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Waterford Wexford Wicklow Shore Index

Wexford has long been an extremely popular spot for fishing from the shore, especially for anglers from Dublin and the UK, thanks mainly to the excellent transport and the ferry crossing into Rosslare.  The fishing is markedly different between the southern shores and the Irish sea coast, so we have split this report in two to reflect this. When it was discovered that Wexford had lots (and lots!) of Smooth Hounds a revolution in east coast fishing emerged and they remain a popular catch with all local and visiting anglers.  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 : from the Hook to the Raven

Basing yourself in Wexford Town is hardly a hardship and it can be used as a suitable base from which to explore the surrounding marks.  In fact the new deep water quay above the new bridge is producing Codling fishing already, to add to the Flatfish and Bass that were always taken there!  A favourite winter Codling mark is outside the car park of the Talbot Hotel in Wexford Town, with a forty yard lob of big crab and lugworm baits sufficient for fish up to 4 lbs (2 kgs).  This area of Wexford benefits from the warming Gulf Stream so the fishing is quite different from the Irish Sea marks listed further down below.

1 - Hook Head This is a popular match fishing location and the rocks are numbered for competitions - road access is directly down to the lighthouse and the paths to the various stations are obvious. The bottom ranges from sand and mud through to some very foul ground so the variety of fishing and species is excellent.  People tend to fish the eastern side although there are excellent marks to the west, reputedly. Species & Techniques: Spinning or float fishing for Pollack, Coalfish and Mackerel in season is augmented by some excellent Wrasse fishing.  Bottom fishing over rough ground will find Conger, Rockling and Dogfish, with the possibility of Flatfish and the odd Bass over the sandy areas. No reports on how it is fished in the winter...

9 - Dollar Beach On the road from Duncannon to Hook Head (Duncannon Beach is an excellent spot for digging blow and black lugworm, keep to the south end near the cliffs) several turnings will bring you down to Dollary Beach and Booley Strand.  The roads are often only one car wide and will not bring you all the way down.  If someone parks behind you it may prove difficult to get back out!  A broad shallow beach faces into Waterford Harbour, almost directly west, hardly in a harsh easterly wind.  Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing (largely one and the same thing) will produce Dogfish, Bass, with the odd Codling possible in the winter.  Curiously very few Flatfish are recorded at this venue.  It can get busy with holiday makers during daylight in summer...

2 - Ballyteigue and Bannow   There are effectively two estuaries here and fishing into the main river channels from the northern marks is well known and popular.  Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing will produce Flounder, Bass, with the odd Sea-Trout falling to spinning tackle - akin to Ballyquinn Strand in Co. Waterford, these twin marks are reknowned for the quality rather than quantity of fish caught by sea anglers.

3 - The Burrow Shore A well known mark, popular for competitions, best fished either side of low water, it features a mini-mark known locally as "the hole at the burrow".  This is about 150 metres from the car park.  Species & Techniques: To find Bass you need a good surf up.  Whiting, Codling, Coalfish and flatfish (predominantly Flounder) are common catches here, with the odd Ray and Smoothhound in warm weather, especially after dark.  Tope are also known to frequent the area in the summer.  Dogfish were common also but catches have declined.  Lugworm, crab and mackerel are the commonly used baits on this mark. October 2003.

4 - Kilmore Quay   Another of the commercial fishing ports along the south coast, Kilmore Quay is heavily focused on the charter service and why not with the Saltee Island marks directly off shore!  There are several marks here, effectively one on either side of the harbour.  see below.  Species & Techniques: Spinning is done for Bass and for Mackerel in the summer from the rocks at the bridge, with Bottom fishing off the pier restricted to high water conditions and capable of producing Flounder, the odd Bass and Mackerel. Mullet have been taken on float fishing gear from the pier in the harbour.

4 b - Kilmore Strand As you drive in towards Kilmore from Wexford Town, a sign will bring you down to a curious shingle beach.  This is a high tide mark only, three hours either side being optimal and curiously, at the point slightly to your right, it splits between sand and rock.  Avoid fishing onto sand as it is alive with crabs!  Species & Techniques: Spinning is done for Bass and for Mackerel in the summer with bottom fishing capable of producing Flounder, some nice Bass (I have seen them caught here) and yes, even Black Bream.  Three fish were taken in August 2003 and more in September.  The baits were lugworm and mackerel strip.

5 - The Coombe   To get lost in the warren of small roads around Tacumshin is a dangerous thing, and far too easy to do!  Directly out from the big lake, Lady's Island, there is an excellent shore mark.  This is another steep shingle and sand beach with dangerous swift currents that should preclude wading.  The Tacumshin lake outflow is a good mark and there is another on the western side of the lake called Rostoonstown, a la jd.  All the marks on the Coombe are best fished three hours either side of low water when the outflow is running to best effect.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing finds Bass, Dogfish, Flounder and Codling in winter. Coalfish, Pollack and Whiting, along with Wrasse are reported regularly.  A large Bull Huss was taken a few years ago if I recall... Warning: the best fishing is on the point however there is a severe current and rough ground here so pick a weak tide and bring lots of rotten bottom rigs with you!  Not for the beginner.  Ray, Tope and Mackerel all in summer, with some Sea-Trout available at the lake outflow...   November 2003

10 - Carnsore Point Once the proposed venue for a nuclear power station, we had the good sense to avoid such technology. This is a rough ground venue similar to the Coombe above, and it is particularly well known to the quality of its Wrasse. Species & Techniques: The best fishing is on either side of high water (although some good an unusual species were reported at low water including a Goldsinny Wrasse.  The best Wrasse are often under your feet and lugworm on a single hook paternoster is ideal or you can float fish too.

6 - Ballytrent Beach This shallow beach mark requires a strong surf for anything to happen and is usually only fished in the autumn as a consequence.  It is sheeltered from the westerly winds and as such is fishable when many other marks are impossible.  Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing offers you Dabs, Flounder, Dogfish and some Bass.  Mullet also reported and some reports of small Smoothhounds at the height of summer, especially after dark.  Lugworm is the main bait used and only fish it for two hours either side of high water.  A mini mark of sorts is reported about two hundred meters left of the entrance.

11 - St Helens Bay & Bing's Bay Firstly our thanks to John Diamond for this report. Another beach sheltered from the west and thus fishable when all else fails, lugworm is the required bait.  Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing offers you Dabs, Flounder, Dogfish and Bass a strong possibility all year round, especially on high water at night. Spinning for Bass is possible off the rocks at either end of the Bay.
12 - "The Safe", Rosslare Harbour  Again our thanks to John Diamond for this report on this new mark.  When we mean new, this land was reclaimed and did not exist until maybe five years ago.  As the work was carried out by the Port Authority there is a question mark over whether you are allowed fish there, given it is private property so a word with the harbour master should avoid any embarrassment! Species & Techniques: This place reminds me of Streedagh Point in Sligo in that you fish off rocks but after a weedy margin, you encounter sand.  Pollack, Dogfish, Mackerel, Garfish and Wrass in the summer, with the odd Flatfish in amongst all the Dogfish over the sand are the main attractions. Coalfish, even the odd Codling is now falling to bottom fished baits.  Conger have moved in with reports of a beast that has defied all attempts to land it thus far. There are also reports of some decent Bull Huss getting close to the shore specimen weight (12 lbs) and some real rarities like Black Sea Bream albeit in very small numbers and usually a small stamp of fish (under 500 grams)... October 2004

7a - Rosslare Strand   A popular holiday destination and regular haunt for those who have missed or are waiting for the next ferry, most people fish this mark at night and in a decent surf. Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing offers you Dabs, Flounder, Dogfish and some Bass. The key is to fish between the Groynes and into the Channel from the point.  It also throws up the occasional Ray and packs of small Smooth Hounds, with the top weight being around 3 kilos (7 lbs), all to crab baits.

7b - Rosslare Point If you fancy a shot at a shore caught Tope, then Rosslare Point, accessed either from the Strand or more easily from the road inland along the spit up from Rosslare Town to the bait digging area known as The Burrow, is one of the key marks.  Species & Techniques:  The point holds a deep water channel and this has to be fished on a flooding tide with a large bait, ideally a mackerel flapper, half a flounder or similar, on a heavy mono trace and a very sharp 6/0 hook.

8 - Wexford Harbour   There is in fact umpteen marks in the harbour area - the new quay on the south side of the bridge (behind the Talbot Hotel car park) has become popular for autumn/winter Codling (with Peeler Crab and Lug cocktails working relatively close in, (thanks jd), the new bridge itself has been a popular mark at night and on incoming tides for local anglers seeking Bass and Flatfish (dropnet required) and behind the bridge, again on the north side there is the signposted Kaats Strand, often a venue for competitions.  On the seaward side of the old Dublin bridge, you have Ardcavan which again also produces excellent Flounder.  Behind the railway station on the southern side you have a rock promontary that produces Bass, as does the Ballast Bank fronting new the marina arm, and further seaward you have the derelict Modeltown section which also produces Bass.  Further back the banks near the Species & Techniques: Almost all of these marks offer bottom fishing for Bass, Dogfish and Flatfish.  Codling can vary from 200 grams up to decent fish touching 2 kilos in winter but the main sport is the Bass.  Spinning in particular (for distance) and plugging from the shore can definitely produce excellent results, including the famous 10 lb + fish for the lucky and patient angler. This is a definite nursery area with lots of small Bass - please obsereve the bye-laws and put back all fish under 40 cms. Bear in mind there is a catch limit and a closed season from 15th May to 15th June each year.  All this inside a major town, check the mark page for details.  July 2004.

13 - Ferrcarraig / Oak Tavern A summer to autumn venue, popular with locals and tourists alike, it tends to be a mid-water to high water venue only. You can fish from either side of the bridge, once protected by the famous fort standing in isolation on the northern shore.  Most people fish off the southern shore although some will venture to fish from around the fort itself. Species & Techniques: The mains targets are Bass, Mullet in the summer and Flatfish.  Sea-trout and Shads once ran this river in famour numbers and the Slaney Salmon is sadly a declining species...  This is a definite nursery area with lots of small Bass - please obsereve the bye-laws and put back all fish under 40 cms. Bear in mind there is a catch limit and a closed season from 15th May to 15th June each year. Legering with lugworm or ragworm, ideally peeler crabs for the Bass, will account for fish.  The channel is not large and a short lob cast will put you in position to take fish on the flood. September 2004.

Introduction to The Irish Sea Coast

Heading north from Raven point you would be forgiven for thinking that you have to face an unending series of windswept beach marks, but that is not the case.  There is a remarkable variety available, albeit the venues are some of the most popular and on their day heavily fished in Ireland.  This is - bar the Shannon Estuary - undoubtedly where you go in Ireland if you want to catch a Smooth Hound and that fish alone has 'made' some of these marks.  In early 2004, a 30 angler competition organised by the Menapia SAC landed 116 smoothhounds in four hours, with the average over 2.5 kilos (6 lbs).  Most of the pressure comes from anglers from Dublin coming south at weekends so to avoid this, fish them during the week, when the rest of us are working...

1 - Curracloe Beach   The site of the landings in the filming of "Private Ryan" and a very fashionable and popular summertime beach, it is only fished at night or in the autumn, ideally with a decent surf.  I have fished it several times and had lots of small Bass and Flatties on ragworm baits relatively close in, especially near the bird sanctuary, which also offers road access.  Species & Techniques: Bottom and surf fishing is productive for Bass, Flounders and Freshwater Eels (especially near the river mouth up near Blackwater), Codling in Winter, Dogfish and Bull Huss at the Wexford town end, with Tope, Ray and Smooth Hound also reported.

2 - Ballinamona   This is the first of several very popular beaches often used for competitions. Species & Techniques: Surf fishing will produce Bass and smaller Flatfish but the mark is known for producing Ray, Dogfish and in particular Smooth Hound, especially at night and in the spring and early summer.  Why it should fall off thereafter is not understood but one theory reported to me is that the fish move out onto the numerous sand banks and better feeding in the Irish Sea once the water warms up...

3 - Tinnebearna   This is one of the marks synonymous with Smooth Hounds, something of a cult fish in recent years. Intrepid anglers have pitched their tents and shone their tilly lamps on just about every beach in Wexford in the last decade in the hope of discovering the next great Smut mark.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce Bass and Smooth Hounds too, with Tope and Ray reported later in the year.

4 - Morriscastle   This is perhaps the best known venue in Wexford and has hosted several premier league and international beach fishing competitions.  You need to check if an event is on before you go... Species & Techniques: Bottom and surf fishing will produce Bass, Smooth Hounds, lots of Dogfish, several varieties of Ray in the warmer months including Sting Rays (no excuses!), Tope and Monkfish (unconfirmed), with Spurdog, Bull Huss, Flounder, and Dabs also being weighed and measured for points.

5 - Ballinoulart Beach  A new mark, several SACs have made this a competition venue with good results in surf conditions. Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing is for Flatfish, Bass and Dogfish, with Smooth Hounds and some Ray also reported.  It is a popular venue with the local shore angling clubs... enough said!

6 - Cahore Point   These rock marks give access to deep water with a sand or mixed bottom, with the optimal position being behind the castle.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce Bass, Dabs, Flounder and Plaice, but be warned of the packs of LSDs (Dogfish) that patrol the area, mainly at low water.

7 - Cahore Pier   A simple spot to get to, easy to keep the car close by, and without the need to pitch a tent and hump boxed of supplier and gear down a beach, the pier may not be pefect but it is a good option. Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce Bass, Dabs, Flounder and the odd Dogfish, with Smooth Hounds in the spring only, and with promising recent catches of Codling and Whiting reported in the winter.

8 - North Beach, Cahore   Another of the many beaches, this one changes between summer and winter, with different species arriving and departing. Fishing is always done between the groynes and mostly at night on incoming tides.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce Bass, Flounder and the odd Dogfish in the summer, with Smooth Hounds in the spring, whereas Codling and Whiting and Dabs only in the winter.


Wexford is heavily fished relatively speaking, and the Irish Sea has been overfished commercially for many years, and yet even the marks on this coast go on producing good catches.  There are several other good marks - everyone knows about the fishing on the incoming tide at the Oak Inn at Ferrycarraig (either side of the road works), and Wexford is home to the small flounder for big Bass trick.  Even the main new bridge is a good mark.