Travelling across country, it was obvious that the hawthorn blossom had gone the way of the Malibu bushes a few weeks earlier; hence the old saying “Where are the snows of last summer?” The countryside is now just green though admittedly with a range of shades, I counted 39.
Thursday 15th. I was looking forward to a couple of day’s sea-fishing and was a bit disappointed to find neither fresh nor frozen mackerel to be had in Killybegs. Some frozen sandeel and razor together with my frozen lug and prawns would have to do. Fishing started halfway into the ebb with the usual 3 hook flapper on one rod and single hook pulley rig on the other. Five hours later, with frequent bait changes, the first fish arrived; a small dab. Half an hour later a 29cm flounder took a prawn bait and shortly after that, the pulley rig gave up a dogfish. That sudden burst of activity proved a false dawn, (or should that be dusk?), as there were no further bites. I mentioned previously that I had seen tompot blennies at this mark so I set up the lrf rod to try for one but only succeeded in capturing 4-5 common blennies.I had been fishing the full flood tide and even as the light faded, no action developed so I called it a night.
Friday 16th. I was pleased to get some fresh mackerel fillets today and set off hoping for a better day than yesterday, it was a bit warmer, less windy and a lot drier. I tried a different mark, it took only an hour for the first bite to occur, a small dab. Bites came fairly steadily with a few dabs around the 21cm size and a dogfish, a particularly savage one as per photo, on the pulley rig. Then came a classic ray bite, a solid pull down on the rod with the ratchet announcing some line being taken. I tightened into a rod-bending weight which came in steadily until I could just make out the leader knot. At this point the fish starting moving more purposefully, kiting from side to side and then dashing right into a snag resulting in pulling for a break. I’m certain it was a ray, spotty or thorny, I’ve had both here? There was a brief quiet spell during which I spotted something surface about 60-70 yards out, I thought it was a seal pup at first but when it came in closer I realised it was an otter. To get the fish feeding again, I had some grub of my own; this involved a quick dash to the car and back. When I got back after literally 3 minutes, both rods were bouncing. One produced a dogfish and the other a double of plaice and dab. First plaice of the year and 20 mins later it was joined by a second just a cm smaller at 32cm. The flapper rig was producing most of the fish as well as a couple of chunky crabs but then the pulley rig weighed in with a nice 28cm turbot, my best so far this year. A treble of flatties on the flapper comprised 2 dabs including the best of the day at 31cm and a flounder.The photo shows the underside of the two species for comparison. I had a go with the lrf rod again to try for a tompot but a succession of common blennies along with a few small pollack was the result. I guess there’s a reason why they’re called common blennies. Dusk was descending and the night shift clocked on; a bootlace conger dropped off at the rod tip but a replacement arrived a few minutes later, though minus the tip of his tail. Then a small ling took the mackerel bait, my first shore caught ling. Another small conger, probably in the strap range finished the session off as it was now early next morning and time for bed. With 9 species for the day I was content enough and as I drove home a golden half moon rose to act as a beacon to guide me into the east, not that I don’t know the road home by this stage.
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