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For the sheer range and quality of fishing from shore available, the Dingle penninsula has to be on any angler's must-visit-list. The quality of the fishing is undiminished year to year despite its popularity with local and visiting angler alike. Indeed its has been the pioneering work of Bob Moss and others that has drawn attention to previously unknown species in particular th possibility oftacklingserveal species of rays off the many beachs along the peninsula's northern shore. 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!
The Dingle Penninsula is longer than it looks in the diagram and is surrounded by the sea - the shallow waters of Tralee Bay to the North have become synonymous with specimen ray and monkfish, whilst Inch Strand to the South is possibly Ireland's most famous surf beach, especially for big autumn bass. Dotted between them are eight other marks, all of a similar quality. The only problem is that you are so spoilt for choice! This year a 45 lb shore cuaght conger eel won a major competition, but you could pitch yourself anywhere on this penninsula and find fish. Decisions, decisions, decisions ...
|1 - Derrymore Barely onto the penninsula and you have a whole beach to yourself. This is Derrymore. There are two roads down; take the second better and signposted road, otherwise you end up on a farmer's lane, albeit with the curiosity of a new memorial to an ancient burial ground for unbaptised children and lost sailors washed ashore! The better road leads down to a decent car park. Species & Techniques: This kind of beach demands you try surf fishing, and your will not be disappointed : - Flatfish, Ray and Bass are taken here, or try bottom fishing off the point. February 2004|
|2 - Castlegregory Strand The beach below the carpark is rapidly acquiring a reputation as the best shore mark in Ireland for rays from shore, thanks to the work of reknowned Bob Moss. Thornback, Painted and Sting Ray have all been taken (far out) at Castlegregory. Species & Techniques: Beach fishing is best near the stream and this will find Flatfish, the odd Bass and Dogfish. Rays are best taken on distance casts from below the car park. A group of us had Bull Huss, Conger and a small Spurdog (!) on a night shift in May 2002. This is a very long and exposed beach so it is best to stick relatively close to the village itself!|
|11 - Stradbally Beach Behind the village of Castlegregory itself, past a thatched cottage pub with a mannequin tipped head first into a beer barrel (how's that for a signpost!), you will find a road down to Stradbally Strand. It lies behind Lough Gill.. Species & Techniques: This is standard surf fishing but it faces due north and it quite exposed (and damn cold in a northerly breeze!). I got out, looked at it and got back into the car! There are several more beaches on the route west heading for the Conor Pass. February 2004.|
|3 - Barrick, Kilcummin and Fermoyle Beaches Beneath the brooding presence of Mount Brandon lies the Bay, and starting with Stradbally above, you have a collection of beaches, in fact it is one continuous beach from Stradbally through to Fermoyle at the far end. Fermoyle produced a large skate in late 2003 to a bass angler! Use peeler crab at the Fermoyle end - these can be readily collected from the estuary at low water from Cloghane out to Ballyquinn. Species & Techniques: Opinions vary greatly as to where to set out your stall... Some recommend near the estuary, opposite Ballyquinn on Fermoyle beach and in the estuary itself. Others will tell you the farther out to the point, past Kilcummin and Barrick heading for Stradbally the better... whichever spot you pick, surf or bottom fishing will produce Flatfish (mostly Flounder), Bass, and Ray in calm conditions, ideally at night. One advantage at the Fermoyle end, where a large spit cum hillock (known locally as Fermoyle Island) extends out into the sea is that you do not have to cast far into a big surf. It gets quite steep and Bass have been taken on mis-casts just 20 metres out! Alternatively cross the hillock and you can fly fish the estuary on a flooding tide. Check it at low water to avoid the a misadventure. February 2004.|
|10 - Brandon Pier & Rocks: A new mark reported by a self confessed beginner it combines the pier itself and some rocks on the left hand side giving access to deep water. Down on the rocks - a dangerous enough walk just over the edge of the pier, there is a point where it drops fast into the sea. There is another shore mark listed as Cloghane, with lugworm and crabs listed as available bait. It is possible to drive out to the "nose" past white strand but we have no reports from there, yet! Species & Techniques: "Using a silver lure, it was easy to catch Pollack, 3 hours before high tide. A small amount of Mackerel were taken. It is a rotten bottom so fast retrieving is required. At the pier at high tide there was lots of Mackerel and a few Garfish. Daylight rigs were the most effective." Eamonn Kenny, July 2003.|
|4 - Brandon Creek Thankfully the coast road brings you right to this mark, mind you the road is up the Conor Pass, into Dingle around by Ballydavid and then east towards the creek itself! The diagram above is a bit deceptive, to say the least! The best spot is the east side, which is also the one most exposed to the wind and rain - such is life! Indeed there is a another deep cleft of a mark accessible from the start of the pier through the fields. Both of these marks demand your respect, especially if you are not fishing off the pier itself. Both marks are washed by very large waves, funnelled into and so enlarged by the clefts, even on the calmest days. Species & Techniques: This is rock platform fishing. Bottom fishing onto foul ground and patches of sand will catch Conger, Wrasse, Bull Huss with Pollack and Mackerel falling to this and spinning techniques. Lovely on a summer's day but keep your wits about you! February 2004.|
|5 - Smerwick Harbour: Wine Strand & Ballinrannig If you fancy a shot at Codling, this is one of the few marks in Kerry that regularly produce them, off the beach at a spot called Ballinrannig - ask a local for directions. There is also another spot called Wine Strand which is very nice, if it wasn't for the dumped burnt out caravan! Species & Techniques: Surf fishing will produce Flounder and Bass, with the option of Coalfish if you try to cast further out. Bob Moss lives in the area so an email in advance would help you...|
|6 - Clogher Head & Dunquin Strand This is the Kerry Clogher Head, there is another in Co. Louth, and this is the part of Kerry made famous by the film "Ryan's Daughter". There are lots of wonderful stories about the filming if you drop into one of the pubs... There is also a lovely sheltered bay and strand tucked into the shoreline here, with clear road access. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from directly under the schoolhouse used in the film will produce Pollack and Coalfish, Bull Huss, Dogfish and Conger, but it is very foul ground. Spinning will take Mackerel, Pollack and Coalfish and Wrasse are available on the float.|
|7 - Ventry Strand Ventry is another beach but with rocky margins and weed that as a consequence offers a larger variety of fish. There is an excellent lugworm bed on the road out from Dingle, just turn left over a small bridge. The beach is massive, covering the width of the entire bay and crossed by several steams, with a pier at the far end accessible from three roads off the N559 heading west. Species & Techniques: Flounder and Bass are the main priorities for surfing anglers, whilst Wrasse are available in the weedy margins, with Conger, Bull Huss and Dogfish reported. Febraury 2004.|
|8 - Trabeg Trabeg, from the Irish meaning "small beach" is yet another beach that offers standard surf fishing species. It is something of a misnomer in that the beach is accessed from (the N86) either side of a massive estuary that is little more than a mudflat outside of the top of the tide. Locally the eastern side is known as Tra Chathail (Cathal's beach), and a word of warning, do not try to wade across the estuary. Species & Techniques: Flounder, Dabs and Bass are the main priorities, but some small Ray have also been recorded here along with Dogfish.|
|9 - Inch Strand There hardly seems to be any point describing this beach and its surf fishing species, such is its acclaim. It continues to produce fish, even specimens, despite very high angling pressure. You will almost never be alone on this beach as it has become something of an angling Mecca for people seeking the ultimate of storm surf fishing. There is also a mark listed on some books behind Inch Strand, presumably at the back... which might be useful when you get sick of the howling gale coming in off the Atlantic and the sea trying to suck you out of your boots! Reputedly it fishes much the same as the Strand itself, but I suppose if you have travelled a long way to fish Inch Strand, you will want to fish the Strand come what may and not the backside of it!!! Then again... Species & Techniques: Flounder, Plaice and Bass with some small Thornback Ray recorded back in the mists of time. Lovely spot. February 2004.|
In truth there are so many marks on this penninsula that the above represents barely the tip of the iceberg. You could spend a lifetime fishing the marks around Smerwick and the Three Sisters, never mind the entire penninsula.
Finally, an unusual mark courtesy of Tim Hoy: - "[Another worthwhile mark] is the Blasket Islands [accessed by ferry from Dunquin and Dingle] with some really good Pollock from the rocks, casting back towards the mainland. The tidal race is spectacular."