IFD: Pedro Walsh is a skipper of Kinsale charter boat Silver Dawn along with Mick Dennehy. They are two of the most forward thinking skippers in the country and I’m glad to count them as friends. A trip out with lads will always see you catching and their expert advice should always be adhered to. Pedro has a list of PB’s to make anyone jealous with cod to 15.88kg, ling to 28.19kg, albacore tuna 22.34kg, gilthead bream I could go on and on. So now on with the questions….
What were your earliest memories of fishing?
I grew up very close to the Lough in Cork, when i would come home from school I’d just dump the school bag and I’d be gone. I was about seven at the time and I would have a great time catching roach and rudd.
How did your fishing progress from there?
I did a bit of trout fishing on the rivers for a while, then I joined a club who done shore and boat fishing. From there I got to do my first charters and by then I was just hooked on fishing so the speak it was in the blood.
How did you get into boating yourself?
Well I had been doing charters for a long long time, I know Mick from the club and when he got his first boat I started going with him. Then I got a boat and Mick bought his second boat and we were doing plenty of fishing. The time came to change boats again so we decided to go in together and we bought the Rodman. They are built in the North of Spain and they are a fantastic boat that can give us much further range and more comfort.
Can you tell us about the cod fishing over the years?
Well in the heyday we were catching a serious amount of cod, although it has been lacking in the last five or six years. Back then we wouldn’t even look twice at a 14lb fish. There were many twenties and we were getting plenty of them. Mick had one about twelve years ago that was a 38lb fish and my best was from about five years ago and was a 35lber and there were plenty of high twenties. Now we are at the stage were so many of the wrecks are netted it has ruined the fishing but we still come across them though.
You have also had great coalfish during that time too?
We used to get plenty of coalfish too, but it’s the same story as the cod now. My biggest was 28, and we used to love fishing the blue shads for them. You would see them marking well up above the wreck, you’d have the cod on the bottom, the pollock a bit higher up and then the coalies would be up over the wreck. You would come up really fast, as fast as you could, then when you got to about 80 turns you were just stopped dead in your tracks as this thing took it back down to the bottom. They fight much better than pollock and if you got a decent one he could make six or seven runs before you had him up. You would hear the reels singing giving line and then you knew how fast they were!
Can you tell us about the fantastic blue shark fishing you have down there?
Well the blue shark fishing can be very good. There are days when you are going out and having thirty or forty fish. They will vary in size but once you have them on the feed with good dubby you are half way there. If the dubby is good it will bring in lots of sharks and they will there from late June/July into October. We also have had quite a few pollock bitten clean in half so we know there are porbeagles in the area so we will be having a go at them this year too.
Can you tell us about the tuna fishing over the years for albacore?
For the tuna it’s distance and fuel capacity are the main factors, then when we got the bigger boat that was no longer a problem. A friend of ours from Portmagee gave us a lend of his boat and it was a much shorter trip from there. I couldn’t make the first trip as I was away on a piss up. So for the first trip Mick went out with Rob Vaughan.
The two of them went out and I think they had three fish. My first trip out with Mick I think we had 24 fish. They were mostly in the low to mid twenties that time. We have also had days were we trolled all day and didn’t see a fish. Last season was a good one. On the second last trip the lads went out and had 17 fish with Rob getting three specimens. On the last trip I was out and we had four specimen sized fish and we lost about four also. Mick had the best one of the day and it was just a pound short of the Irish record.
They are a great fish and once you get them to the boat they will lead you all around the deck!
You guys also pick up a few stone basse, can you tell us how you fish for them?
We have been getting a few the last few years now. When you are out there and you are drifting just keep your eyes open and watch the water. Any bit of stuff on the water at all and have a good look. It helps to cut the engines and drift up to it or else it could shoot off down or under the boat. I think the last one we had out Mick had it and it was under an old pallet or something like that and there was one under it. It took about twenty five mins to coax your man out but he took it eventually. Another time We had a group out pollock fishing and I just seen a flash in the water. I just flicked the lure out that I had on and it took it and head straight down to the bottom, they are a great fish for there size. They are a member of the grouper family and seemingly when they get to a certain age they head off out and down they go to the shelf where they are in about 1200 feet of water. They can get up to and over the 200lb mark but you can’t get down to them they are so deep.
You have also fished abroad a fair bit, what has that been like?
Well I’ve fished in Canada and I have fished in Africa. I have also fished the Great Barrier reef in Australia, I’ve been all over the place I suppose. I enjoyed fishing in Canada for the halibut and the salmon, also the inshore fishing in the Gambia where we had many barracuda up to 50lb and red snapper to good sizes.
What are your hopes for 2015?
Well I think there will be a lot of bookings for blue shark as they have brought in length based specimen claims this year. All along most people wouldn’t claim one as you would have had to brought it in to land to weigh it and I wouldn’t do that just to claim a specimen. But this year I’ll be doing that and I hope it will be good for business for all the charter skippers out there.
Well thanks as always Pedro and looking forward to our next trip down to yourself and Mick
Looking forward to it lads talk soon