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Catch & Release

Reports: Sept 2007 (John Baily)

We arrived in Dingle around 9.30pm on the Friday night, 7th September.

Saturday the 8th and we were greeted with bright sunshine and clear blue skies! Our first trip was to be the rocks at Dn An ir. Unfortunately we never got to fish here. On arrival at the monument we were met by a very irate farmer who insisted that we could not cross his land to get to the mark. In the end we settled on the rocks below the fort at Fahan. Small hardback crab proved effective for a succession of wrasse, although none beyond the 3.5lb mark. We ran out of hardbacks and used a couple of frozen peeler. The hardbacks easily out fished the peeler.


This trip was followed up the following day by a visit to the ever-reliable Trabeg. Tackling up alongside the small cave I fished two rods, one a Kompressor baited with mackerel on a pennel at distance for Ray's and the other a Tornado, much closer in with X2 flappers baited with lug tipped with mackerel. The close in rod brought a succession of small Turbot, the best being no more than a pound. The distance rod produced 3 Thornback ray to me and 1 to Sean, the best of the session at approximately 7.5lbs.


I had secretly hoped for a Bass on the short rod, however, conditions were against it, perfect for Ray though! Trabeg has been good to me over the years and it was nice to see that the Ray were back here in numbers. We didn't get any Flounder, but the numbers of small Turbot auger well for the future.

Sunday saw us take the short trip back to Trabeg, but this time to fish the rocks on the right hand side of the strand. A succession of Mackerel and the odd Garfish followed, however I did spend a bit of time using plugs for bass, but to no avail. The following day saw us take advantage of the new self-drive boats from Brandon. Not knowing whether or not this would finish up just a Mackie bashing session, we elected to go for 4 hours at a cost of 80 Euro. 8hrs costs 150 Euro. These boats cost significantly more than at Courtmac or Baltimore. However, I have to sat they are very well equipped, fast, stable and roomy boats, fishing 3 comfortably. The plan was for only one of us to fish for the Mackerel (didn't want Mackies and flying hooks all over the place!) and once sufficient bait was caught we would then bottom fish. I secretly hoped for some Launce to live bait with, but despite using size 4 Sabikis, none showed. The highlight of the session by far was the sighting and subsequent capture by our Bob of a Sunfish. My initial sightings of a grey dorsal fin standing proud had me hearing the music from Jaws and our Sean hurriedly searching for a Shark trace.


Modest baited feathers accounted for its capture and the fish swam away, none the worse for its ordeal. I really would recommend the self-drives for the adventurous amongst you. Fishing anywhere in a line between Brandon Head and theMagharees opens up many exciting opportunities. Oh, for a hand-held fish finder! Despite attempts at trolling for Bass within the Cloghane estuary, the only thing I managed was to lose one of my Rapala Sliver lures, ouch!


The next day saw a lovely Steak at Spillane's before a nice easy gofor the Wrasse at Scraggane Pier. All 3 of us were quickly into fish, our Sean managed the best at perhaps 4lbs. Our Bob managed to get smashed by a much bigger fish though. Close examination of the end eye revealed a small chip to the ceramic lining. Lesson for Bob, Braid and damaged guides don't go well together!The next day we decided to fish the spit at the end of the beach below Hussey's tower. On our arrival we noticed 3 guy's fishing on the opposite side of the harbour. Whilst we blanked these guy's caught a succession of Ray from Reenbeg! Cutting our losses we retired to Murphy's for the evening.

We even managed a run out to the Beara catching Huss and Triggerـs but thatـs another story!


Our next sortie was to be an attempt on the resident Congers in the Harbour. Sean and I returned to the Trabeg Estuary, fishing this time from the Doonsheene side on a flooding tide to try to capture our eveningـs bait. Half a dozen Mackies and 1 nice Launce later we were on our way. We began fishing at about 8.45pm and 5 minutes later I was doing battle with the first Conger of the night. After a few shakes of the head and aseveral armwrenching jerks it was off. Despite this setback we settled down to capture 4 Conger between us. Sean had 3 up to about 20lbs and I managed a solitary Eel of about 12lbs. Bit of a pattern appearing here me thinks. 2 of the Conger, both biggest were caught at a depth of no more than 2 feet deep. All were caught on float fished Mackie head/tails using heavy Braid direct to 150lb Mono and an 8/0 hook. A tip here, try to remember to take a glove, welding gloves are the business. Hauling a 20lb Conger up over the rocks byhand lining the braid is no fun, believe me!


Our final evening finished with me lure fishing at Ventry after we had eaten at Theadyـs. Iـd highly recommend this place, best steaks weـve ever eaten. I fished the tiny strands to the right of the caravan park while the other two opted for a few heinekenـs! I never had a take, although I did have a Sunfish and then a Seal for company. A beautiful sunset was a fitting way to end the trip and despite no takers this was our best trip in terms of numbers and variety for a long time. All too soon it was over. Thatـs it then until early November and a go at the Bass. I canـt wait!