This was the clubs first ever visit to this venue to fish on board “Caitlin Marie”, with skipper Paul McGonagle. 6 members and 2 guests took part.
Martin Buchanan (guest)
Stephen McCrindle (guest)
We set out early (06.30) for the journey from Belfast as it was a 140 mile drive to the venue, on some unfamiliar roads. Bill Bannon led the way there as he had fished the venue previously. Bill obviously had a previous life as a rally driver judging by the difficulty Alan Buchanan had in following him through some pretty narrow roads, but we arrived safe and sound. We were met with blue skies, but a stiff westerly breeze was kicking up the waves out to sea as we left the harbour.
First job in hand was to gather enough mackerel for our bait requirements, and after trying a couple of marks, Paul had us on a shoal of good sized fish, which in no time at all, filled the bait box.
We then ventured out of the shelter of nearby islands to the open sea, where a heavy rolling swell made life a tad uncomfortable. We stopped after a few miles and tried our first drift on some broken ground where we hoped to pick up some Pollock, ling and cod. First to show were some small ling which seemed unusually plentiful on this first mark, we took maybe 10 or so mixed in with some Pollock and coalfish in the 1-3 lb range. After 45 minutes or so, Skipper Paul suggested a move to a more sheltered mark behind some nearby islands until the tide turned and made the sea conditions more comfortable.
On advice from Paul, we tackled up with Pollock gear consisting of baited Hokie lures in various sizes and colours, and flowing traces armed with sidewinders or red-gills. Soon the rods were arching over as Pollock and small coalies smashed into the lures. Fishing here was pretty much non-stop as everyone took fish on whatever was dropped down. Gerard Girvan caught the only pouting of the day on this mark, alongside some decent sized Pollock. The biggest fish at this point was taken by Alan Buchanan, who pulled in a nice Pollock of 6lb 6oz on a dark red eddystone eel, fished flying collar style, and baited with a thin mackerel strip.
After on hour or so, Paul suggested that we once again head out to the open sea, as the tide had now turned, and the sea was more settled. Sure enough, we were now able to push out a bit further than before, to a mark where we hoped to encounter some better fish. There was still a bit of a roll in the sea, but it was definitely more comfortable this time round. A highlight of the outing was the appearance of a pod of common dolphins, which joined us when heading out to sea. It would have been worth the money just for the experience of seeing these friendly creatures in their natural habitat.
First into a decent fish on this ground was Bill Bannon, who soon had a nice Pollock of 5lb 12 oz to add to his bag. A few codling showed up, for Dennis Stevens and Alan Buchanan, best of which was a plump 4lb 6oz fish for Alan. Guest angler Stephen McCrindle had his eyes on a bigger prize here, setting up his gear for a blue shark, with a strong wire trace and whole mackerel bait, suspended on a balloon float. Unfortunately on this occasion, no blues showed, but fair play to him for his optimism, it would have been nice to have seen one landed.
Best fish of the day fell to Dennis Stevens, who after a good tussle, landed a very nice ling, which pulled the scales to 11lb 11oz, and won him the days biggest fish pool. This was Dennis’s biggest ever fish, and the biggest ling the club has seen for many a year.
We made our last move of the day to a clean ground mark, where Paul promised some action with thornback rays, and the possibility of a turbot or dab. Within moments of their mackerel baits hitting the bottom, a succession of thornbacks were being hooked.
Most were in the 2lb to 4lb range, with the best being a nice fish of 5lb 12oz for guest angler Martin Buchanan. The day was nearly over when Glen Murphy took the only flattie of the trip, a nice 1lb dab, just as the final “lines up” was called, ending our days sport.
Overall then a really good day afloat, with everyone having caught plenty of fish. We look forward to our next outing aboard “Catlin Marie” in September, and if we are luckier with the weather, we may get to push out to some further marks.
1st place Dennis Stevens 11lb 11oz ling
2nd place Alan Buchanan 6lb 6oz Pollock
3rd place Bill Bannon 5lb 12 oz Pollock
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