IFD: Kit Dunne, owner and skipper of Wicklow Boat Charters gives us a run down on 2017, yet another year Kit has raised the bar with his fishing achievements as WBC goes from strength to strength…
If I were to Sum up 2017 in a few Key points;
Tope fishing improved with record number of Specimens, 11 recorded.
Smooth-Hounds still very prolific with 600+ caught, and 60+ Specimens.
Spurdog Specimen numbers increased again this year to 36 so far.
First Irish Specimen Black Bream and Garfish recorded for us.
Shark Fishing – Great results, landed sharks 9 out of 10 trips, a 90% success rate.
Blue Shark & Porbeagle Shark landed, averaging 4 sharks per trip.
1 Specimen weight Blue Shark caught, 100lb, 1.88Metre long.
March started with a red letter day on Spurdogs, with 15 of 20 fish caught being of Irish Specimen size. Gordon Darker and I recorded our 3 specimen Spurdog while Pat Swan managed the biggest that day at 17.2lb. This is the earliest we’ve managed to get out deep for Spur and we plan an even earlier start in 2018. A total of 24 Specimen Spur were recorded this Month, while Bullhuss were there in numbers and Thornback Ray began to show. Weather was a killer though.
April started with more poor weather and cancelled days, however, when we did manage to get out deep in neap tides we got plenty of Spur and Huss. Another 12 Specimen Spur were recorded this Month and a total of 79 Huss, 25 on one day alone, plus a few Tope and Thornback Ray. Inshore Whiting, Grey Gurnard, dogs and Dabs were taken. On the 5th of April Peter Bolger recorded the biggest Spur of the season at 17.7lb.
May saw the start of the Smooth-Hound fishing with a few anglers testing the crab out, 20 were landed including few of specimen size, while Tope numbers increased considerably. Bullhuss, Gurnard and Rays all increased in numbers while the weather seemed to get worse, 50% of our days were cancelled. I do believe if we fished hard for Hounds, as we do in June we would have got plenty.
June saw more settled weather and as such more trips. Tope, Huss, Hound and Ray numbers all increased, while the Black Bream and Specimen Smooth-Hounds came in. 37 Specimen Hounds were recorded while most groups fished crab, and our first Irish Specimen Black Bream of 2.3lb was landed by Brendan Adams. Inshore we had numbers of Black Bream, Pollock, Ballan, Tub, Pouting, Poor-cod, and Codling on those big tides. I do believe we missed out on a number of Big Tope this Month while we all targeted Hounds, I guess we cant do everything at once.
July saw a breakthrough in Specimen Tope with 10 recorded in the Month, 5 recorded in the first week, plus numerous near misses, including many 39lb fish. The total landed was 73 Tope with no steady supply of fresh mackerel. Stephen Buckley had a great day with 2 Specimen Tope, one of 48lb, while Evan McGovern took full advantage of his day landing a Specimen Tope & Smooth-Hound.
Specimen Hounds continued with 23 recorded while Black Bream, Huss, Ray, Grey and Tub Gurnards were consistently caught again. Weather was kind to us this Month, as were the fish.
August seen the Tope, Huss and Hound catches continue with one record day of 20 Tope caught & released. The big double figure females Hounds had parted and the Ray were quiet while inshore fishing grew with plenty of Dab, Whiting, Plaice and even a Red Mullet for Gary Blake. Grey Gurnard were common out deep and Tub Gurnard numbers increased inshore. We started our Shark season in mid August with just 2 trips we boated 12 Blues and our first ever Porbeagle was taken by Shane Devine.
September saw the start of late Spurdogs with a few small fish landed, Tope, Huss, Hounds and even Ray still showed while the weather deteriorated and cost us many days. Species were still inshore and our total ran to 37 as the season moved on. Our Shark fishing continued to build with a total of 21 this Month for 5 trips.
We had our record number of Porgies at 4 one day, 3 taken by David Quirke, while our biggest Blue Shark of just under 1.9M, estimated 100lb was taken by Daniel O’ Kelly. Most Shark trips this Month were less than 20Nm offshore, I do think we need to focus more on the Celtic deeps next year at 30Nm off.
October brought some poor weather; with only a few trips made we still managed a few Spurdog, whiting and Huss, 1 Tope and a flurry of Grey Gurnards out deep. The Shark fishing slowed a lot, with only 1 day and 2 halves we managed 2 Blues and 1 Porbeagle in very poor conditions. Was it getting late or did the 2 storms bring an end to it ? Who knows, we’re still getting to grips with the Sharks. The main target for 2018 is to record the illusive length based Specimen Shark, it’s not over yet.
November brought more success with Spurdogs, Huss and the Specimen Spur. Mike Sherwood’s crew had a cracking day with 25-30 Spurdog boated including a few Specimen fish. Weather put a stop to many planned days but the Huss were always there while the Spur dipped in and out, as they do ! We didn’t bother much with inshore fishing, perhaps next year we might target the Winter Codling & Whiting.
Things are still improving every year, and with more homework done on Spurdog, Black Bream, Blues and Porgies, I’m looking forward to a great 2018 season. The Diary is now open and bookings are coming in fast. Our Shark fishing will be from mid August till end October. Customer Competitions begin Jan 1st so don’t forget to have your fish recorded by the skipper.
BIG thanks to all our customers for their support, contributions and catches in 2017. I hope to see you at the Swords Angling Show, Feb 19th & 20th We’ll be at stand H2, and at the Irish Specimen Fish Awards ceremony Sat 19th Feb, till late.