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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 takeو.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, قdoesnـt 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. Andyـs 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 weekوmore of that laterو.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. قThatـs 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
Heading back to the cottage I can honestly say that we had already caught some really lovely fish and I could not quite believe the quality of the fish.

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.

I cast out my fire tail and let it sink, counting down to 20 until it hit bottom. I started to retrieve. 9 or 10 turns later the rod started to bend, the line tightened and I new I was into a really good fish. It absolutely powered off making several deep runs. 5 minutes later it broke surface and we were all stunned to see a bar of bronze lying on its side in the water that looked to be close to double figures. Andy went down a crevasse on the mark and gilled the fish.

When we put it on the scales they thumped down to 9lb exactly!!!!! I cant begin to tell you all how I felt. Both Andy and I were shaking. قThis is what we came for I shouted with delight. What a Pollack, I will probably never have another as big from the shore again. Within 10 minutes Nick hit into another beauty. After a great fight the fish thumped the scales down to 7lb. Another PB, followed by another at 6lb 7oz.

In this session we had 8 fish over 5lb and another 10 fish between 3 5 lb. All in all some 30 40 fish and without doubt the most awesome Pollack session any of us had ever experienced. The faces on the pics say it all. I guess its fair to say that the rest of the lads soon got bored with my renditions of the capture of my PBو.ah well you cant win them all.

Day 5 وو. 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 didnـt 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.

And so in the evening we all headed out for a final meal early in the evening. T-Bone steaks all round to finish off the holiday. But thatـs not the end of the story. Keith and James headed off for a final session as it got dark and would you believe it James had another good one that went 5lb 8oz, while Keith caught himself a cracker. Another Pollack that went 7lb!! What a way to finish the holiday. I am still waiting for the final pics but I guess you can all see for yourself what wonderful fishing we have had. As I sit here back in Penzance after a gruelling return journey I can reflect on a truly memorable holiday.

Was it worth the effort and money? You bet your ass it wasووو.. Tight lines one and all.

Anthony Newson