Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Wed Aug 31, 2022 2:20 pm

Almost the end of August and Chuckaroo and myself still hadn’t managed a day out in the boat and with time running out, a two day window of opportunity opened; “This is it!” to quote Chuckaroo. So with b ‘n’ b eventually sorted, gear packed and boat and trailer checked for the trip, we were off. We were re-visiting a spot where two years ago we missed/lost 3 skate, broke a brand new rod and I managed to impale myself on a set of feathers, not that a few minor snags would deter us!

Saturday 27th August. An uneventful trip up (and that’s how I like it) saw us meet at the slip and get launched. Last time, bait was a serious problem but on the run out we saw several shoals on the sounder and spotting, stopping and dropping gave us plenty of bait. Most of the bait was scad but they are just as good as mackerel if a bit trickier to handle. We both had a small codling and a few poorcod for variety and over the two days we only hit 1-2 pollack. There was a swell which was rolling us around a bit and at one point while shifting to maintain balance I managed to sink a hook in past the barb into the edge of my hand, did the same last time here. Again I had to pull the hook through for the barb to emerge, snip the shank and pull it through. I’m getting good at this field surgery, didn’t even cry this time.On to our “skate mark” and as we prepared to drop anchor we heard a whoosh of air, a minke whale surfacing. We saw one here last time, hardly the same one? With the boat settling to the anchor it was time for some serious fishing, or in Chuckaroo’s case, eating. I prefer to get the rod set up and fishing before dining, I can “ate” while I wait for a skate to “ate” my bait! Expecting a lot of waiting, we also set up a lighter rod for scratching to keep occupied. These rods produced dogfish, and a couple of small ling but at one point when Chuckaroo was retrieving his rig which sported a large flashing spoon, something a bit more interesting appeared from the depths and grabbed the bait; a porbeagle! Inevitably Chuckaroo was bitten off but he fed a few chunks of bait into the water which the porgy accepted gratefully and while Charlie hunted for a camera, I hunted for a wire trace but we were both too late, it was gone. It was the first time for both of us to see a porbeagle in the flesh. “Scratching for porbeagle”; Chuckaroo’s new best-seller. After that bit of excitement, we settled down to lesser fare including more scad and several octopuses. A check on my skate rod revealed a bare hook so on with a fresh mackerel and another long wait. That was about it for Saturday so we headed in and as I tidied the boat and got road-ready, Charlie fired up the stove and produced a feed of burgers. These of course had to be washed down later by some amber nectar before retiring for the night.

Sunday 28th August. Again bait, though mostly scad, was abundant and we collected some more today to hang a ruby-dubby bag out in case any more stray porgies might turn up. Returning to the same mark as yesterday, the anchor was soon down and the boat eventually settled. Today the wind was from a different direction and combined with the tide we were sheltered by the cabin. I’m bewildered by the tides here, slack water seemed to be about half-tide, there was still a good flow at low tide! Anyway, down went the skate baits, we also fished smaller baits with tope in mind and scratched away the day with the lighter rods. Again, octopus showed frequently and this spurred Charlie to try a squid lure. We got lots of red gurnard yet not one yesterday, more small ling, the inevitable dogfish and then with a heavy dead weight on Charlie’s rod, a big squid came into view. Worried it might let go or otherwise escape, he asked me to net it and seemed a bit concerned at my efforts. I was trying to position the net behind the squid so that if it parted company with the lure it would jet away backwards and into the waiting net. I swung it in and Charlie was already imagining pan-fried squid rings for dinner. As he dreamed, the squid sprayed ink all round the deck and Charlie kindly allowed me to clean it up. I have got squid before but nowhere near the size of this, first thing I do when home is load a few squid lures into the tackle box. This was Charlie’s Box no 1 ticked. No further excitement ensued, no whales spotted, no porgies around the boat, we were thinking about the drive home and work in the morning when suddenly Chuckaroo’s skate rod came to life as line peeled off the reel. He grabbed it and tightened into what could only be a skate. I retrieved and stowed the other rods as Chuckaroo played the skate and the skate played havoc with his back. This reminded me I had a rod butt pad in the locker so out it came and I tried to fit it around Charlie. Whatever it may have looked like from a distance, I assure you we are just friends! This seemed to help and after a bit of a struggle the fish appeared at the surface. Safely in the boat, it measured 190cm long and 150cm across, similar dimensions to Charlie’s smile as he ticked Box no 2. Later reference to length-weight tables gave a weight of about 120lbs. Nicely lip hooked, the circle hook was soon removed and the fish was back in the water and away to the depths. The wind was now freshening and with a slower trip back to the slip it was time to head in. When I reeled up my skate rig, the hook was bare again, I wonder how long I had been fishing with no bait? I had flattened the hook barb to assist with unhooking any fish but it seems to allow the bait to unhook easily also. Next time it will be circle or barbed J hook. Let’s hope it won’t be another two years before we get back; I have a skate to catch!
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Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Wed Aug 31, 2022 2:24 pm

The inevitable extra pics;
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Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Wed Aug 31, 2022 4:54 pm

excellent report and result - great when a plan comes together - you do realise now paddy your work is cut out for you with charlie and his skate for the next decade lol
nice squid too - charlie had all sorts of rigs with him

fair play ye both

Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Wed Aug 31, 2022 6:47 pm

wow now that's some good fishing, and the size of that squid! :mrgreen:

Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Fri Sep 02, 2022 9:25 pm

Top class,, I'm almost as much impressed with the size of the squid as I am with the skate,, great catch

Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Sun Sep 04, 2022 10:26 am

Excellent report Paddy, very enjoyable read, gosh very impressive Skate and Squid, ye sure had great sport and fascinating to have a Porbeagle encounter !!! Am sure ye will be back out soon. Well done

Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Tue Sep 06, 2022 4:18 pm

Great pics and thorough report again Paddy
Was a great couple of days with plenty going on, between the waiting lol
Yip, we'll get your skate next time. And my porgie :lol: ;)

Re: Donegal, 27, 28th August 2022, The 'roo ticks Two Box

Tue Sep 06, 2022 6:56 pm

Great fishing Paddy well done.Ouch on the hook in the hand.Done that myself a few times.