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The Split, aka Devil's aka Puck's Rocks, Balscadden Howth, Co. Dublin.  

A head for heights and good balance are vital and do not even think about this spot on a wet or windy day.  Drive past Howth harbour and up the steep hill opposite the east pier.  Follow this road around the coast and park at the end.  The cliff walk is accessed through the bollards at the end of the car park.  About thirty metres up the walk, there is a track to the left down past the last house.  It is rough and slippery.  Follow this to the start of some concrete steps (often half covered in muck).  If you walk down more than six steps you have gone too far.  You will find another tiny track to the right, close to a bare green patch, and this will lead you through the bracken along the edge of the cliff.  This is not a mark for youngsters or people without a head for heights or decent physical ability.  It is rough, slippery and very uneven.  The track leads down around the cliff to the rocks below.  These rocks will flood around high tide so scramble up the eastern (right hand side) side of the big rock to access the best fishing marks described below.  The fishing to the left into the little bay pictured above is over fouler and shallower ground but it will give up mackerel to spinners in the summer and small wrasse to float fished organic baits.

The big cleft stone on the right gives access to deep water and it offers a very wide range of fishing.  The cleft often holds a Coalfish at high water, always worth a drop when you are tackled up!  Mackerel and small Pollack will fall to spinning or floated baits during the summer.  Garfish have been taken in the area as well.  Some very big Wrasse inhabit the stacks but it is a very long-distance cast.  Dogfish are very common at low water in the shallow bay between the rock and those sea stacks.  The odd small Dab and Flounder are taken here.  In the winter Whiting are the common catch, along with the odd Codling and other small species like Poor Cod.  Some massive Conger inhabits this stretch of coastline but it is a tackle hungry mark.  Watch out for lobster pots and their snaking ropes.  At high water there is a reef at about two o’clock from the main rock that offers excellent shore Pollack provided you can cast onto or over it.  If you can’t there is a deep hole directly in front of the split rock, no more than fifteen yards out from the very front section.  Beware the seal rock, barely a swirl in the sea in the picture, but a nasty pinnacle that takes any lures feathers or rigs cast in its direction, located at around eleven o’clock from the front section.  The tide sweeps around the Nose of Howth and the currents can often be quite spectacular, producing big eddies and whirlpools, definitely not a place to fall in…  If the seals show up, stop fishing and they will usually wander off towards the harbour, unless there is lots of mackerel or other baitfish about, in which case… try not to hook a seal!

You can dig ever decreasing amounts of lugworm from the roadside mudflats behind Bull Island on the way to Howth.  A better location is from behind the church up towards Sutton DART station in Baldoyle although this was recently disturbed by pipe laying.  In the past we have dug massive kind ragworms an inch think and a foot long out of the worst smelling muck imaginable!  Make sure you can shower afterward digging there or you will be very unpopular, and you certainly do not want to fish with that smell on you!

It is a fabulous place to fish, spectacular, sheltered from the south and south-west, often bathed in sunshine and full of the noisy clatter of the sea bird colony.  Just make sure to get there and back safely, as it is an extremely dangerous track down.

Probabilities: Dogfish, Conger, Coalfish; (summer) Pollack, Mackerel; (winter) Whiting, Codling

Possibilities: Ballen Wrasse, Dab

Rare Exceptions: Flounder, Garfish, Poor Cod