Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Thu May 12, 2016 12:19 pm

Tuesday 10th May. Stepping out of the car, it was raining very lightly and the breeze was threatening to strengthen so I was close to donning the waterproofs but as it was warm, I held off for a while. I arrived at my chosen spot to find a few local lads, who I’ve met before, already fishing hard but they assured me they had left a fish or two for myself. The first rod was set up with a possible ray in mind; plain lead, up and over pulley rig and a good sized sandeel lashed on. I cast out, left the reel in freespool with the ratchet engaged and prepared the second rod with a 3 hook flapper, size 6 hooks and mackerel strip and lug to try for anything else that might be around. Close on 2 hours later, the first bite materialised, a strong lunge followed by slack line. I tightened into it; a thornback, small but the first of the year. A quick snap for the family album and back he went. A dogfish was the next arrival followed by a skinny dab on the flapper rig. The big rig stayed quiet for a while but the flapper rod indicated a series of delicate nibbles and expecting something small and delicate I reeled in a better sized thornie to the edge but the size 6 hook sprang loose at the last minute and off it went. The same rig produced another thornie a while later which remained attached allowing me to weigh it at 4lb 2oz. This one was similar in size to “Har-ray” Houdini who escaped earlier. Apart from another dab, things went quiet for a while so I set up the lrf rod for its 2016 initiation. Bites on a baited mini sabiki rig came quickly producing 2-3 goldsinny wrasse, a couple of poorcod and a small pollack and then the action dried up completely. By now the skies had cleared and the wind had dropped, the day had developed into a beautiful evening but the other lads had to leave, something about work; I get so nostalgic when I hear that word! I was left to myself to enjoy the evening sunshine accompanied by a pheasant proclaiming his availability to any interested hens in the area and was lucky enough to see a cuckoo fly past while doing an impersonation of one of those Swiss clocks. Sadly there was little fish activity for the rest of the evening though I did manage one more small thornie at just over 3lb, again on the flapper rig, size 6 hook and matching small bait. Still, 3 rays and one lost at my feet along with a few other fish for the species list made for a good day out.

Wednesday 11th I tried a different spot today as I was expecting it to be a bit cooler and windier so I didn’t want to be too far from the car. This time I had the place to myself and I set up the same two rods and rigs as yesterday but I didn’t have so long to wait for a bite with the first of 4 doggies coming within 15 mins. A few decent dabs to 33cm and one flounder alternated with these until the flapper rig rod bent that bit more as something offered a bit more resistance than a doggie. In came a nice spotted ray and at 4lb 6oz, it was a new pb for me. Most of these fish came on the ebb tide which surprised me a bit. At low water the wind decreased markedly and the sun came out and the bites slowed dramatically, this is not a particularly deep mark and the bright sunshine combined with near flat calm seemed to stop the fish feeding. However as the tide began filling a shoal of mackerel began breaking the surface and continued to feed close in for the rest of the evening. Despite casting a team of feathers across, into and through the shoal, I only managed to get a few and some of them were foul hooked. At one point the shoal was right in at the edge, I could see them surging along, mouths wide open and the sunlight glinting off their silver heads and jaws but no fry to be seen. They were filter feeding on plankton at the surface. It just shows they can be as focussed as e.g. trout, feeding on one food source to the exclusion of all others including bigger mouthfuls. Given the choice of a 12oz sirloin or 12oz of rice eaten one grain at a time I know what I’d be going for. However caught, foul or fair, they’re nestling in my freezer now. At one point I saw a bird flying towards me from some way off and knew it wasn’t a gull or other common bird, as it drew closer it beat its wings a few times to gain height, went into a glide and then suddenly tucked its wings tight into the body and shot past me faster than I could turn my head to follow it, head height and no more than a continental rod length away; a peregrine falcon! The fishing was quiet for the next hour so with a long drive home ahead of me I started to pack up. Happily I finished the day with a double of a dog and dab on my last cast, perhaps I was quitting too soon?
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Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Thu May 12, 2016 12:24 pm

Great report JW and some interesting observations. Perhaps mackerel aren't always the kamikazes us anglers take them for?!

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Thu May 12, 2016 2:14 pm

some crackin fish and pics there JW, thats more like it :))
great account of the passing wildlife on show
nice fishing, nice report!

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Thu May 12, 2016 3:18 pm

nice report, that spotted (homelyn) rays is not far off a specimen, think its 5 lbs in old money?

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Sat May 14, 2016 10:00 pm

Another great day fishing for you JW well done. :) hopefully things will start getting decent here in mayo soon.

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Mon May 16, 2016 10:11 am

great write up as usual :)

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Tue May 17, 2016 12:02 am

Nice to read your posts. I understand why your sites are not specified - but giving some idea of the general area would greatly increase the interest of what you write. :?

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Tue May 17, 2016 12:05 am

Ooops - and I see your post is titled Donegal Bay - this does nicely.

Re: Donegal Bay, 10th/11th May 2016

Tue May 17, 2016 9:32 am

Awesome read once again . It gets me ready for another weekend in Donegal bay :) . Keep the reports coming!