Clew Bay 13-14th August 2016

At last our long awaited weekend trip had arrived with Ireland’s only female charter skipper, Mary Gavin. 8 anglers took part in the trip.

Mark Buchanan

Alan Buchanan

Bill Bannon

Gerard Girvan

Paddy Trainor

Steven Burns

Alan Campbell

Glen Murphy

We were lucky with the weather once again for our weekend away, as gales had been experienced on the coast the previous week, and we hoped our luck would last for the fishing. Our plans were to try for a Skate in Clew Bay on the Saturday, with Sunday to be a day’s reef fishing closer to Achill Island.


Saturday arrived, and off we set with high hopes. Mackerel proved to be scarce in Clew Bay, and it was as well we had brought some frozen baits to supplement our days catch. After an hour or so we decided that the 20 or so fresh mackerel would have to do, with Mary promising to feather more while we were on the Skate ground, which she did to great effect.

We anchored up and sent our baits to the bottom, with hopes that one of Mary’s speciality fish would make an appearance. We were to be disappointed unfortunately as the big flatties were a no show, despite our best efforts and Marys constant replenishing of “rubby dubby”, we got no bites on the big baits. Some of the lads got bored and scaled down their tackle to try for something smaller, and a steady stream of Dogfish were caught and weighed for the club completion. The only exceptions to the Dogs were a 4lb 4oz Thornback Ray for Stevie Burns and a baby Thornback for Paddy Trainor. A frustrating day for Skipper Mary, as she was determined to find us a big fish. So day one finished as follows:-

1st place   Stevie Burns     4lb 4oz Thornback Ray   15 points

2nd place  Paddy Trainor   2lb 5oz Dogfish               10 points

3rd place   Gerard Girvan   2lb Dogfish                      2.5 points

3rd place   Stevie Burns      2lb Dogfish                      2.5 points





After a disappointing first day on the Skate ground, we were determined to make up for it on the reefs. Mary was as disappointed as ourselves with day one and she was determined to show us a great days fishing.

Mary took us first to a reef half way up the West coast of Achill Island where she had taken some fine Pollock on previous trips. As is sometimes the case, things didn’t initially work out, and we didn’t connect at all with the big fish here. Some small Pollock and Coalfish were brought aboard, but not the size we were after. We made a move to a more offshore reef and things improved dramatically. Glen Murphy was first to hit on his spinning gear and a nice Coalfish put up quite a struggle on his light gear. It pulled the scales to a respectable 5lb 9oz, and was the first of many Coalfish and Pollock that smashed into our lures. As the day went on, Ling began to feature in the catch, with numerous nice fish coming to the net. The best of these fell to Gerard Girvan at 8lb 6oz, and Stevie Burns with a fish of 6lb 8oz. Fishing was hectic on this reef, and we were well satisfied with our catch.

All too soon it was time to return to the pier as the days fishing came to an end. A great weekend away it was too, with Mary being surely the hardest working charter skipper afloat. Nothing was too much bother to her and she worked tirelessly to find us a catch. Endless cups of tea and coffee with her own home made scones were an extra bonus; we will surely be back for another visit in coming years.

1st place      Gerard Girvan   8lb 6oz Ling          15 points

2nd place     Stevie Burns      6lb 8oz Ling           10 points

3rd place     Glen Murphy     5lb 9oz Coalfish     5 points              

Mariner Sea Angling Club


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