Dromagowlane house has become a fishing mecca for anglers wanting to get to grips with some top quality rock fishing. Situated on the Beara peninsula in West Cork in a area where you rarely see other anglers. Set up by Paul Harris and his wife Anne eleven years ago, they offer the angler a home away from home with some of the best fishing Ireland has to offer with an onsite bait and tackle shop and bait freezers which is also open to non-guests where Paul will willingly give advice on fishing the area
Starting off with very few clues to go on, Paul got to know many marks and is still trying new ones each year. Dromagowlane is the only fishing B&B that offers free guiding and with Paul being such a friendly guy it is an excellent place to try for an Irish fishing holiday.
Me: Hi Paul, Can you tell us about how you started fishing?
PH: Well I came from a fishing family and we had a tackle shop where we lived in the English midlands near Coventry. My Father would bring me fishing every chance he got, it was all freshwater fishing then but sometimes we would go spinning for salmon, or mackeral when we were on holidays. Most of my family were involved in fishing some way or another. My uncle was Billy Lane, the first Englishman to win the world championship in coarse fishing.
Me: How did the idea come about to settle on the Beara and start Dromagowlane house?
PH: I met my wife when she was working for B & I ferries (now Irish Ferries) and I was working for the tourist board (Bord Failte). My wife is from Monkstown county Cork, and we had been living in England for a long time. So I suppose it was a combination of her wanting to return to Cork and I was looking for a change. I had been advising tourists to go fishing in Ireland for many years and now I wanted to spend more time there myself. We had a B&B in mind so we knew roughly what we were looking for. When we went to see Dromagowlane house with the estate agent, it was perfect. The right number of bedrooms, a bit of land and the location was beautiful. So inside of five mins we said yes and that was the start of Dromagowlane house…
Me: Can you tell us about the fishing down there and what species are available?
PH: Well the main species are conger, which we have had to over forty pounds, bull huss which we have had up to 18lb and of course the ray. We have mostly thornback, and we have also had spotted (homelyn) up to 6lb, and some blonde and small-eyed (painted) ray. Then there is the excellent pollock and wrasse fishing and the bass fishing can be very good as well so it’s a good mix of species.
Me: You have guided many many anglers, what has been the highlight of the guests fishing?
PH: For me it has been anytime a guest caught a personal best. You always know because they come back in the door smiling from ear to ear, and that to me is the best feeling.We just had two guys over and they both had personal best wrasse and were delighted. So I just enjoy watching the guests catching that does it for me.
Me: Starting off with very little info to go on, how have you built up such a knowledge of marks?
Well we started off with nothing really, just the fisheries board map of the area and I set about fishing as many marks as possible. I had fished all over Ireland but the Beara was one place I never heard of fishing reports so it was like fishing a blank sheet really. Now we have planty of marks and are still finding more each year.
Me: What has been your own favourite catch over the years?
PH: When we first came over, I really wanted to catch some ray. I was on the lookout for some nice sheltered mark that might produce some if I gave it a few trips. I picked out a mark from the map, thought it looked very fishy and on my first cast of the session I struck into a nice thornback ray. Having done the homework and working it out myself, that was a wonderful feeling so I suppose that was my favourite catch.
Me: Do you get to fish much yourself nowadays?
PH: It’s research as I like to call it, or at least that’s what I tell my wife! I try to do a bit, and we offer free guiding to the guests so if there are people over for their first time I will often fish with them to help get them started.
Me: If the weather turns nasty, is there marks that will still fish?
PH: Well as you know, we are on a peninsula here, so no matter what direction the wind is blowing, it’s always just a short hop over to the other side and you can be fishing again somewhere more sheltered.
Me: When not fishing, what would we find you doing?
PH: Well we have to look after the guests, look after the house and with a 27 acre working farm there is always lots to do and jobs that need doing! We always will have something to do.
Me: And finally Paul, what are your fishing hopes for the rest of 2014?
PH: For us to continue with the good weather and if it stayed settled till the Autumn, that would make for wonderful fishing for the guests. Otherwise just to have good fishing and enjoy life.
Me: Well Paul thanks for giving us some of your time.
PH: no problem at all lads hope to see you down here sometime…