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Clare - North CLARE SOUTH Shannon Estuary Shore Index

Clare is a county wiith a wealth of shore fishing marks. We have split it into North and South to allow us space for the marks.  The southern aspec can again be split in two, the southern shore offering sheltered and excellent fishing into the coloured waters of the Shannon estuary throughout the year, whilst the wild west coast offers exceptional rock and storm beach marks.  Some of these have suffered from their popularity and commercial fishing pressure, however there are recent reports of a slow return to their once famous form.  The record Irish bass was taken just above Quilty, and that was only a few years ago... they are out there!  A red spot indicates a known mark with recent information available, whereas a yellow spot indicates a known or suspected mark with no recent data but where you can get lucky!


The desolate Loop Head divides this fishing section into two very different areas - to the West you encounter the Atlantic lashed beaches and rock platforms, with spectacular sea cliffs around Kilkee (there's a great walk along the sea cliffs in the golf course), where care has to be taken against the massive Atlantic rollers - safety first and always.  There are superb wrasse marks available all the way around Loop Head with lots of interesting species like triggerfish available to boot.  Inland, so to speak, and to the south, the massive Shannon Estuary provides an exceptional and more sheltered set of marks, famous for pack tope and thornback rays, especially in the shallow waters off Scattery Island.  This is one of the three locations in Ireland with its own resident "pod" of dolphins.

1 - Spanish Point  My thanks to Neilis for the update.  Named after the wreck from the Spanish Armada in 1588 lost on the reefs around Mutton Island, this offers quiet enough beach fishing with the option of spinning off the rocks on either side. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the beach will produce flounder and the odd bass. Float fishing will take wrasse and mackerel in season.  Spinning will account for the odd bass and will also take small coalfish and pollack.  There is an exceptionally deep square hole at the far end of the northern expanse of rocks uncovered at low tide, but it is a dangerous spot as the tide can swamp it quickly - use a local to find it and to keep a wary eye on the water levels!  The water is usually crystal clear and you can see every species imaginable there.  Neilus reports that the beach only starts to fish in darkness, with dogfish to the fore in with some flounder, and that he had one very decent bite, almost certainly a bass.  November 2004.
2 - Doughmore Strand   This is a curious beach mark that apparently fishes best (a) during the day and (b) at either high or low water, but not on the flood or ebb! Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the beach will produce tope and ray (a specimen painted ray was caught here) to big baits, with flounder, dogfish and bass available.  
3 - Baltard   This is a rough ground and rock platform open to the sea and extremely dangerous in anything other than calm conditions.  Lives have been lost here in recent years - you should ideally only fish it in a group and with local guidance. Species & Techniques: Bottom, float and spinning over rough ground has produced specimen wrasse, spurdog, dogfish, tope, conger and bull huss.  Pollack and coalfish also feature.  With an extremely foul bottom, bring lots of tackle.  Either side of the headland can be fished, which helps depending on which way the wind is blowing!
4 - Kilkee   A very traditional holiday resort now undergoing a timely extensive redevelopment, Kilkee has something of a faded elegance about it, nestling into a small sandy cover between two rocky headlands... A big swell and following wind produces a spectacular show off the rocks and sea cliffs. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the rocks to the south of the little bay will produce bass and flatfish, with the small harbour to the north limited to pollack, coalfish, wrasse and mackerel in season.
5 - "The Castle" aka Castle Point aka Dunlick(e)y   Just follow the coast road south of Kilkee. There is a car park here and no trek across fields as indicated in previous descriptions.  It is just a short hop across a rutted track to the cliffs, however the fishing can be combat style here when the mackerel are in... i.e. shoulder to shoulder stuff!  Species & Techniques: Spinning will take pollack, coalfish, and especially mackerel in season.  Scad aka horse mackerel, a deep water species best sought at low light levels (only fit for the cat but I am told they are a supreme pike bait) and even herring have been taken here.  My thanks to Tim Hoy and Bill Ryan for the original data and the update. April 2005.
9 - "Ross" aka Bridges of Ross Special thanks to Bill Ryan for this mark.  It covers three hotspots in the general area, one of which is very dangerous in anything other than near flat calm conditions..  This is a series of rock platforms accessed via a trek across the fields. Go through the village of Cross, and keep right at The Anvil Farm Guest House at a fork in the road. Parking is along the roadside.  If you reach the turn for Bridges of Ross you have just passed it! This mark demands your respect. You should ideally only fish it in a group and with local guidance.  There are several gullies accessible at the left hand side of the car park at Bridges of Ross.  Follow the track from the car park (left hand side), pass the big hole where a sea cave collapsed on the left hand side, out to where a wire fence makes a sharp ninety deg turn. The track continues to the last remaining sea arch (Bridge) and goes south to Ross Bay.  You can fish the channel on your right hand side just after the ninety degree turn in the fence, however you will see a small island which gets cut off at around mid water.  You can climb down and cross the narrow gap at low water off but be careful! You are now on an island of rock and can fish along its length on the right hand side right out to the most seaward point. "Do not go here in bad weather as the waves come from behind and could catch you unawares. I wear a lifejacket here on good days!" Can be good for big wrasse and triggers but care is needed. Alternatively follow the track south to the last arch and cross the narrow grassy ramp to a gully which is easily and safely fished near its mouth for big ballen wrasse from half tide up to high water, with triggerfish in August/Sept, pollock and conger eels on the bottom. There are snags in middle of the gully so if bottom fishing, fish close in or be prepared to lose leads, fish and temper! Finally there are some flat rocks and a channel almost dirtecly below the car park. Pollack, mackerel and conger are the main targets here.  The ballen wrasse are small here. Some big mullet cruise the edges of the flat rock at high water but it is hard to approach them without being seen! "Not many anglers fish the gullies at Ross. I have taken specimen wrasse and triggerfish here." Indeed he has, just check the galleries. Species & Techniques: This series of marks are good for mackerel, pollock, the odd coalfish, ballen wrasse and triggerfish, with the latter exotic species falling to lots of different baits including the local limpets!  April 2005.
10 - Rinevella Bay Special thanks to Bill Ryan for this mark.  Leaving Carrigaholt Pier turn left for the Irish College. Take the first right and follow the road straight ahead until after 1.5 kilometres, the sea is on your left, the road being protected from the sea by caged boulders. After some winter storms this road may be impassable! Just where the boulders start there is a sandy patch going out for about 150 metres otherwise it is weedy and stony. It is best inspected at low water. Species & Techniques: This patch produces thornback ray to mackerel or sandeel while bass fall to lures and plugs in calm late evenings at high water. A fresh southerly produces nice choppy surf where crab is best for bass.  April 2005.
6 - Carrigaholt Pier   Carrigaholt is a lovely little village with a bustling harbour and several charter boats. It is famous now for the dolphin and whale watching services. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the pier will produce, dabs, flounder and lots of dogfish.  Conger eels have been taken at night, right underneath the harbour walls, with float fishing accounting for wrasse, mackerel and the odd pollack.  A lovely spot indeed.
6 a - Carrigaholt Beach Its a fairly shallow sandy beach with waders being used for extra distance. As you move up the beach theres a sand bar and rocks which can lead to the loss of fish and tackle.  High tide will force you back towards the steep shingle beside the sea wall and the beach can disappear completely in places at high water. Species & Techniques:  Thornback rays will fall to frozen sand eel and mackerel but at distance. The rays can come in close on calm days, especially during the summer and at night.  Flounder, bull huss and undulate ray are reported. Dogfish will often arrive in packs after dark.
7 - Poulnasherry Bay   Fishing on the western side of the mouth of this bay, subject to strong tidal races, has produced a remarkable variety of fish. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing has generated catches of Flatfish at low water, bass on the flood, and tope, Monkfish and lots of quality thornback ray for people seeking larger toothier critters on half mackerel baits. If you want to target the occassional sting ray, use peeler crab or kind ragworm, and be warned, the sting rays grow very big!
8 - Cappagh Pier (Kilrush)   Kilrush boats a new marina and the Pier at Cappagh gives access to very deep water indeed. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing has generated catches of dogfish, tope, conger and ray for people seeking larger fish, but smaller pollack, whiting and wrasse are also available, mainly to the local dug small harbour ragworm, with the odd flounder and dab thrown in, to keep you on your toes!


Fishing the almost abandoned beach at Doonbeg (beside the new golf course) Emmet Naughton from Limerick caught the new Irish record bass of 17 lbs 13 ozs on a legered sandeel on the last of the ebb tide.  Farther up the Shannon Estuary on the Clare side, I have heard of excellent shore fishing from New Quay (outside the village of Kildysert), from the shore east of Labasheeda, and even from the ferry terminal at Killimer.  Big toothy critters like bull huss and conger, but with rays also recorded, seem to be the main species taken. These are useful marks on a windy day.  Just north of Quilty at the southern edge of Liscannor Bay there is the famous Green Island mark - not actually an island it is accessible scrambling over the rocks at low wide with the farmer's permission.  From here casting 80 - 150 metres will find both blue and the odd porbeagle shark.  After that, it's your fight!