A Lazy Weekend in West Cork
A Lazy Weekend in West Cork
A last minute, "spur of the moment" plan late Summer, saw me heading south of the border to West Cork.
The recently purchased Ventura Roof Tent has been a fabulous addition to my camping and fishing campaigns, making these short Irish excursions comfortable and great fun.
This upcoming break would be another.
Michele had never seen a Mullet, never mind caught one, so this would now become a Mullet adventure.
I also threw in a float rod in case an opportunity presented itself to find a Pollock for lunch! When I say "last minute, spur of the moment", it was simply a few days off that coincided with a calm, sunny break in the weather.
These weather windows seem few and far between now days, so you really must jump at the chance whenever possible. Life, in my opinion, is all about getting out there, experiencing new things, and creating lasting memories to carry with you.
Our first evening stop-over was a camp-site local to the area. We would settle here for one night, catch our breath, enjoy the facilities and then explore areas a tad more isolated the following day. A two minute walk from the camp site led to a lovely stroll along the estuary. Obviously with a handful of fishing tackle and a float rod in tow! All too soon, the rod was bent into the struggles of a small Mullet, and Michele had her first trophy shot from West Cork. Lovely start to the holiday, but I was obviously looking for larger prey.
Home for the duration, check it out.....https://venturarooftents.com/
The following day, we found a quiet little area to set up camp, and took a walk to see if there were any signs of Mullet cruising the shallows, either chasing shrimps or grazing on algae. Sure enough, a few "V's" and bow waves betrayed their presence, and a hastily mixed bucket of mashed bread was accurately "spodded" in the vicinity. We would leave this for the day and re-visit it again later in the afternoon-evening once the dust had settled. For now, the tide was just right to give the beach and possibly the rocky headland a few hours.
Mashed bread can work well
I use the new Prologic CB (Custom Black) powerful spod rod for this
Looking every bit a tourist, and not bothering with chest-waders, I spent a couple of hours on the beach. "Spinning" with a Bombarda float, and a tiny Mepps Spinner tipped off with harbour rag produced plenty of small Bass and Golden-Grey Mullet. Large shoals of juvenile fish are fabulous to see in these fragile days of commercial over-fishing, great fun, but it wasn't what I was after.
With good weather, the beaches of West Cork are the best in the world
Great to see plenty of juvenile Bass about
And "Goldies" too
Back to the "glamping" tent for a rethink and a cuppa. I decided to give the rock marks a bash, and with a handful of small rag worm remaining, it should hopefully be enough to find me some fresh dinner for this evening. A bit of a walk around the headland and a climb, well off the beaten track, I found a comfortable bit of flat rock to fish from. Small Pollock were very obliging, but disappointing that no Wrasse were present. I was secretly hoping for a specimen Corkwing or Ballan to add to the tally.
No point in wasting a fresh Sandeel!
After about a dozen small Pollock, one fish "coughed" up a fresh Sandeel, a gift from the fish gods. Promptly on the hook and belted out, the float buried, and I was in to a three-pound Pollock, also known as "fresh dinner". Back to camp and feeling every bit the "great wild hunter", we ate well before our evening Mullet session.
Having carefully returned a dozen or so, this one will be dinner
Back in May, I had introduced Michele to Shad fishing on the River Barrow. (See previous articles).This was her first serious attempt at casting a line, and playing a fish. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much she enjoyed it, and how she picked up so quickly on casting a lure and playing a fish. Now it was time to turn things up a notch. As much fun as Shad are able to generate on rod and line, there is no comparison to the dogged and powerful battle of a Grey Mullet. Hopefully, we will connect with one or two larger fish and see how she copes!
Greys Prodigy Barbel Rod, also perfect for Mullet
Choice of tackle this evening will be a pair of Greys Barbel Rods. These are powerful quiver tip rods designed to tackle fast flowing rivers and battle hard fighting Barbel. By happy coincidence, and a consequence of this design, it also makes them absolutely fantastic Mullet rods. Especially when it comes to belting out a large, bread-laden feeder and, with fish hooked, quelling the nonsense of a determined specimen. I explained exactly what we were doing, and why, and to cast out over the pre-baited area. Both rods were hers, until she hooked and landed her first fish, then it was one rod each. Fairs fare, I wanted to play!
The evening's fishing wasn't fast and furious by any means, and a soft Irish drizzle did what it could to dampen our spirits, yet failed. The air was warm and humid, and fish were moving. A rod tip buckled and we were in. Well that didn't take long! A little coaching in the back ground from me, but Michele didn't need me to interfere, successfully bringing a decent fish to the landing net. Quickly to the measure mat and surpassing the 54cm specimen threshold, her first ever Irish Specimen for the book. Well done that lady! A couple of trophy shots and safe release.
We only had fresh bread-flake for bait, having used the last of the Rag worm chasing Pollock earlier, the Rag would most likely have increased the sport. But no matter, with one specimen logged and a few stragglers still moving about over the feed, anticipation and excitement remained high. As the sun slipped behind the hills, the Harvest Moon popped up lighting the whole bay, time yet for another fish or two.
As Shakespeare Tackle says..Happiness is, a rod in your hand
A second rod buckled, almost ending up in the tide, such is the power of these fish. Of course, this was on Michele's rod again. A feisty battle ensued, line gained, line lost, finally resulting in another specimen-sized fish slipping over the lip of the landing net. I was starting to think I was only there as an angling guide and photographer!
Specimen number two, by moonlight
Well, cry and you win as they say....my rod tip rattled at last, someone else's turn to grab the landing net! Lovely scrap, and a smashing end to the day, and also our short camping trip. Warm weather, wonderful scenery, great company, fun fishing, and the roof tent makes "roughing it" so much easier. I don't think anything abroad compares to what Ireland has on offer, I am always happy to spend my holiday breaks in and around our wonderful country. Thanks for reading, Tight Lines, Tel.