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Mayo - Killala Bay MAYO - BELMULLET Mayo - Clew Bay Shore Index

Mayo is such a vast county, we have broken it into sections, around Achill & Clew Bay, to Belmullet and finally around to Killala Bay.  The Belmullet penninsula has an extraordinary range of fishing, with the vast shallow Broadhaven Bay to the north, offering protected fishing in any westerly or south westerly gale, another shallow lugworm bed infested channel to the south, and a micxture of immense Atlantic storm beaches and exceptional rock fishing platforms ranging across its face. It is very isolated.   Care is needed.  Fishing alone is not advisable.  A red spot indicates a known shore mark with recent reports available, whereas a yellow spot indicates a known or suspected mark where a pioneering spirit / taste for adventure is needed!


The waters around Belmullet are famous for the sheer variety of fishing available - it holds the record for the largest number of species caught in Irish waters on inshore boat competitions.  Some 38 species were recorded in one day!  Whilst the vast bays at either end of the wild penninsula are shallow, often less than four metres deep, several records were caught here and countless specimens are recorded every year, from boat and from shore.  As the construction of the Corrib Gas Field pipeline and terminal goes ahead, the area will change dramatically - at least the roads will be improved!  Access, probably the key difficulty with the area is not as bad as it migth see, and new marks will emerge over time.  To my mind this is one of the most underutilised and exceptional areas of shore angling coastline in Ireland. You will be well rewarded ...

1 - Portnacloy   This tiny fishing village located in a small natural harbour is often described as a placed untouched by time and the modern world. The best mark is the inner pier, whereas both piers will work at high water especially during the summer.  You can also walk down the western headland and fish from the rocks on the point into extremely strong currents over reefs.  Mackerel common in the summer, with garfish a possibility and the odd but often large Pollack taken there as well.  Not a place for the beginner or youngster, especially on a rising tide. Species & Techniques: On the two "piers" - they are both very small, most Flatfish including small Turbot, Ray in calm weather, Dogfish and Conger will fall to bottom fishing.  In the summer small Wrasse are everywhere between the piers and the point, with a few bigger fish available!  Float fishing will take Wrasse and Mackerel in season.  Coalfish and Pollack are taken on spinners.  I have found that there are fish but little quality.  October 2003

2 - Ballyglass Pier   Another tiny fishing village, the pier (there are two and a high water slipway, you want the one furthest north towards the promontory fort) will produce fish mainly on the incoming tide and an hour either side of high water. A second smaller beach on the far side of the headland offers shelter from heavy south or westerly breezes.  Species & Techniques: Most Flatfish including small Turbot, Ray in calm weather, Dogfish and Conger are all taken from the inner pier via bottom fishing. The Wrasse are ever-present and float fishing will also account for Mackerel.  Coalfish, pollack and the odd Codling will fall.

3 - Ballyglass Point  The rocks at Ballyglass Point stick right out into Broadhaven Bay and offer fishing off both sides - handy on a windy day as you can choose a sheltered spot! Follow the road cum track down to the lighthouse and depending on the wind direction, head to one side or the other!  Species & Techniques: Mackerel, small Coalfish and decent Pollack will fall to spinning tackle, with bottom fishing producing Dogfish and Conger, with the possibility of larger Bull Huss over the rougher foul ground.  Junk leads and rotten bottom links are vital.  Most poeple will fish these marks at high water and often into the ground in front of Glash island. January 2004

4 - Pullacoppal  This oddly named mark offers beach fishing and is best fished at night. Access is downhill on a dirt track at the end of a road accessed from the main crossroads at Knocknalina.  There is also an interesting but foul ground shore mark to the right hand side, marked by two old promontary forts. Fishing from the rocks will produce pollack and wrasse over the rougher ground.. Species & Techniques: All the standard flatfish, with small turbot and ray falling to larger fish baits, are caught here.  The only advice would be to fish it at night as we had a poor day with only pin whiting in daylight early this year.  January 2004

13 - Tippe Pier & Channel  From here you can walk out to Duveel Point for the view and try a speculative session there but the very narrow mouth of the Blind Harbour is where we would recommend you fish. You can dig sandeel and lugworm and possibly razors from the sands beside the harbour for the latter and in the channel at low water for the sandeels. Species & Techniques: A flooding tide is essential.  Sean Lavelle says it is a useful spot for spinning for pollack and mackerel, with wrasse in the weed in the summer.  Mike Thrussel has reported congers and bull huss from the rocks around the mouth but these are subject to big swells and a foul ground mark.  Sea-trout will fall to spinners over the sand to the right of the channel rocks, with mainly small plaice taken to worms baits in the channel beside the road and further up, past the first "bay", mullet.  March 2005.

12 - The Sailor's Graveyard   Take the last metalled road (just about!) to the right on the last stretch of road heading for Tippe Pier.  There is very limited parking at the end past the lone holiday home.  You are faced with an old slipway - take the sheep's path up to the right past the first headland and you will see the point lying in between foul ground with occassional patches of sand directly below you.  It is not an easy climb down but not unduly arduous.  Not a mark for a bad day since it is totally exposed and a long walk back to the car!  Species & Techniques: This is foul ground par excellence with lots of white water outside of a flat calm day.  It fishes best from mid water up.  At low water there is around 3-5 metres of water but there are lots of rocks and the area is kelp strewn.  On our last trip, spinning produced coalfish and one massive hit and a lost fish, thought to be a big pollack.  It will undoubtedly produce mackerel and top quality wrasse in summer. The sandy patches are a curious feature and aside from bull huss/dogfish and congers, we speculated that it might offer gurnard and flatfish.  March 2005.

5 - Illanbaun   IInstead of taking the sheeps path up to the right, you need to swing around over the headland and past the apparent island to the left.  It involves crossing boggy ground for fifteen minutes followed by a difficult trek down a watercourse that can range from dry to a torrent!  If it is in spate turn back, as the mark will not fish well. Tag along the shore and round the point.  This marks offers rock platforms and produces fish at any stage of the tide, but it is best on the incoming tide and around high water as it is a relatively shallow bay.  It is extremely sheltered which makes it ideal if you find yourself with a westerly or southerly, but it is a long trek back to the car and certainly not to be fished alone.  Species & Techniques: Dogfish, bull huss, conger, wrasse, coalfish and pollack are all taken here, all from bottom fishing onto the foul ground.  Spinninga nd float fishing will reduce tackle losses.  Codling were reported but not to a decent size.  Gurnard and mackerel have been taken, with shoals of sand eels and greater launce common in the summer.  Basking sharks are often seen here in summer.  March 2005

10 - Glenlara This whole coastline offers rock platforms and produces fish at any stage of the tide, but it is best on the incoming tide around high water. Access is difficult and mainly from the road to Aghadoon followed by what can be a long walk over heavily sheep grazed and often quite boggy ground.  The swells here can be massive so proper care is required and an automatic lifejacket is essential. This is very remote so fish in a group and check the first aid box and mobile phone coverage.  Species & Techniques: Dogfish, rockling, conger, bull huss, wrasse in summer, coalfish and pollack are all taken here, mostly by bottom fishing.  Mackerel will fall to feathers and spinning once they have arrived, often quite late.  A massive and very scenic shoreline, we met some anglers in March 2005 walking back with what looked a like a truly massive pollack.  March 2005.
14 a - Scotch Port Bay (south) To the south of "Dun na mBo" the bizarre cliff top sculpture you will drive past a small red brick and stone building, the old Eagle Island lighthouse supply station.  There is limited parking beside this down a heavily rutted road.  To the south, the land sweeps up as shelving rocks off a shingle and boulder beach.   Species & Techniques: Sean Lavelle tells us that you can fish into sand and shingle from these rocks with flatfish the dominant species, especially flounder near the small stream.  I have no doubt that you would pick up wrasse, mackerel and a host of other species probably including all three types of gurnard, conger and bull huss or doggies in the summer and autumn.  The bay is a popular scuba diving site.

14 b - Scotch Port Bay (north) From the limited parking take the route north towards the dominant cliffs over some very rough ground.  From mid way out to the point of the bay the water drop down from 25 m to 40 metres in depth. At the very point there is a channel between the headland and a small island, with an exceptionally massive swell, and we visited it on a calm day.  I would only recommend this mark at the very head to a party of experienced and properly prepared anglers.  Species & Techniques: Sean Lavelle brought us to a series of ledges, just past a vicious cleft running at right angles to the sea, perhaps a 15 minute walk-cum-clamber from the supply station.  It is safe to fish here and you can get right down to sea level in order to bring in any large fish, and you will need to!  On our first visit, we took coalfish on almost every drop, from legering to spinning to float fishing with squid strip, with larger pollack up to 6 lbs (2.5 kilos) taken on legered sandeel, squid and mackerel cocktail, and on a variety of spun lures.  This is exceptionally foul ground with lots of kelp and it is very deep.  It is totally exposed to the S and SW, but otherwise quite sheltered.  We have no idea what might be caught there in the summer, but you can rest assured that we will be returning several times.  It looks a truly exceptional spot, and to be honest the entire coast south to Annagh Head and north around Erris Head and down to Tippe Pier looks the exact same.  Bring lots of spark plugs with you!  March 2005.

6 - Annagh Head Another set of rock platforms, this produces fish at any stage of the tide, but an incoming tide and high water are the optimal conditions. Most people fish the western/southern side but the "inside" can be fished as well, especially onto the sand using worm baits. This is a particularly dangerous mark and sadly lives are lost by the unwary on a regular basis.  On a calm day you can get a 10 metre swell or "freak wave" that will give you absolutely no chance at all.  Better to fish it on a dropping neap tide at least for starters and in a group and with all the necessary precautions taken. Species & Techniques: Dogfish and Conger, Wrasse, Coalfish and Pollack are all taken here by bottom fishing. Spinning and float fishing work also over foul ground. Flatfish available on the "inside" shore down near a small pier. 

7 - Cross Strand   This beach mark is reputed to fish best at night. Species & Techniques: All the standard flatfish (very few plaice, mostly dab and flounder) but including turbot are taken here, with thornback ray falling to larger fish baits. Sea-trout were once a common catch here given the excellent local trout lakes on the penninsula itself.  Cross Strand accounts for occasional decent sized brill and even the odd megrim in the autumn, although these are more common further out to sea and over mud.

8 - Cross Point to Glosh Tower   This truly massive range of beach marks can offer excellent fishing, even more so at night, but the main problem is working out where to pitch your tent!  This beach is extremely popular with surfers (all year long) so that might help make up your mind for you!  Most sea anglers tend to gravitate towards one of the many rocky marks on an otherwise featureless expanse of sand. Species & Techniques: All the standard flatfish (again mostly dab and dlounder) but including turbot and teh occassional brill have been taken off this beach. Ray fall to larger fish baits, especially on the flood after dark.  Specimen sea-trout have been taken off the beach on spinning gear and some bass have also been recorded.  You could easily spend a week fishing half the marks along this beach. Towards the end of this vast beach there is a set of rocks off which the locals fish for sea trout using sandeels fished behind a bubble float on an incoming tide.  March 2005.

11 - behind Blacksod Lighthouse   I have not put this mark up before because it has a reputation for (a) being dangerous and (b) for producing either excellent or truly awful fishing - blank city.  It is very exposed and features foul ground with sand at distance. I would be particularly careful of the fishing here in anything other than clear and fairly calm conditions.  Even landing a small fish here can be a minor nightmare. Drive all the way down to the lighthouse and you will find a trail behind it leading down to the rocks due south and west.  Species & Techniques: Close in over the rocks you wil take pollack, coalfish, mackerel and wrasse in summer with garfish and launce likely.  Most people prefer to spin or float fish on account of the appallingly foul ground.  If you leger, expect to contact conger eels and buss huss all year around.  At distance you can get onto sand and this will produce dabs, the odd flounder, the possibility of a megrim (they are caught regularly in the channel), and dogfish.  Lots of dogfish.  In the foul ground in winter you can pick up codling, the odd fish over 2.5 kilos and on calm days even whiting.  You will pick up odd fish on small baits like rock cooks, corkwing wrasse, blennies, gobies, dragonets, and other peculiarities.  I find it fishes best on the last two hours down and the first two hours up, ideally heading towards darkness on a medium sized tide.

9 - Doohooma   Past the village of Geesala the road runs directly west towards the sea, and no-one fishes here... A vast sandy beach runs the whole western edge of this penninsula, from the end of the road right across to the village of Doohooma.  The road runs alongside it too thankfully! Species & Techniques: Again, we suspect that a pioneering spirit will rewards you with virgin beach fishing for all the flatfish, bass, and maybe even sea-trout, with the possibility of some ray in calmer warmer weather.  A unique if very windy spot!


Although there are several virgin beaches on the coast east of Portnacloy heading towards Ballycastle, there has been little or no fishing here, despite there being an obvious set of marks.  Access in this part of Mayo is the problem - the few road available can be in a "dramatic" state, but there is undoubtedly excellent fishing available for anyone with an adventure in mind.  Try asking the locals at the village of Belderg, just in from the coast.

The other mark to try is the famed Erris Head, the most northerly point on the Belmullet penninsula, a long hike past Glenlara.  Boat fishing in the area has begun to produce Haddock in decent numbers, and the tidal race between the shore and island was once a reknowned mark.  Akin to the other rock marks, care and caution are strongly advised.

As if that is not enough, the channel in the middle of Blacksod Bay south of the town gets a very decent run of Tope, and you might just might be able to tackle these off the beach at Srah, on the "mainland" side.  This island is only accessible at low water but you can drive there.  A big flooding tide of an evening after April would be essential and a long cast will be required.