Posts Tagged ‘Sea Angling’

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  life 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.

Kilmore in Jig Time

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

“Kelp below”, intoned Eamonn Hayes, stalwart skipper of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford based charter boat Autumn Dream, in unison 10 Welshmen focused harder on working their jig rigs 10 fathoms down, on cue rods curved and danced to the tune of hooked pollack and codling interspersed with ballan and colourful cuckoo wrasse. Not large but numerous, codling averaging 1.5 lbs with pollack slightly bigger, most anglers at days end boating forty plus fish (predominantly returned alive) the heaviest being a codling of 5 lb weight.

Daron Lawry displays a colourful Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford cuckoo wrasse.

Sea anglers off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford utilise the time honoured method of jigging three hook feather, rubber eel or shad rigs while drifting over extremely rocky, kelpy ground, baiting the bottom hook only with fresh mackerel or worm bait in the hope of attracting a larger pollack, cod, ling, ballan wrasse or pouting. The unbaited coloured feather or plastic lures proving especially attractive to pollack (colour black) and codling (colour red).

A plump Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford codling.

The trick to success at Kilmore Quay is to employ a 20 lb class braid set up with just enough lead weight (usually eight to twelve ounces) to keep the angler in contact with the sea bed while his/her line is working straight down below as against being streamed out by tide and drift. At Kilmore Quay a streamed out line catches the seabed more times than it catches fish, the result costly rig/lead weight losses and one pissed off angler. Vigilantly working the rig by constantly tapping/lifting and feeling the contours of the sea bed produces more takes from fish while minimising tackle losses, Kilmore’s reefs offering no mercy towards lazy or inexperienced sea anglers.

A Kilmore Killer jig rig.

My first sea angling session of 2016, it was nice to catch up with Alan Duthie and the boys from South Wales. Annual visitors to these shores, as a nation we cannot get complacent as to their continued repeat business. The reason these Welshmen and others come is for a different sea angling experience to what they get at home, Kilmore Quay offering a wider range of species amid a challenging sea angling environment of deeper water, stronger tides and rougher ground in contrast to the shallow, sandy estuarine ground the lads frequent across the pond.

My fishing diary accounts since 2008 for Kilmore Quay clearly record a decline in average weight for pollack, codling and ling encountered on the reefs surrounding the Saltee Islands albeit numbers boated are still holding. The once famous fishing grounds off Greystones, Co. Wicklow followed a similar pattern before the fish disappeared. Tourism sea angling as a viable offering needs fish as a key element of a unique experience to successfully attract paying customers. Kilmore Quay still enjoys that mix and long may it continue, but a word of warning: “We cannot afford to get complacent and I see signs that we just might be”.

Creating a Managed Marine Protected Area off County Wicklow, Ireland

Saturday, February 20th, 2016
Ashley Hayden boat fishing off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

My family roots lie firmly in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, a once thriving fishing village situated 25 miles south of Dublin city on Ireland’s east coast. I possess experiential knowledge of the offshore fishing grounds comprising the Moulditch Ridge, Kilcoole Bank and the Breaches Shoal (all located south and east of Greystones) dating back to the late 1960′s.

I am familiar with the local marine traditions and I am fully aware what has been lost due exclusively to bad fisheries management decisions encapsulated by habitat destruction the resultant of licenced mussel dredging which commenced back in the early 1980′s.

I have a vision to establish a “community driven” Marine Protected Area (MPA) between Bray Head ( to the north) and Wicklow Head (to the south) encapsulating both holistic and socio - economic principles.

Best practice would suggest that the process to achieve this viable proposal will require most likely the setting up of a “driver organisation” possibly a registered charity with philanthropic and or EU funding to underpin it linked to a campaign ran by the wider local community while being supported by the state, which will include all vested interests and not just a narrow “marine” focus.

The MPA will be for “all” the people locally, nationally and from abroad.

The MPA will act as a pilot project which if successful can then be incorporated as a modal for best practice inshore fisheries management and subsequently rolled out nationally.

I envisage that:
  • Management of the MPA will include an academic research mandate to aid “best management practice” as well as to further progress marine scientific knowledge.
  • That the inshore/offshore MPA will be an extension of the Wicklow National Park so making the County not only unique nationally but also internationally.
  • That the MPA will extend out to the old three mile limit and its northern and southern limits will be designated by a virtual extension of the respective county lines.
  • That the MPA will not be exclusively “no take” but will allow, post a managed rehabilitation process, sustainable commercial artisan fishing methodologies, recreational sea angling and a variety of water sports and activities under a progressive management plan aimed to encourage local business and employment opportunities while both rehabilitating and preserving the integrity ongoing of North Wicklow’s offshore environment.
  • That within the MPA though there will be areas designated as “No Take” for both scientific and “spill over” purposes.
  • That when established in time the MPA will garner enormous credibility for Co. Wicklow internationally, will underpin efforts to maintain and increase onshore and offshore biodiversity, will resurrect a now defunct local artisan commercial fishing industry, will enable Co. Wicklow to market an International standard tourism sea angling product and will act as a catalyst for marine cultural, heritage, tourism, educational and recreational activities such as diving, sea kayaking, natural history engagement and small boat hire.
In short the investment in time and effort will be returned many fold.

I am proposing that the vision is worth adopting because:
  • It will be a unique step for a county (public and private entities) to recognise and claim ownership of an offshore coastal resource with a view to managing its usage and future rehabilitation/development as an integral and symbiotic element of onshore economic development.
  • Rehabilitation of the inshore benthic habitats off Co. Wicklow will enable the county to market and sell itself abroad internationally as a local community that really cares for and understands the socio - economic benefits of pristine natural environments.
  • That the County Council supported by Public and Private interests can lead the way in proposing and developing a forward thinking “coastal county by coastal county” approach to national inshore fisheries management where community and state Dept’s/Agencies work side by side to manage and develop “their inshore/offshore patch” collectively on behalf of the nation.

Yours sincerely,

Ashley Hayden

 

Analysis of Specimen Sea Fish Records for Co. Wicklow 2011 – 2015

Friday, February 12th, 2016

The argument to introduce wider stakeholder inclusive and environmentally focused management structures for Ireland’s inshore fisheries is indisputable as this follow on analysis of an earlier study by Ashley Hayden based on Irish Specimen Fish Committee Records for the years 1975 – 2010 covering the inshore waters off north Co. Wicklow clearly shows:

The initial study found that 16 fin fish species swimming in north Wicklow coastal waters traditionally grew to rod and line specimen weight based on ISFC records, by 2010 this figure had declined to four species.

A follow on study by Ashley, recreated below, was undertaken in early 2016 covering the years 2011 – 2015. This research underpinned by the authors extensive historical and experiential local knowledge deepens and broadens the previous studies findings giving some hope for the future but also highlighting a continuous downward trend.

Specimen Fish Ratified for North County Wicklow 2011 – 2015.

Bass – 5.31.kg (11.70.lb) – Wicklow – 10/10/2014 – Keith Marsella – Crab

Bass – 4.62.kg (10.19.lb) – Greystones – 24/06/2012 – Damian Blackwell – Lure

Bull Huss – 7.82.kg (17.25.lb) – Wicklow – 17/07/2013 – Peter Schiffer – Mackerel

Flounder – 1.20.kg (2.65.lb) – Wicklow – 07/10/2014 – Stephen Gibson – Crab

Flounder – 1.12.kg (2.47.lb) – Wicklow – 06/10/2015 – Craig Murphy – Crab

LSD – 1.59.kg (3.50.lb) – Wicklow – 22/08/2013 – Bert McGregor – Mackerel

Thick L. Mullet – 3.27.kg (7.20.lb) – Arklow – 31/07/2014 – Craig Murphy – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 3.18.kg (7.00.lb) – Wicklow – 01/07/2015 – Des Chew – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 2.95.kg (6.50.lb) – Wicklow – 25/09/2015 – Ken Garry – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 2.54.kg (5.60.lb) – Wicklow – 02/07/2015 – Des Chew – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 2.49.kg (5.50.lb) – Wicklow – 21/06/2015 – Craig Murphy – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 2.40.kg (5.30.lb) – Wicklow – 17/08/2015 – Des Chew – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 2.32.kg (5.12.lb) – Wicklow – 20/07/2015 – Dan Smith – Bread

Thick L. Mullet – 2.27.kg (5.00.lb) – Wicklow – 11/08/2015 – Dan Smith – Bread

In total 10 x T. L. Mullet were ratified for County Wicklow in 2014.

In total 7 x T. L. Mullet were ratified for County Wicklow in 2013.

In total 3 x T. L. Mullet were ratified for County Wicklow in 2012.

In total 6 x T. L. Mullet were ratified for County Wicklow in 2011.

Grey mullet from the Vartry estuary, Co. Wicklow

Smooth Hound – 8.62.kg (19.00.lb) – Wicklow – 24/05/2015 – Garech Murphy – Crab.

In total 48 smooth hound were ratified for County Wicklow in 2015 with most being caught off Wicklow town on board Kit Dunne’s Wicklow Boat Charters, a small number being landed in the Arklow area. The smallest hound was 3.04.kg (6.70.lb) caught on the 12th July off Wicklow.

In total 21 smooth hound were ratified for Wicklow in 2014 the largest weighing 6.92.kg (15.25.lb) caught on squid 22/06/2014.

In total 63 smooth hound were ratified for Wicklow in 2013 the largest weighing 7.37.kg (16.25.lb) caught on crab 06/07/2013.

In total 40 smooth hound were ratified for Wicklow in 2012 the largest weighing 6.35.kg (14.00.lb) caught on crab 13/07/2012.

In total 5 smooth hound were ratified for Wicklow in 2011 the largest weighing 6.21.kg (13.69.lb) caught on squid 02/07//2011.

Spurdog caught on Kit Dunne's Wicklow Boat Charters off Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Spur Dogfish – length only – Wicklow – 16/05/2014 – Pat Swan – Mackerel

In total 4 spur dogfish were ratified for Wicklow in 2014 all caught in May.

In total 4 spur dogfish were ratified for Wicklow in 2013 all caught in Oct/Nov.

In total 1 spur dogfish were ratified for Wicklow in 2011 caught in Nov.

T. B. Rockling – 0.86.kg (1.90.lb) – Wicklow – 15/11//2011 – Andrew Boyce – Mackerel

T. B. Rockling – 0.85.kg (1.88.lb) – Wicklow – 19/04/2015 – Belinda Kennedy – Mackerel

T. B. Rockling – 0.82.kg (1.80.lb) – Wicklow – 22/01/2014 – Craig Murphy – Mackerel

T. B. Rockling – 0.82.kg (1.81.lb) – Greystones – 03/04/2015 – Andrew Boyce – Mackerel

T. B. Rockling – 0.81.kg (1.79.lb) – Greystones – 09/03/2015 – Pat Fagan – Mackerel

T. B. Rockling – 0.79.kg (1.75.lb) – Greystones – 15/08/2015 – Andrew Boyce – Mackerel

In total 3 T. B. Rockling were ratified for County Wicklow in 2011.

Specimen female tope boated in October 2009, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Tope – 22.23.kg (49.00.lb) – Wicklow – 22/07/2015 – Martin Corr – Crab

In total 7 more tope were ratified for Wicklow in 2015 with the smallest fish weighing 19.05.kg (42.00.lb) caught on 12/08/2015.

In total 12 tope were ratified for Wicklow in 2014 the largest weighing 29.03.kg (64.00.lb) caught on mackerel off Greystones 05/07/2014.

In total 21 tope were ratified for Wicklow in 2013 the largest weighing 24.66.kg (54.37.lb) caught on mackerel off Greystones 22/08//2013.

In total 3 tope were ratified for Wicklow in 2012 the largest weighing 27.30.kg (60.19.lb) caught on mackerel off Wicklow 20/10//2012.

In total 1 tope was ratified for Wicklow in 2011 weighing 22.68.kg (50.00.lb) caught on mackerel off Greystones 30/08//2011.

Specimen Size Species Recorded off County Wicklow 2011 – 2015

Number of Species: 9

  • Bass x 2
  • Bull Huss x 1
  • Flounder x 2
  • LSD x 1
  • Thick Lipped Mullet x 33
  • Smooth Hound x 177
  • Spur Dogfish x 9
  • Three Beard Rockling x 8
  • Tope x 44

Relative to the on going study tracking County Wicklow based specimen fish records going back to 1975, the number of specimens recorded post 2010 by species  has increased from 4 (bass, tope, smooth hound and grey mullet) to 9 ( the aforementioned species plus bull huss, flounder, LSD, spur dogfish and rockling).

The one newcomer to the list is flounder, the remaining four bull huss, LSD, spurdog and rockling all featuring on previous specimen lists for the area. Are these species making a comeback? Relative to flounder and T. B. rockling the species were always present just that people were not targeting them. An increase in specimen hunting effort where species are targeted in specific locations at specific times of the angling season has resulted in flounder making the list and also an upward movement in T. B. Rockling claims.

The presence of Wicklow Boat Charters post 2011 with subsequent increased effort aimed at so called “rough species” has resulted in a marked increase in smooth hound and tope claims and is definitely a factor in recent claims for specimen bull huss and LSD, both species always present albeit reduced in average size and population.

Spurdog are making a tentative comeback probably due to a current ban on commercial fishing for the species within Scottish waters. However when one considers how prolific this particular species was in spring and again in early winter certainly up to the early 1980’s, the jury is still out as to their ongoing recovery.

Matching Wicklow Boat Charters overall recorded catches for 2014 and 2015 to specimen fish returns for County Wicklow in the same year provides a more accurate picture of the inshore fishery off North County Wicklow.

Wicklow Boat Charters Catch Returns 2014

  • Tope – total boated 179 – total specimens ratified 12.
  • Smooth hound – total boated 912 – specimens ratified 21.
  • Bull huss – total boated 176 – zero specimens ratified.
  • Spur dogfish – total boated on a single outing 09/11/2014 = 55 – zero specimens ratified.

Wicklow Boat Charters Catch Returns 2015

  • Tope – total boated 185 – specimens ratified for Co. Wicklow 7.
  • Smooth hound – total boated 912 – specimens ratified for Co. Wicklow 48.
  • Bull huss – total boated 103 – zero specimens ratified for Co. Wicklow.
  • Spurdog – total boated 2 – “limited fishing due to bad weather

Tope and smooth hound populations would appear to be in a reasonably healthy state, on the ground evidence of pups from both species suggesting this status quo should continue. That said, this writer witnessed in 2015 a reduction in average size of smooth hound caught in the Arklow area and the presence of dead smooth hound in 40. kg fish boxes for use as whelk pot bait.

Significantly specimen bull huss and spur dogfish returns are low for the amount of boat man hours directed towards fishing large fish baits in key predator fish locations on board the two vessels operated by Wicklow Boat Charters, with only a few ray encountered (14 in 2014 by Wicklow Boat Charters).

On the plus side a lot of male pack tope are encountered earlier in the summer with larger female tope showing up from August through to October weather permitting.

Codling haul from Killoughter, Co. Wicklow, circa 1980's.

White fish returns on the north Wicklow fishing grounds though are very poor, the dearth of traditionally targeted edible species other than small grey and tub gurnards, which appear to be quite numerous, reflected in catch returns gleaned from Greystones Ridge Sea Angling Club competition records (boat and shore) for September 2015 & January 2016 respectively, all posted on Facebook.

Competition results courtesy of Greystones Ridge Sea Angling Club, January 2016.

A 24 cm dab, 26 cm flounder and a 33 cm whiting, all recorded in January 2016 post a shore competition off Five Mile Point with no sizeable codling or coalfish present speaks volumes as to how far biodiversity standards have dropped along the north Wicklow coastline in tandem with bottom mussel bed exploitation, the connection when one knows the fisheries history being indisputable as the above image courtesy of Liam Kane taken at Killoughter in the 1980’s makes clear.

Pre 1980 and the commencement of inshore bottom mussel dredging off County Wicklow 16 species of fish swam in the then abundant north Wicklow waters that grew on or above Irish rod and line specimen weight to include edible species such as cod, plaice, black sole, thornback and blonde ray. Today these species other than the odd juvenile are a distant memory, marine biodiversity reduced wholesale as the dredgers did their work.

Circa 2016 four species, bass, grey mullet, tope and smooth hound (all non quota species) still swim in reasonable numbers and grow to specimen size off Co. Wicklow, while flounder and T. B. rockling exist because they are non commercial and inhabit safe estuary and harbour wall locations respectively. Spurdog, LSD and bull huss though still run the gauntlet of commercial exploitation, a fate which currently threatens the future of the current mainstay Wicklow specimen species bass, grey mullet, tope and smooth hound as commercial interests continue to diversify their catch by fishing down the food chain as prime species become uneconomic due to over exploitation………

Further reading: The Inshore Fishery off North Co. Wicklow from an Angling Perspective.

Greystones, Co. Wicklow, January 2016

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Turning to view Bray Head a chill north west wind morphed to cutting, burning my face as I leaned forward retracing my steps back along the north pier of Greystones Harbour. Nearly 3 months of interminable damp, wet, grey, dreary, unseasonably mild Atlantic based weather has tried the patience of Ireland’s population this winter, it’s grand to get out in the fresh air and experience some class of sunlight breaking through the clouds. Halyards clink, clink their lonely sound on masts and a lazy dirty brown ground swell rises up before swashing back in synchronicity along the north beach, pier breakwaters and the rocks in front of St David’s to the south.

Greystones, Co. Wicklow north pier.

Although Greystones exudes a familiarity to this writer, my family and many of my earliest memories rooted in the place, how alien it feels today walking through the building site of a controversial harbour development that one day might deliver on its promise so reinvigorating Greystones connection with its so recent maritime history especially the fishing. Ironically a no fishing sign on the pier head accurately describes what has happened offshore, I cannot but smile.

Greystones Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The extent of the new harbour development northwards has clearly exacerbated coastal erosion along the north beach, glacial deposits in the mud cliffs scoured and washed southwards by the strong ebbing tide to infill the cove, the mens bathing place and the south beach as far as Ballygannon point. I have never seen such coastal deposition in this area, granted north easterly gales have been infrequent over the past few years. It begs the question though, how are the offshore grounds changing?

Willie Redmond (left) and Seamus "Jago" Hayden (right) clean a trammel net of weed, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland around 1960.

My grandfather fished the offshore grounds as did my uncles and latterly me. In fact the amount of grandfathers, fathers and sons that fished out of Greystones could surely fill a book with names given the amount of people that I have witnessed preparing their boats for sea over the years. Compared to recent past times the harbour is soulless reflected in the tackle shop adjacent to the Beach House pub closing its doors for the last time due to falling trade. Ironically again, the answer to Greystones maritime economic malaise lies beyond the pier heads, rejuvenate those fishing grounds and the heart will beat again, ah the wisdom of middle age………….

Bass Hat-Trick

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

My surf pole bounced in its stand as the rod top first hauled forward then immediately straightened in unison with the main line billowing. Instinctively grabbing the rod I ran backwards into the darkness while simultaneously reeling, my rod heels over, a thump thump contact is made and a good fish swims diagonally to my right. Now retracing my steps towards the water while keeping a tight line a fine bass appears in my headlight beam, all silver and spray as the fish head shakes in the surf line.

Bass fishing in County Wexford, Ireland.

My third bass of the evening all of which were like peas in a pod ranging three to four pound in weight, plump hard fighters in great condition. This fellow like the others had taken freshly dug black lugworm presented on a two hook paternoster fished at about 60 meters into what was a flat calm sea. Earlier a slight breeze wafting from the south east had manufactured mini wavelets however it died off as night fell to create a muggy, foggy, still evening. The strand now deserted of holiday makers was pitch black other than for the narrow swath of light cut by my head lamp beam. Apart from the swoosh of a single wave an eerie silence prevailed.

Beach fishing for bass in County Wexford, Ireland.

On only my second visit to this particular mark, I had always felt it would deliver on a big night tide, this being a four meter full in at 20.30 pm my hunch was proved correct. The first bite as dusk merged into dark had been just a tickle on the rod top, barely visible I thought it was a flat fish. The second had been a rod pulling rush out to sea, rod top bending over and staying down, the third a slack liner as described above. Three bass complimented by two flounder all condensed into a half hour blur of action, then it was over and the road home called…………

Autumn Sea Fishing off Kilmore Quay

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

It’s not even nine in the morning and we are catching mackerel, drifting a half mile off the Burrow shore west of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, John Devereaux skipper of charter boat Celtic Lady II placed us over the mother load. Smiling faces greeted full hanks of the tiger striped little beauties as they came dancing and skittering over the gunnels, their tails drumming on the deck while we feverishly unhooked them before lowering again our feathers towards the throng below.

Mackerel fishing off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Autumn sea fishing off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford is a special time as resident summer and returning winter species merge over the offshore reefs to create a quality angling experience. On this day a warm light north westerly beeze faded to nothing creating a calm sea with a blue green clarity. On occasions as one peered into the depths the water would glitter and shimmer as herring fry swam by no doubt pushed up by the mackerel preying on them at will. Gannets dived, seals bobbed their heads, all this a backdrop to a regular smattering of codling and pollack taking interest in our mackerel baited jigs as we drifted eastwards across the kelp covered reefs.

A nice Kilmore Quay codling for Belgian sea angler Jean Reginster.

Belgian nationals Karel and Jean, no strangers to fishing in Ireland, having just enjoyed three days pike fishing in the midlands were sampling reef fishing Kilmore Quay style for the first time. Drift fishing over foul, kelp strewn ground where one has to feel the tackle claiming ups and downs of the seabed combined with grabbing weed can be a tough learning curve for the uninitiated, however Karel and Jean coped well. Codling, pollack, ling, wrasse, pouting, poor cod, dab and mackerel came aboard while the following morning Karel added icing to the cake with a brace of shore caught 5/6 pound bass.

A copper coloured Kilmore Quay pollack for Belgian national Karel Deckers

Relative abundance is how I would describe the sea fishing off not only Kilmore Quay but the south and south west coast of Ireland in general, one has to place an honest perspective on the resource. The fish are there but in the main are smaller and thinner on the ground when measured against very recent times, by that I mean up to twenty years ago. Skippers like John Devereaux work hard to deliver a quality experience which Karel, Jean and I most certainly had last weekend. In tandem the powers that be should work equally as hard to maintain and enhance this wonderful inshore resource ongoing for it’s the reason people like Karel and Jean choose Ireland as a holiday destination. As they say, it’s not rocket science………..

Sea Fishing in Wexford: Welsh Rarebit

Monday, September 14th, 2015

South Wexford has the ability to deliver quality sea fishing even when the odds are stacked heavily against you. Stalwart supporters and promoters of Irish sea angling Alan Duthie, Daron Lawry, Clive Jones and friends were making their third trip of Summer 2015 to Ireland only for the weather Gods to throw an almighty spanner in the works. Planning a September shore and boat fishing visit strong south easterlies not only forced the boys to stay ashore they also pushed mountains of wrack onto the beaches making shore angling extremely difficult.

Welsh sea angler Daron Lawry displays a fine shore caught  Wexford bass.

Undeterred the lads asked around and plummed on a beach venue free from the worst excesses of floating weed and set about fishing. Using bait supplied by local digger Joe Carley the boys were soon into fish, mainly good sized flounder with the cream reserved for Daron Lawry who caught a grand 55 cm bass.

Clive Jones with a grand beach caught Wexford flounder.

Not to be outdone the lads beached numerous flounder up to three pound in weight exemplified by the beauty displayed by Clive Jones in the photo above, as they say, out of adversity. Autumn into early Winter is the prime time to shore fish Wexford with resident bass and flounder mixing with codling, coalfish and dab to give wonderful sport which usually lasts until mid to late January. Tight lines………..

Bass Fishing in Ireland: Float Fishing with Live Sandeel.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

John George is a Pembrokeshire lad who first traveled to Ireland as an 18 year old with the sole intention of catching a Kerry bass way back in 1970, forty five years later he is still coming. Over the years John has seen the changes, from brilliant to bad to good and currently worrying and the man is concerned, like many of us, about the quite obvious and visible decline in bass numbers along Ireland’s southern coastline that has occurred in recent years. Prior to John’s current sojourn he contacted me with regard to getting to know a little about what Wexford has to offer in terms of bass fishing given that to date he has passed through the county on his way to Kerry, not stopping even once.

Welshman John George returns a nice estuary bass tempted by float fished live sandeel.

John informed me that he was bringing live sandeel, a bait that I have no experience of and a plan was formed to give John a Wexford welcome and hopefully a bass too, we would float fish an estuary location. Fast forward and one hour before low water John was briefing me on the set up and approach to this very traditional but effective form of angling. As John iterated, “no lure known to man can emit electrical impulses and that is where live sandeel scores”, boy was John right. Two fish and many more missed as the bass ran through on the first of the flood, it was a grand and extremely informative two hours in great company. Thank you John for getting in touch, safe journey to Kerry, we will definitely fish together again………

For a more detailed account of the day see: Float Fishing Live Sandeel for Bass.

For further Information: For guided bass fishing in South Wales contact John George through his website “Gower Guiding”http://gowerguiding.co.uk/.

Irish Kayak Fishing Open 2015, Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork

Monday, August 17th, 2015

The inaugural Irish Kayak Fishing Open was held in the beautiful, picturesque West Cork fishing village of Courtmacsherry last Saturday 15th August 2015. Sponsored by Progressive Distribution Irelands premier distribution source for adventure sports equipment, to the tune of €1750.00 broken down into: (1st prize €1000.00 Wilderness Systems voucher, 2nd prize a voucher from Palm Equipment for €500.00, 3rd prize a €250.00 voucher for Adventure Technology Paddles) plus ancillary prizes from Cox & Rawle , an enthusiastic group of competitors assembled early on Broad Strand to ready for the 11.00 am paddle off.

rish Kayak Fishing Open 2015 winner Ian Burton receives his prize from Shane Cronin, MD of event sponsors Progressive Distribution.

As usual the Irish weather did not play ball with a forecast light north west breeze increasing to 20 knots making for a hard paddle back to shore. Undeterred the competitors fished away under the watchful eyes of appointed Safety Officer Jeff Cochrane, course director of the Outdoor Adventure Education programme at nearby Kinsale College, with the eventual winner being Waterville, Co. Kerry based Ian Burton who landed seven species to include thornback ray, pollack, whiting, pouting, dogfish, scad and mackerel.

Irish Kayak Fishing Open 2015, Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork.

One of many interested spectators, I can only give praise to all concerned as to how this exteremely safe but fun event was structured and ran, it really is a blueprint for the future. To MD Shane Cronin of main sponsor Progressive Distribution, Jeff Cochrane who provided much needed local safety advice on the venue, Courtmacsherry RNLI Coxwain Sean O’Farrell who again gave advice, support and a demonstration on the use of flares, Inland Fisheries Ireland staff and of course to all the competitors who took part, a huge thank you I really enjoyed your company over the weekend.

rish Kayak Fishing Open 2015, flare demonstration with Courtmacsherry RNLI.

A special mention must go to Gary Robinson, who is passionate about kayak angling, the added dimension it brings both to the sport of angling and kayaking and of course the pursuits health benefits and ability to bring diverse people together. His passion to highlight the wonderful hobby of kayak fishing is the reason underpinning what will hopefully become an annual event.

Irish Kayak Fishing Open 2015.

Courtmacsherry is a cracking place to hold the competition, great pubs, local eateries and a beautiful rural hinterland. I stayed at Woodpoint B/B run by Patricia and Mark Gannon who also own the Courtmacsherry Sea Angling Centre. There are fantastic opportunities to shore and boat fish in the locality with bass, flounder, mullet, gilt head bream, pollack, ray, cod, ling, skate and offshore blue shark the main species to target. When you have a free moment get down there, you will have a ball and to the Irish Kayak Fishing Open organisers you can put my name down for next year……………