Irish Sport Fishing – Fishing in Ireland
I love it when a plan comes together. The target this time was big flounders, and the first step in this plan was to sort out some crab for bait – this is not easy at this time of year. The second was to persuade Joe Byrne to get out of bed at a stupid hour and go fishing – this is not easy at any time of year! And lastly, I needed the unpredictable weather gods (and flounder gods) to be kind.
With crabs and Joe onboard, we headed south to flounder country and arrived at our spot while it was still dark. I had no idea what was in my tackle box as I hadn’t been fishing in months, but luckily I had enough gear to get me through. There was enough line on my reels, and I found a couple of rigs that would do the job (they were at least 8 years old!). Estuary flounder aren’t too fussy, and I can recall many occasions where anglers using more crude tackle have out-fished those using lighter, competition-style tackle. Anyway, I purposely chose not to change the size 1 hooks to a smaller size as they were ideal for the big flounders I was after. It had nothing to do with me being too lazy to change them, I swear!
First cast resulted in a slack line bite. Happy days, although it turned out to be a bass of around 3lb. Still it was very welcome (there were actually reports of a double figure fish taken in the area earlier in the week which was always in the back of our minds!). Next cast I had a flounder of 36cm. Joe got one of 39cm, and we had a few more of similar size.
After around an hour and a half I had a good bite, and whatever i’d hooked felt a good bit heavier on the retrieve. It turned out to be a really thick fish of 2.6lb (the specimen weight is 2.4255lb). We continued to catch steadily throughout the session, with the occasional double and even treble shot coming ashore.
Amongst these fish I managed another two specimens – one of 2.5lb and another of 2.6lb. The longest fish was 46cm. The target was to get one fish over specimen weight so to get three in the same session was a real bonus, and not something that happens regularly. Joe did a great job of keeping the smaller fish away from my baits so that the bigger ones had the chance to find them – thanks Joe! He even fished either side of me just to make sure he got all the little ones!
The majority of estuaries along the south coast hold big flounders and winter is without a doubt the best time to target them. They aren’t a difficult fish to catch, and if you’re looking to target something while having a relaxing day out then look no further. There’s no rushing around involved, and no fancy tackle or rigs required. The bait is probably the only tricky factor with crab being the only bait worth considering.
As always with flatfish make sure to unhook the fish gently, taking the time to remove the hook with a disgorger if the fish has swallowed the bait.
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go after them again over the holidays, as the bigger flounders should stay around for the next month or so. I’ve had fish up to 50cm from these estuaries, and would love to get one bigger!
Happy holidays all – hope you catch a big one!