Posts Tagged ‘Pier fishing’

Mini Wrasse on the Float

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Fishing for mini species especially with soft plastic lead head lures has become popular of late, reminding me of the fun I had as a young teenager winkling blennies, gobies and small wrasse out of rock pools and sheltered locations such as the inside of pier walls. With a view to recapturing that innocence while also enjoying the spectacle of watching a float jiggle and then dart under David and I headed towards a local venue where mini wrasse up to 30 centimeters plus reside in abundance.

Corkwing wrasse.

Employing a light coarse match fishing rod and reel, line to a size 2 hook under a small sliding float, baited with small pieces of ragworm cast out close to weedy rocky features over high water, it was not long until bites were forthcoming. Little rattles followed by a purposeful disappearance of the red tipped float, yes this was wrasse fishing in miniature however the light gear allowed the fish to gamely scrap as only wrasse can, always looking to gain sanctuary within weed or a handy rock crevice.

Ballan wrasse.

It became apparent that a range of wrasse species populated the mark to include ballan, corkwing and the tiny goldsinny. Like when fishing for their larger brethren it took a while for a particular “wrasse hole” to spark, however once it was noted that a meal was present it was like the wrasse were queuing up to partake with bites coming every cast. Equally after a few fish were landed and gently released the fishing would cease and one would have to search for a new spot.

Goldsinny wrasse.

The above approach besides being a lot of fun is a very hands on way of introducing sea fishing and the marine environment to youngsters and even the not so young. Balanced tackle and the most effective way of using it can be learned in a safe environment with the bonus of regular bites and fish landed. One can also see close up the various species which inhabit rocky areas and pier walls. On any particular day within the summer and autumn on the venue David and I fished species could range from the wrasse featured to pollack, coalfish and mackerel, all good fun on the light tackle. Just remember to wash down all the coarse fishing gear used in fresh water on returning home as saltwater will corrode it………

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Mini Marathon

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Sea angling sessions dominated by juvenile fish catches are a sign of the times, oh for the pull of a decent cod or flattie. A steady southerly wind creates a lovely surf along the south Wexford beaches but equally in the summer and autumn has the habit of throwing up piles of weed, couple this with a big four meter spring tide and fishing becomes nigh impossible. Digging the requisite five dozen lug a decision was made to avoid the weed and target early codling, dabs, and flounder within the confines of the Waterford estuary.

Sea fishing in Ireland, double shot of codling and dab.

Again, just like a fortnight ago immature codling made hay, attacking the baits with gusto, every other cast producing a double shot. Small dabs and flounder made up the numbers, most casts producing fish right through the rising tide. At peak run fishing became difficult, a result of floating weed, casting into the margins during this period helped to avoid the worst of it. Tired of tiddler bashing I hit the road on high tide around 21.30pm – 22.00pm. Five minutes into the drive it was nice to receive a call from Gerry Mitchell, his son Robert had just landed a 6.oz bass off an east facing Wexford strand, you make your own bed as they say…….

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, Conger off the Pier

Monday, September 10th, 2012

David Murphy has a theory pertaining to a fishing mark located on the inner wall of a large pier that he occasionally casts a line off, that the resident conger eels become very active during early September. Arriving at this conclusion over numerous visits to the hot spot where he has scored spectacularly or blanked in equal measure, David hit the jackpot yet again in a September week of Indian summer weather so typical of early Autumn in this jurisdiction.

A fine conger eel caught and released by David Murphy from a local pier.

Baiting up a short wire trace with whole mackerel David placed his bait about 10 – 15 feet out from the inner wall. Fishing over low water there was no more than 1.5 meters over the congers head when it swam from its lair and delicately picked up the offering. Giving some line David chose his moment and struck into the fish, well hooked a tug of war now commenced with the angry conger corkscrewing and thrashing about close to the steps which David had earmarked for landing. Careful not to slip on the slimy granite and with the help of a friend David managed to manhandle the eel topsides. Using a forceps the conger was quickly unhooked and photographed, in the process managing to scare the bejaysus out of a female passerby, before being returned to Davy Jones locker. A good nights work, one happy angler and a theory very much endorsed.

Further reading, click on: Congers by the Double.

Mixed Bag from the Waterford Estuary.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Codling have been ever present this winter and of a good stamp, most fish that I have encountered in the 35 – 40 cm bracket or bigger. With a four meter high tide at 18.00pm I headed for the Waterford estuary to fish a new mark that held promise. After digging bait at Duncannon and a much needed pit stop in the Strand Bar, nothing beats a toastie and a pint of plain, it was off to the venue for a 14.00pm start.

Pier fishing on the Waterford estuary, Ireland.

On arrival the flood had been pushing for two hours, a scarf of tide about 80 meters out marked the line of the shipping channel. A local fisherman tending to his nets informed me that I would be casting into 4/5 fathoms of water and that my baits would be landing on a mussel bed. Happy days, depth and feed, would fish be in residence. Casting two hook flappers baited with fresh black lug into the channel, no sooner had the grips settled in then the tips started nodding.

Waterford estuary codling.

Breaking out was difficult I assume due to the mussel bank, but an even pressure released the grips and I could feel the fish. First cast a double header, codling and dab, followed by a codling, big whiting, then a flounder/codling double. What a start fish every cast, and that is how it went for the first two hours. I copped that my rig was settling down the side of the channel (where the fish were), but my main line was resting on the lip. This had the effect of masking bites and also was probably responsible for the difficulty in breaking out. That said, I wasn’t complaining and over the course of the session only lost two rigs.

Large Waterford estuary whiting.

Bites diminished as full tide approached however they did not stop. Normally I let a cast fish for 10 minutes before reeling in to re bait, invariably a fish would signal its presence within that time span. I lost count of the fish landed and the time just flew. Calling it a day at six bells there is no doubt, “it was a belter of a session“. Six species, codling, whiting, pouting, dab, flounder, and eel, all of a good size. The estuary has been good to me this year, and it seems that every time I head down I meet somebody new. “Hi Jim O’Brien, we had a good chat, hope you enjoy those codling“.

See also: Estuary Codling.

See also: Christmas Coalies.

Christmas Coalies.

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Substantiated reports of decent sized codling being caught off beaches close to Courtown in North Wexford highlight the excellent shore fishing south east Ireland has been witnessing in recent weeks. Southerly gales over the last few days pushed anglers onto east facing venues and they delivered. Swimming alongside the codling and very prevalent on some locations are coalfish. Considered a nuisance by some, they can make for an interesting and lively session when other fish are marked absent.

Enniscorthy based angler John Goff with a catch of Waterford estuary coalfish.

Saturday dawned crisp and white, a hard frost having fallen during the night. Taking it handy I drove towards a half eleven bait digging appointment, quality black lugworm being the target. Unlike my last outing the tell tale signs of blow hole and cast were very evident, and it was not long before I had six dozen fat juicy worms in my bucket. Dug individually using a fork, the lugworm even allowing for the frost were no more than a spit and a half down. That task accomplished, a quick bite to eat and it was off to the venue which delivered so well last time out.

Pier fishing in the Waterford estuary, south east Ireland.

Commencing fishing two and a half hours into the flood, a big four meter was pushing a lot of water up the narrow estuary. Casting out two identical paternoster rigs utilising long snoods and 2/0 kamazan hooks, it wasn’t long before a tap tap bite resulted in a nice flounder. Action was slow after that with just an odd small codling showing interest. As dusk closed in around five pm, an hour before high water, proceedings changed noticeably. Jagging quick fire bites signaled coalfish, known to play with a bait they dart in and out smash and grab like, very hard to hook with long snoods. Seeking codling and playing the percentages, or maybe just lazy I didn’t shorten my snoods so reducing my catch. Even so amidst all the frustrating missed bites I still landed my fair share of coalfish.

Sporty coalfish tempted by lugworm from a local pier.

Reasonably sized they put up a decent fight on being hooked especially when rising through the water close to the pier. Their lightning fast turns of direction and dives combined with the current putting a decent curve in the rod, it was like boat fishing albeit on dry land. Bites were steady right up to seven pm when my bait ran out, numerous coalies were landed along with small codling by the double, flounder, and rockling. Two Enniscorthy based anglers fishing beside me, John Goff and his friend Pat, were having a productive time also. The larger codling didn’t show but no matter, their bottle green backed cousins provided more than enough entertainment. Another productive session in south County Wexford.

To visit a related post click on: Estuary codling.

Congers by the Double.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

David Murphy likes fishing for conger eels and every year in late August/September he devotes an evening or two in search of these slithery predators with attitude. Heading towards a favoured mark in Dunlaoghaire harbour, Dave commenced fishing around 10.00pm. A calm cold evening, high tide was scheduled for 01.00am. By midnight, bite less and feeling the cold Dave went for a short walk. Returning a couple of minutes later Dave noticed his line going slowly taught. Picking up his rig and feeling the fish there was no need to strike as the Conger immediately swam backwards, the tug of war had started.

A cracking pier caught conger eel for David Murphy.

After a few minutes the eel appeared on the surface and Dave maneuvered his catch towards some steps. Grabbing hold of the trace he manhandled the angry fish out of the water. Lip hooked, a quick use of the pliers, photo and back in the water. Casting out another mackerel bait close to the wall, within five minutes a few knocks resulted in another conger hooked. The same length but thinner this eel came in handy. After that burst of activity things went quite, so approaching high tide Dave decided to call it a night. The mark had delivered again, two eels in ten minutes, good sport by any standards.

A second smaller conger eel for Dave Murphy.

Conger Capers

Monday, July 26th, 2010

David Murphy likes fishing for congers from a local pier. At night the beasts leave their lair and snoop around looking for tasty morsels. A recent night time foray proved eventful with a fine fish landed and a mystery visitor providing some speedy fireworks.

Strapping young lad with a very large conger

Using mackerel for bait it was not long before a short run and hook up resulted in a tug of war with a conger in the 15lb plus bracket. On landing Dave noticed not one but three hooks in the fishes mouth, legacies of previous encounters. Shortly afterwards another run developed which on striking kicked into turbo boost. The fish tore off into the harbour at a rate of knots, unstoppable Dave leaned into what he presumed was a seal. Something had to give which proved to be the wire trace, bitten through above the hook. With no more runs developing that was it for the night, fun and games for sure.