The hedgerows were decked out in Mayo colours as I headed west, masses of red haws alternating with patches of green as the roadside shrubs resist the slow march of autumn. The westerly wind was laden with tears from Mayo, or perhaps it was just rain. Thankfully the rain eased off as I approached Killybegs to top up with coffee, grub and bait. I loaded up the tackle box and 2 rods and set off on the short walk to the beach; there was 1 hour of the ebb left and a nice gentle surf was rolling in. As usual, 2 rods were set up, 1 at range and 1 in the suds, and baited with mackerel strip. Despite the gentle surf there was a strong pull to the left, but it took only 15 mins for the first fish to show, a lovely 33cm turbot weighing 1lb 8oz. Rebait, cast out and check the close in rod and in came a double of turbot (21cm) and flounder (25cm). Barely 10 mins after casting out, it was time for the distance rod to produce a double; another good turbot at 30cm and 1lb 4oz with a fine fat flounder at 38cm and 1lb 10oz. To combat the strong pull I switched to a grip lead but this seemed to accumulate a lot of weed, better to just “go with the flow”. The smallest fish was a turbot which had a loop of blue monofilament wrapped around him, in fact it was cutting into both edges of it but after removing the line he swam off happily enough. The fishing continued to be busy with a total of 9 turbot and 4 flounder but half way into the flood, the bites stopped. At this point, while I was sorting out a minor tangle, a surfer suddenly appeared at my shoulder. He asked me about surfing on this beach at which point I asked him if he had seen the “No surfing or Swimming” sign at the roadside. Are there rocks under the water? he wanted to know so I told him about strong currents, holes and scours etc and suggested there’s a reason why those signs are put up. So he heads for the water anyway. You can only do so much and besides the RNLI and Coastguard have nothing else to do except rescue people in difficulty, assuming somebody calls in...... After an hour or so without a bite, I decided to head for another nearby mark to fish over high water. On the way back to the car I met 2 local men heading down to fish, I wonder did they know something I didn’t? I’m pretty sure at least one of them definitely knows a lot more than I do!
The second mark didn’t take long to register a few bites and produced half a dozen “spotted catsharks, incorrectly known as dogfish” according to a marine scientist in a recent tv documentary (and backed up by another marine scientist, well known on this site). A couple of small dabs added to the variety of flatties and a solitary blenny made for one more species. At high water, the bites dried up so after a busy day I decided to head for home.
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