Not Donegal Bay, 20/10/2017
. With a break in the weather imminent, the first step was to hit the lug beds to get a few worms. On the way to the beach, this year’s supply of pheasants was enjoying their last weeks of safety as they fed in the stubble fields and along the long acre. The spot where I normally source my lug is gradually disappearing as the storms of recent years erode the sand revealing the underlying stones and clay; another couple of years and I’ll be looking elsewhere. Wind strength, direction and likelihood of heavy rain suggested somewhere not too far from the car and giving some shelter, so a mark which I had on my “to do” list was selected. It was quite windy but the high dunes gave shelter. There was a lively surf rolling in and the 5oz grip lead merely slowed the left to right drag but somewhere along the drift a couple of small turbot ambushed the mackerel strips on the first cast. Unfortunately, there was also a fair amount of fine red weed lying about 30yds out, strangely none of it was washed up by the waves and ebbing tide; the sand was clean as a whistle. Second cast with the lighter rod produced another small turbot so I thought I was going to be kept busy, not so, as that was the last activity until the tide turned and was about half way in when the first of three dogfish showed up. I was surprised at how close in they were, it was still daylight and they seemed to be foraging in the surf. By now the amount of weed was becoming intolerable, the bites had dried up and when the wind suddenly veered through 180 degrees blowing the increasingly heavy rain straight into my face, it was time for home.Donegal Bay, 28/10/2017
“The Bro” was game for a day out so with frozen mackerel, squid and lug topped up with some fresh(-ish) mackerel we headed for the bay. The Bro opened his account with the first of 2 dabs, I almost scored when a tiny mackerel took one of the flapper baits on the retrieve but dropped off almost at my feet. It would have been the smallest mack I had ever caught, who says it’s always the big ones that get away? In response I spent half an hour letting fly with a set of feathers to see if any mackerel would respond, they didn’t and all I managed was a small beautifully marked pollack from the weeds in close. I find spinning and feathering a very tedious way to fish, I prefer to catch nothing on bait than nothing on lures and that’s what I did for the next while, caught nothing on bait. When the tide turned, the fishing picked up a bit, the Bro got his second dab and I got a small flounder. The dogfish started to feed including a few decent ones, my best went 2lb 7oz on the scales. It was pleasantly mild and the constant light rain and drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits, just everything else, a soft day. The light faded and the night shift clocked on; The Bro landed a double of poorcod and I followed with a small conger with a poorcod of my own in hot pursuit. These are a delicate little fish, it didn’t survive unhooking so I set up a rig to use it as a bait for a bigger conger. 20 mins later the rod tip started bouncing and I tightened into a .........greedy dogfish which dropped the bait at the surface. Next cast produced a large brown crab which had reduced the poorcod to tatters but after disentangling the crab, the poorcod was out again. This time it did attract a conger, one of about 5-6lb but as I was swinging it in, it caught in a piece of rope and as I took a second swing, it escaped. The conger’s teeth had rasped through the 50lb mono, the heaviest I had. Who says it’s always the wee ones that get away? Just to rub things in, The Bro produced a double of dog and conger, not as big as the one I didn’t catch but bigger than the one I did. A couple more dogfish between us saw the bait supply run out but with about 15-16 doggies, 3 flatties, a few poorcod, small pollack and a couple of small conger between us, it had been a busy enough session and as Zebedee of The Magic Roundabout fame would say, “Time for Bed!”
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