Monday, 18 November 2013

Fishing around Youghal - 15th-17th November 2013

With a Full Moon on Sunday the tides were going to be big, so not the ideal time to be fishing in the Youghal harbour area. I was going to have to modify my fishing to take into account the strong tidal movement.

Friday 15th November

I headed to a good cod mark to fish for a few hours over low tide and the first couple of hours of the rising tide. It was a calm mild night, well illuminated by the moonlight breaking through the broken cloud. I got to my favourite spot, set up two rods both baited with fresh crab on 4/0 pennel pulleys. I even had to remove my coat as I was too warm. Unusual for a mid-November night!!!

The tide was static so didn't expect much to happen until the tide started to push in. However, the bait was not long in the water when there was a knock on one of the rods but the fish was not hooked. I retrieved to check the bait. Something had a go at it alright. I recast after securing the crab on the hook and as I was walking back I saw the other rod tip bounding. But by the time I got to the rod the fish was gone. I reel in to find most the crab was missing. But that was encouraging; at least there were fish out there. I rebaited and was about to cast out when I realized that my rod stand was about to tip over. A fish was pulling strongly on the other rod. I grabbed it, and could feel a strong fish on the end. At first I presumed it was a cod but as I began to haul it in the fight felt different. Then about 20 m out the fish broke the surface and continued to thrash about on the surface the rest of the way in. It was a 5 lb bass.

A little later I had another strong tug on one of the rods. This felt more like a cod with the double downward tugs. I kept the rod high to prevent it digging into the channel and after a few minutes had it on the shore. It was a chubby 3.25 lb cod. It had felt a bigger fish but had been foul hooked on the underside just below the head accounting for why it had felt heavier on the retrieve.

The fishing slowed down for a while after that. Then as the tide began to strengthen I had another two cod in rapid succession, 2.25 and 2 lbs. A little later I had a small codling of  probably less than a pound. After that I began to snag a lot of seaweed and the fishing was becoming difficult due to the current so it was time to pack up.

Saturday 16th November

I decided to try a bass mark in the outer harbour area on the ebbing tide. I got to the mark about 2.5 hours into the dropping tide. It was another mild night, still with no breeze. I could even hear anglers walking on the shingle several hundred meters across the bay. I set up the first rod with a 4/0 pennel pulley and cast out. It was no sooner in the water than there were small nibbles. They looked like coalfish bites. I retrieved and sure enough it was an average size coalfish. I recast and was working on setting up the second rod when the same thing happened and I reeled in another coalfish.

I eventually got the second rod set up an cast out. No long afterwards I had a bite on it, retrieved and found a tiny codling. After that I was getting lots of coalfish nibbles although none were hooked. Then I had a more substantial bite. This fish put up a better fight and was a 2.25 cod.

Unfortunately after that the coalfish really came on the feed. I had about another seven. It didn't look like any bass were going to show up so I decided to save my remaining crabs for the next day and packed up before low tide.

Sunday 17th November

I planned fishing a mark that is best on the bigger tides when the current carries the fish up the estuary. On the way I passed over Youghal bridge and have seldom seen so many anglers fishing on the bridge. That would not be my choice, apart from the dangers from the traffic if you did get a decent size fish it would be a struggle to haul it up and you would have to have it well hooked to avoid it coming off.

My chosen mark was busy too. There were already five anglers there. This mark generally fishes best about three hours after low tide and I thought I was getting there early at about two hours after low tide. No fish had been caught at this stage but it was early. There was a lot of seaweed as well as branches and logs being carried up stream by the current. So I just set up one rod initially. It was another mild and calm day and I had my coat off for most of session until dusk when it began too cool off.

Not long after I arrived one of the anglers had enough, packed up and left. I was there for about an hour before I had the first bite. I picked up the rod and began to retrieve. It felt like a cod and pulled strongly all the way in. It was a 3.25 lb fish. So that was a promising start.

At the current began to weaken I set up the second rod and cast out. Not long after there was a strong knock on the rod. At first I thought I had just snagged a large clump of weed as it felt like a dead weight but then I felt the distinctive cod double tugs. I few minutes later as the shock leader came out of the water I could see a nice cod. This was a 4 lb fish.

I had two more good cod after that, 3 lbs and 3.75 lbs  plus a small codling of less than a pound and an eel.

As the tide slackened the bites died off. I fished until 6 pm an hour after high tide but there was no more activity. I was getting small tugs but that was probably crabs pulling on the bait.

I had been uncertain how this mark would fish as it had been very poor last year but was very happy with the result of four keepers.


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