South Down and Antrim, 25th November, 9th December 2020

Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:03 pm

South Down. This was a mark that I have driven past numerous times and thought ”I must give that a try…..sometime”. Well this was sometime. Parking was a bit tricky on the main road with no verge and traffic speeding by but I managed to get tucked in and was soon heading down the laneway to the shore. A careful walk over the rocks, thankfully dry, and I was soon comfortably ensconced with two rods fishing away, as usual; one fairly close and the other at maximum range. The sea was fairly calm though with a stiffish crosswind blowing and a gibbous moon offering more light than I would have preferred especially as it was a fairly shallow mark. Not much advantage in night fishing if the moon is bright enough to allow you to read the newspaper! I was using frozen mackerel, lugwrap and prawns; surely something out there would be hungry enough to sample my menu. It took a while but after about two hours the first rattle developed into a fish; a rockling. At first I thought it was a three bearded but then began to think shore rockling; any opinion and confirmation would be welcome. Either way it was a fish and the blank was saved. I thought they were coming on the feed (cloud thickening enough to obscure the moon) as I soon had another rattle resulting in a double of pin whiting and 5 bearded rockling but nothing happened for another hour when the second pin whiting of the night showed up. At this point my headlight started switching itself off as the battery was running low so I decided to exercise discretion rather than valour and packed up; I didn’t fancy clambering over the rocks in darkness. There’s a time and place for breaking ankles but on a dark night on rocks with an incoming tide probably didn’t fit the criteria. While not a brilliant night’s fishing, I’ll re-visit when there is a bigger tide, a bit of movement in the water and proper darkness; after all I’ve had poor fishing at plenty of good spots.

Antrim Coast. A text from Chuckaroo proposed a day out “somewhere”, probably Wednesday as that was the better day(not sure what weather forecast he was looking at!) so we agreed to meet up and try the Antrim coast. It was to turn out like a nostalgic tour of Chuckaroo’s childhood fishing career, sadly, just like nostalgia, fishing isn’t what it used to be. First stop was a beach we had fished before with limited success. The sea was pretty much flat calm but there was quite a cool breeze blowing and grey clouds which promised rain,(as tv presenter Larry Grayson used to say “Oooooooh what a grey day!”) I must admit to being less than optimistic while we set up. With not a bite or stripped hook between us, after a while we decided on a move to what was a new mark for me. Chuckaroo had a bite which came to nothing, the wind was strengthening and changing direction to be more in our faces and the previously promised rain duly arrived; time for another shift via a stop for coffee and something hot to eat. This third mark did offer comfortable fishing with shelter so at least we were comfortable while not catching. The only excitement came when Chuckaroo launched his 5oz lead and rig seaward and just missed by centimetres a sparrowhawk which came skimming by low over the water. That bird will never know how lucky it was! “We might have to wait for darkness before anything happens” I offered, somewhat unconvincingly. “Where have I heard that before?” came the equally unconvincing reply. But sure enough as dusk approached I had a determined bite on the far rod, I struck and thought I had missed it but as I retrieved I felt a few kicks and then swung in an unexpected mackerel. I got one nearby this time last year, perhaps December mackerel are becoming the new norm. A small coalfish followed soon after, then a pin whiting. There was a brief lull in the proceedings before a quick rattle produced a tiny dab. No sooner had I baited up and cast out than another bite resulted in another flattie, this time a small flounder. So I had 5 fish and 5 species, all on mackerel strip. Time was pushing on now so we packed up, Chuckaroo saving the blank by reeling in a small whiting on his last retrieve, I don’t suppose it was much consolation knowing that his pin was bigger than mine!
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Re: South Down and Antrim, 25th November, 9th December 2020

Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:07 pm

Extra pics...
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Re: South Down and Antrim, 25th November, 9th December 2020

Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:14 pm

Shore rockling alright - better than not fishing

a lot of those where will we fish conversations these days - all those old marks and the reasons why you havent fished them in years

something satisfying all the same connecting with fish in the bad weather though - dont you feel alive!!!