Posts Tagged ‘Wrasse’

Double Top on the Beara

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Twin paternosters baited with freshly dug lugworm settled on the clean sea bed one hundred meters offshore, a flooding spring tide and a setting sun heralding the promise of fish, I was not to be disappointed. Within two minutes a rod top nodded, first tap tap before a strong downward pull then slack line as the fish swam inshore. Picking up rod number one while reeling to make contact a heavy gliding weight signaled flatfish. Having cast off a rock platform into relatively deep water as the fish came closer dives and a circular motion of the mainline confirmed my assumption, double flounder a great start.

Evening sea fishing on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

Thump, thump, slack, “what is this no time to think“, having barely had time to unhook my initial catch away goes rig number two. In hand and winding fast to maintain contact over goes the rod into a nice curve, now pumping the fish to clear an inshore kelp bed the white underbellies of two nice codling become visible through the crystal clear water. Ensuring a few turns of shock leader are wound around the reel spool I point my rod down towards the brace and lift them up and onto my fishing station, running a pound and a half plus each they will make a nice tea.

Double flounder on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

What a start and it did not stop there, six species to include dab, flounder, codling, pollack, coalfish and wrasse over a three hour session to dusk high water. How many fish were caught I do not know it became a blur of double codlings, double dab and any combination of the species list in between. The best fish was a pollack about four pound in weight which hit a trailing bait as I was reeling in a coalfish, what a session on a much loved mark quite obviously back to form. A muggy mid October evening belied the time of year, having made the decision to travel at short notice based on a weather window, one could not have planned it better.

Sea fishing on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

In todays’ world of diminished marine fish stocks the Beara is a sea angling destination worth visiting and getting to know, traveling down for a decade now this angler has only scratched the surface. Yes I’ve seen changes, while numbers of fish encountered remains high mackerel are both scarce and small, while the average size of pollack on certain regular marks that I fish appears to have halved in weight. That said, a fish a chuck in the 2.lb bracket with at any moment a possible lunker ready to snaffle your jelly worm, then heaving your rod over as it dives for the kelp always making the journey worthwhile.

Sea fishing tackle check.

On this visit over two and a half days yours truly landed nine species, the six already mentioned plus scad, dogfish and conger eels to 15.lbs. Sea food chowder with slabs of buttered brown bread, pints of stout, the full Irish breakfast, traditional music of an evening, a nice welcome wherever you went and of course the scenery, what more could one ask for? It’s why I keep returning……..

Reef Pollack and Welsh Dragons

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Aside from the prospect of Wales winning yet another rugby grand slam, the membership of the Welsh Pleasure Anglers and Kayakers Association can think of nothing better than drifting with the tide aboard a Kilmore Quay charter boat reef fishing off the Saltee Islands for a range of species to include pollack, coalfish, ling, cod, and wrasse. Late June sees up to twenty Welsh sea anglers, organised and led by the inimitable Alan Duthie, make the annual Co. Wexford pilgrimage to fish aboard charter vessels Autumn Dream and Enterprise skippered respectively by the Hayes brothers Eamon and Dick.

Phil Horton from South Wales displays a fine Kilmore Quay cod.

Kindly invited to fish aboard Autumn Dream the weather could not have been more pleasant with a gentle south west breeze hardly ruffling the surface, in contrast though a strong four meter tide ruled out fishing more productive marks west of the Saltees. Not to be deterred skipper Eamon Hayes worked his socks off placing the boys on a succession of drifts which yielded regular catches of reef pollack interspersed with an odd codling, coalfish, small ling, and wrasse.

Clive Jones from Swansea South Wales happy with a nice Kilmore Quay pollack.

One very happy angler making his inaugural Kilmore Quay visit was Marshall Mainwaring. Relatively new to sea angling Marshall had his heart set on catching a cuckoo wrasse to add to his species tally. This he did with interest boating both male and female of the species. Well in principal all he needed was one fish because they are hermaphrodite, however to make sure Marshall did the double.

Marshall Mainwaring displays a colourful cuckoo wrasse.

In total 21 Welsh sea anglers from the Swansea/Llanethli/Port Talbot area made the trip, seven of which were fishing in Ireland for the first time. Group leader Alan Duthie prepares the lads well holding up to four pre-travel meetings where every aspect of the visit is explained and an information pack outlining the fishing and other relevant details is handed out. In essence the membership hit the ground running on arrival. Reef fishing off Kilmore Quay can result in lots of lost terminal gear if you are not aware of specific angling techniques, it was clear that the boys had done their homework.

Steve Jones with a nice Kilmore Quay coalfish.

Staying at The Quay House Bed and Breakfast, Phone, +353 (0)53 91 29988, located on the left as you drive down the main street of Kilmore Quay, just up from Kehoe’s public house. A fine establishment well run by husband and wife team Pat and Siobhan McDonnell, the Quay House caters for anglers providing equipment storage, bait refrigeration, and catch freezing facilities. Full Irish breakfasts set up the day, hot showers are ready on return, and on this occasion bait was ordered in advance  through Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies, phone +353 (0)87 944 0945. Fresh mackerel was the top bait  on this trip with ragworm attracting a number of quality wrasse.

Charter boat Enterprise out of Kilmore Quay skippered by Dick Hayes.

I would like to thank Alan and the lads for their hospitality and good humour throughout the day and in particular for not making me walk the plank after destroying Alan’s favourite Penn boat rod. “You should have let me use old yella”…….

See also: Angling Marks, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

 

Rays of Sunshine in Deepest West Cork

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Weather is the final arbiter when choosing a fishing mark on Beara, the sun might be splitting the stones but if a force 5 or 6 wind is blowing in tandem then many potential rock angling locations could be ruled out for safety reasons, Atlantic swells are not to be messed with. However there are a number of fail safe venues on this rocky peninsula which are fishable under most conditions, fair or foul, the inner harbour of Berehaven home to a clutch of them. Yes, they have a tendency to be all or nothing but when they’re on the fishing can be top draw.

Dutch tourist sea angler Martin with a close on 9.00lb shore caught Beara Peninsula thornback ray.

Visiting Ireland on a fishing vacation for the third time since 2010 Dutch sea anglers Tony and Martin were targeting ray off a well known sheltered deep water rock mark west of Castletownbere. Cloudless blue skies, a baking sun, and a one o’clock neap full tide are not traditionally the best conditions to chase shore ray, however casting 100 meters out into 8 fathoms does improve your chances. There is though the problem of negotiating a steep sub surface rock wall which juts out some 20/30 meters in front of the casting platform, utilising a fast retrieve fixed spool or heavy casting multiplier such as a Daiwa Slosh or ABU 7000 deals admirably with that issue.

Pumping up a shore ray from a rock mark in West Cork, Ireland.

Tony and Martin were well kitted out and fishing ledgered mackerel proceeded to land a small spotted ray and a fine thornback running close on 9.00lb. I can still hear Martin repeating “Holy shit” as he pumped his first shore caught ray to the surface. Kiting through crystal clear water the fish could be seen meters below the surface which was a great sight to behold, and even more special as she glided back into the depths on release.

Dutch sea angler Tony with a cracking 2.7 kilo specimen ballan wrasse.

A feature of this location is the range of species that can be accessed to include pollack, wrasse, conger, thornback ray, spotted ray, tub gurnard, dogfish, and mackerel. Tony while fishing down the rock wall with crab connected with a great fish which tested his tackle to the limit. Once safely in his landing net he couldn’t contain his joy as a very colourful 2.7 kilo Irish specimen wrasse now had his name on it. Weighed on certified scales and returned it’s special fish like this that bring Tony and his friends back year after year.

A fine shore caught West Cork spotted ray.

Trying my luck the next day under similar conditions using fresh mackerel caught by friend Gary Robinson jigging from his kayak right in front of my fishing platform, I managed to land a nice spotted ray which again looked special as it glided through the crystal clear water on retrieve, not quite a David Attenborough moment but memorable all the same…….

Further reading: Beara Baskers.

Beara Baskers, Burgeoning Biomass, and Guinness of Course.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Ten meters off the point a large shoal of grey mullet finned and opened their collective mouths in unison, sieving plankton and other microscopic organisms from the rich productive waters of a special West Cork bay which over the last eight years has become very close to this writers heart. Loose feeding bread flake after about 10 minutes a number of the multitude proceeded to suck in Mr Brennan’s best, time to introduce my quill floated, 2BB shotted, size 10 round bend, bread flake carrying terminal tackle.

A nice Beara Peninsula grey mullet caught on bread flake.

No sooner had the float settled in the water when a large white shape resembling a bin liner appeared about 5 meters outside the mullet shoal. Becoming closer and larger suddenly white plastic transforms into a cavernous mouth, gill rakers and an extended bulbous nose, a whopping great basking shark not ten feet from my stance attracted by the same plankton rich waters loved by the mullet, who by their body language couldn’t care less about this 20 foot long interloper now entering their parlour. As if to prove this point down goes my float, a turn of the wrist, an explosion of spray and the drag sings on my Mitchell fixed spool. Where would you get it, playing an angry mullet in close proximity to a marine Goliath, awesome.

United Kingdom visitor Keith Kendall sports a grand jelly worm tempted pollack.

Such is fishing on the Beara, marine surprises piled on top of quality sea angling, they don’t happen every day but not a trip goes by without at least one David Attenborough moment. Certainly it’s not just the fishing that encourages tourists like Keith Kendall from the United Kingdom to undertake a marathon 36 hour round trip by boat and car to this far flung outpost of Ireland, but it helps. Inviting Keith to spend a day pollack and wrassing with us we had a great time encompassing bracing headland walks, rock hopping, a smattering of prime fish, all topped off with a few pints and a nice evening meal in O’Neill’s of Allihies.

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Reef Fishing off Kilmore Quay.

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Drifting east, pushed by an ever increasing tidal flow, a lazy swell lifting and rolling under charter vessel “Autumn Dream”, eighty feet below three black pollack  feathers worked their magic over the boulder fields and kelp beds close to the Conningmore rock, south west of the Saltee Islands. A lask of fresh mackerel adorned the bottom hook blood and juices wafting down tide, letting out line to remain in contact with the bottom, thump, thump, striking and reeling in unison a head shaking ferocity transmitted through the braid indicating a ling or maybe a good cod, I began the long retrieve.

A nice reef ling boated off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Pumping my catch towards the surface its dogged resistance never relenting, twenty feet below a long whitish shape comes into view, skipper Eamonn Hayes readies the net and does the honours swinging a reef ling topping eight pounds+ over the rail. “Good man Ash, bait that lower hook up and get it down again”. Turning his attention to all on board Eamon advises, “bait the bottom hook only with fresh mackerel, changing every drop down lads”, then further quips in his broad south Wexford accent, “and remember boys every time you get hung up in a rock and lose a rig you’re keeping a nice Asian girl in a job”. Autumn Dream is a happy boat and the party of Welsh anglers who kindly invited me out are having a ball.

Fighting a pollack up from below aboard Autumn Dream, off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Some of the party are regular visitors, although ten in the total contingent of twenty on this visit are first timers. They come for the variety and quality of species present and are certainly getting value for money over the Kilmore reefs today. Pollack, coalfish, cod, ling, ballan and cuckoo wrasse, pouting, mackerel, and launce continuously keep rods bending, smiling faces populate the deck, ribald jokes and laughs are a constant, the chaps are having fun. “We’ll be crossing kelp beds now lads, there might be a few cod” advises Eamonn, on cue over go a couple of rods. Straining to lift up from the depths, 20.lb class rods in their fighting curve, codling up to 6.lbs a welcome sight.

A happy Welsh angler with a brace of codling boated off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

The group are divided equally between “Autumn Dream” and Kilmore Quay based charter vessel “Enterprise” skippered by Eamonn’s brother Dick Hayes. Both men offer a wealth of sea going experience stretching back over thirty years and know the inshore reefs, shoals, and banks off Kilmore Quay intimately. With unseasonal storms over recent days having dirtied the water and scattered fish, both Eamonn and Dick communicate returns throughout the day resulting in fine catches aboard both vessels. Pollack predominate with coalfish making an appearance now and again.

A Kilmore Quay coalfish for Welsh angler Alan Duthie.

Reef fishing off Kilmore Quay requires anglers to be vigilant, the ground is rough, boulder strewn and kelpy. With depths ranging from 30 – 100 foot plus (16 fathoms+), averaging 60 foot, allied to rolling seas and the need to keep hard on the bottom tackle losses are unavoidable. Bring lots of leads ranging in size from eight ounces to a pound and stock up on various hokai and feather rigs suitable for pollack, cod, and ling. I find black , white, and purple colours work well off Kilmore in hook sizes 3/0 and 4/0. Keeping in contact with your lead by not letting too much of an angle develop, maintaining more or less straight up and down reduces losses. Create a mental picture of the sea bed by touch, it requires concentration, lifting and dropping the lead, winding and releasing line to work the undersea troughs and rises, however the effort pays off in terms of fish and retained rigs.

Returning home after a day fishing the reefs, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Lines up was signaled at 16.00pm, Eamonn pointed the bow north east towards Kilmore and accompanied by Enterprise we headed for harbour, a shower, pints, and dinner in that order. Lots of fish were caught with many released to fight another day, whatever fish retained being gutted and filleted as we motored back. Gulls followed, swooped, squawked, and fought for pieces of offal in that age old tradition associated with returning fishing boats, there is no doubt it was a great day. Thank you to Alan Duthie and the boys for inviting me, and to Eamonn for his professionalism, warmth and fun approach…..

The Quay House Bed and Breakfast, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Footnote: We stayed at The Quay House Bed and Breakfast, Phone, +353 (0)53 91 29988, located on the left as you drive down the main street of Kilmore Quay, just up from Kehoe’s public house. A fine establishment well run by husband and wife team Pat and Siobhan McDonnell, the Quay House caters for anglers providing equipment storage, bait refrigeration, and catch freezing facilities. Full Irish breakfasts set up the day, hot showers are ready on return, and bait can be ordered in advance and during your stay through Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies, phone +353 (0)87 944 0945. Fresh mackerel is the top bait off Kilmore with ragworm necessary if targeting wrasse.

For Further Reading Click On: Sun, Sea, it’s Kilmore Quay.


Shore Fishing in Ireland, Hole Lotta Wrasse

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

West Cork is home to a range of quality shore fishing opportunities where specimen sized fish are not only a possibility but almost an expectation, ballan wrasse fall into this category. Powerful, muscular fighters dressed in a range of colours, these cracking sport fish provided a wonderful afternoons fishing during a recent foray to an isolated rock mark within Ireland’s rebel county.

A cracking ballan wrasse from an isolated West Cork, Ireland, rock mark.

Armed with locally collected hard back crab and Wexford ragworm a wrasse hole which had delivered in the past was targeted. On arrival conditions were perfect, overcast and warm due to a southerly breeze, the sea relatively flat with a light swell rising and falling in the gully creating a nice aerated environment so beloved of wrasse. Utilising the services of a 13′ Daiwa surf pole teamed with a Slosh 30 loaded with 30.lb line, I rigged a single hook short snood paternoster weighted by a spark plug and set to work.

The perfect bait for ballan wrasse, hard backed green shore crab.

Baiting with ragworm, my friend Roger Ball on a fishing holiday from the UK opting for hard back crab, I cast twenty meters out into the foaming gully and let the rig slowly sink back in towards the rock face. Keeping a taught line an immediate hard double knock was simultaneously responded to by striking and reeling at the same time. Over went the rod into its fighting curve as the wrasse bored deep for sanctuary in the waving kelp below.

Fighting a large ballan wrasse fom a shore mark in West Cork, Ireland.

There is no finesse employed when fishing ballan wrasse, the rule of thumb being get in control by bullying the fish or it will bully you, make no mistake these fish are tough battlers and demand firm respect. At any time a large fish upwards of four or five pounds could hit the bait and a wrasse of this size takes some stopping, testing both tackle and angler with that first crash dive. Even when the initial surge is tamed wrasse continue to fight, twisting, turning, and diving until lifted clear of the water.

A tropical coloured ballan wrasse from West Cork, Ireland.

Wrasse never cease to amaze with their varying colour schemes, on this occasion mottled olive green to bright orange with blue and red marbled undersides in between. My friends and I took fish after fish averaging 2/3 lbs with the best running just under five pounds, quality shore fishing on what turned out to be a red letter day with pollack to close on ten pounds landed and some fine pound plus dabs, but hey that’s another story…..

For further reading, click on: Bruising Ballan’s.

Beara Peninsula Adventure

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A sea fishing trip to the Beara Peninsula over the October weekend delivered in spades. The weather was typical for the south west ranging from mediterranean, to monsoon, to full on gale, however given the nature of the terrain a fishy mark was always available and boy were the fish obliging. Over three full days shore angling intrepid visitors from England Roger Ball, Dave Hoskins, Rob Hume, and I landed ten species of fish to include pollack, coalfish, codling, wrasse, mackerel, scad, mullet, plaice, dab, and dogfish. With a sizable conger lost at the waters edge and one or two marks off limits due to the sea and weather conditions our species tally could definitely have been higher.

A six pound plus Beara Peninsula pollack for Roger Ball.

The Beara is a rocky outpost in Ireland’s south west totally undiscovered in terms of sea angling. Having fished there on four occasions previously I am aware of its potential but this trip really took the biscuit. Circumstance due to the weather put us on marks we had not considered initially and the results were startling. With out doubt our group enjoyed the best mixed shore fishing any of us have had in twenty years. It was not just the species count but the quality of fish we encountered. Pollack to over six pound, four pound plus wrasse, codling up to four pounds, dinner plate plaice, and a specimen 1.lb 8.oz dab. Cornwall is England’s equivalent in terms of sea angling and the boys as one agreed that there is just no comparison, the Beara wins by a country mile.

Double header plaice, a rare catch in modern times.

Methods used included jelly worming and spinning for pollack, coalfish, mackerel, and codling, float fishing for mullet, down the wall for wrasse, and general shore casting over clean and mixed ground for a range of species to include the flatties. On a couple of occasions the flat rocks below our self catering cottage provided a nice platform to fly fish for pollack with a bonus fish being a large scad, a first for me on rod and line. Besides lures we bait fished with fresh mackerel, ragworm, locally collected hard back crab, and lugworm. The latter of which were big, black, and fleshy, ideal for the job in hand and devoured by the codling we encountered.

Beara peninsula codling.

The first full day of fishing took place under ideal conditions of blue skies and flat calm seas. We were  privileged to the point of distraction of seeing nature at its finest. Dolphins chasing shoals of mullet, mackerel, and herring, the water in front of us a virtual aquarium. Crystal clear and deep blue the kelp swayed, dense shoals of fish darted their sides reflecting the light, unseen predators from below causing the surface to occasionally boil, and this a backdrop to some top notch wrasse fishing. Presented with hardback crab or ragworm they attacked the baits with gusto, beautifully coloured and real bruisers what an afternoons sport.

A four pound plus bruiser of a wrasse from the Beara peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

The holiday provided lots of moments to savour and some real surprises. Over fishing in Ireland’s coastal waters has decimated cod and flatfish stocks rendering shore fishing for both a limited exercise. Working on hunches for the flat fish we hit pay dirt with plaice to over a pound and a cracking specimen dab for Plymouth’s Dave Hoskins, without doubt the best flattie fishing that I have encountered this side of 1990 in terms of numbers and size. Who needs to travel to Iceland with shore sport like this on our doorstep.

Specimen Beara peninsula Dab for Dave Hoskins.

Yes we had to work hard in terms of accessing marks, collecting quality bait, and braving the elements but it paid off. Ireland and the Beara peninsula opened the door to wonderful sea fishing opportunities for us capped by the best winter cod session any of us have had again this side of the early nineties. It might be that a set of circumstances have come together based on EU quota restrictions coupled with a good year class but the south coast of Ireland has a young cod stock again. Hopefully the powers that be give it a chance to grow and mature, we can only live in hope that those that manage get it right this time. That said let us not get morose, the Beara peninsula, West Cork, Ireland from May through to Christmas is a superb sea fishing destination for the shore angler. Its secrets unlocked with every new visit, this trip surpassed the wildest expectations of four seasoned sea anglers, a beautiful rugged location, a sea angling paradise.

Further Information: Beara Peninsula Guide.

See also: Beara Peninsula Magic.

Click on: Video clip, Rock Fishing on the Beara Peninsula.

Sea Fishing in Ireland, “Wild Swan” off the Hook.

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

“Wild Swan” is a 42′ fully licensed, insured, and equipped charter vessel working out of Ballyhack on the Wexford side of the Waterford Estuary. Skippered by Jim Foley, “Wild Swan” is powered by a 600 HP Caterpillar engine giving her a top speed of 28 knots, enabling Jim to put anglers on the offshore fishing grounds quickly and safely. Specialising in reef fishing off the Hook, deep water wrecks, and drifting for blue shark, “Wild Swan” provides a wealth of offshore sea angling opportunities, and if the wind blows there is always the estuary to explore.

A group of happy anglers on board the "Wild Swan" charter vessel.

A Friday evening call from Pat Cullen found me standing on the quay at Ballyhack, Co. Wexford, at the appointed hour of 09.30am the following morning. Having fished the Waterford estuary on board “Wild Swan” last year catching plenty of flounder, codling, and bass, I was glad of the call and the opportunity it presented to fish the rough ground off Hook Head. Jim Foley junior was skippering the vessel today. Stowing my gear and introducing myself to the group, most of whom I knew through the Rathdrum Anglers, we set sail at ten bells on what was a warm, greyish day, with a fresh north westerly blowing.

Codling caught off Hook Head, Co. Wexford.

First stop we fished a scarf of tide inside Hook Head for mackerel. As has been the form this summer they were scarce, it took various drifts over a two hour period to amass just about enough for bait. Luckily there was plenty of ragworm on board, and these along with a number of launce provided enough bait for the days reef fishing. Using feathers and hokais during this period drops to the bottom also resulted in some nice codling, pollack, and coalfish, in the two/three pound bracket.

Jim with a nice pollack tempted by a redgill.

Next stop saw our group drifting over a pinnacle rock feature which rose sharply from the seabed to within four/five fathoms of the surface. Jim advised gilling which I did to some effect, taking pollack which although not large provided great sport on the light gear with their initial crash dive. Other species landed over this mark included pouting and codling. Anchoring and fishing large baits into the base of this feature would surely produce conger and ling given the amount of pouting present, some of which came up two at a time.

Double pouting on the Wexford based charter vessel Wild Swan.

A move to general reef fishing saw our group drifting an area of mixed ground, rock interspersed with gravel patches, which produced a variety of species to include gurnard, wrasse, ling, pollack, and codling. A feature of the day was the number of codling landed, many returned to grow bigger. Not large, averaging a pound and a half, there is a future if the powers that be get their act together and manage the stock correctly. It was interesting to hear Jim, an experienced commercial skipper back in the day, talk about investment in large vessels and how in hindsight the policy was short sighted, given the present obvious damage to fish stocks.

Red gurnard off Hook Head, Co. Wexford.

At days end our group had returned thirteen species to include mackerel, codling, coalfish, pollack, ling, pouting, poor cod, red gurnard, grey gurnard, ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, launce, and dogfish, not a bad return for a fun day out. The fishing on occasions was slow, but Jim kept working to put our group over fish, and you cannot ask for more then that. The species haul shows the potential of the area, and although a lot of fish were returned, some prime codling, pollack, mackerel, and ling were filleted for home consumption as we steamed for Ballyhack.

Skipper Jim Foley junior with a cuckoo wrasse.

Skipper Jim Foley trades as Mermaid Angling and can be contacted by email, mermaidangling@eircom.net, or by phone: 00353 (0)51 389225, mobile: 00353 (0)87 678 1245. The “Wild Swan” is a comfortable, beamy vessel with plenty of space for a group of eight anglers. The day was well worth my €50.00 contribution. Big thanks to Pat for giving me the call and skipper Jim Foley for what proved to be a fun day afloat in good company.

Further reading, Click on: Hey Joey.

Rock Hopping on the Beara

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

When it comes to sea angling on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, I do not need to be asked twice. So it was with great delight that I accepted an offer from Roger and Corinne Ball of West Sussex, England, who were holidaying on the Beara, to join them for a couple of days and go fishing. Heading down on Sunday last the 23rd May I made on overnight stop at Dromagowlane House,  http://www.dromagowlanehouse.com/, a bed and breakfast specialising in sea angling breaks ran by Paul and Anne Harris, located in Adrigole, out the road from Glengarriff on the way to Castletownbere.

Fishing the rocks at Urhan, near Eyeries, Beara, West Cork

Leaving Dromagowlane early Monday morning with a present of frozen sandeels from Paul, “the mackerel are scarce due to the cold winter”, I met up with Roger and Corinne around nine am. Based on last years fishing Roger recommended a trip out to Crow Head rock hopping with Pollack and Wrasse in mind. Filling our ruck sacks with just the necessary tackle we said our goodbyes to Corinne and headed off. The day was sweltering with hardly a cloud in the sky, little or no wind, and temperatures certainly rising to the high twenties. Leaving the car at the end of a lane we set out across the headland on foot.

A fine Crow Head Pollack

Roger pointed out a number of rock marks that he had fished last year. One in particular stood out, a flat shelf with reasonable access, which we opted for. What a choice, plenty of room with options to fish Wrasse, Pollack, and whatever might be lurking in the deep. Tackling up with jelly worms attached a meter below a 60 gram barrel lead we commenced fishing. Casting out and letting the lead hit the bottom before starting a steady retrieve resulted in a string of Pollack up to five pounds plus hitting the lures. Fishing on occasions was frantic with both rods buckling over as Pollack hit the jellies and crash dived for cover.

Another Crow Head Pollack for Roger Ball

Mid afternoon saw our attention turn to wrasse. Roger had collected some hardback crabs from the harbour at Garinish, supplemented with Ragworm we set about searching likely holes earmarked by white water generated by the lazy swell. Simple one hook rotten bottom rigs weighted by spark plugs were cast in. Almost immediately the wrasse attacked the baits with their customary double tap bites. Missing more than we hooked, these Beara wrasse are very adept at stripping baits, we still caught our fair share in the two to three pound bracket. Pugnacious fighters the wrasse put determined bends in the rods, with Roger hitting a real mother which eventually made its escape in the kelp forest below.

Roger with a fine Crow Head wrasse

The fishing did not abate right through the day and before we knew it day had turned into evening. We upped sticks and headed for home tired but exhilarated. We had only tipped at the potential, mullet were a constant site patrolling the rock edges, and surely the deeps must hold conger, huss, and probably ling. Mackerel were conspicuous by their absence, maybe the cold winter has delayed their arrival. However, mid June should see the fishing in full swing, I cannot wait.

Click on : Open sea mullet on the Beara , to read about a session targeting coastal mullet.