Well 2015 has been an eventful year. Before I start I would like to thank everyone who has helped make it what it was. Particularly the skippers we are lucky enough to get to fish with and the contributors of excellent articles to everyone who has enjoyed reading them. I hope we are doing a good job if not please let us know by email where we can improve.
At the start of the year I had big plans but as with all fishing, it was a case of which would materialize and which would not.
For the first half of the year we wanted to do some coarse sessions but it wasn’t to be as we could barely get out due to work and family commitments till June.
My first real trip of the year was over to fish with Andrew Alsop in Wales. From when I had done an interview with Andrew I had asked him If I could fish for Porbeagles with him and he said no problem. I had first heard of Andrew in the early 2000’s and seeing his porgie pics was something I thought would never happen to me. For this trip Declan Kilgannon was supposed to come too but due to a last minute family commitment he could not go so leaving Rosslare I was on my own.
When I arrived I was picked up by Trish Hopkins and kindly taken to the accomadation and Andrew arrived in the evening after a days fishing. Myself and Andrew went out for an Indian and I was glued to my seat listening to his advice for the following day and his views on fishing.
I barely slept that night and banged at his bedroom door at the time he had told me to. It was now or never and as we jumped into his 4×4 I just hoped I would see my first porgie.
We made it to the far off mark in no time and I shouldn’t have doubted, I had my first porbeagle on after only five minutes chumming.
We released the fish and within ten minutes the closest rod was off again. This time the fight was to last an hour as a fish of 150lb put me through my paces as Andrew gave instructions throughout. To see this one on the deck was much more impressive and it was the one I had come over for.
With the fish released it was time for something to eat and as Andrew sat on the deck about to tuck into a yoghurt and me a crisp roll, the same rod went off again. I had been locked into fish since we first arrived and this one was to put me through some punishment. To hear Andrew say “I think you’ve got a biggiee Paddy” kept me going. The fight lasted over an hour and a half and I was fucked when it was finally beat. As Andrew went to haul it aboard I tried to help but with lactic acid in my arms and legs I dont think I helped much.
Before me was a 210lb porbeagle and a long held ambition had been achieved. I was in a state of shock that it had all happened so quick, an angling dream come true.
Returning to Ireland I was still on a high and had a few trips to look forward to with our friend and mentor Kit Dunne. Kit is one of Ireland’s top competitive boat anglers and the main man on the East coast.
So it was with high hopes Aidan, myself and Ross set out for a day targeting tope and hounds and it was a day to remember with fish of 12.5lb for Ross, 12.4 for Aidan and 11.8 for myself. Double figure hounds are very sought after fish in Ireland so we were all glad to get new PB’s.
The next trip was to see me and Henry Kelly out again with Kit. We had Tope and smoothies and it turned out to be a great day with the biggest tope of the day being a specimen.
Aidan had been out putting in the hours for some shore tope and got one on a fine June night on the East coast.
The year was now ticking along, and it was soon time to look South to fishing out of Kinsale with Mike Dennehy and Pedro Walsh of the Silver Dawn. Mike and Pedro are two of the most forward thinking skippers we have in this country and have had a historic year themselves.
As the summer went on it was coming to tuna season. Having being given the opportunity the previous two years and had to miss trips due to work I was determined to make this year happen. It was with great excitement I got the call from Mike telling me it was on and I was on the long drive South West again.
Mike and Pedro have pushed the albacore bar up higher every year since they first started catching them, so we all knew we were in good hands as we assembled in the harbour side pub. We settled in for some sleep before setting off in darkness in search of our quarry.
Pedro Walsh was first up with an albacore to christen the trip. Although Pedro is used to much bigger examples I watched in awe as the first albacore I had ever seen came aboard. Next up was Rob Vaughan which he made light work of and the second tuna was boated.
Over the next few hours we caught several more including the first ones ever for myself and Sydney kennedy. It was an ectstatic moment holding mine for a pic as it beat like a kango hammer.
After this trip anything else was going to be a bonus, but it was now mid September and we were hitting the road again this time to Donegal in NW Ireland for more tuna fishing. The lads picked me up from Citywest shopping centre for the drive up. We were going to be trolling lures for hopefully more tuna with European bluefin record holder Adrian Molloy to see what would turn up. Adrian’s reputation as a trailblazer for tuna is now legendary. Present were Mike Dennehy, Rob Vaughan, Gary Farrell and myself.
After seeing multiple bait balls and many tuna thrashing the surface we were completely on edge. It was frustrating to get so close and nothing to happen and we had many heart stopping moments.
It was after midday and we weren’t seeing much activity now. We were just trolling along and talking when one of the outriggers popped and holy shit it was fish on. My first bluefin had taken the lure and was now proceeding to empty the reel. I’d love to say I enjoyed the fight but I was glad when it was all over. To see the fish at the side of the boat being released was a relief and despite more trolling we had no more fish that day.
It had already been a cracking year, so with early November approaching, the weather gods smiled on us as myself and Angling Times journalist Martin Bowler were on our way to Donegal. Martin has been at the forefront of British angling for many years and is a record holder in several species.
To cut a long story short Martin got one within less than two hours of being there, and it turned out to be his biggest fish ever which is saying something as he has fished around the world. Adrian could not have worked harder to put us on the fish as he does for all his anglers even I managed to get my second.
From that magic trip in early Nov to now the weather has been turbulent to say the least so no more fishing was done. The year had far surpassed my expectations and already plans are in the pipeline for 2016.
We hope you all enjoyed your fishing in 2015 and happy New Year
Roll on 2016