The weather forecast for the days leading up to it was watched closely by all participants and the news that ‘Nationwide’ would be filming for RTE made it all the more exciting. Warm and overcast weather is what we were all praying for and rumours of a heatwave on the Sunday had everyone in high spirits. The price of entry on the charter boats was €70 and €30 for the two days on the shore.
The registration was held again at the West End hotel and restaurant in Fenit where Brian took care of all the anglers with teas and coffee. Talk moved to action plans and where to fish it seemed the shore anglers were split into two camps on either side of the bay while some were thinking outside the box and keeping their marks very secret. We opted for a beach only 25 mins away so we could be open to change if the ray didn’t play ball. On arriving at our venue we realised that the boats had the same idea and we ended up fishing in close proximity to each other.
Unfortunately with the big spring tide we began to haul weed every cast and it became very frustrating. Luckily slack water at low water meant we could finally have a go in peace away from the dreaded weed. Andy McCallion all the way from Coleraine was first off the mark with a fine Undulate Ray of 87cm only 3cm away from a specimen fish.
We obviously were not alone as it seemed most of us had had the same idea. Again big baits were sent skyward and hopes were high. Pluck Pluck Pluck first cast and the tip was moving so was Shane McMahons hopes were high school hame lifted in lots of weight and no fight could it be a ray in the tide? Alas no a giant spider crab! My tip kept up its occasional pull and I feared another spider crab filled day. I lifted in and immediately had a good solid pull back followed closely by a dash towards me and most importantly a good bit of weight 9lb 10oz to be exact a fine Undulate Ray. Dogfish and spider crab followed along with the odd greedy flounder.
Day 2 was a much more laid back affair with the wind gone pure East and the weed seemingly doubled from the day before. I did manage a small stingray of about 12lb for 2nd on the day and it was enough to claim the overall prize for the 2nd time in 3 years. All topped off by having the biggest fish of the weekend and the biggest hangover also……