Thursday. It is almost 6 weeks since I wetted a line in saltwater; I’ve been annoying a few pike and trout in the meantime. With the car loaded up I headed off west along the road and noticed that the strange and less than pleasant “aroma” which had been developing recently in the garage was accompanying me in the car. Only later when I was setting up did I find the nicely maturing pack of Razorfish I had forgotten to return to the freezer only 6 weeks ago. That scent was easily eclipsed by the smell from the fish processors in Killybegs , that whiff makes my wife’s aftershave smell good! After refuelling the car and myself, I had a walk around the harbour to watch the boats, fully if not over-laden, unload their hauls of blue whiting. Whatever your views on big trawlers, it’s an impressive sight to watch one man with a remote control system disgorge about 20 massive trailer loads of fish by the pressing of a few buttons. During a quieter moment, I spoke to the man who told me that there were some Scottish boats unloading some hefty hauls at the new pier and that if you went beyond the territorial limit the Russian factory ships were busy. His accent confirmed that the boat was from Castletownbere. It’s a wonder there are any fish at all about Donegal with all those foreign boats from Scotland, Netherlands, Russia and Cork clearing the place out! Anyway, on to my own fishing. I had intended to try a beach but on arrival it was flat calm and that combined with blue sky and strong sunshine suggested a move to a deeper water mark was in order. The snails had been busy grazing, a tell-tale path of scrapes being evident. The mark failed to produce any activity for the first 4 hours and I realised that hopefully darkness would be my salvation. As dusk came I saw a bat flitter past, the first of the year. Patience was rewarded with a couple of unenthusiastic rattles which resulted in a flounder and poorcod double, that’s a full house on a 1-up 1-down rig! A short while later a similar bite occurred so I gave it a while to develop; mistake. In came a small conger named Stanley on account of “another fine mess you’ve got me into”. While I was allowing the bite to develop, he was practising his knitting skills, still it was a fish and one for the species list. Any hopes of a busy session were rewarded only with a solitary dogfish. That made a total of four fish and four species. No more bites for the next hour so I called it a night.
Friday; Another day of no breeze and strong sunshine; where to fish? After checking out one spot for the future, I visited one beach which had a bit of surf coming in so decided this was as good as it would get. Again it would be a long wait until darkness before anything would happen but it was a fine day to be out. Later on a couple of surfers arrived, entered the water at the side of the beach and then made their way to right in front of me. They were comfortably within my casting range
but I really need to work on my accuracy
; I couldn’t seem to get any closer than 15 – 20 yards. In my defence they were moving targets. I had set up at about 3.45pm and it was at the same time as last night to within 5 mins that the first bite occurred, a small but welcome coalfish to save the blank. I needn’t have worried, an hour later a small 19cm flounder doubled the tally and that, as they say, was that. I fished on in darkness, spent a couple of fruitless hours in a staring match with Orion out on the western horizon and then headed for home. It was a beautiful location with beautiful weather but poor fishing; I suppose two out of three ain’t bad.
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