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Down Antrim LondonDerry Shore Index

The Antrim coast is a wonderfully scenic spot, and not just the Giant's Causeway or that rickety rope bridge! It also offers specimen fishing for those with the interest to travel or lucky enough to live alongside it. Despite the relatively large population around Belfast, it does not suffer as much angling pressure as you see on some of the marks around Dublin in the summer.  Akin to Donegal there is two types of Antrim weather due to the wonderfully piuctureque and green glens behind you; if you can't see the glens it is raining, and if you can see them, then it is going to rain!  Big thanks to Gary Carleton and a host of others too many to mention for offering up their advice on the best marks.  A red spot indicates a known mark with recent reports, whilst a yellow spot indicates a suspected mark without recent reports... so a pioneering spirit is needed!


Antrim is a big fishing county ranging from Belfast Lough up through the lovely glens and round past Rathlin Island to the twin seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart (the latter of which is in Co. Londonderry). For visitors there has always been a warm welcome and fishermen are no exception.  Each of the marks listed on the map - and we'd welcome more information - hides a number of smaller marks.  BTW, the current record Anglerfish was caught in Belfast Lough and the current Cuckoo Wrasse was captured a few miles off the causeway coast in Antrim but sadly for us only the captor knows where!  A big opportunity awaits an adventurous angler.  A big thank you to Ronald, Bill and Dave for supplying lots of information on several marks...and tranlations of the local lingo - a Bavan is a Ballen Wrasse, and Lythe are Pollack!

1 - Portrush   Technically you are into the next county but... there are in fact two shore marks here and our thanks to Gary Carleton for this information.  Species & Techniques: Portrush Harbour holds very few big fish, with codling and coalfish of under 500 grams ( 1lb) the most likely catch. The "Blue Pool" in Portrush is a better mark, a good spot for decent coalfish and pollack.  It can also be used for long range casting during the winter months.  There are various small pools, that, when float fished produce some quality pollack, coalfish, wrasse etc.  Finally you might consider bringing or hiring a boat and heading out to the "Skerries Rocks" lying about half a mile off shore.  This mark is good for drifting past with feathers to get big pollack and ballen wrasse, with the possibility of a few codling.  Rag-worms bring in the best results.

9 - Dunseverick - with thanks to Ronald Sugenor. Fish from the rocks in front of the picnic area.. Species & Techniques: Lots of ballen wrasse on the float in summer, some mackerel, large pollack and big coalfish available also to either spinning or float fished baits.  Legering with contact some decent conger eels on the bottom.
8 - White Park Bay - with thanks to Ronald Sugenor. Very little fished, it is a tiring walk down a farm track, at least ten minutes long from the car park at the youth hostel, and you should fish to the right of the river. Species & Techniques: Standard beach casting techniques will get both flounder and turbot.
7 - Ballintoy - with thanks to Ronald Sugenor.  The recommendation is to fish from the white rocks to the right of the harbour.. Species & Techniques: Over the sand you can access plaice, dabs and turbot.  The turbot are best sought at distance on the sandbanks in the direction of the offshore island, with a sandeel on a long flowing trace.  There are excellent ballen wrasse to be found here in summer and mackerel will fall to spinning tactics.  Pollack and coalfish are common, with the potential for double figure cod are possible (see the gallery page 5) in the winter in the right conditions - try lug and crab cocktails on a pulley fig fired out at least 70 metres.  " The best time is after a really strong northerly gale but extreme caution must be observed because we have been knee deep in water as waves break through blow hole in rocks going up to twenty feet in air before soaking anyone standing nearby."  It sounds quite a challenge, in not actually insane!

2 - Ballycastle    The best mark at Ballycastle beach is known locally as Pans Rock. Either side of the rocks in front of the car part is also recommended. The beach itself is also a reasonable venue however beware summer tourists and families. It runs for nearly two kilometres east of the town, offers an often steeply shelves mark with a sand and gravel bottom.  Freak waves are common on this stretch of coast - never turn your back on the sea.  Species & Techniques: These rocks, directly alongside Ballycastle Beach are very good for spinning for pollack and bait fishing for ballen wrasse.  You can long range cast from the point.  The beach on Ballycastle produces mainly flounder. There is always reports of bass being caught there "but I am yet to see evidence (Gary Carleton)".  On the beach itself, the first few hours of the flood will bring in small turbot, dabs and the odd Plaice, with dogfish, whiting and codling available in the autumn and winter over high water.  Some sea-trout also reported. coalfish are possible after dark. Our thanks to the lads off the forum and Ronald Surgenor for the updates. May and June 2004.

6 - Torr Head - with thanks to Ronald Sugenor. A difficult mark to get to however it offers the possibility of some outstanding fishing.  It should never be fished alone, a dangerous exposed mark. One of the few shore marks in Antrim capable of producing a tope. Species & Techniques: Pollack (to double figures), coalfish, with ballen wrasse and mackerel in summer will fall to spinning tactics.  To try for the tope, cast a large mackerel bait on at least a 6/0 and heavy mono or wire biting trace into the calmer spots on the edges of the main tidal races on the southern side.
10 a - Layd Church   Layd church is on the coast road from Cusendall to Cushendun.  It is accessed from the signposted car park for the old church you have to follow the path to the shore (10 min walk). Species & Techniques:  You can fish anywhere of the rocks using rough ground tactics, with the mark good for cod in winter alongside conger and dogfish, with good wrasse available in the summer.

10 b - Salmon Rock, Cushendun   There's a small carpark with a gravel path leading along coast.  Follow it until you come to a section of shingle beach. Cross this to the right and you will find some high rocks - an ideal platform.  This is salmon rock and for the record it is to the left of the small beach.  Species & Techniques: In winter codling, flounder and whiting will fall to lugworm. In summer the occasional plaice can be taken but there are plenty of flounder .

10 c - Limerick Point   Driving through cushendall towards red bay pier look for a road on left heading for dalriada and follow until the end of road - around another 200 metres.  There is a small pier to fish from but most people fish off the rocks to the left.  This place gets very busy in winter so best to get down early.   Species & Techniques:  There is a reef about 150 metres offshore so best not to over cast (tongue very much in cheek if you've ever seen my casting!).  This mark is very good for codling in winter to lugworm and crab baits will account for some flounder as well .

10 d - "The Ledges"   Following road from cushendall to carnlough as you pass the beach to your left approx 1 mile you can see an old ruined pier.  Fishing off the rocks between it and the disused quay near garron point produces cod/codling to lug-crab or lug-mackerel baits . Species & Techniques:  The sea bed is very rough so tackle loss can be high but it is worth it because fishing can be pretty good with fish regulary in the 2-kilo plus (5lb) bracket .

3 - Glenarm   As you move closer to Belfast and the ferry terminal at Larne the angling pressure necessarily increases and finding good marks is not quite so easy. Robin recently reports that it was "a cracking place during the summer for plaice, coalies, codling, dogfish and a 17lb conger eel off the breakwater".   Species & Techniques: These rocks, up the coast road may have recovered given Robin's report, and can still provide a good day's fishing. Gary Carleton reports "many seals on several occiasions here"... which is I suppose a good sign provided they are hauled out sleeping off their last meal!  December 2003.

5 - Blackarch - with thanks to Ronald Sugenor. This is located on the coast road (A2) between Larne and Glenarm (#3). You can fish quite easily off the rocks on the southern side of the arch. Species & Techniques: Pollack, coalfish, conger eels and rock cod with ballen wrasse and mackerel in summer will fall to either spinning or legering tactics.
12 - Ballylumford Harbour - with thanks to Bill Hurley.  Carry on past Browns Bay to harbour beside Ballylumford power station and fish from arm on power station side.  Species & Techniques: A longish cast straight out, puts you onto broken ground with wrasse, cod, whiting, flatfish, haddock, dogfish, coalfish, pollack and conger eels. The fish are mostly small, but it does throw up the odd good one. Rag, lug, mackerel and squid will suffice for bait. This markd fishes best from late august onwards.
11 - Portmuck and Browns Bay With thanks to Stephen Cowan. A very scenic set of marks with lovely views across to the Maidens, Portmuck offers rough ground fishing. Around the corner so to speak is Browns Bay - It has a long sandy beach and is protected by high ground on either, side toilet facilities are available at the main car park The ground as far as can be seen at low tide is clear and sandy  Species & Techniques:  Portmuck offers pollack wrasse and small coalfish, with the added bonus on a chip van on the Islandmagee road if you get hungry!  "I would be fishing on the bottom with a two hook rig (at Portmuck), clipped down to get out some distance from the harbour wall; - this also gets you clear of the rocks and weed which are close in. I have found that rag worm are best here although i have tried squid,mackerel and sand eels- the rag worm still works best. Last month i witnessed three wrasse being caught inside 30 minutes". Browns Bay has the same outlook and offers plenty of dogfish on a short lob cast of no more than 50 metres, with ragworm proving a very effective bait. 
14 - Gobbins Cliffs - with thanks to Bill Hurley.  Take Gobbins road (off road to Portmuck), to lay-by at start of the cliffs.  Walk down steep path to monument at bottom, then turn left through archway, across bay, and onto the old Gobbins cliff path.Try not to bring too much gear with you as it is a long climb back up! Species & Techniques: Floatfishing with ragworm and mackerel strip will produce wrasse to specimen size. Spinning will produce pollack, mackerel (in season) and blochan. 

4 - Blackhead Lighthouse - with thanks to Ronald Sugenor. Walking on the coastal path from Whitehead village towards the lighthouse, it takes about fifteen minutes and fish from flat rocks under the lighthouse.  Species & Techniques: In summer there are lots of ballen wrasse average about 1 kilo (1.5 lbs), with pollack, coalfish, and mackerel .  It gets deep quickly, with up to 5 metres of water under your feet.  Legering the bottom on the rough ground can turn up the odd bull huss but it is mainly lesser spotted dogfish and conger eels.   Ballen wrasse are best tackled with ragworm on the float but hardbacked crabs produce the bigger fish . The average conger eels is about  8 kilos (15lbs) but there is a good possibility of bigger fish.

13 - Whitehead Promenade - with thanks to Bill Hurley.  Fish from the seats in front of the old folk?s home on the right hand side of the promenade. Park in the lay-by opposite. Species & Techniques: A longish cast straight out, puts you onto broken ground with wrasse, cod, whiting, flounder, plaice, haddock, dogfish, "blochan", pollack and conger eels. Fish are mostly small, but it does throw up the odd good one. Rag, lug, mackerel and squid are the preferred baits. The mark fishes best from late August onwards. Watch out for the wash from the fast ferries at this mark, the same for Blackhead!
12 - Carrickfergus Harbour - with thanks to Bill Hurley. Park in main castle carpark and fish end of harbour arm on castle side. Casting just short of new breakwater inside harbour. Species & Techniques: Standard rigs using ragworm, lug, mackerel and squid will produce cod, whiting, flounder, haddock, dogfish, coalfish (locally called "blochan") and conger eels. Fish are mostly small, but it does throw up the odd good one. The harbour is a good mackerel spot during the summer (with the occasional salmon and sea trout being caught.) and space to fish is at a premium. Quietens of during the autumn and winter though. The marina on the Belfast side, and the river mouth 1 km further on (Rhanboy Park) have large shoals of mullet during the summer.


We are keen to improve the shore mark listings for Northern Ireland so please feel free to email us here.  Thanks.