2017 with Danny O’ Callaghan

2017 proved to be a very fruitful year of angling both for me and my fishing pals. I enjoyed every minute of it, sharing some great laughs and memories along the way and making lots of new friends on the bank, that’s what its all about! I’ve been kindly asked again by Paddy Keogh to share some of these in a story, so here are my top 3 starting back in April.

NO.1 A new lure PB

Myself and my good friend Ambrose, set off down the river for an overnighter on the first weekend of April. We planned to fish a stretch which we had been good to us on previous sessions. It was a hike and a half to get to this spot and we didn’t fancy lugging bivvies and bedchairs, barrowing the gear wasn’t an option as there is a number of fences to cross and a stream you need to pass through to get there. So we decided to fish a stretch nearby for the night and head off at first light to the ‘hot spot’.


We got the rods out, bivvied up and kicked back with a few tins and tunes with the hope of a run or or two, through the night. We were woken at 6:30am to my phone alarm, not the alarm we wanted, but after everything remaining motionless all night, we quickly packed the gear down to set off on the trek ahead with just the bare essentials.

Finally we were there and it was looking promising with Roach and Rudd topping on the surface and we didn’t waste any time with getting the rods set up and our lines in the water. It didn’t take long for the first bite and we had consistent action for a few hours. We could literally tell when we were going to get a run, as the river would have been calm and then suddenly erupt with scattering coarse fish, as the Pike came through on the hunt. You don’t often get to see this, but the stretch was alive! All the runs were falling to Roach deadbaits and not a single touch on any other baits. We had a number of Pike to mid doubles and we both felt there was a bigger fish to be had.


I had a Savage Gear 25cm Roach in my armoury, which was a lot bigger than any of the baits we were using. I had a few knocks on the lure after a few casts and It didn’t take long until the LT Roach got inhaled and I was battling a very angry and powerful fish. It was hands down the best scrap I have had from a Pike taking me up and down this narrow stretch of river for a good two minutes, but for what felt like 20! There wasn’t much I could do but keep steady pressure on her waiting until she came to the surface. Ambrose was following me up and down with the net and tried netting her 3 times but she just burst off on another run each time. We looked at each other and all we could do was laugh even though my legs were trembling , we said 4th time lucky , and luckily enough in she came.


I knew it was a new lure PB as my previous was an 18lber. After weighing and some pictures I left her to recover in the retention sling for a moment, before releasing her as it was a warm day. I thought she would have gone heavier than 22lb 2oz but she was spawned out and gave me an unbelievable fight so I was more than happy with that. We got a great video of her powering off downstream which I have to look back on and remember this awesome fish. I would love to see her again one day in January at her highest weight. Until then missus 😉




NO.2 Another great trip to the mighty river Ebro

Myself and my good pal Darragh were back and forth weighing up our options to plan a trip back to the Ebro. We had both been out with a guide the previous year and I have fished it with my dad twice in years gone by. Ideally we wanted the 3 of us to go and make a proper lads fishing holiday, out of it. We didn’t think it would be possible for me and my dad to be missing from our tackle shop at once, during the summer which is obviously our peak time. but last minute we decided to head over on the 12th of May and booked our flights a week or so before departing on an epic fishing trip.

It was pretty hectic organising everything last minute but with the main bulk of the tackle and bait sorted we were soon on our way. Though to be fair me going on a propper piss up for 2 days before we were departing which resulted in us just about making the flight didn’t help matters but after that it was a sign everything would fall into place! We arrived in Sunny Spain with a few jobs to do with plans to hit the river early the next morning.


We went to a tackle shop for our day tickets and were soon on a stretch we had fished the previous year with a guide, but sadly it was rammed with locals and fishermen from all across Europe. However, after a quick scout around, we were delighted to find the swim we wanted to fish was free, so we began setting up. Not long passed, when the guide mentioned (Nick Shattock) arrived down to tell us this stretch had not been fishing well and the weather was to turn for the worst, with some torrential rain due.

After some discussion we decided to stay and do the night there to see how it fished, as we had 5 days and nights fishing ahead of us and a few back up spots in mind. We settled in and got the rods on the spots with a few kilo of boilies and felt hopefull as darkness fell and within an hour we seen and heard carp crashing over the baited spots. But nick wasn’t wrong and soon the rain came down , literally monsoon rain! We were bivvy bound and soon asleep when were woken to 4 out of our 6 Delks screaming. A Catfish had taken out 4 rods but one of my dads rods was still beeping a few minutes later. He was into the first Carp of the trip weighing in at 31lb which was a great start for him and made us a bit more hopeful in the bad conditions. We wanted to get all the rods back on the spots but with the rain pouring and a big flow on the river, it would have been madness to go back out in the boat, so got back in the bivvies, but soon my remaining rod in the water, literally tore off. Unfortunately I lost the fish in a snag, so with no rods in the water and the rain still pouring biblically, it was time for a few whiskeys in the bivvy and then re-acces the situation.



When morning came, the river was discoloured, but still fishable, so we decided to stay put , re-bait , re-do the rods and hopefully get on some fish. It wasn’t long until I had another run which found a snag within seconds. I quickly took to the boat and made my way towards the snagged fish but once again lost it to the same snag. I went out in the boat to lead about to find another spot near by, when I noticed Carp on the far bank spawning!

We were contemplating packing up and moving down river when they started crashing and spawning right in front of us on our side of the bank. So that was it, the stretch was dead and we were planning the next port of call for our Ebro adventure. I got some great videos of the carp spawning (screenshots below) and it was great to watch this spectacle right infront of us but it was time to get out of there. With all the gear packed down and ready to load we faced another problem when the rental car was stuck in the sandy bank, due to the torrential rain. But some quick thinking from Darragh, soon got it free and we loaded the car and we were soon on our way to another stretch 45 minutes away.


We stopped into a tackle shop on the way for a few sacks of Halibut pellets for both Cats and Carp in 22mm and 14mm. The carp on this stretch have become custom to Halibut pellets due to the large quantities Catfishing Guides bail in every day and it was a great way of getting quick bites if there are Carp in the area. There were a number of guides and other anglers on the stretch, but we finally found a swim we were happy with, that 3 of us could fish in, comfortably. While we were unpacking the car and setting up the gear we seen a few fish crashing right in the middle of the river at around 150yards, so we decided to bait that spot in a line with pellet and boilie and fish our 6 rods over it. It was quiet that night, as it got dark, we opted for an early night, as it was a long day moving swims and getting set up. 3 hours into our sleep and we were woke up to my da’s alarm screaming, which resulted in another 30 for him weighing in at 32.06 , this fish gave him a great scrap and there was no sleep after that as the fish were all over our baited area, so we sat up watching and waiting on the next run.

A half an hour later, I was into my 3rd fish and thankfully landed this one! I was over the moon to get this one in the net after losing 2 to a snag on the other stretch. It was a very nice looking common at 27lb , it could have been 17lb and I would have been just as happy, it was just great to be off the mark and get the ball rolling. I had another fish at 29lb and soon after it all went quiet so we got the heads back down for 2 hours before the sun came back up and scorched us for the day.

Day 3 now and we set up the cat rods for a days catfishing. We dropped out 4kg of pellet and 2 cat rigs consisting of eight 22mm pellets on each hair rig. 3 hours passed and after a few beers and some lunch it was time to re-do the rods and drop another 4kg of pellet and fresh rigs. Another 3 hours passed and again nothing, so we took the cat rods in and re-done our carp rods and got some boilie and pellet ready to bait up the same spot we fished the night before.

We had a mixture of different fishmeal and birdfood boilies all in 20mm and halibut pellets in 14mm which we mixed together in Source liquid. The previous night we put around 2kg of this mix over each of our 2 rods so we decided to give them a good bit more bait on this night, in the hope to get a few more fish on the bank and hold them in our area for longer.

It worked , and we had a fish a piece with Darragh now off the mark too and we could all relax knowing nobody was blanking! Darragh had a right old warrior at 29lb and my Da had a 27lb and I also had another 29lb. We could all relax and chill a bit, now that nobody was blanking!

The extra few kg of bait we put in also did help hold them for longer than the previous night as we had our first day time bites. We were chilling having a few beers in the shade around 2pm when my lefthand rod went into meltdown. I scrambled down the steep rocky hill to find the alarm had stopped beeping so I grabbed the rod and wound down the slack and I was into what felt a very heavy fish. It had kitted way off to the right and I was playing it on a tight long line so it was hit and hold for a few seconds until I felt her turn and I was playing the fish towards me. It felt a very heavy fish and I was playing it a bit too hard to be fair, but it was a long way out. After a minute or so the hook hold was undone and the fish was gone! I was a bit gutted because I knew it was a big fish and I should not have rushed things, but onwards and upwards, lessons learned.

The 4th day was an absolute scorcher well into 30degrees and there wasn’t much fishing done , plus there wasn’t much shade around the swim on the rocky terrain.

All we could do was drink and drink some more waiting for evening to fall. Any excuse for a session in the sun!

We decided to move our markers further out around 50ft from the huge cliffs on the other side of the river, as we had seen some big carp crashing on that spot throughout the day.

The same procedure again , a mix of pellet and boilie in large quantities over the 6 rods on a wide baited area. The night proved to be extremely quiet and the river was very calm. There were no fish showing or been caught up and down the stretch. We didn’t have our hopes too high but we were happy to have a good chance to cool down and get a bit of rest… after a few more drinks.

Morning came to some sore heads and it was uneventful as expected. We were into our last and final day and night as the following day our flight was at 2pm. We used up the rest of our 22mm Halibut pellets in search of some Cats but they werent playing ball and even the guides up the way werent catching. We packed down all the gear we didn’t need and got the rigs and bait ready for the final night. I decided to change my rig a bit by making it longer for a start , with a bigger size 2 Mugga and a longer hair to accommodate larger hookbaits. We were fishing to the same spot as the night before with around 3kg of bait over each of our 2 rods. It was go hard or go home and we were going home in the morning anyway, so we had nothing to lose.

It eneded up being our best nights fishing. Both of Darraghs rods went off first 20 minutes apart resulting in 2 fish to his net, a 25lb and a beast of a 32lber that gave him a right scrap!

Half an hour later my dads right hand rod was away and he landed his third 30lb fish of the trip at 31lb14oz.

An hour had then passed and no runs for me yet and I was beginning to think whether or not I should have changed the length and size of my rigs with bigger baits on.

I wasn’t in doubt for too much longer when I landed a brace of 35lbers! The runs were around 30mins apart and the first fish was a long solid torpedo shaped carp and the second was like a breezeblock. We all thought the second one was a lot heavier, but the scales don’t lie. I was over the moon and so were my da and Darragh , we all had 30s on the last night and ended our trip in style!


Soon the camp was empty and the car was full and it was time to say goodbye to an amazing spot on the river, with a suitcase full of memories that will last a lifetime, but it wont be long until I am back for more and I finally get my Ebro 40.

NO.3  In search of a new Irish carp PB

It was now May and target for the summer was to beat my Irish carp PB. I was planning to concentrate my fishing on just 2 lakes with the odd session somewhere else with a few mates. The first lake I was fishing is a fairly big one and I wasn’t quite sure where to start. Very little anglers on it and hard to access all sides of it so I picked 2 spots that looked carpy and done some feature finding. I fished these spots 2 weekends in a row with no joy so it was time for a change of plan. I knew they had been seen at the opposite end to where I was fishing so I spent a few hours up there and sure enough I spotted three close to the bank.


I prebaited twice over the following week and fished it that weekend for 2 nights and not a tap. I prebaited again twice the following week and another 2 nights were spent blanking and wondering were there many carp in here at all. Over the week and half that I had been fishing it I was constantly watching the water and checking other spots but it defeated me on this occasion as I seen Fu&k all!! It was clear I wasn’t going to get a fish over 17lb from here never mind a run so it was on to plan B and C.

After the continuous blanking I needed to put a bend in the rod and see a fish on the bank so me and my good friends Eamon and Barry took a trip down to Cobh for 2 nights fishing on a bagging session. We were all catching from the off with a few singles and low doubles being caught both off the surface on floaters and on the bottom. Over the 2 days we got onto some bigger fish and had a great weekend with plenty of fish caught.

I now had me eyes set on just 1 lake that I was going to spend the next few months fishing , but the more summer went on the less I was getting out with work being so busy so it was looking like late summer again I could spend 2 nights a week. I had the odd quick overnighter catching some low doubles.

It was mid September and I was away for 2 nights to the lake I was planning on prebaiting each week and fishing 2 nights a week. My good mate Danny had recently had a bad run of luck with his health and was out of work for a few weeks. He had never caught a carp before and I had been saying we would organise a session for ages so now seemed like a perfect time! We arrived to the lake around 2 hours before dark and got everything set up. I gave Danny 2 rigs the same as mine with pop ups on and a 2 handfuls of boilies and sent him into ‘Carpy Corner’ as it was a short cast and looked like it was always sure to do a bite. I then got my rods out and we were set. The following morning we both broke our PBs. Any size of carp would have been Dannys PB but he went straight in the deep end bagging a beautiful mirror of 19lb4oz! Mine was a cracking looking common at 17lb14oz.

I was delighted and so was Danny , I had only beaten my PB by a few ounces but it had been 4 years trying to better it. Danny deserved a moment like that after his bad run and I was happy to have shared it with him. We had a bit of a session that night and the following morning he was in for yet another surprise! He ended up catching a 19lb10oz common and beating his PB already. Hows your luck!? It was an amazing session one we wont forget in a hurry. I felt as if I could stop fishing it then… But that would be madness , so I continued fishing it for another month and had some lovely mid doubles out into October.

So all in all I had some top moments in 2017 shared with great friends, and all of us catching some serious fish and making a lot of memories along the way.

But my personal best moment was collecting my Da’s new boat with him and getting it out on the water for the first time. He hadnt been doing much fishing over the past 4 years, but after our trip to the Ebro and the odd pike session, the bug was back and he wanted to be back out on the water as much as he could and where he belongs. First up he had to sell his Dory and Bass craft boats, which didn’t take long and then it was full steam ahead with the boat of his dreams, that he always planned on getting. It was great to see him back in the swing of things and I look forward to many great days afloat with my old man and hopefully a few lumps along the way too.

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Bass fishing with Sid Jones

IFD: Sid Jones is one of Ireland’s top bass guides and last year was to prove to be another cracker. Here Sid fills us in on how it went and a month by month rundown on all of the action. If you would like to book a session with Sid you can find him on Facebook or his details are below http://www.facebook.com/sid.jones.39566
2017 was a great year for myself and my clients alike, with new techniques learned, PB’s smashed & 6 double figured bass for myself. Hard work at times but always enjoyable…
My season chasing bass on lures usually starts in April/May. Their slow metabolism keeps the bass lethargic and unwilling to chase down lures during the colder months. They will take bait freely but it’s not my preferred method of capture.
During an evening session in March while being soaked by driving wind and rain, my bass account opened with 18 small but beautiful schoolies. I was fishing a local beach using lugworm as bait on 2 hook clipped down paternoster rigs. In fact they were the only bait caught bass from the 219 that were landed during the year.
The weather plays a massive role with regards to lure fishing. Throughout 2017 we were hampered with some horrible weather. April wasn’t a good month as I struggled to find water clarity finding many of my marks were unfishable. Battling on and finally getting a couple of weather windows I thankfully got amongst some bass. I ended up with 15 bass, 5 of them over 60cm and a lovely fish in great condition weighing 7lb taken on a subsurface lure.
During May the water temperature began to rise to an appropriate level for lure fishing, coupled with decent water clarity, higher metabolism, bait fish are more abundant and the bass are hopefully feeding hard before breeding. This all makes for better fishing thus increasing the tally of catches during the month. 18 bass, 6 being over 60cm with some lovely 6lb and 7.5lb fish landed.



With the season in full swing and the water temperature at a near perfect level, the bass were finally beginning to cooperative and taking surface lures with some persuasion which is always exciting to see. Still hampered at times by the weather some road trips to Waterford and Cork were needed to find some clearer water for my clients. 20 bass landed, 11 being over 60cm some over 8lb & 9lb and the first double figure bass of the year for myself.

Graham Rooney smashing his PB 3 times in a row with some cracking bass and a double figure bass for myself, a memorable session.

July was a good month fishing wise, I was busy guiding and managed to break some more PB’s for my clients I’d some cracking fish in the low 70cm range. 25 bass landed, 16 being over 60cm and 3 double figured bass.

Aaron Moorhouse with a cracking bass and new PB

The season just kept getting better for me, I recorded 56 bass in a couple of sessions with 25 of them over 60cm and weighing up to 9lb and another double figured bass landed. I had been up and down the country with clients and fishing with some good pals. I decided to go out and enjoy some time on the shore by myself and I was busier than ever but I’m wasn’t complaining.

Keith Donnelly with a cracking bass weighing 9lb+. This was my favourite catch of the year because of the story behind it, we had a great session but the laugh we had while he landed the fish was great, the fish swam towards him then turned and stripped off 80 yards of line…

20170724_051838 (1)
Mother nature and a bit of bad luck hampered me during the month. The wind was blowing awkwardly so I opted for some fishing in secluded bays and estuarine areas 45 bass were landed with 18 being over 60cm 8 in the high 60 range over 7lb & 8lb and I landed my best fish of the year a 77cm beast. She was a thick set fish and gave me a great fight through a minefield of boulders. A memorable fish.
I couldn’t get out much in October and mid November usually sees the end of my bass fishing as the water temperature is quite low and bass are migrating out to deeper waters. I managed a couple of sessions in each month and landed 8 bass with 2 being in the high 60cm range. I’d one session in December having some fun with pollock.
20180108_000652but that was it for my 2017 season.

Reg O’keefe with one of his bass during a session in tough conditions, persistence and hard work paid off.

In whole it was my best year to date. For me bass fishing is not just about catching fish, it’s the watercraft involved, the constant changes you be to make to get results, it’s meeting new people, sharing experiences along the way, I get a great enjoyment putting my clients on fish and seeing them smile and knowing you’ve created memories… That’s what dose it for me !!
I’d like to thank each and every one of my clients for booking with me and all I had the pleasure to fish with. Hopefully 2018 will be as memorable.
My 2018 diary is already filling with bookings, the best and most productive dates go first so booking in advance is advised and accomodation packges are also available.
You can contact me on: 00353877734870 fishingadventuresie@gmail.com
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Wicklow Boat Charters 2017 by Kit Dunne

IFD: Kit Dunne, owner and skipper of Wicklow Boat Charters gives us a run down on 2017, yet another year Kit has raised the bar with his fishing achievements as WBC goes from strength to strength…


Kit Dunne, owner of Wicklow Boat Charters


If I were to Sum up 2017 in a few Key points;

Tope fishing improved with record number of Specimens, 11 recorded.

Smooth-Hounds still very prolific with 600+ caught, and 60+ Specimens.

Spurdog Specimen numbers increased again this year to 36 so far.

First Irish Specimen Black Bream and Garfish recorded for us.

Shark Fishing – Great results, landed sharks 9 out of 10 trips, a 90% success rate.

Blue Shark & Porbeagle Shark landed, averaging 4 sharks per trip.

1 Specimen weight Blue Shark caught, 100lb, 1.88Metre long.



March started with a red letter day on Spurdogs, with 15 of 20 fish caught being of Irish Specimen size. Gordon Darker and I recorded our 3 specimen Spurdog while Pat Swan managed the biggest that day at 17.2lb. This is the earliest we’ve managed to get out deep for Spur and we plan an even earlier start in 2018. A total of 24 Specimen Spur were recorded this Month, while Bullhuss were there in numbers and Thornback Ray began to show. Weather was a killer though.


Gordon 3, 13.5lb 109.5cm.

Gordon Darker with one of his three specimen spurdog from 6th March

April started with more poor weather and cancelled days, however, when we did manage to get out deep in neap tides we got plenty of Spur and Huss. Another 12 Specimen Spur were recorded this Month and a total of 79 Huss, 25 on one day alone, plus a few Tope and Thornback Ray. Inshore Whiting, Grey Gurnard, dogs and Dabs were taken. On the 5th of April Peter Bolger recorded the biggest Spur of the season at 17.7lb.

 May saw the start of the Smooth-Hound fishing with a few anglers testing the crab out, 20 were landed including few of specimen size, while Tope numbers increased considerably. Bullhuss, Gurnard and Rays all increased in numbers while the weather seemed to get worse, 50% of our days were cancelled. I do believe if we fished hard for Hounds, as we do in June we would have got plenty.


June saw more settled weather and as such more trips. Tope, Huss, Hound and Ray numbers all increased, while the Black Bream and Specimen Smooth-Hounds came in. 37 Specimen Hounds were recorded while most groups fished crab, and our first Irish Specimen Black Bream of 2.3lb was landed by Brendan Adams. Inshore we had numbers of Black Bream, Pollock, Ballan, Tub, Pouting, Poor-cod, and Codling on those big tides. I do believe we missed out on a number of Big Tope this Month while we all targeted Hounds, I guess we cant do everything at once.


06-17 Brendan Adams Black Bream on mat

Brendan Adam’s specimen black bream, 2.3lb

July saw a breakthrough in Specimen Tope with 10 recorded in the Month, 5 recorded in the first week, plus numerous near misses, including many 39lb fish. The total landed was 73 Tope with no steady supply of fresh mackerel. Stephen Buckley had a great day with 2 Specimen Tope, one of 48lb, while Evan McGovern took full advantage of his day landing a Specimen Tope & Smooth-Hound.

07-06 Stephen Buckley Tope 48lb.

Stephen Buckley with one of his two specimen tope at 48lb

Specimen Hounds continued with 23 recorded while Black Bream, Huss, Ray, Grey and Tub Gurnards were consistently caught again. Weather was kind to us this Month, as were the fish.


07-05 Evan Mc Govern Hound

Evan McGovern with his specimen smooth hound, taken with his specimen tope the same day.

August seen the Tope, Huss and Hound catches continue with one record day of 20 Tope caught & released. The big double figure females Hounds had parted and the Ray were quiet while inshore fishing grew with plenty of Dab, Whiting, Plaice and even a Red Mullet for Gary Blake. Grey Gurnard were common out deep and Tub Gurnard numbers increased inshore. We started our Shark season in mid August with just 2 trips we boated 12 Blues and our first ever Porbeagle was taken by Shane Devine.

 September saw the start of late Spurdogs with a few small fish landed, Tope, Huss, Hounds and even Ray still showed while the weather deteriorated and cost us many days. Species were still inshore and our total ran to 37 as the season moved on. Our Shark fishing continued to build with a total of 21 this Month for 5 trips.

David Quirke with one of many Porbeagle Sharks this year.

David Quirke with one of his three porbeagle caught on a single day out on Castle Maiden

We had our record number of Porgies at 4 one day, 3 taken by David Quirke, while our biggest Blue Shark of just under 1.9M, estimated 100lb was taken by Daniel O’ Kelly. Most Shark trips this Month were less than 20Nm offshore, I do think we need to focus more on the Celtic deeps next year at 30Nm off.


Ger Matthews & Dan O Kelly with a fine pair of Blue Shark with Wicklow Boat Charters

Ger Matthews and Dan O’ Kelly with a double shot of blue shark

October brought some poor weather; with only a few trips made we still managed a few Spurdog, whiting and Huss, 1 Tope and a flurry of Grey Gurnards out deep. The Shark fishing slowed a lot, with only 1 day and 2 halves we managed 2 Blues and 1 Porbeagle in very poor conditions. Was it getting late or did the 2 storms bring an end to it ? Who knows, we’re still getting to grips with the Sharks. The main target for 2018 is to record the illusive length based Specimen Shark, it’s not over yet.


November brought more success with Spurdogs, Huss and the Specimen Spur. Mike Sherwood’s crew had a cracking day with 25-30 Spurdog boated including a few Specimen fish. Weather put a stop to many planned days but the Huss were always there while the Spur dipped in and out, as they do ! We didn’t bother much with inshore fishing, perhaps next year we might target the Winter Codling & Whiting.

Things are still improving every year, and with more homework done on Spurdog, Black Bream, Blues and Porgies, I’m looking forward to a great 2018 season. The Diary is now open and bookings are coming in fast. Our Shark fishing will be from mid August till end October. Customer Competitions begin Jan 1st so don’t forget to have your fish recorded by the skipper.


BIG thanks to all our customers for their support, contributions and catches in 2017. I hope to see you at the Swords Angling Show, Feb 19th & 20th We’ll be at stand H2, and at the Irish Specimen Fish Awards ceremony Sat 19th Feb, till late.

Kit Dunne



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Looking back over the season with John Fleming

This year started out a bit late for us here @ Blue Shark Angling in Galway. With the boat in the yard longer than expected we missed basically all of our spring white fish season.

This part of the season usually kicks off around Valentine’s Day and ends around the end of March. This sometimes produces large shoals of  cod, coalie, pollock, ling and whiting in the bay and provides a great start to our season, but not this year unfortunately.

Fine Balkan eraser for Owen Trill

We finally got started in early May and had a nice run of spurdogs as well as dogs and plenty of huss in the mix.  We are lucky to get 2 runs of spurs usually from April to June and September to November.  Always a good chance of a specimen.  We also had some nice tope to add to it.  

Specimen spur for Owen Trill

June was a mixed bag with anglers taking their chances with the weather, plenty of gurnards, flats and wrasse taken on days like these and, to be honest, the mixed fishing has been very good this year.

Two nice cuckoo wrasse for Dan O’Kelly

At the end of June we turned our attention to our shark season.  Our first trip saw us get 2 porgies and 2 blues.  The porgies were a surprise to say the least as we only had 2 for the full season last year.  

Over the July bank holiday weekend we ended up with 4 decent porgies to about 100lb and 6 good blues to over 120lb.  This is a weekend I will never forget as it was to set the tone for a porbeagle bonanza.  I think in July we had a porgie on every trip.

Two days stand out in particular. I had a group of four anglers from Northern Ireland out in mid July and we set off as normal but what was to emerge that day was amazing.  

We had set up our drift and got the rubby dubby and rods out.   BANG, only five minutes into drifting we had our first fish on, a porgie, he dropped the hook minutes later.  Then BANG again, another porgie and another reel went screaming off, a double hook up.  Crew man Paddy (aka porbeagle guru) and I could not believe it.

Squid for crew man Sandy

The line crossed many times and we managed to land, tag and release one after 45 minutes of nail biting tension.  He was 100lb+.  We then had a second double hook ups of beagles and a third fish which was a nice blue.  Both these porgies seemed very heavy and after about a half an hour we saw the first one, A  MONSTER.  But unfortunately, he did a quick roll and severed the mainline with his tail.  The second fish was still holding deep and eventually we got him on board.  He was a fine porgie around 150lb and we had one very happy but sore angler.  We wound up getting another porgie, just a pup, which is a great sight for the future.  We had an amazing day with 3 porgies and a pup around 30lbs and a blue around 80lbs.


This season has been one to truly remember for my crew.  I have another porgie tale to tell though its not perhaps as exciting but still one worth telling.  I had a group from Dundalk for the 3 days of the August Bank Holiday.  Aboard they came gear in tow and we set out for the shark grounds.  We steamed for about an hour including a stop for bait.  

I chose a mark a little bit further inshore from our usual blue haunt because of weather conditions.  It was to be a very slow day, cold one too.  

All things seemed bleak until I had a reel make a gentle click and I looked at John Keogh, the angler in question, he stood up and next thing the reel started peeling off line and not to be stopped we managed to get all the gear  and dubby  in and set off chasing the fish.  

Paddy and I thought it may have been  tuna but we weren’t sure.  It was about 45 minutes before we caught a glimpse of what was to be a fish of a lifetime for John.  A huge lump of a porbeagle, he decided he didn’t like the look of us and stayed deep with constant pressure for another hour.  We finally managed to get the fish onboard, tagged and released.  A savage fish of 150/200lbs.  Truly a day to remember after such a slow start and a great feeling personally to have been involved to put John on his monster porgie.

All in all we have had a very good season for general mixed species and sharks alike but the amount of porbeagles around astonished us all.  We had well in excess of 20 on the boat with close to that many lost.  

This gives me great hope that  Galway might be coming back to being the porgie capital that it would have been when the shark competitions were held here in the 70’s and 80’s.  It would be great to see that buzz of overseas and local anglers coming to do battle with these fantastic predators.

The blues were a bit slower this year than other years but the average size was much better.  We have seen more fish over the 100lbs this year than any other.  We are  lucky to have good blue fishing into November weather permitting of course.  I could say there will be a better  chance of getting sharks into November than this summer with August and September being disastrous with so many cancellations due to bad weather.

120lb blue shark for David O’Malley

With regard to general angling its been a good year for us also with our species count going up and this is down to us doing so much searching for new ground and targeting new species although a Galway Bay skate is still eluding us.  Next year!!!

Mark Elders with a 13.5lb bull huss

Mark Heffernan with a thornback

If you wish to make a trip down to us at any stage do not hesistate to get in contact and we will do our best to accomadate you, we have great angling to offer in galway both shore and boat and if you need advise in any way give me a call, we can also provide accomadation in a lovely b&b in Spiddal village where there there is great pubs, restaraunts, and live music.
Tight lines


Blue Shark Angling Galway.

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Ernecast – guided fishing with Seamus Smith

IFD: Ernecast is a dedicated coarse and pike guiding service on the Erne system offering some of the best angling in Ireland. It was set up by Seamus Smith, a man born and reared in the area with an intimate knowledge of all the marks.

Earlier this year we were lucky enough to fish with Seamus and what a session it turned out to be with personal bests for all three of us combined with top quality bait and advice, so it’s a service we can’t recommend highly enough.

Joe White with his new pb bream

So whether you are brand new to fishing for bream and tench and looking to know where to start, or an experienced angler looking to catch good fish and plenty of them look no further. Ernecast has something to offer everyone and is a great service professionally run.

How did you decide to start up Ernecast?

Well I grew up in the Killeshandra area and have been fishing and hunting since I was a lad, it’s a way of life up here and you are surrounded by some of the richest waters in the country so it comes just comes naturally you can’t avoid it!

Damien McCann showing off part of a huge haul of bream

When I was younger there used to be lots of visiting anglers every year from the UK and further afield. Sadly we dont get the numbers of anglers we used to and some have said the fishing isn’t a patch on what it used to be, whereas I think it’s all still there you just need to know where to look and when.

So Ernecast was started to show what the area has to offer and hopefully get the Bed and breakfasts and pubs some business as well.

Damien Kenny with a fine bream

What kind of waters do you mostly fish?

Cavan has more water than land so there is an abundance of places to fish. Everything from the river Erne to the many back waters and lakes so we have plenty to choose from.

Sunset Cavan style

What services can you provide for anglers?

Whether your an experienced angler just looking for prebaiting or a visiting angler looking for a week’s fishing with gear provided we can do the whole lot. 

Lloyd Lynch with a 9lb 10oz bream

I’m based very close to http://www.irishbaitandtackle.com which is the top bait provider in the country so I can have the best quality bait fresh and ready to go and that in itself has been a massive help in getting quality catches.

Tackle and accommodation can all be organised for visiting anglers and even airport pickups can be arranged if necessary. Just let us know your requirements and we can take it from there.

How much work goes in behind the scenes?

It’s pretty full on with getting up in the middle of the night carrying kilos and kilos of bait to sometimes far off swims and that’s even before the raking and balling in begins! 

I’m very luck that my daughter Saoirse has been an immense help. She will help me by passing the balls of groundbait to me to save me bending down as I fire in hundreds of groundbait balls. She keeps me company and I’m blessed to have her.

Daddy’s girl

You have some of the best pike fishing in the country on your doorstep, can you tell us about piking in the area and the guiding service you provide?

Well the Erne is a prolific pike fishing system. We can fish anywhere from Belturbet to Enniskillen and It has countless doubles with many many twenties and even thirties are not out of the question, my own PB is over 34lb. 

Lenny with an Erne Pike

Again we can provide everything from start to finish or anglers are welcome to bring their own gear. 

The boat is a 17ft Dory with high sides and a 60hp four stroke electric fuel injected engine so it can get us to where we need to be quite quickly. 

the ‘Wet Dream’ ready for the off

Lunch is provided and the style of fishing I prefer is float fishing as we can seek out larger areas of water. All dead baits provided and of top quality.

Dylan Condron with another fine fish

What has been the highlights so far since you started Ernecast?

I suppose it has to be seeing people really looking forward to there session and then seeing the smile on their face when they get their target fish. It also has rekindled my love for some out of the way waters I hadn’t fished in a long time, and to get the best out of these locations. When I was a lad the fish I have seen come out of these waters was phenomenal and we never even used to stop to weigh a fish!

Dylan with another cracking tench

So there you have it, if your looking for some top quality coarse and pike fishing with one of the top fishing guides in the country give Seamus at Ernecast a shout….. 

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Marlin trip to La Gomera by Alastair Wilson

Last year i was lucky enough to win two days marlin fishing on Andrej Dolinsek’s boat The Right Hook on the island of La Gomera. Andrej runs a very smart Bertram 31 fully rigged for big game fishing and along with his wife Suzanne they also run a cafe / bar called Ambigu just a few minutes walk from the boat. 

After a chat with Andrej I called up my two fishing buddies Maurice and Trevor and we hatched a plan. We booked the boat for 3 days in mid August. We flew out of Dublin airport to Tenerife south then got a taxi ride of about 20 minutes to Los Cristianos ferry terminal and then the ferry to San Sebastian, La Gomera. 

Andrej had already arranged for us to stay at Hotel Torre del Conde a nice hotel with air conditioned rooms and quite possibly the cheapest mini bar I‘ve ever came across, and only 5 minutes walk from the marina.

When we arrived, unfortunately Andrej’s boat had engine trouble, but Andrej being a man of his word, a rare trait these days, arranged for us to fish on another boat, Oberon a 1250 Rodman run by John Keggie. John originally from Scotland, a seasoned skipper of the shetland islands who’s opted for sunnier climes and the chance to play with some of the biggest and fastest fish the atlantic has to offer. 

We were delighted to have a 1250 at our disposal for the three days, a home a way from home. We knew how good a fishing platform the 1250 was, after all, the three of us many years ago got a harsh introduction into the world of shark and tuna fishng back home in Ireland by a good friend. 

Looking around the boat we knew these guys were serious, the fighting chair, the carbon out riggers, star and international rods filling the holders matched with big shimano 80’s and 130’s Everywhere I looked there where black bart ‘ big breakfast ‘ and ‘puerto rico prowlers’ all rigged proper with needle sharp hooks. It was fantastic.

Two days flew by without seeing a Marlin, Andrej at he helm on the flybridge constantly scanning the water and John on the deck watching the lures, trading fishy tales and talking tackle with us. Now and again we’d come across the odd piece of floating debris, Andrej would circle the boat around and we’d deploy smaller lures for dorado but to no avail. Being seasoned small boat anglers we were well prepared for blank days it happens a lot when you search for that one special fish. 

outriggers waiting to pop

Anyway, on the third and final day around 13.00 one of the 80’s let rip. Maurice got in the chair and all the other rods where cleared. After some fine acrobatics by a 700lb blue marlin a 40 minute fight ensued.

Fish On!

The colours on that big fish fired up were amazing, the neon blue and navy and that big beautiful bill, they really are the pinnacle of sport fishing, to see that beast tail walking yards from the boat is a sight to behold. 

All lit up and not playing games!

Andrej played an absoulate blinder behind the wheel, he was on point. John didnt mess about either on the wire, it takes balls and skill to deal with a fish that size. A first class effort by everyone. The fish was released in less that 40 minutes,  (now I understand why they back down on them.)

I had my chance a couple of hours later, a 130 lit up and by the time I got my ass in the chair the fish had emptied 200 yards. I got tight on the fish but after a short period it threw the hook. To be honest I was that busy laughing at how fast the fish was running I wasnt really bothered about loosing it, we had got to see that big impressive marlin earlier. The guys estimated my fish around 300lb.

Mission accomplished

An excellent three days with my best mates and guided by two VERY knowledgeable skippers, in fact two of the best I‘ve ever fished with. We all agreed that they worked so hard to get us the fish and their hospitality was first class. 

I particularly enjoyed the lazy mornings and evenings at Andrej’s bar having a cold beer and chatting to other captains on the island about their days fishing. It was a cool place to hang out and talk fishing. 

There’s some amazing fishing to be had in La Gomera , they get a run of big bluefin tuna in spring, marlin through the summer and wahoo in winter not to mention big eye, albacore and yellow fin tuna and of course dorado. 

There’s shark too, hammer head and mako, although sharks are frowned upon as a nuisance on one trip a guy had a small tuna cut in two by a 500lb mako at the boat, an interesting prospect for the shark anglers out there. Its probably some of the best big game fishing available and only a 4 hour plane ride from Ireland. 

Flights and accommodation are reasonabley priced as is the food and drink. the fishing grounds are close by also, just out of the marina, being a volcanic island La Gomera shelters you from the trade winds, most of the fishing is done on the south side of the island in the lee of the land, in calm water. 

the lads say farewell before it’s time to go home

All this in glorious sunshine combine that with Andrej or John as your skipper it has the making of a great fishing holiday.

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Coalfish off Kinsale

I got a call from Mick Dennehy saying we’re going out for the coalies are you coming? As they say in Jerry McGuire…. You had me at…. alright langer!

I made my way down to Kinsale where Pedro was already on the boat. Also making up the crew that day were some of the most experienced boat anglers in the country. Albie O’ Sullivan the Irish Ling record holder with a lifetime of experience, top charter skipper and good friend Kit Dunne, then Phil Barry and Paul Ross so I was feeling a little out of place to say the least.

We made our way out as everyone made last adjustments and superstitious tweaks to their gear. When we arrived Mick positioned us perfectly for the big tide and bit of wind and soon we were dropping down.

Before I could even get to the bottom I seen Paul and Albie were already into fish. Before my shad could get to the bottom it was inhaled on the way down…. fish on.

Phil Barry with a spec black Jack

With the guys getting their fish to the surface and netted it was two specimen coalies for the first two to drops. I got my fish to the surface and again it was over the specimen weight. 

Paul Ross caught the most species on the day

Phil and Kit were also getting the action but it was all a bit of a blur as we concentrated on our own fishing. Albie then brings up the best so far a clonker of a fish making us all the more eager to get the gear back down to the wreck.

Kit Dunne with a specimen coalfish

Irish Ling record holder Albie O’ Sullivan was into action all day

Next up I’m on again to a decent fish and this turns out to be the best of the day I was absolutely delighted. We were mostly changing between different sized shads and Paul Ross was doing some damage with a tiny sidewinder clocking up quite a few species including megrin.

Myself with a coalie complete with my fly open

Soon it was time for lines up, we had watched sharks attack baits at the surface, sunfish and some whales and to top it off the fishing was top class with ling, pollack, cod, megrim and coalfish. 

A megrim for Paul

Till the next time lads another great trip… 

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Mako shark by Henry Kelly

IFD: On the fifteenth of July this year I got a call from Pedro Walsh, from the sounds in the background I thought he was in the pub but it turned out that Henry Kelly had just caught and released an extremely rare fish in Irish waters, the Shortfin Mako Shark and now I understood the shouting.

Henry was fishing aboard the Silver Dawn, http://www.kinsalecharters.com with gifted skippers Mick Dennehy and Pedro Walsh who had just added another new species to their already impressive tally of achievements.

This was only the second mako in Irish waters in recent years and only the fourth ever. The other records were; a 79kg from Kinsale in July 1965, a 45kg from Kinsale in August 1965, then again on Tom Collins boat from Union hall in 2013.

These spectacular fish were recorded with fair regularity off Cornwall from the 1950’s through to the 1970’s, although never numerous with just a few records each year, with the vast majority taken by the famous Vinnicombe brothers.  There was a long wait until the next British capture in 2013 with Andy Griffiths fish taken on Whitewater skippered by the one and only Andrew Alsop. 

It is very interesting to note that the fish tagged on Tom Collins boat was recaptured the following June, 80km NW of Lisbon, Portugal having travelled a distance on 1460km.

It is also interesting to note that three of the four Irish records on rod and line have come from Kinsale with one further unconfirmed report in August 1990 also from Kinsale.

Sources quoted  “Quigley, D.T.G., Hannon, G. and Collins, T. (2015) Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus
Rafinesque) in Irish waters. Irish Naturalists’ Journal 34(2): 146-148.”

Here Henry takes up the story of his momumental capture…

I was having a bad start to the year, I came out one morning to find my van had been wrote off by a hit and run driver which meant I had to cancel most of my fishing trips.

I thought I was going to have to cancel this one as well only Dan O’Kelly came to the rescue and offered to pick me up which I’m grateful for. So we were soon  heading back down to Kinsale to fish with Mick Dennehy and Pedro Walsh of www.kinsalecharters.com

Also joining us on the trip was Mark and his brother Jay. I was hoping for a porbeagle or blues as it’s always a good days sharking with the lads.

Mark and Jay with a blue shark

With the chum sacks in the water we were soon getting some blue sharks. The wind was with the tide that day so we were drifting along at a fairly swift rate.

Dan O’Kelly with another blue

After a while things went quiet until I got a run on my rod that looked a bit more interesting and I hoped it was a porbeagle. Just as I was thinking what  is this?…. The shark came airborne out of the water by about ten feet then somersaulted back in!

We were all gobsmacked, we were just looking at each other thinking it couldn’t be???….. could it? At this point Dan mentioned this might be a mako Henry, but I just wanted to get it in whatever it was!

At first it came up quite easy and Mick soon had the leader in his hand when he confirmed it’s a mako! The shark on seeing the boat had other ideas and just took off making a blistering run.

This time it took me around the boat and I had to manoeuvre past one of the lads who was into a blue. It was going under the boat and I had to hold the rod out to get it back out.

The angry end of a mako shark

After Mick had called it as a mako the adrenaline was flowing and I was just concentrating that it wouldn’t get off.

Henry gets up close and personal

We eventually got a rope around the tail and brought her aboard. As she was safely aboard a big cheer went around the boat with everyone celebrating. I couldn’t believe it I was still in shock.

We took great care with the shark and after a few quick photos and measurements to confirm it was 84lb she was put back and swam off strongly. We were all shaking hands and back slapping it was a magic moment and I was glad to be part of Irish shark history with only the fourth mako caught on rod and line in Irish waters.

Mick Dennehy, Henry Kelly and James ‘Pedro’ Walsh

Me and  the lads usually have a tenner on the best shark of the day, we have done so since I first met Dan while sharking with Kit Dunne. I had come close a few times but never won it. It was a year to the day since I had lost my nephew who was like a brother to me so that just made the capture so special, it looks like I had finally won it and I couldn’t help but think he had played a part in it somehow. 

The drive home I was just on cloud nine, a fishing day I will never forget…..

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Recent trips

For the first part of this year I had barely been fishing, so it felt good to have some boat sessions to look forward to.

The first of which was to be an evening session with Kit Dunne of http://www.wicklowboatchsrters.com

Aidan Cox, Dan O’Kelly, Mark and myself met up for a late start through the Dublin traffic in a smoothie session where we had several specimen sized fish. Kit as always used his expertise to locate the fish and keep us on them for the whole session.  

The next trip saw us heading back down to fish off Kinsale with our good friends Mick Dennehy and Pedro Walsh of http://www.kinsalecharters.com

This time we were after blue shark and the day wasn’t to disappoint with many sharks coming to the boat it was great action but no biggies as Mick put us on fish after fish.

Myself, Rob, Dan and Mark had plenty of sharks, the best of which going to Dan and I had a similar sized fish that we unhooked at the side of the boat as one was already on the deck.

The following weekend Kinsale charters was booked out for Mick so Rob offered me a seat on his boat to go sharking again. I met Rob early and soon we were heading out with Hugh Cronin and his son Luke. 

We feathered up plenty of mackerel and soon we were getting a few blues. We had about fifteen between us with Rob at the helm. Rob decided to try for a porbeagle from an area that served him well last year so we upped sticks and moved to another area where after seeing a good fish come up to the dubby bag Rob got a run on the far rod resulting in this fish.

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Bluefin in the Adriatic by Rob Millard

The process of choosing a family holiday destination in our house is always contentious. My suggestions of Islamorada, Cape Verde or The Azores, are seen for what they are, shameless attempts to visit some of the sport fishing capitals of the world. This year we settled on Croatia, and I set about finding out how I could squeeze a day’s sport in during our 2 week holiday.
While searching through the many fishing charter operators on the Dalmatian
coast, I came across ‘Predator Big Game Fishing’ in Jezera. Their website &
Facebook pages had extensive galleries of photos & videos of bent rods and fish on
the deck, which gave me confidence. Their contact details can be found on their website http://www.predator-game-fishing.com

I emailed them with the dates of my travel, and Željko emailed back explaining that the bluefin only move back inshore during July and that I should take a day in the second week of my holiday to give myself the best chance. On his advice I picked a date, and transferred a deposit.

On the day of the fishing, I arrived at Jezera to blue sky and hardly a breath of wind. I met the skipper Vladimir on the pier just before 9am, and as soon as I stepped on his smart 27ft boat, I realised he was running a serious sportfishing operation, and not fishing trips for tourists & day trippers. 

The gear bore names synonymous with game fishing throughout the world, Stella, Tiagra & Alutecnos, and at the business end were flourocarbon leaders and Owner Mutu hooks.

Once we were outside the confines of the harbour, Vladimir opened the throttle,
and our steam out to the fishing grounds, southwest of the famous Kornati Islands,
took about 45 minutes cruising at 18 knots.

When we reached the chosen mark, we
did a drift across it with sabikis, and soon had a dozen or so Mackerel & Scad in the
livebait tank, more than enough to get started with. Vladimir repositioned the boat, dropped anchor, and set out 2 live baits on balloons. 

Seeing first hand how the gear is
set up, and baits are rigged, you pick up tricks and nuances that you just don’t get by reading articles and forums. I was carefully watching each detail, and the amount of questions I asked was bordering on interrogation, but a lot of the appeal of fishing abroad is learning new things, and I wanted to make the most of it.

Now trolling for big game fish can be spectacular, but the hours, sometimes days
in between strikes can be mind numbingly boring, as the angler has nothing to do but
watch a spread of lures. 

As we were anchored in 70m of water, and fishing live baits however, it was possible to fish the bottom with 2 hook rigs baited with mackerel strips while we waited for a Tuna. This brought a steady stream of fish, the only one of which I recognised was black bream, but there were 3 other species that kept making an appearance, one of which wouldn’t have looked out of place in a tropical aquarium. John Dory are also regularly caught here, although small live baits prove more effective apparently. 

This fishing certainly kept me busy, and helped keep the live bait tank topped up, as I would often pick up a mackerel or scad on the way up with the spare hook.

A short time after lunch the furthest balloon went down, and started heading
towards us at a rate of knots. I quickly wound down on the fish, and as everything
came tight, the 50lb class rod arched over, and the reel began to sing that beautiful

As the fish headed off on it’s first run, we cleared the other lines, and cast off
the anchor. I moved to the front of the boat from where I fought the fish, and after a
couple of typically powerful runs, some big head shakes, and a couple of pin wheels,
the fish was at the side of the boat. Vladimir sunk in the gaf and tied the fish off on a stern cleat. 

After motoring back to the anchor and tying off again, we got some
celebratory cold beers from the fridge in the wheelhouse, and wasted little time in
rigging some more live baits, as by now, we were marking tunas under the boat every
minute or so. 

Despite fishing on until after 6pm, we didn’t manage to get another bite,
although I was pleased to have got one, given it was still early in the season. 

Vladimir explained to me that his bluefin season runs from July right through to the 31st December when the fishery is then closed, with the Autumn & Winter months being particularly good. 

By the end of the month of July, you could expect rather than hope to catch a fish every day, with multiple fish days common enough. “But we have giants in Ireland” I hear you say, “why would I go to Croatia?” but I believe this provides a different angling experience to the traditional trolling with large squid bars fishery that we have in Ireland. 

Indeed there are times during the season when Vladimir gets to target bluefin with spinning gear and topwater lures such as poppers & stickbaits. And don’t think for a minute that there’s no giants here too, Vladimir catches 300 – 400lbs fish every year, and on the last day of my holiday he reported
losing a fish he reckoned was 230kg (500lbs) after a lengthy fight. 

His fishing doesn’t stop when the fishery closes on New Year’s day either, for he has some spectacular deep jigging for Amberjacks through the winter and spring. These range from 25 –100lbs and days with 15 – 20 fish a real possibility. 

With Ryanair running flights into
Zadar for much of the year, and with very reasonable rates for the fishing, anyone
looking to get away and try something different, without having to rob a bank, should take a look at Croatia!

Just a final word on sustainability. Vladimir buys several tonnes of Bluefin quota at the start of every year, and so the fish that he lands make up part of Croatia’s national commercial quota. 

Following ICCAT drastically cutting the eastern Atlantic & Mediterranean quota for Bluefin several years ago, we witnessed an amazing return of these fish to our waters here in Ireland, and indeed last year several fish were caught in southwest England and Wales, areas not previously regarded as Bluefin hotspots. Vladimir too has seen a significant improvement in the Adriatic. 

We must hope that the stock continues to be managed correctly, so that anglers all across Europe can continue to enjoy catching one of the world’s most revered game fish and the mightiest tuna of them all the Atlantic Bluefin.

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