An early start doesn’t always mean an early arrival; as if being held up by traffic lights in Dunkineely wasn’t enough, the traffic was waved over to the hard shoulder further on by the Gardai to allow a convoy of massive lorries to pass. The Wide Load heralded by escort vehicles with flashing lights turned out to be sections of giant wind turbines which are frequently landed at Killybegs. These things were so long that the rear end trailer section had its own driver and steering. I was getting worried that by the time I got to Mooney’s in Killybegs their sandeels would be past their “Best by” date! I eventually arrived at my mark and got set up with my standard big (relative to a size 4) single hook bearing a sandeel and 3 hook flapper with size 4 baited with small mackerel strips. First bite produced a dogfish and fears of a swarm were not realised, a total of 4 for just over 8 hours wasn’t too bad. Next up was a 28cm flounder followed by a nice little spotty ray at 2lb 14oz which took a small mackerel strip on a size 4 so a certain amount of care was required to land him. Another flattie, this time the first of 3 dabs around 29cm, came a while later to the single hook rig. Another dab bit soon after and then when retrieving the sandeel rig, a mackerel grabbed it on the way in. It was a good length at 38cm nose to fork though quite lean but fresh bait is never to be objected to. The sun had now emerged from the thin veil of cloud and despite the increase in warmth, the first hint of redness on my arms and neck suggested it was time to switch from tee shirt to long sleeves, better warm than burnt. By now the tide was on the turn and I hoped the flood would be better. Well the turbot came on the feed, the first was a new p.b. (for the moment) at 1lb 15oz, a whole ounce bigger than my previous best. Turbot no. 2 weighed in over an hour later, 27cm would usually be a very nice fish to get but today it was the smallest of the three. It went quiet for a while with one or two bites failing to develop and one or two cases of the bait being expertly stolen with no hint of a bite. Then to break the monotony, came the third and most interesting of the 3 dabs. As I was swinging it in, it spat out a sandeel bait which it had snaffled earlier without me noticing, it also had a strange little hole just below its dorsal fin, I wonder how that happened? Half an hour later, a decent tug on the sandeel followed by nothing made me decide to check the bait, there was definitely some extra resistance on the retrieve, another turbot coming in with his mouth wide open. They must take the bait with a bang and then just sit there to digest it. This was another p.b. at 2lb 0oz, a whole ounce bigger than my previous best. Don’t you just love ounces and how considerate of the fish to arrive in a sequence that yielded two p.b.’s in one day! While I was weighing this turbot, the remnants of the sandeel bait were dangling in the water and out of the corner of my eye I saw the rod kicking in the stand, a small pollack had grabbed the bait. Another species for the day, it was followed by another 4 of his kind up to 37cm when I set up a spinning rod and float to target them. On with a fresh sandeel and twenty minutes later I got a determined bite resulting in another spotty ray, smaller than the first but very welcome. I’ve never got 2 on the same day from the shore before. The remainder of the session produced another 3 dogfish including a double to end the day; I had a good drive home ahead of me and another early start next morning as I had to go trout fishing. Although the fishing was never frantic, it produced 2 spottys, 3 turbot including 2 p.b.’s and 7 species in all, the weather was great to the extent that my neck suggested I was a good ole boy from somewhere like Alabama, all in all, a most enjoyable day out.
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