IFD: Henry Kelly is a very recognizable face from the Irish fishing scene. One of the top Dublin shore anglers and bait collectors, Henry is equally at home in his second love of boat angling. Henry has recently got into kayak fishing so we will be looking forward to future reports on how he is getting on there. So now over the Henry…
What were your earliest fishing experiences?
I was about thirteen years old, we used to use handlines on the canal fishing for perch or roach. We would fish at night for them with torches, we used worms from the back garden and we even caught them on bacon, there were lots of fish back then. I decided I had to get myself a fishing rod, so I got a cheap rod from Rory’s tackle shop in Templebar. I started fishing for roach and whatever else came along mostly small fish though.
How did the sea fishing start off for you?
I was doing a FAS course in Ringsend and they done fishing trips on a boat in Dublin bay. The two guys running the course were fishing mad and they would also take us down to Courtown to fish the beaches around there, I was just hooked and was always looking to get back down.
After that where did you fish in those early fishing sessions?
Well I was only learning how to fish, and I was only learning to drive at the same time as I was a late starter with the driving! Once I got my licence I was headin down around Courtown as often as I could and fishing places like Ballinoulart. Once on one of the early sessions I caught two fish and I didn’t even know what they were! Another time I fished there I had two monster smoothies of nearly 15lb and the other 10lb. At that time I had no idea how special that was, I was more impressed I caught sharks! I fished there a lot until the mussell beds were dredged. After that I met a friend from Waterford, Clive Power. Clive is a great angler and has been fishing the Copper coast since he was a kid, and he has been very good to me showing me some of the marks.
Where are your favourite places in Ireland to fish?
I love fishing in Waterford and I also love the fishing in Kerry. I make a few trips a year to Kerry and I love fishing the Waterford estuary or Youghal or any of those places, it’s just excellent fishing.
Can you tell us about your fishing in Kerry?
Again I have been very fortunate to meet John Joe Sheehan and Himself and his wife Norma have been very good to me and put me up anytime that I’m down. John takes me to the best marks on the best tides. On my very first time down there I caught a stringray and I was delighted. They have shown me great hospitality that I really appreciate and we have become firm friends. I also got hooked on the lure fishing for bass down there and John introduced me to people like Aidan O’ Sullivan and Martin McGowan and I absolutely love the lure fishing.
You also enjoy boat fishing can you tell us about that?
I have known some people that when they take up boat fishing they stop shore fishing but not me, I love them both. I have fished from Wicklow, Kilmore quay and Union Hall and there is nothing like it. Whether it’s fishing with bait or gilling or fishing with shads, you never know what is going to come out next.
You also do bait collecting Henry so how did you get into that?
Well as you know, fishing can be quite expensive, I was buying bait so bait collecting seemed to be the way to go. Funnily enough, I actually enjoy bait collecting almost as much as the fishing! Originally a few lads brought me out and showed me some spots, and the first time I ever went by myself I made a balls of it, but I learned from my mistakes and now I have my tyres in the right places and I now know when to leave it and when to get out there.
You have purchased a kayak and are planning to use that a lot in the new year, where are you planning to fish?
There are just so many places, I have never fished down the west of Galway or Mayo so I would like to try that. I’d like to get to know the Cork harbour area a bit better because of it’s excellent fishing. I’ll also be doing a fair bit for bass along the Copper coast in Waterford so there are so many places and I’m looking forward to trying them all. The kayak will open up lots of opportunities for me.
Where else in the world would you like to fish?
Well Florida would be top of my list, I have already been there just not fishing, so I’d like to return sometime. Anywhere like that Florida or Mexico it would be great to fish in that climate and hopefully get a sailfish or a tarpon!
What catch gave you the most happiness at the time?
It would have to the day in Union Hall where I had a 10lb cod and a ling of 19lb. I caught them both while shad fishing. The weather was perfect and the sea was like a pond, everything about that day just seemed perfect. I have been back down since but a lot of the wrecks have been netted. I really enjoyed that day.
What fish would you most like to catch in 2015?
That’s an easy one! I’d love to catch bass over 10lb, there are plenty of them out there so I just have to find one with my name on it! Whether it’s from the kayak or the shore I’m not too fussy as long as I get one.
Well Henry thanks for talking to us and hope you have a great 2015
You too Paddy talk soon mate