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Donegal Bay 23-May-2018, A Red Tub full of Spotty Dogs

Thu May 24, 2018 9:20 pm

Met Eireann were doing their best to compensate for the pretty poor weather this spring and it seemed churlish not to acknowledge their efforts so with a spell of sunshine and light winds forecast (the Mayfly will have to wait) and the boat ready, it was time for the first tow of the year. I arrived and got launched without incident and underway for barely 5 mins, a shoal of fish appeared on the sounder. Down went the feathers and up came the first mackerel of 2018. If Robert Duvall went fishing he would have loved the smell of mackerel in the morning! I was lucky to get a couple so quickly but unlucky not to get a couple more; then again I’ve had more than a few days when 1 mackerel was plenty of bait…..Off to the fishing grounds and the first two drifts over one of my favourite marks produced not a bite. Sometimes I wonder how these marks gain “Favourite” status. Out to deeper water and after 20 mins the first nod of the rod tip indicated some interest in the bait. I tightened into something which felt quite weighty and a spotty ray soon came into view. It seemed a strange shape until I realised it was two spotty rays, a female which had sunk her teeth into the bait and a smaller male which had sunk his teeth into the female. His idea of courtship no doubt but in my day it was customary to let her finish her meal before getting too amorous. It may just have been Donegal Tourist Board’s new policy of COGOF! (Catch One, Get One Free) paying dividends. While the female at 4lb 2oz was a nice fish, (male at 3lb), a single spotty of 7lb 2oz would have been an excellent one. Next up 5 mins later was a small tub gurnard followed by another not-so-spotty spotty at 3lb 8oz. The inevitable dogfish weighed in next and barely 5 mins later a second dog accompanied by another tub gurnard paid a visit to the boat. All went quiet for an hour which prompted a change of mark and heading around a headland I was surprised by the swell coming in. In the space of 15 mins, three spotty rays put in an appearance, each one smaller than the last and then another lean spell broken by a small dab. I shifted off the sand to try a rocky area but only one pollack showed any interest. It took baited feathers on the light rod and at 5lbs weight, gave a good account of itself. I then tried the first mark again which gave up another dogfish and gurnard, this time a red one. After 6 spottys, 3 dogs, a few gurnards, a nice pollack and a dab, things were slowing down so I headed for home and having tied up to the slip, I was heading for the car and trailer when I noticed fish swimming alongside the boat; mackerel! Unusually, I hadn’t dismantled the rods yet so a quick cast with the feathers and I added another mackerel to the tally. After all the excitement, he is now chilling out in the freezer. Do I need to file a Shore Report also?
1st Mackerel of 2018
Love-struck Spotty Rays
1 of 2 Tub Gurnards
3lb 8oz spotty
Last edited by johnwest on Thu May 24, 2018 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Donegal Bay 23-May-2018, A Red Tub full of Spotty Dogs

Thu May 24, 2018 9:24 pm

Just a couple more pics;
Not-So-Spotty Spotty
Red Gurnard
Only Dab of the Day
5lb Pollack

Re: Donegal Bay 23-May-2018, A Red Tub full of Spotty Dogs

Fri May 25, 2018 7:15 am

Well done JW. An entertaining report as always, even working in a movie reference and a spotty ray love story!

Re: Donegal Bay 23-May-2018, A Red Tub full of Spotty Dogs

Sun May 27, 2018 11:39 pm

Very nice Paddy. Nice weather and plenty of decent fishing. Looked great 8)
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