This was always gonna be a strange trip. I was on my way North West to fish with tuna legend Adrian Molloy once again.
For this trip I was accompanied by none other than Martin Bowler, one of the UK’s top big fish anglers. Martin had given me an interview for this website when we first started and we have kept in touch ever since.
The journey passed quick enough and we were soon getting a feed in Mellies in Killybegs, before heading on to our destination Kilcar.
Arriving in Kilcar we checken into http://www.dunulunhouse.com where we were met by our hosts Gerry and Joanie. Dun Ulun is a fantastic place to stay offering quality rooms with bed and breakfast or self catering whatever you prefer. We settled in for the night and tried to get some sleep.
The following morning we made the short drive to the pier and soon we were off heading out, full of expectation. It was unseasonally good weather but the sea had still not calmed from previous blows. When we rounded the protection of the harbour and the next few headlands we were met by the Atlantic which had yet to calm after previous blows.
Adrian was still confident and with Connor Mckiverigan keeping watch, we headed off to some specks on the horizon that after another five minutes could be recognized as gannets and kittiwakes.
Adrian’s experience was palpable as he cruised us up to our first feeding frenzy of the trip. Gannets took turns in incising into the ocean and straight into the herded baitfish. Kittiwakes danced on the surface and a minke whale took it’s turn to decimate the bait. There were many piss your pants moments as we watched tuna slashing at the surface driving the bait up, each moment feeling the lure was going to be engulfed but teasingly turning away at the last minute.
It was 9.40am when Martin’s tuna hit. We had that magical moment in between an outrigger popping and the line starting to piss from the reel, just enough time for reality to kick in.
Martin struck and was soon locking horns with a devil of the deep. This fish was content to punish Martin as it stayed in topwater and made continuous charges towards the boat which saw Martin having to gain line at a furious pace just to keep in contact.
After multiple times where we thought the fish was done, it would empty the reel once again and Martin stayed on top of it at all times before finally he had it subdued. At the side of the boat we took a measurement of approx 93″ which Adrian estimated at 450lb.
We kept going for the day chasing bait balls and seeing lots of action but despite getting a few hits no more hookups.
That night we went out to dinner and a few beers in Killybegs and were ready to be at the boat again first thing in the morning.
This day could not have been anymore different, and although we had flattening seas, we just could not find any life, with not a bird, seal or whale to be seen, Adrian used his considerable experience to try and track them down, but sometimes you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
At about three o clock all hell broke loose as Connor starting shouting tuna. A large fish had just went airborne out of the water, but although smashing the lures it didn’t connect. We kept at it but no more fish for the day.
We went out for dinner that night again as Adrian hatched a plan for the following day. First light saw us back at the pier and the final day of the trip. Connor couldn’t make it today so Michael McVeigh who is one of Ireland’s top skippers came down to lend a hand.
It didn’t take long for Adrian to locate the fish, though for the first two baitballs we were just a few minutes behind them, as the tuna decimated the bait. Although it is so tempting to speed up to them, if you do it will be counter productive as you scatter the fish.
The day went on with many exciting scenes as time and again Adrian put us over more fish, and despite a few strikes no hook ups.
Michael put it best when he said after you check your tackle and lures for the fiftieth time you start getting superstitious and start asking god….. am I not leading a good life?!!
The day rolled on and with no more hook ups, the time was ticking out. As anyone who knows me I’m quite a heavy smoker, and as we were sitting there Martin said give me one of those John player blue just for luck. And as we sat there smoking Adrian came from the wheelhouse just as one of the rods tore off as if it was scripted.
It peeled line from the reel as I got ready for it to slow down and gain something back. I would love to say I enjoyed the fight but I didn’t, and after many strong runs and me knackered it was finally at the side of the boat. I was elated with my bluefin which was est at 350/400lb.
We released the fish just as the light was going and headed back for shore. It was a magical moment and I could tell Adrian had been really determined to secure me my fish as he does for every angler that steps aboard.
It is a privilige to fish with such an angling icon and we have already booked in again for next year.
I dropped Martin back to the airport after stopping for a drive through burger in Cavan, and all too soon it was back to normality…..