We have to take the good with the bad and that’s exactly the way it was in 2015. A lot of South Westerly wind scuppered many plans of mine and cancelled many days, but at the end of the day we had our biggest fish year to date topped off with our first Irish Record and 50+ Irish Specimen Fish. Things are certainly improving every year, and the more we fish and record the more we hone in on things, I’m looking forward to a great 2016 season.
April was a slow burner with a lot of poor weather, when we did manage to get out we took a few Smooth Hounds, the BullHuss started to show, while Whiting, Grey Gurnard and Dabs were taken inshore. It’s all about temperature and settled weather at the start of the season and we had to wait, there was no doubt about that, but signs of an early start to the season were certainly there.
May took off slowly with a bad week of wind to begin with, when we did manage a trip we took 9 species in the Bay while the first trips South of Wicklow Head produced Huss, few Tope and Specimen Smooth Hound. As the weather settled and we managed to get 7 days out in the Month, we took 50+ Smooth Hounds including Specimens and our very first New Irish Record taken by Garech Murphy. I think everyone hedged their bets and waited for June – July for Hounds but it was very clear they were plentiful in May.
June took off with a bang, specimen Tope and Smooth Hound were taken in the early half of the Month and then a flurry of double figure Hounds were recorded within weeks. We have learned a lot in the last few years and I guess the homework was paying off. Inshore we had Pollock, Ballan Wrasse, Tub gurnard, Black Bream, Pouting, Poorcod, and Codling of 2-3lb. One exceptional Cod was caught between 9 and 10lb we estimated, the fish was tired, photographed and released. BullHuss numbers increased a lot as did Tope and Gurnards.
July began with a week of strong Southerly and SW winds, many days were cancelled until week 2 when we seen Specimen Tope and Hounds with a real increase in numbers of Tope. Near 70 Tope were landed in July including 3 specimens, one of 49lb for Martin Corr. BullHuss numbers increased rapidly, 19 on one day, and Hounds were even more prolific. I recorded about 190 Hounds in July. As a keen angler myself I was delighted with a weather window and a good crew to try for Shark, we steamed off 25Nm fresh mackerel in hand, rubby dubby bags set up, balloons away and we gave it 4 hours as the day turned a bit. We didn’t see the shark but it’s not over yet, we’ll be back.
August seen a big increase in Tope catches with nearly 90 recorded in the Month, 21 in one day, and 2 fine specimens. Smooth Hounds were still around in numbers although the big double figure females had parted. I would normally have expected the best Month for Ray to be May / June however August was best for Homelyn, Thornback and even 1 Blonde Ray. Grey and Tub Gurnard numbers were still high with a few Greys over 1.25lb, close to specimen size of 1.5lb.
September seen only 6 days fished due to weather and 2 weeks off for the World Boat Angling Championships, but when we got out we managed to get fish. Tope were still about and plenty of BullHuss and Gurnards. The Hound numbers dropped as we don’t target them late. I am always conscious of Spurdogs as the season moves into autumn and we landed 2 Specimen Spur early in September. I still wonder how the 2 weeks I missed would have fished on Tope and Spur and even another shark trip. Species were still inshore and our total ran to 31 as the season moved on. Were not a big species venue but when we target them we get them, inshore grounds and banks produce the obvious ones while the offshore wrecks can produce numbers too.
All in all it was an exceptional year and things are improving all the time, we have mastered our Animals, clocked up our species tally, got our Black Bream, Spurdogs, double figure Hounds and our first Irish Record. Next on the list is a Specimen Grey Gurnard, more Homelyn and Blonde Ray and a few more shots at the Shark – Roll on the good weather and BIG thanks to all our customers.