Posts Tagged ‘shore fishing’

Return to Beara: Pollack Five Ways

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Driving into Glengarriff around lunchtime I pulled up adjacent to the tidal pool in front of the hotel just in time to see David netting a nice thick lipped grey mullet for Roger, what is it about Cornishmen and their love affair with these fish? Quickly hopping out of the car I ran across and between handshakes and welcomes (it had been three years since we had last met) photographed the fish subsequently returning it to the water. Species number one and our fishing trip to Beara was kick started in style.

A nice Glengarriff thick lipped for Roger.

Over many previous visits to the fish rich waters that surround Beara my friends and I have landed 19 species of fish overall with a haul of ten the best in any single trip. It was our intention to surpass the single trip species catch this time, so with that goal in mind we bade farewell to Glengarriff stopping off in that famous watering hole “McCarthy’s Bar” in Castletownbere for creamy pints, chowder and brown soda bread (sure you have to), before high tailing the last 24 kilometres out to our self catering cottage base.

A nice shore caught Beara Peninsula pollack tempted by a 32 gram kilty lure.

The amount of tackle and sundry items one brings on these expeditions never ceases to amaze me, however two hundred miles from home out on the Wild Atlantic Way is not the place to be missing something vital, cue Roger’s home brew stash of cider and ales plus Henry Gilbey DVD’s (funny and entertaining) to while away the evenings. Having unpacked the cars there was only one thing to do, go fishing.

September/October are months associated with gales and the legacy of three back to back Atlantic hurricanes made sea/weather conditions off Beara challenging to say the least. Rain, north westerlie winds and large swells born far out in the Atlantic limited our fishing to certain rock marks relative to the prevailing daily conditions, however undeterred we set forth. What an evenings fishing, deciding to feather and lure fish for bait, pleasure and food in that order we landed mackerel, launce, coalfish and some quality pollack, day one and our species hunt had reached five.

A double header of Beara coalfish for tourist sea angler Roger Ball.

The rolling sea was alive not only in its visual and aural majesty but below the surface too evidenced throughout our stay by gannets constantly wheeling and dive bombing disappearing below the waves in a welter of spray and bait fish, while a pod of a dozen or so dolphins patrolled the bay and grey seals bobbed their heads watching us with apparent curiosity.

Tourist sea angler David Hoskins lands a nice Beara Peninsula dab.

Days two and three were windy/rainy washouts rendering most marks unfishable however persevering we added to our species tally knocking out lesser spotted dogfish, bull huss and dab off a couple of sheltered locations to leeward. Catching evening mackerel on DOD pier the wind finally died providing a 24 hour window of opportunity which we gladly availed of the following day hiking out onto a favoured headland rock mark.

Hiking towards a favourite rock mark on the Beara Peninsula, County Cork, Ireland.

A pet day, we always get at least one, evolved into a pollack fest. Employing standard jelly worm tactics (two ounce barrel lead, bead, swivel, five feet of line, 2/0 round bend kamazan 496B, jelly worm), first cast in on a rising tide, count of 26 seconds to bottom then reel, three or four winds of the handle and WALLOP pollack on, cue multiple power dives, head shaking zig zaggy runs and joyful sea angler whoops.

Tourist sea angler Roger Ball with a fine Beara Peninsula, Ireland, pollack.

The action never stopped, at one stage all three of us were simultaneously into fish, averaging 3 – 5 lbs on odd pollack leaning towards 6 plus with on two occasions real mothers parting company after savage fights had given clues as to their possible mega size. Having collected a few hard back crab earlier that morning we took a successful wrassing break to up the species tally further which at close of play was increased to ten when yours truly extracted a soft biting, hard pulling angry conger.

A soft biting, hard pulling Beara Peninsula conger eel.

The weather closed in again limiting fishing until the last morning which dawned bright and although breezy was from a more favourable quarter. Needing that elusive eleventh species to set a new “single trip” record Roger and David decided to bottom fish some clean ground for flatties while I set about fly fishing with a possible scad in mind. Pollack to three pound made for a fun session which was capped by David landing a flounder to whoops and handshakes, we had broken our record, a job well done.

Beara flounder to a happy sea angler.

Postscript:

The Beara Peninsula, West Cork, is an area of outstanding natural beauty along south west Ireland’s section of the Wild Atlantic Way. In terms of tourism sea angling it stands head and shoulders above most shore angling destinations within the British Isles and Ireland, the Beara Peninsula really is a jewel in the crown. Roger, David and I travel the long distance, they from Sussex and Cornwall respectively while I make the round trip from Wexford because due to commercial over fishing, undersea habitat destruction and generally bad sea fisheries management our local waters have been rendered deserts.

The Beara is one of the last bastions of  rich marine biodiversity within Ireland’s coastal waters, out where we fish it is pristine and teeming with life. However this underwater aquarium is under threat due to a Government licence granted to an Irish company enabling them to clear fell an initial 2000 acres of underwater kelp forests, the very habitat which underpins the wonderful fishing described above. Referring to just one of the species mentioned within this narrative, juvenile pollack spend their formative years growing up within such kelp forests before as grown adults migrating offshore, remove the kelp and you say goodbye to pollack, it’s that simple.

Anybody who has enjoyed reading this article and who cares about the marine environment should write to the Irish Government asking them to rescind the Bantry Bay kelp harvesting licence before another rich habitat is rendered as useless as the once rich fishing grounds that abounded along Ireland’s east coast but which today due to undersea habitat destruction (in this instance bottom mussel dredging) lie denuded and degraded.

Yours sincerely,

Ashley Hayden

October 2017

Estuary Flounder in South East Ireland.

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Bright anti – cyclonic weather in early November draws out the flounder fisherman in me, a bucket of peeler crab (thanks to Jock Crawford), a chill north east breeze and a dropping neap tide created ideal conditions for a trip to the estuary. A fortnight ago Gerry Mitchell had a red letter day on a rising neap with flounder topping two pound weight albeit further up the main channel, would the olive green flatties still be in the mood?

Jock Crawford with the first flounder of the morning.

Commencing fishing about 1.5 hours after full tide we cast twin flowing paternosters baited with crab onto the ebbing tidal flow. Employing grip leads due to the strong current first cast optimistically produced a small flounder, which proved a false dawn as from then on things were slow.

Beaded flounder rig baited with peeler crab.

About an hour or so later a lift to my rod resulted in flounder number two running a pound an a half weight and that was it until the first evening push of the flood. A right good rattle caused my rod tip to pull sharply forward before straightening in unison with a belly of slack line. A big flounder or a bass? It remains a mystery as now rod in hand and line tightened the fish rhythmically bump bumped towards me. Transmitted through the rod, “this lad is on“, so I leaned into – nothing – clearly the action had pulled the bait from the fishes mouth.

Estuary flounder fishing in Co. Wexford, Ireland.

In such circumstances a moving estuary fish rarely returns for a second bite and so it proved. That fish moved on a November evening chill set in which was the signal for Jock and I to up sticks while being treated to a glorious red/orange winter sunset. It had been a grand day in good company, a few fish had shown, the conversation and craic had flowed, sure we’ll do it again soon Jock…………

Assisting Fellow Tourist Anglers & Fishers

Monday, August 29th, 2016

In 2010 I set up the An Irish Anglers World website because as a traveling angler within my own country I could not access relevant and correct angling information that would enable me to hit the ground running wherever I chose to fish. Today An Irish Anglers World contains 329 posts and 129 pages of published articles across eight categories reflecting a range of Irish angling disciplines all of which provide current information relative to my own experience of Irish angling venues at specific dates and times.

A fine Greystones Co. Wicklow, Ireland tope and one happy sea angler.

It’s great to know that the sites ethos works especially when one receives messages of support and thanks from people who have contacted me for information. Such requests have emanated from countries as far away as New Zealand and the USA to the United Kingdom and as close as Co. Wicklow.

Typical questions would be:

Am over at the end of the month any suggestions as to were is fishing well, we’re staying around Kilmore way again so anywhere around that ways ….will be bringing my own bait over this time?

and

I’ve read your own angling report, Tope Alley, suggesting to fish at various marks inside and outside the red buoy using a mackerel flapper or whole joey but all I’ve managed, on at least ten occasions at this stage, is the odd LSD – is there any advice you could give me regarding tides, fishing depth, anchoring/drifting?! It would be greatly appreciated!

The end result for the latter question, caught within the last fortnight is pictured above, the anglers smile says it all, while the former sent me this report of an angling holiday in Wexford circa summer 2016:

Well them mullet are getting bigger had a few around 5lb.one of 6lb…but seen some that must be 10lb easy…but crafty as they come.had a go.at Rosslare yesterday had over 30 bass but none over a pound great sport tho….had a good day at Slade fishing for the wrasse and Pollock…

In all cases I am glad to help, like Ronseal An Irish Angler’s World does what it says on the tin…………..

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.

Greystones Tourism Shore Angling Circa 1989

Friday, January 29th, 2016

A tourist shore angling spends on average between €800 – €1000 over a week long stay.

The following link http://bit.ly/23xl2GR accesses an RTE archive of most likely the “Seiko” competition held on the beaches south of Greystones back in September 1989. The competition attracted 200 shore anglers worth a minimum of €10,000 to the local economy if held today.

European Surfcasting Championships 1989, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The following month, October 1989 Greystones hosted the European Surfcasting Championships which attracted 11 International teams of five plus their entourage. Staying a minimum of 5 bed nights this competition today would inject €100,000 plus into the local economy before advertising such as the above free TV segment is taken into account.

European Surfcasting Championships 1989, Team Sheets.

Look at the composition of the England team alone, Clarke, Owen, Golds, Toomer, household names back then as a result of the Sea Angler magazine. Imagine the message Wicklow and Ireland could deliver through social media platforms alone if Greystones could stage such a competition today!!

Can we enable our fish to return please?

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…………

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/.

Sea Fishing in Ireland: Clones Strand, Co. Wexford

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Sea fishing on Ireland’s east coast has literally gone to the dog’s and do not let anybody tell you otherwise. Three evening beach fishing trips to date this summer to once quality locations has resulted in dogfish and immature flat fish, whiting, smooth hound pups and tope pups with no adults of any description to include bass and smooth hound. Make no mistake, this boy can fish, correct baits were employed to include lug and peeler, fishing evening into dark. The powers that be need to kop on, a resource with the potential to create tourism employment and maintain existing service industry jobs is being frittered away for short term gain.

Sea fishing at Clones Strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

A mid July 2015 session last weekend on Clones Strand, Co. Wexford ended in frustration and disappointment as medium sized dogfish and mini smooth hound, tope and whiting kept taking baits because quite simply commercial over fishing has removed not only the adults but also the multi species biodiversity which used to exist along this stretch of coastline.

Across the water, not 50 miles away, is a market of traveling sea anglers worth €120 million, which is €20 million more in potential tourism angling revenue then Ireland earned in total for 2014 and that from just one angling category in just one country. Does anybody elected to or employed by Government realise this missed opportunity or do they even care?

Further Information see Angling Marks: Clones Strand.

Sea Fishing Wexford: Dogfish Central

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Ballymoney strand is a beach that I have never fished. Ironically, most of the beaches south of Arklow I rarely set foot on until the race to catch smooth hound picked up in the early 1980′s. In those days venues such as Morriscastle, Tinnebearna and Blackwater produced amazing catches of ray, spurdog, smooth hound, bass and the odd tope to those anglers who commenced fishing at dusk. Today, while the area can still produce quality bass catches most bites, if they do materialise will come from dogfish.

Evening sea fishing off Ballymoney strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Digging juicy fat black lugworm the day before I placed them wrapped in newspaper in the fridge to toughen up. The secret with lug when gathering is to separate whole ones from split by utilising two buckets. For some reason also two day old lugworm appears better at attracting fish, with dabs especially partial to sticky black gutless wraps.

Dogfish

Anyhow, back to the fishing. Meeting up as planned with the two David’s and coarse fisher extraordinaire Robbie on Ballymoney strand we set up to the left and commenced fishing round 20.00 pm. Armed with lug, rag and crab, smooth hound were the prime target with bass our secondary option. A light south easterly breeze created a bit of movement in the water which raised our hopes for bass. From the get go rod tops nodded that slow dogfish lean and so it transpired. Doggies homed in on whatever bait adorned the hooks. By half ten although both rods were kept busy I called it a night, catching and releasing dogfish not my ideal cup of tea. On the plus side, I’ve got my seasonal shore fishing hand in………..