2016 started off the same as any other year, I always put 3 species on my hit list and this year I chose 1)undulate ray 2)twaite shad and 3)gilthead bream. So after 4 years or so of chasing a undulate ray I was starting to think I would never catch one, but not being one to give up I booked into the tag a ray competition in tralee bay and headed down with John Marshall, our destination was fenit to stay with good friends of ours Eugene and Susan Farrelly two very nice people who couldn’t make you feel more welcome.
But on the way we stopped off at one of the marks we were thinking of fishing the next day,our rods we only in the water when john hooked into a nice thornback ray then my rod went and I felt a bit of weight after a minute or so of reeling I realised it wasn’t my undulate but a dogfish. My next cast was a bit better it wasn’t a doggy but a nice little thorny, so after a hour or so of fishing we finished with a few thornys and a load of dogs which had me feeling confident for the weekend.
The next morning myself and Andy boyce got up nice and early and checked in for the competition at the West End (a great little bar)and off we went to start our ray hunt. Myself and boycie set up next to each waited till 10am and off we went.
My first cast was only in when my rod knocked a bit but nothing came of it ,that’s when i seen Boycie reeling in a lovely painted ray.
We fished on for a few more hours with no ray between us that was until I heard my ratchet go a bit and and my line head off down the bay, so I set the hook and it was game on I knew I had a ray but what species was it? After what felt like an age I finally got the fish in and to my delight it was a lovely marked undulate ray. Happy as a pig in sh@t was a understatement. I was suppose to fish the second day of the competition but the west end had other ideas on the Saturday night but that’s a different story.
So next up was twaite shad I have had a few bad trips to St Mullins over the last 2 years which always resulted in me blanking. So about a week after the tag a ray comp, myself the misses and the kids headed off to St mullins in search of the shad. When we got there it was a beautiful sunny day not many people fishing so I felt a little confident my 1st cast resulted in a take and after a few seconds I could see I hooked a shad but as quick as I hooked him(or her) it was gone,so I had a few more casts in the same spot but nothing , so I headed on up the river where i bumped into a few of the lads Gary Lowe and Evan McGovern who also had no fish at this point,so in beside the lads I went and a few casts in I hooked another but yet again I couldn’t land it, this happened 6 more times before i finally landed my first ever shad .
At this stage Gary lowe must of been very desperate to catch anything because he decide to hook my wife in the head with a tazzy we all had a good little chuckle about that, luckily it was just the hair and there was no harm done.
It wasn’t till I got home did i get to see the lovely picture taken by my wife of my little fella casting a lure by himself which he swore he had a fish on but it just got off (like father like son 😂😂)anyway that was all the action from my short shad trip.
And now we come to the gilt heads and after been waffling on about them for years but never catching one it was time to actually fish for them,so with the high pressure over Ireland I taught there would be a good chance so a quick phone call later to Boycie we had a plan in place.
5am the next morning we were up and on the road.we arrived at our location around 7am ish setup 2 rods each and got to hoping,about 10 minutes into the session my rod buckled over and the ratchet went I knew it had to be a bass or bream and sure enough there it was on the beach my 1st ever gilthead bream happy was a understatement.
So after a few pics back he went and back in the water my rod went it wasn’t long before my rod went again but this time it was a bass about 2lb. That was the one and only bream of the day but I didn’t mind at all because the bass kept me busy and i was just after finishing my target species list .I finished up that day on 6 bass biggest 2.5lb and 1 gilthead bream pictured below.
So that’s my short story of my fishing season so far which I have enjoyed every minute of and now my target for the rest of the year is a specimen gilthead it may never happen but I’ll give it a bash.