Irish tuna fishing with Mike Dennehy

Mike Dennehy is one of Ireland’s most innovative charter skippers. For the last few years he is the only charter skipper to consistantly catch albacore tuna off the coast of Ireland. Mike is fishing areas never fished before by any angler, in places up to now only commercial fishing boats have fished. 

At the right times of year it is a haven for whale species, with pilot, fin and even blue whales because of the massive shoals of baitfish. In 2013 there was even a sighting of the extremely rare True’s beaked whales from the RV Celtic Mist research vessel, one of the rarest species on the planet with only two confirmed sightings since 1995.

And in the Autumn when the weather allows Mike is out there, pushing the boundaries of Irish sport fishing, and by the time he is done god only knows what he may discover. 

Over to Mike….

Mike Dennehy with 33lb albacore

Mike Dennehy with 33lb albacore

The main question I get asked by anglers about albacore tuna in Ireland is how far offshore

You have to travel to be in with a realistic chance of catching fish.

The Silver Dawn

The Silver Dawn

The tuna are caught  normally near the “shelf” ie the drop off  from the the 200 to 300 metre contour  into the 600+ metre deep contour of the porcupine seabight

A popper caught fish for Pedro

A popper caught fish for Pedro

This area is west  of cork and Kerry primarily, ranging  FROM  60 nautical miles offshore

Some years like this year the concentrations of baitfish are 80 to 100 nautical miles offshore

This area holds underwater seamounts and underwater canyons.

The commercial fishermen catch albacore tuna  Thunnus alalunga  , Bluefin tuna  thunnus thynnus  , and swordfish  Xiphias gladius   in this area.

Bluefin tuna on the sounder at 140m

Bluefin tuna at 140m

Very rarely do albacore venture into shallower water, however  historically some have been taken in salmon nets in places such as Brandon and kinsale

This area of the “shelf” can be teeming with life , birds dolphins  whales etc.  indeed even blue whales have been  documented there recently !!!  and usually when we find whales we also find tuna.

Fin whale

Fin whale

Albacore are not huge fish so balanced light to medium tackle is all that’s required

12/20 or  20/30 lb class gear   , we normally surface troll a variety of lures using a spread of  8 rods

Tuna feathers , plugs , etc  all catch these delicious fish that typically weigh from 8 – 12 kg, however

Zuker zf   tuna feathers  and rapala x rap magnum 20 and 30.s have proven to be deadly with us.

tuna 2


We like to fish light and use braided spectra lines and fluorocarbon leaders with ball bearing swivels to prevent line twist.

This 13kg fish took a zuker zf tuna feather for Rob Vaughan

This 13kg fish took a zuker zf tuna feather for Rob Vaughan

We have taken them to 20kg on rod  and line  and I know of commercially taken fish to near 40kg.

Mike with a 20kg tuna

Mike with a 20kg tuna

Mike with a fish just shy of the Irish record

Mike with a fish just shy of the Irish record

This fishery is very much weather dependent and normally begins in early august

And lasts till late  September.

tight lines

Mike Dennehy

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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