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Cork - West Cork - South Cork Harbour Shore Index

Cork is such a vast county that we have had to split it into four sections, West Cork, South Cork, Cork Harbour and East Cork.  The area of South West Cork covered on this page is an angling heaven, and exceptionally well suited to visitors thanks to a superb tourism infrastructure, so this is a comprehensive report in five seperate parts!  A red spot indicates a known mark with recent reports available, whereas a yellow spot indicates a known or suspected mark with no recent data but where you can get lucky!

Introduction: Mizen Head to Balldehob

South of Dunmanus Bays, you find yourself in wild unspoilt country, home to Roaringswater Bay and Mizen Head.  If you have ever seen the waves pound off the rocks at Mizen and taken your ease at Goleen or on one of the sheltered beaches around Barleycove, then you will appreciate what this stretch of coast has to offer.  The North Atlantic Drift and its position in the south west means the weather is decidedly balmy, with flowers in bloom even in the depths of the mid-winter.

1 - Tour Pier   You can not miss this little pier, with a turn to the sea off the main road as you head towards Mizen Head from Bantry.  Species & Techniques: Nothing specatcular, but the pier offers access to deeper water on the flooding tide and offers Pollack and Mackerel to spinning, with Wrasse on the float and bottom fishing for Conger.

2 - Vaud Creek   Again a road leads down to this mark off the main road from Mizen Head to Barleycover and Goleen - a wonderful spot with a jetty that is surprisingly productive.  Species & Techniques: Spinning or float fishing for Pollack, Coalfish and Mackerel over a mixed sand and rock/weed bottom is augmented by some excellent Wrasse fishing on the float.  Bottom fishing will produce Codling, the odd Flatfish including Plaice, Bass, Ray in calm weather and decent Conger to large baits.

3 - Barleycove Lake   As you come around the headland nothing prepares you for the tropic island like paradise of Barleycove.  It is a special spot even if it is a bugger to get to... The Lake is in fact a saltwater barrage created by the road bridge - it floods on the incoming tide and the brackish water is very attractice to certain species.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from near the bridge itself will yield Flounder, Freshwater Eels and Mullet provided you groundbait the area.  A flooding tide at duck or dawn is the best option and Sea-trout have been caught in the channel on spinners, but not recently.

4 - Barley Cove (East)   On the far side from the hotel and village, the beach pushes out into the cove. Species & Techniques: Surf fishing on both beaches (known locally as the north and east beaches) produces Codling in winter, with Bass and Flounder all year around, but depending on the conditions.  The beaches' fishing seem to alter each year...

5 - Galley Cove   Heading now down towards Crookhaven (not to be confused with Crosshaven in Cork Harbour!), the road sweeps you down to a small cover sheltered by high rocks on either side. Species & Techniques: Spinning from the rocks on either side produces Coalfish and Pollack.  Bottom fishing from the inner rocks over mixed ground will produce the odd Thornback Ray but mostly it produces lots of Dogfish, and there are some unsubstiantiated reports of the odd Bull Huss.  Codling, Dabs and Flounder are a regular catch... and the odd big Conger is landed during late and night sessions.

6 - Rock Island   Readily identifiable by the road leading to the lighthouse, this simple mark produces excellent catches but make sure to ask permission to park in or around the lighthouse. Whatever you do please do not block access.  Species & Techniques: Casting from the rocks below the lighthouse will land you onto sand which will produce Dabs, Flounder, Codling and the odd Ray in the summer.  Small Dogfish are a nuisance.  Float fishing close to the rocks will produce Wrasse.  Pollack and Mackerel will fall to spinners and feathers in season, and an incoming tide is optimal.  It fishes better nearing darkness.

7 - Tourmore Channel   The road from Goleen loops around two small coves or channels, and it is the second one nearest Ballydehob that is the mark.  You can fish from either side of the channel, depending on the wind, although you will need an incoming tide for optimal results.  Species & Techniques: Float fishing produces Wrasse.  Bottom fishing offers Flounder and Dogfish, with occasional Bull Huss and Bass taken.  Bull Huss are predominantly an Atlantic species in Ireland...

8 - Ballydehob Harbour   The last of the marks on the Mizen penninsula, you could drive past this harbour without seeing it!  No one thinks Ballydehob is on the coast - this "hidden sea" is common to many towns in Cork. The best spot is opposite the island on the harbour's eastern side.  Species & Techniques:  People spin for Bass with the chance of a Sea-Trout.  Flounder are taken in the channel, and bottom fishing can account for a Bass.  It fishes for two hours either side of high tide.

Introduction: Balldehob to Glandore / Union Hall

Heading east from Ballydehob, you will find a truly remarkable spot called Lough Hyne.  It can best be described as a saltwater lake, fed by the tide daily, and you simply can not fish Cork without fishing here.  The species and quality of fish may not be spectacular but the setting is utterly incredible and amazing: - an indelible impression is guaranteed.  It is also a beloved haunt of marine biologists so please check carefully for diving flags or boats! There is something quite strange fishing into a salt water lake for mackerel with the trees whispering around you and cows in the fields around you heading off to the milking parlour in single file.

Memorable even if the quality rarely matches the quantity.

1 - Castleview   This mark is at the end of a road and facing an island staring directly into Roaring Water Bay.  The mark fishes best on an incoming tide.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will take Flounder and the odd Bass or Dogfish and the possibility in the past of a Sea-Trout to spinners.

2 - River Ilen at Skibbereen   Skibbereen is the least touristy of the towns in south west Cork, although a welter of holiday homes is being built alongside this tidal estuary.  Species & Techniques: Mullet will attack anything on a float so long as you have ground baited the channel.  It is said that low water is the ideal time.

3 - Trafraska   An odd name for an odd mark but it is simply a rock platform next to some sand.  Species & Techniques: Float fishing will take Wrasse and Pollack and Mackerel will fall to spinners.  It is usually fished near high water on an incoming tide.

4 - Lough Hyne   What can you say about Lough Hyne?  An extraordinary place.  A saltwater lake with trees and grass to the edge, and cows grazing pasture next to a pollack mark!  Whilst the quality of the catch may not be superb, fishing from under the trees on a sunny day into the "lake" is an experience like no other... access to the deepest water is from the western shore, although the Mullet congregate to the north.  Access is tricky with roads leading to the western shore (near the island at the mouth) and the east near the "outflow".  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce Pollack, Coalfish, Wrasse, Gurnard, Conger and Mackerel in season.  A unique place.

5 - Horse Island   There are two marks close to each other here, and the first is behind Horse Island, a nice sheltered mark.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing the deep channel between the mainland and island will produce Dogfish, Bull Huss, Conger with Coalfish, Pollack and Mackerel falling to spinners or float fishing (Wrasse too close in).  Ray and Flounder are taken to the left at low water, where there is a sandy bottom.

6 - Battery Point   The second of these twinned marks, you are advised to climb back into the fields to get between them as it is a mad and a dangerous scramble over rocks otherwise.  Species & Techniques: Most people fish here at low water and move to the Horse Island mark at mid-tide.  Bottom fishing will produce Dogfish, Flatfish and Pollack.

7 - Union Hall Bridge   The road bridge between Union Hall and Glandore or Leap (pronounced "Lep") is also a known mark, especially on a flooding tide.  I am not keen on fishing from bridge as it can be dangerous for you, passersby and the vehicular traffic.  Species & Techniques: Flounder, Dogfish and Bass are taken here on lugworm baits.  Mullet can be taken also, although float fishing for them is the more successful rig.

8 - Glandore   The vilage of Glandore is a terrible distraction, especially if you have worked up a thirst on a summer day!  The best spot is just below the road at the point, between the bridge and the village.  Species & Techniques: Flounder, Dogfish and Bass are taken on bottom fished rigs for those able to stay out of the pub!

Introduction: Glandore to Clonakilty

Heading east from Glandore, you will find yourself fishing some excellent surf / storm beaches and peculiarities like the pond at Roscarberry, which holds plenty of Sea-Trout as well as the obvious Mullet.  Inchydoney, apart from the five star hotel also offers some excellent shore fishing - in fact a cluster of excellent marks around Clonakilty offer your best chance of a double figure Bass anywhere in Ireland, and all the shore marks here are well signposted which means they can be popular too!

1 - Roscarberry Jetty   Opposite the Hotel in Roscarberry, the road offers a nice walk along the strand and tidal mudflats down to the slipway and jetty.  Species & Techniques: This is a very tidal boat skip and jetty so an incoming tide is essential.  Bottom fishing is for Flounder, the odd Plaice, and Bass, with Dogfish also a possibility.  Some people recommend Mullet in the pool above the slipway at low water but I have never found them to be co-operative, even with very comprehensive ground baiting.

2 - Roscarberry Pond People float fish for Mullet on both sides of the road bridge, especially at low water however what most people do not realise is...  Species & Techniques: In amongst the Mullet, there are Sea-Trout.  Local anglers are known to fly fish for them late in the evenings or use lugworm to tempt both fish.  There are some spectacularly large Mullet in there.

3 - Warren Strand Take the first exit on the far side of Roscarberry road bridge and follow it down to Warren Strand.  A decent surf beach on the opposite side of the estuary from Roscarberry Jetty, it is readily accessible from the road and bait can be dug alongside. Species & Techniques: Flounder are taken at the channel end of a flooding tide, with standard surf fishing on the beach proper offering Flounder and Bass, with Dogfish common and the odd Ray taken during the summer months.

4 - The Long Strand This strand lives up to its name so the best mark is at the farthest point east (away from Roscarberry).  Species & Techniques: Flounder and the odd Bass are taken at low water and the first of the ebb - odd but a common tactic here!

5 - Dunnycove Bay The bay nearest the village of Ardfield offer some excellent rock fishing, and the good news is that this mark fishes at all stages of the tide. Species & Techniques: Flounder are the prime candidate amongst the Flatfish, but Dogfish and Bass are also taken as are Thornback Ray at distance, and ideally on night tides in warm calm weather.

6 - Muckross Head The road follows the coast around the wide bend of Muckross Head and offers access to excellent rock platforms.  The best spot is on the rocks as they give way to the estuary to the north.  Fishing is onto sand.  Species & Techniques: Flounder and Bass are targeted with bait dug in the mudflats.

7 - Clonakilty Harbour Head up toward the Inchydoney Hotel and stay out of it unless you have a heavy wallet!  Another low water mark, it fishes best on the first two hours of the flood only... Species & Techniques: Flounder and Bass are again the main species taken on bottom fished worm baits.  Bait available locally.

8 - Ring Harbour Across the estuary from the Inchydoney Hotel is Ring Harbour. A small tidal harbour, it fishes much the same as the other marks in the area. Species & Techniques: Flounder and Bass are again the main species taken on bottom fishing rigs.

9 - Bar Rock Follow the road right out to the point and then fish just inside the headland itself.  Species & Techniques: Flounder and Bass are again the main species taken on bottom fishing rigs, with some spinning done for the larger Bass as well.

Introduction: around Courtmacsherry

Heading down towards Courtmacsherry you should stop off for a while in the very picturesque village of Timoleague.  It really is a picture postcard spot and there is a bit of fishing available there too! Courtmacsherry has become a centre of excellence in boat fishing in recent years, with a new Pollack of 29 lbs recorded last year, but the shore offers excellent fishing too, with a cluster of five marks lying along both sides of this massive estuary.  There is some truly exceptional wreck fishing available in this part of West Cork, and I have no doubt they harbour a new record Conger... after all the current record is only 72 lbs.

1 - Woodpoint   A bit of a tricky spot to get to, and windswept to boot, the fishing is acceptable but hardly amazing.  Species & Techniques: Pollack and Mackerel are taken spinning off the rocks, with Wrasse on the float or on the bottom.  Dogfish taken also.

7 - Broad Strand A useful mark... if there is a severe south westerly blowing (as is often the case here) for you will be protected from the worst of the weather.  Species & Techniques: Flounder are the prime target amongst the Flatfish, but Dogfish and Bass are taken at low water, from late ebb to early flood.  The odd small shoal of Dab can also show up here.

2 - The School House People walk past this mark, on the Timoleague side of the village and do not realise its potential - it has given up specimen Flounder and Bass...  Species & Techniques: Flounder are the prime target amongst the Flatfish, but Dogfish and Bass are taken at low water, from late ebb to early flood.  Countmacsherry pier is worth a visit at night for Congers.

3 - Timoleague Just below the bridge and in the channel there is an excellent Bass mark that also offers Flounder.  Species & Techniques: Flounder are taken in the channel as are Mullet, with specimen Bass also recorded, and this is where you go after the fishing at the School House mark ends... because this mark fishes the two hours either side of high water.  You are effectively following the flooding tide... and out the far side to the next mark...

4 - Burren Pier On the far side of the estuary, on the road to Ballinspittle, there is another excellent Bass and Flatfish mark, with bait available in the nearby sands.  Species & Techniques: Flounder and Bass are taken for the first three hours of the flood after low water, and thought it may not look promising, it fishes quite well.  The Bass will need a bit of a surf running.

5 - Harbour View This mark is at the transition from the rocky foreshore to mudflat.  Stick rigidly to the transition and do not fish onto the mudflats. Species & Techniques: Flounder are the mainstay in the Flatfish, but Dogfish and Bass are also taken.  Spinning from the rocks over the sand accounts for Bass and Sea-Trout.

6 - Coolmain Far from spectacular in terms of fishing, the only reason I mention it is that it is protected from an easterly breeze and there is a decent bait section above itin the Killbrittain Estuary where you can dig massive amounts of lugworm in some really sticky stuff.  There was a ragworm bed there long ago but alas the council cleaned up its act, the sewage outfall has gone and with it a lovely patch of king ragworm. The price of progress! Species & Techniques: Flatfish are the main quarry with Flounder to the fore, you can pick up the odd Bass to peeler crabs and there are always Mullet around in the summer on the incoming tide.  Groundbaiting with chopped lugworm can often lead to excellent fishing with these prodigious fighters.

Introduction: around Kinsale

Down in Kinsale you can find enough chefs to know what to do with fresh fish, it would make your head swim... and your stomach growl.  Of course, they need a steady supply of excellent fish in order to keep all those restaurants going, and whilst they rely on the boats, the shore offers an exceptional harvest.  Most of them are clustered around Kinsale and there is a problem with access to the Old Head now due to a privately developed golf course!  It is a particularly tetchy subject locally, one you will do well to avoid.  The mark on the head itself has a good reputation but it is exposed and with so many alternatives around... it seems excessive to protest at its loss.

1 - Garretstown Beach For anyone in the know, this is a very famous beach. Laherne and Corlaun Rock break this massive beach into three reasonable sections and you are advised to stick close to the rocks anyway - ask a local for directions if unsure.  Species & Techniques: This is classic surf fishing with Flatfish and Bass the main preoccupation.  Spinning is also possible in calm conditions when the lack of a surf will leave the fish unmoving and unwilling to seek food.  It will produce the odd Ray also on night tides from April through to October.

2 - The Old Head of Kinsale As discussed there is a major issue with access, and not just for anglers due to the recent development of a private golf course and country club on the Head.  Old rights of way would seem to have been barricaded up, physically and legally. Species & Techniques: On the western side of the lighthouse, the more exposed mark, Wrasse close in, Mackerel and Pollack with Dogfish and Conger below are all accessible. The same applies to the Southeast side and finally a mini-mark known locally as the "Gunhole Cove" will produce good fishing to the float over a foul bottom.

3 - Sandy Cove The mark is in behind the island and at the point where the low water mark for the sea reaches the mudflats (in which you can dig the bait as the tide recedes). Stay on the rocks and fish onto the sand.  Species & Techniques: Flounder are in the majority of th Flatfish taken, with Dogfish also present.  No Bass curiously enough but it will produce Codling in winter, which is a decent compensation!

4 - New Bridge The mark is just below the bridge, inside, and on the southern shore.  It gives access to deep water especially for the two hours around the height of the tide.  Species & Techniques: Codling and Whiting are regularly caught here, especially in autumn and winter, with Pollack Coalfish, the occassional shoal of Mackerel in season, Dogfish, Flounder and the occassional Bass all adding to the mix.  A useful sheltered mark especially in the winter, best fished in darkness.

5 - Salmon Walk A small road leads up around up towards the old fort and this road runs right past an excellent mark.  Species & Techniques: Flounder, Dabs and Plaice have all been recorded here on bottom fished rigs with Dogfish and Conger also taken.  Ray have been taken at distance mostly at night on incoming tides from April onwards with sandeel the best bait.

6 - Middle Cove A rarely fished mark, with tricky access, it is not known to produce much in terms of quality as opposed to quantity but... Species & Techniques: Old reports indicate Flounder and Dogfish as the main catches with Codling and Ray taken at distance, all on bottom rigs with worm and fish baits.

7 - Kinsale Harbour Mouth Drive out and walk up towards the end of the headland. It is a tricky spot to get to but worth it for the view over the entire harbour as much as the fishing. Species & Techniques: Most people recommend bottom fishing from the point over mixed ground for Flatfish, Dogfish, small Conger, Coalfish, Freshwater Eels (listed twice elsewhere), Wrasse on the float with Mackerel and Garfish in season. The rough ground can also produce Pollack in season when the tide is moving...


After all this and you want more!  You greedy... !!!