Well, drove all the way up to North Mayo (its a long drive even if you already live in Mayo) and decided to try some new rock marks west of Belderg Harbour, which involved a long hike across sheep grazed mounds, past the occasional sheep carcase, and over broken folded rocks thrown up at a severe angle. Beautiful if windy day, scudding clouds. Sunshine. Place looked grand. picked the north coast to get out of the south westerly which the met people had underestimated for the umpteenth time. Wanted to pit a new telescopic rod (first since forever) against some wrasse and pollack and had put 130 metres of new braid onto a cheap as chips GoTure 2500 reel. Seemed an ideal opportunity, landed there around 3 pm so 3 hours of a coming tide.
By the time I got there the wind has started to turn westerly and by the time I had lumped the backpack around several headlands into the bay, it had even more WNW, so much so it was hitting me almost straight in the face. Visual scan of several promising looking reefs and outcrops was excellent. Spotted black purple sea urchins in deep pools near the water line. Not seen that in a while.
But... the waves were getting lumpier however and rising far higher than expected on each swell. This was virgin territory and I hate pioneering on an incoming tide, far safer to do it on the ebb. Rocks were running at up to 30 degree angle back from the sea, which was good if tough on the old legs, lots of nice positions for wrassing (fishing straight down or along the line of gullies, probably not visible in the photos, with serious kelp and weed growth), but the actual steps were well over a metre, often more than two metres high with limited hand holds, so it more required climbing rather than stepping to move up and down. No fast exits available if a big wave comes... I might add that I had the automatic life jacket on the whole time. To be honest, a mountaineers helmet would not have been out of place on some of it... anyone know when I could get a cheap one for my dotage?
anyhow, long story short, decided against fishing there, know Belderg harbour itself is a waste of space, so took myself home reluctantly, having surveyed a few klicks of coast and found another road for access to the coast further west (which looks equally as good if not better).
Decided to stop off on my local river and try a simple brass and silver spoon on a wire trace hoping that the pike had recovered. The river was destroyed by an oil spill (culprit never found) about 4 years ago. first up was a small perch, almost the same size as the spoon. Next up was a jackeen pike, cant even call it a jack pike. From the small pool there next came a nice proper jack pike, maybe hovering over a kilo. Delighted to see some fish back even in such low water conditions (the deel river in the rocky section that runs through Crossmolina has run completely DRY - never seen that in 20 years here).
Better followed with a decent perch (250 grams) from another pool and finally, in a long wide and deep section, I pulled out an excellent 2.5 kilo pike that gave an excellent account of itself on the telescopic rod. Made more than a dozen runs, you gotta love river pike. Their lake peers are just so lazy by comparison. Must post other pictures of it, 2.7 metre long, top tip section looked very weak when I was manually testing the curve but it worked just fine. Its called a YUAN JIN SXY. The bottom section is inclined to unscrew itself which is not funny but the reel seat is excellent and I cant fault the rod, which was casting the 26 gram lure a good sixty to eight metres without any issue. Rated higher. A lick of paint will sort the bottom section unscrewing.
And to top it off, I spotted an otter down at the far end, so clearly the river is fully recovered and may in time, reproduce the decent pike it had in the past. So overall not ideal but a good end to the day. Lashed down on me just before I got back to the car, well, it is Mayo.
Anyone wants to try the north Mayo coast, bring boots, lifejacket, pack light and bring insect repellent! "£$^&"£($^ midges.