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We have given this section over to dealing with the Shannon Estuary, the southern shore, incorporating parts of North Kerry and Limerick. The Shannon estuary bears a remarkable resemblance to the Bristol Channel in the UK, not geographically but rather in terms of how it fishes. The water is permanently coloured, summer or winter, and this allows for excellent day time fishing, again summer or winter. A sheltered spot, it harbours excellent marks that can (especially on the southern shore) prove tricky to master for a novice / visiting angler. 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!
As much as forty miles inland, the majestic and equally massive Shannon Estuary hides the deep water port of Foynes, and a huge ore terminal at Aughinish. This vast deep river estuary provides an exceptionally sheltered set of marks, famous for pack tope early in the season and thornback rays later on, and increasingly famous for the resident pod of dolphins, one of only three pods resident in Ireland all year round. A 12 kilo (30 lbs) blonde ray was returned alive by a Limerick SAC angler in 2001. It is famous to the sheer quantity of conger eels. For information on the nothern shore you should check out the section on Southern Clare. In recent years the angling pressure thanks to the easier access from Limerick may have contributed to the poor returns from some of the more inland marks. Still popular though. Foynes pier is now closed... so try the new mark behind Loughill.
|1 - Foynes "Foynes pier is now closed to the public. Unfortunately fishing is no longer allowed there". Out thanks to Eoin for this update. December 2004. This sad development has been corroborated by several other anglers. We understand that the ban is for reasons of additional security and insurance, all relating back to the attacks in New York on September 11th. You can still fish in the general area however long distance casting is required. Species & Techniques: Locally the fishing has produced mainly Flounder and Whiting. Not far off the beach, just about opposite the swimming pool, there is an extremely deep water channel. Bottom fishing into this channel will produce Conger (at night), Thornback Rays, Dogfish and Codling. Whiting will appear in large shoals in winter especially nearing darkness on calm nights at high tide.|
|2 - Kilterry Pier Just past the picturesque village of Loughgill heading west, you will find Kilterry Pier. A narrow twisting road leads down to a mark that has declined sadly in recent years. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the pier will produce all the Flatfish including Plaice and Dab in summer, with Thornback Rays and Bull Huss a common enough catch, and Dogfish a constant menace from low water up. There are reputedly roving packs of small Smoothhound available at night to crab baits. On my last visit I was pestered by a decent sized sea trout acting the dolphin beside me! Most people advocate fishing this mark from mid water up and packing up just after high water unless you are after the conger eels below. "The best fishing is to the west under the lighthouse. Access is through the fields along the shore. The farmer doesn't mind as long as people do not break the fences or leave rubbish behind. Deep water can be reached here a lot easier than from the pier. Ray and huss are available during the summer as well as small tope to 3 kilos. Yes tope! Plenty of dogfish to keep you entertained as always. From the pier in winter dab and flounder are readily available and whiting are caught in abundance. Fishing the westerly mark in bad weather is not recommended.." Many thanks to Eoin for the update. December 2004.|
|2b - Loughill Park your car in the church car park and walk towards the shore through the new housing estate. The car will be quite safe. Walking east along the shore for about a half mile ( 600 metres). This will bring you just underneath a wood. Casting out from here will put you out into some very deep water. Species & Techniques: Bopttom fishing will provide sport with some big conger, buss huss, doggies and thornback rays. The mark fishes well up to high water. Very little has been caught on the going tide. The mark should definitely not be fishing in bad weather as it is very exposed. December 2004|
|3 - Glin Another picturesque village and the shore mark is on the Foynes side, near the lay-by for cars. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the pier will produce all the Flatfish (mostly Flounder), Thornback Ray, Bull Huss, Dogfish, and the odd scavenging Conger, however the recommended mark is the lay-by just east of Glin, rather than the pier. Again it seems to have declined in recent years for no apparent reason. Whiting are a common catch on light tides in the winter, even in daylight.|
|4 - Saleens This quay provides useful fishing on the flood. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the quay produce Flatfish, mainly Flounder with the odd Dogfish for company. It is a heavily silted area with a floatilla of 'weekender' boats...|
|9 - Tarbert The harbour has an inner and outer pier, and there is a third mark around the point at the power station. Species & Techniques: The inner pier is good for flatfish on a flooding tide, mostly Flounder but with the odd Plaice and Dab as well, and the latter is reknowned for the Conger Eels it throws up, straight below you, especially at night once the ferry has stopped its sailings. The power station's hot water outflow is a known Bass mark using spun lures or lugworm, but many are undersized.|
|10 - Killimer Ferry Terminal (Co. Clare) Killimer is famous for the quality of the three bearded rockling it produces! This deep water ferry terminal can be fished best outside of the sailing times. In summer both ferries operate. The pier is private and definitely off limit. You fish from either side into the deep water, usually depending on the wind. Tides have a less important role to play here in terms of the fishing. Species & Techniques: "Slugs" are readily caught by legering mackerel on a 3/0 hook in any discoloured water. Doubtless the ferry's screws churning up the bottom has the desired effect. This will also attract Conger Eels. Whiting are taken in the winter. Flounder, Dogfish and the occassional Bull Huss are reported. It should be possible to catch Thornback Rays given they invade the Shannon in the spring. Wrasse are less common here, and are mostly taken at distance from west of the landing off the rocks. Mullet swarm in on summer evenings, under the pier or the decaying pilings.|
|5a - Carraig Island East A tricky enough spot to get to, but well worth the effort. Turn right over the bridge, past the B&B to fish the east mark. Park at the end of the track, walk across the low ground towards the grass and continue east to the south east point of the island. You can fish here east or south east back towards the Limerick coast or along the northern coast facing across the channel to Clare. This mark is very exposed. Species & Techniques: The east mark fishes at all stages of the tide but definitely better around high tide. It is a deep muddy channel that offers Flatfish, Ray, and Dogfish, and some small Bull Huss. Conger are inevitable around any rocky spines and these will also throw up Wrasse as well. Whiting are possible in the winter on neap tides. February 2004|
|5b - Carraig Island West This time, turn left at the B&B to fish the west mark. Park at the end of the track - it is badly rutted and dangerous to cars so you may want to walk down most of it. This alternative mark is rough ground fishing from some nice flat rocks. Again this mark is very exposed and you can walk all the way around to the eastern marks, fishing the nothern shore into the main channel if you want... Species & Techniques: The west mark offers rough ground fishing for Bull Huss and Conger at low water, with the possibility of a Bass to lugworm or a lure. On my last visit I had several Sea Trout for company, but they did not succumb! February 2004.|
|6 - Littor Strand Just short of Beal Point, the best spot if the most westerly point on the wide open beach, with road access through the village of Astee. You will probably want to ask directions anyhow... Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from the beach will produce, Dabs, Flounder, and lots of Dogfish. The odd Bull Huss and Ray is also caught here, and it fishes best in the first two to three hours of the flood only. A few of us are considering targeting the Spring pack Tope off this beach.|
|7 - Ballbunion Beach Next to every links golf course there is bound to be a good storm beach and this is not different. You need to be on the northern coast of the Cashen estuary, near the point,and it fishes best on the flood although you can fish it on the ebb into the river channel. Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing offers Flatfish, mainly Flounder, and Bass. Again the trick is not to fish too far into the surf!|
|8 - Cashen Estuary Moving inland from the point, past Ballybunion, you come to a shore mark inside the Cashen Estuary. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing from marks below the car park will generate lots of Flounder and Bass, but only on the flood. The odd Mullet has also taken a proffered lugworm bait.|
As you driving alongside the Shannon, at places like Loughgill, looking across at Clare on the far side, it is hard to believe that you are fishing into salt water. Of course, the further you travel towards Limerick the more brackish it gets, especially in the winter months. If you get stuck waiting for the ferry at Tarbert fish the big pier for conger at low water and the inner pier for flatfish. Around the headland the hot water outflow from the power station is known to attract schoolie bass, but they are often very small indeed.