I pulled the lever drag on my avet Sx into feel spool and let my flying collar rig fall towards the sea bed. As it fell my mind wandered to the weekend we were having so far, I remembered how close we had gotten to a pod of basking sharks just outside the mouth of the harbour, we must have spent half an hour watching these majestic creatures.
I smiled as I thought of the fantastic pollock fishing we had, with many fine fish including a few double figure fish, and my headache was testament to the sessions we had in the bar each evening after a long day on the water.
When my weight hit the bottom I snapped out of my trance, the ground here on the ling rocks is tackle hungry and if I didn’t concentrate I could loose my rig in seconds. My buddy Tony had been catching some nice codling on bait, but I was keen to hook into one myself on the lures.
Ever since my first visit to Cork harbour I have had a love affair with soft plastic lures, some would even call it an obsession. For a while I couldn’t go near a tackle shop without splashing the banks plastic on soft plastic.
With pollock I’ll usually come about twenty turns of the handle up before dropping again but when fishing for cod I like to hug the bottom as much as possible in the hope a big nodder will hit my lure. After around a minute my rod suddenly arched down, bending right down to where my reel was clamped to my 6-12 pound class Kenzaki boat rod and it was game on, and instantly I knew this was a good fish.
Excitedly I started to pump the fish from the depths and I could feel the head nodding downwards with a lot of force, that’s why many people give Cod the nickname ‘nodders’ and this particular fish was living to up to that nickname alright. The pollock I had caught over the few days had hit the lure very hard and ran hard to try and escape, but this fish wasn’t moving quickly, instead it was fighting slowly but strongly and I was having a job keeping the drag on my reel in order as I knew this was a fish I wanted on the boat. After a reasonably long fight the fish stared to come into view, I could see it was big but when it broke the surface, I was shocked at how big the head was. I hadn’t really said anything to Tony but he noticed me fighting frantically on my side of the boat and was keeping an eye on proceedings. After a few more big nods of the head I was ready to boat the fish, ignoring the net in my excitement I grabbed the leader and lifted the fish aboard.
As soon as got the cod over the side the twenty five pound fluorocarbon trace snapped sending the fish crashing to the deck, I breathed a massive sigh of relief that it hadn’t happened on the other side of the gunnel and I would have had to watch as the cod went straight back to the murky depths. Tony gave me a congratulatory slap on the back then it was time to admire this beautiful fish. The head was huge, the body was long but quite lean, with a bit of feeding the cod could have easily weighed another five pounds but it hit the scales at just over ten pounds and marked a personal best cod for me.
We had a few more pollock, ling, wrasse and smaller codling but I was grinning from ear to ear, this adrenaline rush is the buzz we fishermen crave and I got a king sized portion and my god how I enjoyed it. The trip back to the harbour seemed to take a few minutes and the long drive home seemed to pass in an instant, Cork so often kind to me didn’t disappoint, in fact this time she outdid herself.