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I am delighted to see that the Galway City SAC has been reformed by Peter Atkins et al and others - details on the bulletin board. Galway, for all its expanding population and popularity as a tourism centre, is largely unexplored in terms of shore fishing, and this is certainly true the further west you travel. We have split it into this section, namely (a) West around Clifden, (b) the Connemara section, and (c) East around Galway City. A red spot indicates a known shore mark with recent information available, whereas a yellow spot indicates a known or suspected mark where exploration is the game.
Clifden is a reknowned boat angling centre, with several boats available for charter, with John Brittain the best known... thanks to his exploits chasing the Blue Fin Tuna north of Clifden. Large shark and wrecking grounds are available barely twenty minutes outside the harbour, past Turbot Island. With this depth of water available, the bay itself has some nice marks and further afield there is some excellent beach and rock platforms. This area runs from Kilary Harbour in the north (Mayo) to the famous Slyne Head at Ballyconneelly Bay. The problem is that a shore angler is spoilt for choice and you can fish every method possible in the area and expect to avoid the dreaded blank on any given day...
|1 - Cleggan Pier A small coastal village , the pier at Cleggan is best known for the large specimen Mullet that often congregate in large shoals... Species & Techniques: Flounder dominate the Flatfish catch and there is the possibility of a Conger after dark. Tim Hoy in 2004 adds "Cleggan Pier will also throw up the occassional Plaice". Tim goes on to suggest a new mark: - "Signal Tower Hill, opposite Cleggan across the bay is a mass of possibilities but I never fished it as it is so difficult to get to. If you want to do some exploring, from Cleggan, go over the causeway and turn sharp left. This will take you along to a farm but sensible parking away from the gates is OK. Then it's walking for about 3 km before you reach the end. Several places along that walk look possible from the other side of the Bay."|
|9 - Rossadillask Our thanks to Tim Hoy for this and further marks uncovered by his pioneering work in 2004! "This is to the west of Cleggan. Untested but recommended, but I made the mistake of going to the end of the road towards Goreen Island, instead of turning right to Rossadillask". Species & Techniques: Pollack Wrasse and Conger are the main species , all on legered baits but try for Wrasse with floating rigs. The occassional large Bull Huss has also been reported. Mackerel and Pollack will fall to spinning tactics in summer.|
|10 - Bundouglas West Again our thanks to Tim Hoy for this and further marks uncovered by his pioneering work in 2004! Take the junction in Cleggan pointing to Kylemore Abbey and at just over 2.6km (1.5 miles) turn left up a small road. Ignore all side roads and follow this road to the very end. You should then be on a grassy hillside with plenty of room for parking. Species & Techniques: There are a number of marks accessible along the base of the cliffs, with one good spot for spinning, (mackerel and pollock) with a very deep gulley alongside. Clean sandy areas are easily in reach along this shore, suggesting Flatfish, Dogfish, and Thornback Rays in the summer. Conger Eels will not be far away and you will undoubtedly contact ribble (small Coalfish) in the winter alongside Whiting and the odd Codling.|
|11 - Bundouglas East Again our thanks to Tim Hoy for this and further marks uncovered by his pioneering work in 2004! Take the junction in Cleggan pointing to Kylemore Abbey and at just over 2.6 km (1.5 miles) turn left up a small road. Ignore all side roads to the left and take the right turn which will bring you onto the crescent shaped Bundouglas Beach. Parking is available but be aware this is a regular spot for commercial fishermen. The beach itself looks promising but is usually too cluttered with lines, pots and nets to be any good for bait fishing. Instead take a walk over the top of the hill eastwards which will bring you along the top of a small cliff which goes on for 1 kilometre. Take care as there are some very deep trwacherous holes in the cliff side walk. Species & Techniques: There are lots of marks but spinning from the three rocks that stick out always seems to produce Pollock and Mackerel in season. Another good spot is further along where a small stream runs off the hill and in this area there is deep clean water and plenty of room. A delightful area, clean and full of possibilities without being too dangerous, it is best fished on a breezy or wet day as the midges can come in liquid form!|
|7 - Omey Island Cross the strand from the mainland at low water (it floods at high water, worth remembering on the way home!) and folllow the road to the south past Fahy Lough right to the end. Lugworm can be dug from the flats at either end of the main strand. Avoid the paths leading to the beach and work your way south west towards the point. Species & Techniques: Pollack Wrasse and Conger are the main species , all on legered baits but try for Wrasse with floating rigs. The occassional large Bull Huss has also been reported.|
|8 - The northern road in Streamstown Bay There are several good rock fishing marks along the bay on the north side, just down from the road. They run from the megalicthic tomb (signposted on the left hand side) down as far as the ruined castle on the shore. Species & Techniques:Again Pollack Wrasse and Conger are the main species , all on legered baits although you could try for the Wrasse with float fished rigs. Spinning will take Mackerel, Garfish and Pollack in season. Sand eel lures will work too.|
|2 - Coolacloy Fishing off this headland into the mouth of Streamstown Bay (towards Omey Island) offers access to deep water and mized ground. Tackle losses can be high and the mark should not be used in heavy weather. Species & Techniques: Spinning will account for Pollack and Coalfish, with Mackerel in season and the odd Garfish. Float fishing is the preferred option for the Wrasse. Bottom fishing will take Conger and LSDs.|
|3 - Slopers Cliff On the southern coast of the Penninsula holding the famous Sky Road, you will find Slopers Cliff. This gives access into deep water at the mouth of Clifden Bay. The bottom is quite mixed with rock and weed interspersed with drifts of sand. Species & Techniques: Flounder again dominate the Flatfish catch but Dabs and Plaice are possible, with Dogfish and Ray common enough. Coalfish, Wrasse and small Pollack are taken on a float rig, and bottom fishing over the foul ground offers Conger and Bull Huss. A friend took a 2 lb black sole using rag on a pennel rig (1/0s) in 1999.|
|4 - The White Lady On the far side of Clifden Bay, you find the best mark of all... This exposed headland gives access into deep water with sand the dominant terrain. Species & Techniques: Flounder again come to the fore, with Dabs and Plaice more common than elsewhere in the area and Ray a reasonable possibility in calm weather. Pollack and Mackerel can be taken on spinners and feathers, with very big Wrasse available on legered rigs (rottom bottoms required) or float rigs fishing below you.|
|5 - Ballinaga Up the road, west from Ballinaboy, you reach the reach mark called Ballinaga... Facing into Mannin Bay, this exposed western headland is a superb deep water fishing mark, even if it is a bugger to get to... Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing over the mixed ground will bring up into contact with all of the Flatfish including smaller Turbot (provided you use a fish bait). Wrasse are availabel also in the weedier areas and in the stronger currents around rocks. Dogfish and Rays have also been caught there recently, especially in the margins around sandy patches, and even at low water.|
|6 - Dooloughan Farther south west, on the far side of Mannin Bay, and having run through Ballconneely village, you reach the reach mark called Dooloughan... Facing directly into the Atlantic but sheltered from the worst of the western winds, this relatively sheltered mark is rarely fished but is akin to Ballinaga in terms of terrain and species. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing over the mixed ground will bring up into contact with Flounder, Turbot , with Dogfish, Conger, Wrasse and Rays all available. Reputedly the area around Dooloughan fishes best on an incoming tide and at night.|
This whole area of western Galway is largely unexplored by sea anglers working from the shore, perhaps because the boat based fishing out of Clifden will spoil you rotten! Letterfrack Bay in the north, next to Kilary Harbour must have some good marks waiting to be discovered, indeed the same could be said for most of this coastline. It is very rugged country and access is not always straighforward - this has been the main factor inhibiting its development. All the bays here have small rivers feeding into them, hence the (often well cursed!) abundance of Flounder and past abundance of Turbot. As always with ocean facing rocks, care and attention is needed and fishing in a group is the safest option.