A quick summary of a few recent trips in September 2016
Trip 1; Sligo Beach and Rock mark.
My main aim was to fish a beach for a few flats but until the tide suited this mark, I fished a high water rock mark which allegedly throws up a few thornies. I had fished it before but on a bright calm day it produced just a couple of dabs and a small pollack, today was duller and breezier. I had just cast out my first rod and was returning to my tackle box when I noticed that a damned seagull had taken my mackerel bait, this cut short my time at this mark as I had left the rest of my bait in the car. Why can’t those seagulls make an honest living by e.g. taking ice cream from kids or chips from old ladies and leave me alone? After 20 mins I reeled in to find that the crabs had quietly but efficiently stripped the baits so I headed off to the beach. The beach was flat calm, not the merest hint of a wave or swell coming in, so I wasn’t very optimistic. There was some weed in the water, not enough to prevent fishing but enough of that slimy brown stuff to be a nuisance. As I feared, the fish were not about but as darkness closed in, one bunch of weed on the rig started to wink at me in the headlight, a dogfish wearing camo gear. This was followed by a small dab and another 2 dogfish. With the bait running out, a 26cm flounder on the last cast brought the day to an end.
Trip 2 Killybegs area; So I’m standing behind a man at the fish counter in a Killybegs supermarket and as he buys 3 mackerel fillets he starts telling the assistant that you are only allowed to catch so many mackerel out in the bay these days as there’s a quota and some relative of his was out with his rod and reel in a boat and was checked by the “fisheries boys”. Anyway I got a couple of fresh fillets myself and with some grub and coffee I headed off to fish. It was very calm, sunny and warm but I’ve had good days under those conditions before. The fishing was a bit slow to start but it was low water and it was a couple of hours before the first developed into a dogfish, the first of close to 20 which came in 1’s, 2’s and a treble on the last cast of the night. I float fished some frozen lug to try for wrasse but only 1 small ballan showed any interest along with some small coalfish and pollack. While retrieving the 3hook flapper rig, I picked up 6 mackerel in pairs so I now had an embarrassment of bait but an equally embarrassing lack of desirable fish. Eventually a couple of dabs up to 27cm weighed in along with a small pouting as dusk arrived. By this stage I was getting loads of bites split 50:50 between doggies and midges, I was probably borderline anaemic by the time I left. I used a couple of fresh mackerel heads and guts to try for a conger, got a couple of runs which snagged solid, and one entangled brown crab, no success but worth a try again. I arrived home to be greeted by my daughter “Hi Da, yeeugh, you stink of fish”. “That’s not a stink” I retaliate, “that’s the sweet smell of success”.
Trip 3 Sand then Stone. There was a gentle surf coming in at the beach, perhaps a bit too gentle but certainly better than the flat calm on my last visit, it was also totally weed free. First cast and after 10 minutes came a good rattle of a bite. Give it a moment and then tighten into a flounder which when stretched made about 24cm. A good start and when the second cast produced two small flounder I began to wonder if a mathematical sequence was developing; not so as not another bite registered in the next 2 hours. Y = X2(0) where Y is the number of fish and X is the number of casts, i.e. plenty of nothing. At one point a dog walker came over to chat and told me of a recent occasion when his dog, off the leash, had run over to an angler and wolfed down a baited rig resulting in a trip to the vet. He seemed to accept that he was at fault, not the angler, and he had put the dog on the leash before coming near me. Lesson learnt! Anyhow, off to the stone. First cast produced a few gentle rattles but no fish. A few casts later produced a couple of mackerel hard on the bottom on the flapper rig. Then as the tide filled, a trio of dabs showed up including a pair of the smallest dabs I’ve caught in a long time. They were quite speckled in colour compared to the usual dabs. While moving between marks I struggled to get a few lug, two spots seemed devoid of worm casts and the third was so stony that getting the worms was very difficult so I settled for a dozen or so worms and 4-5 small hard crabs. These I float fished in search of wrasse, the lug were shredded by small coalfish and pollack and one good bite on crab occurred while I was busy tending to the other rod. The hard crabs definitely eliminate those coalies and pollack as a problem. Last cast produced a dogfish with a weever for company, not something you would welcome but it added another species to the season’s list. By now the weather had changed from glorious sunshine to a stiffening northerly wind bearing rain so I headed for home.
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