Posts Tagged ‘Waterford estuary’

Codling Making an Appearance

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The Waterford estuary, a recognised marine nursery area, is presently witnessing a run of codling similar to that which graced it in 2011, anglers hitting marks from Duncannon and Passage upstream are catching fish ranging from a pound up to three pounds with an odd report of codling to seven pound being registered. Crab is the top bait with lug and mussel scoring as well, dusk into dark is the most productive time and ideally choose a neap tide as a big spring makes fishing very difficult as this soldier found out.

Pier fishing the Waterford estuary, Ireland.

Arriving at my chosen location an hour before high water the upstream tidal flow was slowing down. A big four meter full in around 16.00 pm, a light southerly breeze, clear skies and latterly a big full moon hinted at a possible cool evening which is how it transpired, not toe numbing but the constant shelling and wrapping of crab baits made for cold fingers as night closed in. Initially casting at an angle across and uptide my twin paternoster anchored by a six ounce long tail gripper held bottom easily. Within minutes repeated nodding indicated hungry life which manifested as a dab/whiting double, followed next cast by a pound codling, subsequent to that its older larger pound and a half brother.

Waterford estuary codling.

All caught over the top of the tide as night closed in, then as if somebody had opened a sluice gate all the water which had travelled up the three sister rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir decided it was time to vacate this expansive narrow estuary. Not a slow build to full flow but an immediate about turn, whoosh, in the time it took to reel in and cast out again fishing conditions had changed, holding bottom now became an impossibility exacerbated by floating weed. Persevering for half an hour yours truly decided to call it a night, however two successful codling trips in seven days indicates the potential for some quality fishing between now and Christmas. Next time I’ll pick a neap……….

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.

Off the Hook

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Hook Head is in equal parts an interesting yet frustrating angling location, a long narrow low lying peninsular with a remote and ancient personality, comprised of three types of sedimentary rock, slate and shale to the north, old red sandstone across the center, and fossil rich carboniferous limestone creating a stepped landscape in the vicinity of the lighthouse, I have no doubt of its fishing potential but to date it continues to allude me.

Hook lighthouse viewed from the east.

Smallish pollack and wrasse (relative to the west of Ireland) are caught in the vicinity of the lighthouse, especially on the eastern (deeper) side, I’ve caught a few and seen images, but are there bigger? Mackerel visit mid to late summer especially in the vicinity of Slade harbour, while bass and mullet frequent the shallow rocky bays which punctuate both the east and west side of the peninsula. Rock platforms from the lighthouse back towards Slade are numbered for competitions, so ground fishing is obviously practiced, what is the level of success though?

Jelly worming close to the Hook lighthouse, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Living in north county Wexford the Hook still represents a 120+ mile round trip for me, with diesel costing €1.55+ a litre the decision to travel down is not taken lightly. Yes it is fun to explore but how far can you take that concept, at some point there has to be an end result. Does the Hook look fishy or is it? I know there are whopper bass available I’ve caught one or two, but it’s hard work when your fishing window is tight and you have that distance to travel. Weather also plays a part with on occasions floating mats of weed a problem in some bays, yesterday being a case in point.

Jelly worming rig suitable for pollack.

Saturday May 12th is early in the season and a month of cold north easterlies has possibly added a delay factor regarding species getting into gear, but to jelly worm for two hours over high water in various locations (regularly changing type and colour) and not get a touch. That said, I learned about the underwater topography along the eastern side close to the lighthouse, shallow (a count of twelve reaches bottom), with a stepped gradient. Maybe fishing will improve as the summer progresses, will I be out there? Diesel and distance limits, any advice gratefully accepted.

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.

Estuary Codling.

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

It’s been blowing a gale for the last few days and the beaches are choked with weed. The codling must be having a feeding frenzy but how do you get at them. Eureka, head towards the Waterford estuary, there’s plenty of shelter from those southerly winds and numerous accessible marks to fish. The beach at Duncannon shimmered under a glorious sunset, four dozen hard won black lugworm glistened in my bucket, their tell tale casts and blow holes only making an appearance shortly before the sun set on the Waterford shore.

Winter sunset on Duncannon strand, Dec 1st 2011.

Darkness was closing in as I made my way to the Strand Bar for a bite to eat and a pint of stout, before heading up the estuary to a mark that had been producing of late. A handy spot, you can drive the car up, step out and fish. Making my first cast an hour and a half into the flood, a two hook paternoster loaded up with fat juicy lug, the gripper dug into the mussel bank and my rod tip curved as the current took hold. Immediately, thump, thump, thump, the rod leaned over as the most certainly hooked fish swam up tide. I could feel the kicks and heavy knocks through the rod and shortly after codling number one was swung ashore.

Pat Power with a nice Waterford estuary codling.

Nice fish”. “First of the night”, says I, before belting out cast number two. Pat Power, a local angler had come down to try his luck. While he was setting up my rod gave a double knock, strike two, “Hey you’re doing well”. “Yes, two in two casts, all on lug”. Pat using peeler crab found fish harder to come by although an odd codling, whiting, and coalfish came his way. So it went on, cast after cast bites every time, I lost count as to how many fish came my way. Double headers, dab, whiting, more codling, the sea bed must have been carpeted. Then an hour before high water it all stopped.

Five Waterford estuary codling from an evening December tide.

Now eight thirty pm, a hard frost was falling through the still night air. What a session, especially the first hour. Bites had been thick and fast, producing some fine codling. As the tide rose funnily enough the fish got smaller, by session end most were just on or over the 30cms. Waterford estuary has to be a nursery area for codling, and if so must be designated such. Retaining five codling for din dins, catch and release applying to the rest of my catch which easily topped twenty fish, I headed for home and a warm fire. Brrrrr.

See also: Christmas Coalies.

See also: Mixed Bag from the Waterford Estuary.