I was sitting at my desk working when my phone rang. It was a text message from my friend and charter boat skipper Luke, who was our guest on episode 41. He had some spaces free on an upcoming fishing trip and was checking if anyone was fancy to go.
Regular listeners of the podcast already know that for more than five years I went crazy for sea angling. It would be hard to recall all the trips I took and all the fish I caught. However, for the last few years, I have been involved in other outdoor pursuits and my fishing rods have been gathering dust. Needless to say, I was keen to get back on the horse, or rather, on the boat. After a three-year-long hiatus, I wanted to remind myself how great sea angling is off the south-west coast of Ireland.
A typical boat fishing day starts on the pier where the anglers load their tackle and the skipper gives a safety briefing. Usually, the first order of business of the day is to catch some bait fish. Although the use of artificial lures is common, no bait works better than a strip of freshly caught mackerel. Early in the year catching mackerel may be a little problematic, so it’s always a good idea to read catch reports and have some frozen mackerel with you, just in case.
Once enough bait is caught the skipper heads off for more open waters. The most typical target species are fish from the gadiformes order. That includes pollock, coalfish, haddock, ling, pouting and whiting as well as cod. Of course, that list of species is far from exhaustive and anglers often catch various species of wrasse, gurnard and other fish. Fishing for sharks and rays is also possible but they need to be specifically targeted to increase the odds of catching them.
It is worth noting, that unless you are skippering the boat yourself, it is the skipper who does most of the work to catch the fish. It is his job to put the anglers on the fish. On our trip, the weather, although sunny and beautiful, was not favourable for angling. Light wind and calm conditions caused the boat to drift slowly, keeping us from covering a lot of ground. This made getting onto the fish more difficult.
It didn’t really affect us much though, as we were in very capable hands. It was a pleasure to watch our master-skipper at work! Luke tried a few promising marks from his vast collection of fishing spots. We fished deep muddy grounds, slightly shallower reefs and shallow rough ground close to the shore. It was not surprising that some of them were quite productive. In the end, every angler on the boat caught a good number of fish that day.
If you interested in booking a day out with Luke, visit Fish and Stay website and check his facebook page for regular fishing reports.