IFD: Many thanks to Paul Twomey and his son Cian for sending in this report about recently catching one of the rarest Irish specimens, Brill.
Myself and my eldest son Cian headed out at 2.00pm aboard our boat Cianfisher, called after himself. It is a quicksilver 640 and our intention was to fish the ray grounds as recent reports indicated good fishing. I had been out the previous day getting mackerel as they are a bit thin on the ground at this time of the year.
Our first stop we dropped anchor at 55ft and put out three lines for the rays and one for fresh mackeral. We were being hit left and right by whiting, and had a box load before long. At this stage Cian was getting bored so we moved to another spot and increased our hook sizes to 2/0 to stop smaller fish from taking the baits. We also increased our bait size.
Anchored at 67ft we cast out the lines again with the three for the rays consisting of a spreader bar , a one up too down on booms to spread them out and finally a running ledger. The mackerel rod consisted of mustad shrimp rigs *5.
We were tipping away with the odd mackeral, whiting, dab and grey gurnards until around an hour after low tide, which was at quarter past four. The action had started to kick in. At this stage the boat had swung into the correct position for the tide on the flood and the action started. First up was a small tap on my Daiwa uptide rod and after adjusting the drag lever on my Avet reel I poised to strike. It felt like a ray but fought like a cod so as it eventually came to the surface I noticed its size. Thinking it was a fine size plaice I shouted for the net and as with any well prepared crew, Cian had it over the side ready to seal the deal. It was only when we had it onboard did I realise that it wasn’t a plaice but a brill. I had caught brill before but nothing had even come close to the size that this fella was so we stored him in the live bait well and as I sat down to a well deserved coffee from the quicksilver 640 inboard gas cooker.
Cian got stuck into a fine blonde ray which are suppose to be found in a very restricted area in the inner harbour but this was our third blonde to the boat this year out on these marks so happy days.
We had friends fishing nearby that wanted to see what the shouting and roaring was all about so when they saw the brill they checked to see what the specimen weight was on the internet and checked with their scales what it was. It came in at 4lb 4 ounces but theirs wasn’t calibrated so we decided to get it weighed on land later on.
They lads were delighted for us and soon they were saying their goodbye’s .They were no more than 30ft away when another rod doubled over and Cian started to reel in but the fish was stripping line at the same pace eventually he made ground and landed a fine size thornback ray.
We stayed for another hour until the fishing started to slacken off and headed in .As we passed by the Crosshaven lifeboat station I noticed a boat owned by a local tackle dealer and they had a certified scales on board so we anchored at the lifeboat station where the lads came ashore and did an official weigh in. The brill came in at 4Lbs 8 ounces well above the specimen weight of 3.75lb .We said our goodbyes and I told Dan I would call for his signature for the claim form.