Fanad Lighthouse - Lough Swilly

Thu May 20, 2004 1:10 pm

A quick two hours over a 6:30p.m. high water. Generally sunny. Four fishing though two were kids, one very inexperienced.

Using lures for Pollock and garden worm for Wrasse.

Catch - four Pollock to three pounds and four Wrasse to two pounds.

Potentially a very good spot.

Since tresspassing through the lighthouse grounds is illegal, the rocks we fished from were just to the right of the lighthouse grounds, facing back into the lough!

Definitely going back soon. Wee silver lures armed with a treble seemed to be the only thing that the pollock were interested in - red gills, shads, storm stuff, etc all tried to no effect.

Very rough ground so expect to lose gear. Also, a steep descent initially over grass (so be extremely careful especially if wet) then a climb down rocks (not too testing, but don't do it on your own - even a twisted ankle could cause major problems).

Good potential.

Thu May 27, 2004 1:32 pm

Fished Fanad Lighthouse again this week (23/5).

Beautifull sunny day. Went down myself for two hours leading up to high tide. Spinning with silver lures armed with a treble hook.

Not casting very far (because I can't!).

The first hour was quiet - in fact I nearly got fed up and left. A couple set up beachcaster on the beach a few hundred yards away, so I stayed to see if they were having any success (never noticed them catching anything).

Then things started to take off. I changed my techniques, letting the lure sink to the very bottom before retrieving in a move & stop, move & stop fashion.

Seven fish in about fourteen casts! Best fish was a Pollock which weighed 4lbs 3oz. After weighing and photographing for posterity it was returned unharmed ................................ well, I imagine it had toothache, but at least it lived to tell the tale.

Another two small pollock joined a good-fighting coalfish. Most surprisingly were three small (around 6") Red Gurnard. They were the last things I expected to take a silver lure almost as big as themselves!

I was really enjoying it now, but then I turned round and saw, no more than 15' away, a large seal lying on the surface looking up at me. It stayed in the vicinity for ages, but even when it disappeared there were no more takes. I suspect that Mr Seal and his friends were out for a bite of lunch and the fish had went indoors out of the way.

I'm really enjoying fishing from these rocks - even without fish the scenery is dramatic.

Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:10 am

Back out again for three hours with two friends. One used hokkais for a while to no effect whatsoever.

We used silver lures, casting about 50 yds, beyond the rough ground, and winding in slowly from the sea bottom. Plenty of fish. Red and Grey Gurnard were taking the lures at that distance with Pollock and the occasional Coalfish taking as we went over the rocks and seaweed closer in.

The Pollock on this trip reached about three and a half pound.

There's always a story about the one that got away, but this was good:

I latched on to a good fish on a retrieve. It took me early about 30 yds out. It was certainly significantly bigger than any I had caught previously.

When I started to try and lift it over the 'reef' that is about 15 yds out it went frantic and I had trouble lifting it. The bugger managed to get in among the weed, but I persevered and it came free, but with a load of heavy weed attached. I got it to the waters adge and just as I tried to lift it onto the rocks, it wriggled free, leaving me with a couple of pounds of weed. I estimated the fish to be comfortably in excess of five pounds. Kenny, who was fishing beside me cursed as much as me.

Anyway, about two minutes later, Kenny was lifting his lure out of the water having an unsuccessful retrieve. Just as his lure was breaking the surface as he lifted it, the same Pollock leapt out of the water like a Salmon to try and take the lure. Unfortunately it slapped at it and missed the hook, but it was agreat sight.

By the size of it, I am sure it was the same fish which must have hung about just under the rocks - maybe getting it's breath back after it's time with me.

What did surprise me was that even having had a durty big treble in its mouth no more tha two minutes earlier, it still had the desire to try again. I had always thought that they would go and lie low recovering for quite some time.

It also convinced me that all this talk of fly fishing for Pollock is not as far fetched as I had thought!

By the way, three of us fishing over high water for three hours got us 32 fish. Many were small, but it was good craic none-the-less and three were on the table by the evening.

Can't recommend this spot highly enough. Apart from us catching four species spinning, there are Ballan Wrasse right under your feet. I'm also going to throw out some bait next time to see what is on the edge of the rough stuff. It is 30' - 40' deep and seems to be a sandy bottom, so I'd expect flats, Thronies, Dogs, Tub as well as the Red's and Grey's.

When I give it a go, I'll report what I find!