This year started out a bit late for us here @ Blue Shark Angling in Galway. With the boat in the yard longer than expected we missed basically all of our spring white fish season.
This part of the season usually kicks off around Valentine’s Day and ends around the end of March. This sometimes produces large shoals of cod, coalie, pollock, ling and whiting in the bay and provides a great start to our season, but not this year unfortunately.
We finally got started in early May and had a nice run of spurdogs as well as dogs and plenty of huss in the mix. We are lucky to get 2 runs of spurs usually from April to June and September to November. Always a good chance of a specimen. We also had some nice tope to add to it.
June was a mixed bag with anglers taking their chances with the weather, plenty of gurnards, flats and wrasse taken on days like these and, to be honest, the mixed fishing has been very good this year.
At the end of June we turned our attention to our shark season. Our first trip saw us get 2 porgies and 2 blues. The porgies were a surprise to say the least as we only had 2 for the full season last year.
Over the July bank holiday weekend we ended up with 4 decent porgies to about 100lb and 6 good blues to over 120lb. This is a weekend I will never forget as it was to set the tone for a porbeagle bonanza. I think in July we had a porgie on every trip.
Two days stand out in particular. I had a group of four anglers from Northern Ireland out in mid July and we set off as normal but what was to emerge that day was amazing.
We had set up our drift and got the rubby dubby and rods out. BANG, only five minutes into drifting we had our first fish on, a porgie, he dropped the hook minutes later. Then BANG again, another porgie and another reel went screaming off, a double hook up. Crew man Paddy (aka porbeagle guru) and I could not believe it.
The line crossed many times and we managed to land, tag and release one after 45 minutes of nail biting tension. He was 100lb+. We then had a second double hook ups of beagles and a third fish which was a nice blue. Both these porgies seemed very heavy and after about a half an hour we saw the first one, A MONSTER. But unfortunately, he did a quick roll and severed the mainline with his tail. The second fish was still holding deep and eventually we got him on board. He was a fine porgie around 150lb and we had one very happy but sore angler. We wound up getting another porgie, just a pup, which is a great sight for the future. We had an amazing day with 3 porgies and a pup around 30lbs and a blue around 80lbs.
WHAT A DAY.
This season has been one to truly remember for my crew. I have another porgie tale to tell though its not perhaps as exciting but still one worth telling. I had a group from Dundalk for the 3 days of the August Bank Holiday. Aboard they came gear in tow and we set out for the shark grounds. We steamed for about an hour including a stop for bait.
I chose a mark a little bit further inshore from our usual blue haunt because of weather conditions. It was to be a very slow day, cold one too.
All things seemed bleak until I had a reel make a gentle click and I looked at John Keogh, the angler in question, he stood up and next thing the reel started peeling off line and not to be stopped we managed to get all the gear and dubby in and set off chasing the fish.
Paddy and I thought it may have been tuna but we weren’t sure. It was about 45 minutes before we caught a glimpse of what was to be a fish of a lifetime for John. A huge lump of a porbeagle, he decided he didn’t like the look of us and stayed deep with constant pressure for another hour. We finally managed to get the fish onboard, tagged and released. A savage fish of 150/200lbs. Truly a day to remember after such a slow start and a great feeling personally to have been involved to put John on his monster porgie.
All in all we have had a very good season for general mixed species and sharks alike but the amount of porbeagles around astonished us all. We had well in excess of 20 on the boat with close to that many lost.
This gives me great hope that Galway might be coming back to being the porgie capital that it would have been when the shark competitions were held here in the 70’s and 80’s. It would be great to see that buzz of overseas and local anglers coming to do battle with these fantastic predators.
The blues were a bit slower this year than other years but the average size was much better. We have seen more fish over the 100lbs this year than any other. We are lucky to have good blue fishing into November weather permitting of course. I could say there will be a better chance of getting sharks into November than this summer with August and September being disastrous with so many cancellations due to bad weather.
With regard to general angling its been a good year for us also with our species count going up and this is down to us doing so much searching for new ground and targeting new species although a Galway Bay skate is still eluding us. Next year!!!
If you wish to make a trip down to us at any stage do not hesistate to get in contact and we will do our best to accomadate you, we have great angling to offer in galway both shore and boat and if you need advise in any way give me a call, we can also provide accomadation in a lovely b&b in Spiddal village where there there is great pubs, restaraunts, and live music.
Blue Shark Angling Galway.