Donegal, North and South, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 28th and 29th De

Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:17 am

Tuesday 11th. With 2018 drawing to a close, I wanted to squeeze a couple more trips in so I started off in Donegal Bay. First venue was a beach which is usually very sheltered but the wind today was sending some surf up the shore. Unfortunately there was a lot of weed trapped in the cove as well so after about an hour of kelp-hauling, I conceded defeat and moved. The second beach was getting way too much surf with big surges running up the strand and a very strong lateral tow. I persevered for the last hour of the ebb and about two of the flood to no avail. Last roll of the dice saw me on a deeper mark and first two casts produced a couple of dabs at 24 and 27cm; a promising start followed by a long, lean spell. This was partly filled by consumption of coffee and sandwichs after which the doggies began to feed. I landed five, lost another couple on the way in and one small poorcod added to the variety but by now the waves were building and threatening me with a cold shower; time for home.

Thursday 20th. This time I took a trip up north to try for flounder having had a good trip here last time. Conditions were more welcoming than last time with less wind and rain but also less surf. On the early flood first cast produced a small palm sized flounder so I was hoping for a few fish. That was it for a couple of hours until an even smaller flounder took a strip of mackerel. Perhaps the lack of movement in the water wasn’t helping and after another hour without any interest in the baits, I moved to a deeper water mark. It was dark by now and I realised that I had lost my LED Lenser headlamp, probably fell out of the car unnoticed at the last mark. Luckily I had my reserve light and was soon fishing. First to show was a couple of pin whiting and a while later, as the wind freshened and the light rain became heavier, I decided to get ready for the long run home. With the last of my bait thrown in I reeled in both rods to find a nice 33cm dab on the second. Perhaps I should have stuck it a while longer.

Sunday 23rd. I was “down the country” to collect my mother for Christmas and sneaked a quick session in Donegal Bay while I was at it. I was greeted by an almost flat calm sea with just a little swell and no wind. Bite detection would be easy; just as well as the only fish which showed were 7-8 small coalfish and a similar number of even smaller whiting which took mackerel strip and prawns on the 3 hook flappers. It’s nearly time the 30cm+ whiting were here!

Friday 28th. I was “down the country” again leaving my mother home after she had eaten us out of house and home( good job she doesn’t drink). Again I made time for a quick session. It was a beautiful day with some sunshine and a gentle (perhaps too gentle) surf lapping at the rocks on the ebbing tide. I set up the usual 2 rods for near and far and baited up with strips of Lidl’s mackerel fillets, the only bait I could get. I must say I was surprised at the Best Before date; Jan 3rd. Four hours later, 2 each side of low water, I had only one small coalfish to show and surprisingly it came from very close in in what little suds there were. Thinking the lack of surf was part of the problem, I decided to move to a less sheltered beach where there was probably a bit too much surf. The onset of darkness didn’t help either, not a bite. It was one of those days when it was a pleasure to be out but the fish are absent, good fishing but bad catching. On the drive home, a certain Chuckaroo called, I would have to go fishing again tomorrow.

Saturday 29th. A brief tactical discussion with Chuckaroo produced a masterplan, we would go fishing somewhere. Further discussion led to a few refinements and we decided to head to North Donegal to try two marks, one which I had not fished before though I have fished close to it. This mark allegedly can produce thornies throughout the year so I fancied giving it a lash over high water. Once the tide had ebbed a bit we would then try a beach mark for flounder. Some plan, eh?
We trudged along the shore until we thought we had done enough to deserve a fish or two and set up . Sandeel, mackerel and whitebait were launched, 2 rods apiece and the waiting began. The tide was still flooding and it wasn’t long before Chuckaroo’s rod gave a couple of good tugs and he was up off his seat box in a flash, I’ve never seen him move that fast before. He tightened into a fish and soon had a thornback skimming across the water to his feet. Nicely lip-hooked, the fish was soon detached and after a trip to the scales (5lb 4oz) and a few pics; actually quite a lot of pics as he doesn’t catch that many fish but does take a lot of photos, the ray was released. A few casts later, Chuckaroo snagged something on the retrieve and his line parted. Luckily his other rod caught the line and he was able to retrieve the would-be escapee rig by hand. Meanwhile first cast with my second rod had my rig sailing out nicely but on splashdown, the rig somehow detached from the link, no. 1 rig lost. Chuckaroo had no further luck but I had my first bite soon after casting out a replacement rig. Having seen how quickly Chuckaroo’s fish took, I hit it straight away, felt weight for a few moments and then it went light. A while later I had another couple of lunges and, learning from earlier failure, I allowed a little longer. The fish obliged by dropping the bait. Fail no. 2. Another hour or so later I had my third chance, the rod tip dipped sharply and the ratchet yielded some line. I hit this one quickly, nothing. That was the last action for a while so it was time to head for the flounder mark. On reeling in my second rod, I snagged into something unforgiving and had to pull for a break. Time for a quick assessment of the day so far; Chuckaroo gets one bite, one fish, his line breaks but the second rod snags it on the retrieve, I get three bites, no fish and lose two rigs. Verdict; this ain’t Oklahoma and Nothing is going my way.
We arrived at the flounder mark with a couple of hours of the ebb still to go, there was a little more surf than the last time I fished here so we were hoping for a few fish. I duly obliged with a 27cm flounder on my first cast, the light beachcaster quivering and nodding as the fish engulfed the mackerel strip. Almost an hour later a small coalfish took a shine to some mackerel on my far rod while Chuckaroo managed to impale a tiny whiting on one of his rods. The fishing was very slow, I managed a small flounder and coalfish double, a better 28cm flounder and a dogfish before finishing the night with another small coalfish. Thus ended 2018, not with a bang but a whimper.
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Last edited by johnwest on Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Donegal, North and South, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 28th and 29t

Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:27 am

Some more pics of Chuckaroo's ray;
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Re: Donegal, North and South, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 28th and 29t

Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:15 pm





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Re: Donegal, North and South, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 28th and 29t

Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:16 pm

fantastic report, glad you got a few fish for all the effort

Re: Donegal, North and South, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 28th and 29t

Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:15 am

Fantastic fishing lads. Well done