Catch & Release
Reports: July 2008 (Anthony Newson)
When planning a fishing holiday especially abroad there are always a hundred and one logistics to sort out. How many are going? How are we going to get there? Booking tickets and accommodation. What gear to take? How much is it all going to cost, there is always lots to sort out.
3 years ago 8 of set off for the Dingle peninsula and while we had a great time the weather was against us and to be honest the fishing was very poor.
3 years on and I arranged for 5 of us to once again head for the emerald isle staying in the same place and looking to really catch some truly great fish and of course have a bloody good time. So it was decided that Andy and I would take a transit loaded with all our gear across from Pembroke to Rosslare, while the other 3 would fly out from Newquay to Cork, pick up a hire car and join us in Dingle a day later.
When you have the luxury of a transit you tend to pack for every eventuality and so it was that the 5 of us loaded just about all the gear that we own!!! So what did I personally take….well 1 beach caster, 1 semi rough ground rod, 1 rough ground rod, 2 spinning rods and a mullet rod and of course all the reels, terminal tackle, line etc etc that you could ever want. In addition wet weather gear, wellies, waders, landing net, rod rests, assorted buckets and bait boxes, 2 poly boxes with frozen bait and of course all the clothes that you need for a week.
Van loaded we set off for Pembroke from Penzance on Friday the 18th. 303 miles and 7 hours later we boarded the ferry for a night crossing. Slept a little then another 5 hour drive the other side saw us arriving in Dingle at 1pm on the Saturday.
Day 1 I had booked a holiday cottage in Dingle town, within easy access to the many pubs and shops where the local people will greet you with friendly smiles and you can get a great pint of guiness and some great grub as well. We unloaded the van and set off for a mark on the north coast that had been recommended to us. Prior to going on holiday I had done a lot of research to find out best marks to fish, types of lures and baits we would need and the best times to fish. So we arrived at the first mark full of hope and expectations running very high. I have to admit the mark looked pretty ordinary and Andy remarked, “doesn’t look very fishy to me” and I had to agree as the area looked very shallow. Andy fished the first point and I walked over to next one. Well we could not have been more wrong. Andy tied on a pink shad and first cast, yes first cast of the holiday hooked into a lovely Pollack that put up a great fight in the shallow water and after gilling it, he weighed it and it went 6lb 8oz. What a start. I was soon into a Pollack that put up a spirited fight and went 4lb dead. Andy’s session saw him land a further 3 Pollack all around the 5lb mark. What a great start but unfortunately no photos. Andy also hooked into a monster fish that took him straight into the bottom with no chance of getting it out. We headed back to the cottage and then into town for a well earned T-bone steak and a couple of pints.
Day 2 Up early and off to Ventry rocks, where we explored the coastline for marks. We found one that screamed fish but looked a bit dodgy to get down to. So we decided to come back with a rope and fish it later in the week…more of that later….what a story. As we progressed across the cliffs we found a nice mark to get down on and in an hour session we caught several small Pollack Picture and then Andy hooked into a great fish that screamed off and snapped him off. Bugger bugger bugger, 30lb trace snapped like cotton. Then it was back to the cottage to await the arrival of the other 3 lads. When they arrived they understandably wanted to head straight off and that became the pattern for the week. Keith and James fished as a pair, and Andy, Nick my brother and myself fished as a threesome.
Day 3 Andy was completely done in from the mammoth drive over so the
rest of us headed over to the first mark we had fished. Nick and I started
on the point Andy had fished previously and second cast I hit into Pollack
that gave a great fight and went 5lb 8oz. “That’s my holiday off to a start”
I shouted triumphantly with a personal best from the shore. I had 3 more fish,
2 at 5lb and the other went 4lb 14oz. Meanwhile Keith and James came back
and started to fish with us when we saw a lovely Pollack jump clean out of
the water chasing fry. Next minute Nicks float shot away and he picked up
his rod to strike into a lovely fish that went 5lb 1oz, a personal best from
the shore, he was ecstatic. A great session with some fabulous fish. The weather
was overcast but very warm and this time the tide was at low water with only
about 12 feet of water showing. We decided to try another mark later in the
day and had several fish when I latched into this nice one that went 5lb 11oz
Day 4 Up at 4.30am and armed with a rope that was kindly lent to us
we headed back to ventry cliffs. With the rope the climb down was pretty easy
and we were soon setting up for what proved to be the session of a lifetime.
We spread out along the mark and started to fish. I had my heavy spinning
rod, fixed spool reel loaded with 20lb main line straight through, with 6
feet of 30lb trace and 4/O forged steel hook. I put on a fire tail and started
to fish. Within a few casts we were all into fish. My first went over 5lb
and then Andy hit into another beauty. 6lb 8oz.
Day 5 ……. Saw Andy Nick and me head off for a spot of ray fishing
at the mouth of Dingle harbour. Early morming we had headed out to get some
fresh mackeral which we used in the afternoon. First cast saw my pulley rig
snaffled down by this fine thorn back of 6lb 8oz. My first and only ever thornie
and of course a PB. Next Andy had 2 on the trot with the best going 7lb. And
then Nick had one at around 4lb, again his first ever and a PB. We didn’t
see anymore but we definitely felt that it was mission accomplished. Day 6
By this time Keith had had one good session taking 4 fish between 5 and 6
lbs but James was struggling to catch a good one, so with that in mind we
all headed off to the first mark that we had fished. Same tactics employed
I was soon into another good fish that went 5lb 8oz. Then at last James latched
into a clonker. After a terrific fight Keith managed to gill it and at last
James had his PB. 7lb 12oz what a beauty.
Was it worth the effort and money? You bet your ass it was……….. Tight lines one and all.