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Wexford Wicklow Dublin Shore Index

Wicklow has suffered from long exposure to heavy angling pressure from Dublin and the UK, and the predation of the several large east coast fishing fleets.  The beach fishing dropped to the point where nothing could be caught on any given weekend, even at night bar the odd dogfish and miserably small schools of pollack, whiting and codling - and I mean tiny!  This said, there have been some encouraging reports in recent years and in the right conditions, the beaches can produce some decent fishing.  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 : South Wicklow

South Wicklow fishing is centred on Arklow, a town breathing a massive sigh of relief now that the bypass has been built.  Arklow has a long fishing and boat building tradition with some goods marks nearby.  Access to possible marks between the famous holiday beach of Brittas Bay north of Mizen Head to Wicklow Head is the problem, but there is bound to be some good undiscovered fishing there for anyone with a taste for adventure and walking!  Arklow harbour sadly is the mouth of the Avoca river, the most polluted and sterile river in Ireland, and all down to ancient mine tailings some hundreds of years old leaching into the river.  It is a terrible shame that such a truly beautiful river valley is so denuded.  A worthy warning to us all.

1 - Kilmichael Point This map is a 'bit short' but south of Kilmichael Point there is a once excellent beach mark, little used, called Clones Strand. The only recent reports we have are of small flounders but it was once a standard east coast venue, with codling, coalfish and whiting in winter supplemented by mackerel, small pollack and the odd ray at distance in the summer. Dogfish are resident over this mark.   Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing used to find Bass, Flatfish, Dogfish, and Codling in the winter especially with a decent onshore wind and some surf.  Tope, Smooth Hound and Ray were all recorded off the strand.

2 - Roadstone Pier   I am going to get into trouble here because CRH do not like people using the pier and technically it is private property.  This said the querry was scheduled to close (?) with rumours of a new Ferry Terminal being built there but nothing happened, so maybe you can fish it.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing gave up Dabs, Flounder, Pouting, Plaice, the odd Bass, with winter Codling and Whiting possible.

3 - South Beach, Arklow   This tends to be fished mainly in the summer and at night to avoid the holiday makers, when it has a reputation for producing good catches.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce Flounder, Bass, Coalfish and Dogfish, Codling in winter, the odd Sole (provided you fish with very small hooks) with Tope and Ray also reported occassionally during the summer.  Again, sadly, no recent reports.

4 - Pennycomequick   And the prize for the weirdest name for a fishing venue goes to Pennycomequick, also known locally by the townland name of Ennereilly - not sure which is worse!  There were several small storm-fed streams releasing over the beach and these were the hotspots - again no recent reports.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing on an incoming tide was capable of producing Flounder (especially outside the streams), the odd Bass and Plaice, with Whiting and Codling possible on longer casts in winter.  There were rumours of small smoothhounds falling to peeler crab at night at distance off this beach...

5 - Arklow Pier   Reports from the summer and autumn 2002 shows that Arklow Pier is making a comeback, with lots of small fish reported, ranging up to five lbs (2 kgs).  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing on an incoming tide will produce Flounder, Dabs and the odd Plaice, with small Whiting, Pouting and Codling during the winter, and reports of small Blonde and Thornback Rays during the warmer weather. Note that I have deliberately overexposed the photograph to give some indication of the seabed in terms of depth of water... Aerial Photograph. Thanks to Ed.  Revised July 2004.


 There are effectively two more marks further south in Courttown but it is a very popular holiday centre and difficult to fish.  Again I have no recent reports but a Conger of 45 lbs was taken out of the harbour there.  You find Mullet in the harbour being pestered by the kids (!) and the local beach offers standard surf fishing.


Introduction to North Wicklow

If south Wicklow has suffered in the past from heavy fishing pressures, both land and sea based, poor old north Wicklow was near devastated by it.  Newcastle beach (4) is the only mark - ever - that I have caught absolutely nothing off during a 12 hour night session and we've never been back... but there are rumours of some fish being landed on the north Wicklow marks again, and I would appreciate a call or email from any of the local angling clubs.  Mind you I would understand why they migth prefer not to report a return to something like old form given the hordes that can descent on a beach in Wicklow.  Recent reports have been very patchy, ranging from naked disgust at the lack of any fish in the entire Irish sea to optimistic reports of Codling resurfacing on some of the beaches... so nothing new then!  Check out the bulletin boards first.

1 - Wicklow Town Pier   Easy to access, sheltered in most winds, and usually a quiet spot, the pier and harbour offer decent fishing.  Species & Techniques:  Sincere thanks to Donagh from the forum for the following excellent guide. "... the only one [pier] worth fishing is the old pier (east pier). Evening flood tide would bring masses of Pollack and Coalfish in the 1 to 2lb bracket [up to 1 kilo]. They sweep in on the tidal flow just under your feet to where the white bars are at the end of the pier. Use rag just under the surface with at least 2/0 hooks to sort out the bigger fish. Conger caught from the walls are very small . From the white bars facing the new pier small rag will pick up Flounder, Dabs and small Red Gurnard with the very odd larger Grey [Gurnard] caught. Fish to the right hand corner more Pollack and Coalies with Dogfish after dark and Mackerel in season. I never saw any Ray being caught here but I didn't fish into darkness but this might be the place they appear as this is the first place chosen by people with the gear. As you go on to the seaward walk way of the pier theres a bank of kelp close in which only leads to tackle losses for the hope of tiny Wrasse and Strap Congers".  Aerial Photograph. May 2004

2 - North Beach, Wicklow   Again this is standard east coast fare, fishing better wih some surf and even better at night. Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing will produce Bass and Flatfish and the mark is known to have produced Codling in winter, Whiting, Coalfish (to mussel baits) and the odd Smooth Hound.

3 - Killoughter   One of the many beaches along this stretch, you may need local help finding this mark as there are few distinguishing landsmarks and do not rely on the road signs (often turned the wrong way by wind or mischevious design).  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing will produce the odd Bass, Codling and Dabs, with the odd Ray, and always at night - you would be amazed how well prepared some of the Dublin groups fishing these marks are - lovely hot food, tents, tilly lamps and gas heaters!  Next thing will be satellite TV!

4 - Newcastle Beach   A mark I would be happy to forget... even if it did have an excellent reputation when we fished it. Drew a total blank and do not recall even a single bite... Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing was for Codling, Flounder and Dabs, with Conger, Bass and Gurnard also reported.  Wild horses etc.

5 - Kilcoole  Another standard east coast beach mark that works best at night and with some surf running, preferably off an easterly breeze. A tricky spot to find, ask in the village.  Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing is for all the Flatfish, Bass and Dogfish, with Pollack, Codling, and Whiting reported in the past.

6 - South Beach, Greystones   Traditionally the south beach has always been 'the' place to fish in Greystones.  It is yet another standard and largely featureless east coast beach mark that works best at night and with some surf running, although if you walk down there is a distinct elbow on the beach that is reputedly the best mark. Several people have also recommended fishing directly behind the La Touche hotel. Species & Techniques: Surf and bottom fishing used to produce Bass, Dabs, Flounder and Plaice, with Dogfish on patrol in low water conditions.  Coalfish, Pollack and Codling are in reports in 2002 indicating a possible return to its old form.

7 - North Beach and Pier, Greystones   The pier may not be pefect but it is a good alternative on a windy day, and you can fish outside or inside. The beach is quite snaggy in places and far steeper than its southern cousin.  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing inside will produce Dabs, Flounder and the odd Dogfish, with Wrasse on the float outside along with Coalfish, Codling and Whiting in the winter on a flooding tide.  The beach also works well, mainly for Coalfish and we found mussels the best bait by far - which suggests mussel beds offshore and thus the potential presence of Plaice.  Codling have arrived in early (September 2004), and whilst many were very small, fish to 45 cms and 1 kilo have been taken already.  The rockier sections have also given us fair numbers of decent sized Congers, with one fish of 5 kilos (11 lbs) reported in October.  Coalfish are a more common catch up to late November and even December, with Flounder and Whiting also taken in numbers.

8 - Bray Harbour   I have found memories of Bray Harbour although they centre on a DART oriented pub crawl... anyway back to the fishing!  Species & Techniques: Bottom fishing to outside the pier will produce Codling and Whiting in winter, Flounder and Dogfish over very mixed and often foul ground (especially close in) and the odd Conger around the pier walls. Some people also fish off the promenade but that is exposed!


With almost all of the beach marks in Wicklow you have to cross the mainline train tracks, usually on foot and occassionally in your car.  Please take care, never ever take a chance with an oncoming train and remember to close any manual crossing gates after you.  Finally a key warning; - there is little or no bait avilable to dig, collect or buy locally - make sure to bring it with you!