Fishing with friends

Just before lockdown struck, I had a week off from work and managed to fish quite a few different venues. It was great to get out and make the most of the diminishing weather and little did I know, freedom. I finally had a chance to try and fish the ever-so-special Inch Strand, the place holds an exceptionally special place in my heart and has done for some time, so imagine my joy when I read up on catch reports that it not only is amazing to the eye but can throw up some decent catches too.

Pre-lockdown fishing at Inch, I really need to remember that a chair is not all that helpful when chasing a tide up and down a beach.

Whilst fishing there, I got talking to another local angler, Damien. After fishing together for a good few hours, we swapped numbers and have been out fishing a few times together now. Exchanging things we’ve learnt and discussing potential new fishing spots. I’ve actually met a fair few anglers on my travels now. Another is someone called Robin, he stumbled across my blog a while ago and noticed that we have trodden very similar paths and found ourselves in Kerry.

Lockdown lifted again here in Ireland last week, aside from trying to fish a small estuary near my house within my 5km radius, I’ve not been able to get back out for quite some time. So, as is now customary, I took a couple of days off work to get back out and try and catch myself a fish.

My lockdown fishing spot, whilst absolutely stunning to look at I didn’t manage to catch a single fish here.

I had arranged to try Fenit pier with both Damien and Robin. I’d not yet tried fishing off the pier and with the reports of some winter cod being caught, I was well and truly excited by the prospect of trying to fish straight out into deeper waters, as well as embrace our new freedom.

Arriving at the pier, we were welcomed by some stunning weather and an extremely calm sea. I cast both my rods out, opting for a three hook flapper with lugworm on one, and a 3/0 pulley rig with a decent sized mackerel bait on the other. I figured this would give me my best chance at catching something… and spread my options across small species and hopefully something larger.

Not a bad view to be welcomed out of lockdown with…

It all began very quietly with no bites coming in the first hour or so, this at least gave us all a chance to catch up and discuss tactics etc between the three of us. We’ve all had experience with angling previously but reinvigorated old hobbies through the course of the first lockdown. A trend I think has taken hold on a large scale and that’s great to see. I guess people being stuck indoors for such an extended period had triggered a response and desire to get back out in the world and enjoy the more simple pursuits. It certainly did in me anyway!

Then came the fish, nothing huge and not in great numbers either, but it was great to be back outside with a tremble in my rod tip again. Damien and I pulled out a couple of Dabs early on. I love catching a new species for the first time because it doesn’t matter the size, it’s always a personal best. That’s just when Robin had managed to hook and land his first fish in the Kingdom. He had found his way onto the Dab too. It was a great feeling to play even a small part in helping someone along their angling journey. When I first started fishing in Kerry, I didn’t have a clue and it took me so many hours invested before catching my first fish, but I believe it still would have taken longer had I not had people give guidance and advice.

After catching a handful of fish each, some Dabs and Whiting. It all suddenly dropped off and got very quiet. I am extremely persistent and determined but there is an art to calling time on a fishing session. We all packed up and arranged to meet up again the following day at Rossbeigh.

Made another friend whilst on the pier

The weather forecast wasn’t looking too pretty, and we had originally planned to fish off the rocks at Kells Bay but with a predicted swell of over 20ft, we didn’t want to risk it on such a precarious platform. One rogue wave (of which there are plenty along the Wild Atlantic way) could have dragged us straight in to deep water. So we opted for Rossbeigh, aside from being one of my nearest spots, the fact I caught my very first Kerry fish there means it is fast becoming a sentimental location for me.

The apparent calm before the incoming storm

We arrived there in the early afternoon and had planned to fish the tide all the way up, there was certainly a swell and a roaring wind to go with it… one which was directed straight into our faces. It was a challenge to say the least. Taking turns to warm ourselves back up in our cars, fishing was proving to be a real challenge.

Getting wild amongst the rocks

After getting battered in our usual spot amongst the rocks, we decided to try a bit further up the beach in the hope that we could weather the wild seas and keep our bait presented long enough for at least one of us to hook something. This was a huge mistake! I managed to lose both sets of terminal tackle, after my weights and lines got dragged under the violently tumbling rocks in the surf. Damien similarly lost his and Robin had managed to reel in what seemed like metres of rope… all of this happened within 10 minutes of being set up in this new spot. It wasn’t to be… so we all packed up and made our journeys home, feeling slightly weather beaten to say the least.

The location where all our tackle went to die

One of the must unforeseen outcomes of my angling adventures, has been the sheer number of people I have befriended along the way. I certainly have no qualms about sitting on a beach all day fishing by myself, but having some friends to enjoy the days with certainly makes it less challenging at times.

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