 25 miles south of Dublin.

A thornback ray caught off Wicklow Head aboard skipper Kit Dunnes charter boat Lisin 1.

With the seemingly interminable north east winds finally easing and shifting south so producing a mild day allied to the strengthening tides heading towards 4 meters, Lisin 1 anchored and squid/mackerel baited rigs were dropped into the flooding tide where very quickly dogfish began to show along with an odd smooth hound and ray. Over slack water at the top of the tide fishing slowed only to really pick up as the ebb commenced.

A fine bull huss from the inshore grounds off Wicklow Head, Ireland.

Myles Howell was first in with a nice tope followed by a couple of cracking huss, these pug nosed doggies mightn’t put up much of a resistance but their size and tenacity always makes for a welcome sight when they break surface. Down tiding using single hook flowing traces was the main method employed although Kit Dunne up tided at the peak of the flow landing a nice smooth hound. In fact given the relatively shallow depths fished ranging from 5 – 10 fathoms allied to the strong tides encountered in these parts fishing up tide is a useful skill to learn and employ.

A nice Wicklow Bay, Ireland, tope.

In the last hour and a half the doggies eased off, a sure sign of bigger fish in the vicinity and a number of tope were caught supplemented by a huss or two. At days end the party had landed 7 tope, 6 bull huss, 3 hounds, 2 ray, and over 100 dogs, and it only mid May, on this form the summer season looks very promising.

For a day out on Lisin 1 contact skipper Kit Dunne through his website or phone mobile +353 (0)87 6832179, a full days charter costs €400.00.

Surf Casting in Co. Wexford, Southern Comfort

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Finally after weeks of north easterlies the wind shifted and blew southerly, air temperatures rose, creamy white capped waves rolled up the strand, and the air so filled with ozone that you could taste it. A low four meter tide had me on the beach at 13.00pm, my task to dig six dozen large, fleshy, black lug, before meeting up with Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies to purchase a dozen peelers, when targeting surf bass you need top grade fresh bait. As it turned out Joe kindly drove my order to me, his traps being placed nearby, now that is service and much appreciated, thanks Joe. As is the form we talked fishing and again thumbs up to Joe re little nuggets offered which helped in deciding my final choice of venue.

Stormy evening, surf casting for bass in south Wexford, Ireland.

Having time to spare after digging bait, it not high water until 20.00pm, I drove around and sussed out a number of venues. Low tide is a great time to carry out this exercise as numerous tell tale features are exposed which help in deducing how a particular mark may fish. Today one thing was clear, a big tide combined with a strong southerly breeze has the potential to push weed close in, this factor ultimately deciding my fishing destination. On arrival, with a good rolling sea pushing a single wave up the incline and terns and gannets dipping and diving about 60 meters out my casting distance was decided. A low grey, menacing sky promised rain as I made my first cast, sea fishing season 2012 had begun.

A lone Co. Wexford, Ireland smooth hound, the first of 2012.

Tightening up against the gripper I stood up to prepare my second rig when bang the rod tip thumped forward hard just once. A characteristic schoolie bite and so it transpired, other than an hour long period over high water shoals of juvenile bass averaging a kilo marauded up and down the surf line, I lost count of how many that I caught but it was easily a dozen, all scissor hooked and returned. At least I was busy and in any other circumstances a two pound fish would be well appreciated, so lets get real “the session was fun and productive“. As light closed in my rod hooped to a smoothie which tore off parallel with the strand, allied to a large plump flounder beached earlier my first sea outing of the year most definitely set a bench mark for the season ahead, a double figure haul with some quality fish and it’s not even mid May, bring it on…..

New Angling Charter Vessel for Wicklow

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Co. Wicklow now caters for deep sea anglers thanks to a new service operated by experienced Irish international angler/skipper Kit Dunne. Based in Wicklow harbour approximately 25 miles south of Dublin, Wicklow Boat Charters enables access to fishing grounds north and south of Wicklow Head to include the Arklow, Horse shoe, and Codling banks, with key seasonal species to include tope, bull huss, ray, smooth hound, and spurdog.

Clients aboard the Wicklow Boat Charters vessel LISIN 1.

Bass, pollack, wrasse, dab, gurnard, whiting, and mackerel also feature in summer and autumn catches with best natural baits being crab, fresh mackerel, lugworm, and mussel, along with frozen squid. Depths can range from 30 feet (five fathoms) to upwards of 80 feet (13 fathoms plus). Tides in the vicinity of Wicklow head are strong requiring at least a pound of lead if fishing down tide, up tiding being a serious optional method.

LISIN 1 skipper Kit Dunne.

LISIN 1 is a very clean and well maintained 10.5 meter (35′) Offshore 105, with spacious deck and cabin space. Fast modern, fully licenced, insured, and equipped with all the relevant navigation, fish finding, and safety equipment, LISIN 1 is perfect for a club, school, or college charter.

Stern view of Wicklow Boat Charters deep sea angling vessel LISIN 1, moored at Wicklow harbour, Ireland.

Having taken a spin out with Kit over last week end and being familiar with the inshore grounds north of Wicklow head, I am really looking forward to fishing the various banks mentioned above this coming summer. To date they have been inaccessible to me due to tidal conditions and distance, now with Kits’ new service there will be no obstacle.

To arrange a booking contact skipper Kit Dunne:


Big Cod in the Surf.

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Frank Flanagan, a member of the Menapia SAC in County Wexford, kindly sent me a photo of a super cod that he landed during a recent beach session. Weighing eight pounds the cracking fish took Frank’s bait just behind the surf line. Southerly winds which had been blowing for the previous couple of days had obviously pushed feed inshore and the hungry cod followed.

Frank Flanagan of the Menapia SAC, Wexford, Ireland holds up a cracking beach caught cod.

Having enjoyed a productive session which included a nice plunp codling just a few days previous, and aware of similar catches there is no doubt that cod are running the shore in reasonable numbers this winter. They will most certainly be around until mid to late January, so get out there and enjoy what appears to be the best winter cod season along the southern Irish coast in years.

Beara Bass.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The Beara Peninsula is not known for its bass fishing, in fact on the Richter scale of Irish bass angling the area probably doesn’t even register. However there are one or two locations which do produce consistent catches of Dicentrachus Labrax and it is with great thanks that I salute Paul Harris (Dromagowlane House B/B), John Angles, and Mike Hennessy for their collective advice and direction which resulted in a fine evenings fishing for both David Murphy and I.

David Murphy with one of three Beara bass caught on an evening tide.

Sustained for an evening session after bass with a bowl of hearty vegetable soup, brown bread, and a pint of plain courtesy of O’Neills bar in Allihies, David and I headed towards a noted low water bass mark. Having fished the location on numerous occasions with poor results, yours truly was a tad sceptical. Mike, Paul, and John all concurred though that from November through to January bass would show, some to specimen weight.

Waiting for a bite, November sunset on the Beara.

Fish close to the stream and you won’t go wrong“, and so it transpired. On casting my peeler and lug baited trace forty meters into the lazy swell, no sooner had it hit the bottom then bang and a slack line indicated bass. Instinctively running backwards I connected with the fish, a spirited schoolie of about 2.5 lbs which took crab. Dave was next in landing a carbon copy before on his next cast landing a fine bass close to 4.lbs. By session end amongst a few doggies we had landed five bass between us, my scepticism melting with each fish. The mark had delivered and upped the species tally for our November trip to a respectable six.

See also: Dab Hand on the Beara.


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.


Autumn Night Fishing in Wicklow.

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Armed with fresh lugworm and frozen peeler crab I picked up Diego as arranged and headed towards a favourite local mark. The strong south easterly winds had backed around to the south and weakened, however the evening was damp and remained that way with a permanent mist in the air. Muggy, the air temperature being 17 degrees, if it was not for the rain you could have fished in your shirt sleeves. Hitting the beach as light was fading, our first baits entered the water around 19.30pm about two hours into the flood.

Diego Leccardi holds a fit Co. Wicklow smooth hound.

Having cast about sixty meters my rig had barely settled on the bottom when I received a serious slack line bite. Running up the beach I did not make contact for at least fifteen meters, then the rod buckled over. Could it be a bass? No, immediately the fish started swimming hard parallel with the shoreline, every so often turning on a sixpence and doubling back, a hound and no mistake. So it proved thrashing in the surf before Diego did the honours.

Baiting up, night fishing off a County Wicklow strand.

“That’s it for the night” said I to Diego, a good fish on the first cast always spells a lean session, and so it proved. Yes we caught fish practically every cast including many double headers, but they were all undersize. Whiting, rockling, flounder, and dab took the baits with abandon, plenty of them but all under 30 cms. We fished on till 11.00pm then called it a night. An enjoyable evening, here’s to a good session after bass on the south Wexford beaches next weekend.

Running with the Hounds.

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Beach fishing for smooth hounds on a particular mark that I frequent is all or nothing, long periods of inactivity punctuated by moments of magical mayhem. Not having visited the location in over a month and with bait left over from the night before, the decision was a no brainer. Six bells saw me setting up as the evening sun started to cast long shadows over the shingle from the low cliffs behind. Armed with big yellow tail lug and peeler crab, I cast twin two hook paternosters sixty meters out into the falling neap tide and waited.

Popping out a bait for smooth hounds, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

An hour went by and not a touch. Up to last year rods would be kept nodding at this venue, with species like flounder and codling filling in the gaps between the hounds and occasional bass. This season they have been noticeable by their absence, although bass do show when there is a roll on the sea from the south. The quietness though enhances the moment when a hound makes its presence felt, and how. I’m looking at the motionless rod tip, momentarily it quivers then bam over it goes, no need to strike just lean in the opposite direction, fish on. Running hard swimming left then right, quick silver turns a smoothie for sure. Eventually beached, in the four to five pound range, boy do these fish fight, defying their size, real athletes.

An average Wicklow smoothie tempted by lugworm.

Fishing two rods and varying the distance, what the hell this time they’re both going out to the same place. Ten minutes later bang over goes the right, a better fish running hard towards the shallow reef. A crash behind me, tripod in a heap and my second rod heading towards the tide. Rod in hand hooped over I pick up number two and wedge the reel behind  a now collapsed tripod leg, the reel line taught and zig zagging, my gear is going nowhere get this fish in quick. Hound number one hits the beach, now for number two. Still on and pulling, this is some craic, everything now under control. Number two hits the surf line, both are bigger 5/6 lbs, quick double snap then away, out go new baits, the pack has moved on.

A brace of Wicklow smooth hounds, one to lug and the other on crab.

That was it, another fifteen minutes passed with only the waves lapping on the beach breaking the silence. Time to go, the mark has delivered. Stopping to take photos, even for that minute loses a fish or two for sure, but hey it’s not a competition, it’s about capturing the moment. Three fish of that calibre, magical mayhem, quality fishing.