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Bannow Bay to Dunbrattin Head

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Bannow Bay to Dunbrattin Head

Post by Admin on Wed 18 Aug - 12:36

Bannow Bay to Dunbrattin Head


The almost land locked Bannow Bay enters the sea through a
narrow channel about 4.8km north east of Fethard. Shore fishing from
either side of the channel mouth at Blackhall to the east and Newtown to
the west is productive on the first two hours of the flood tide and
around high water for bass to over 4.50kg and flounder to over 1.75kg.
Gilthead bream, smoothound and seatrout have also been taken in the
area. As the tide rises, so other parts of the estuary are worth
exploring. One such area is at Newtown on the eastern side of the bay
where the channel runs parallel to the shore. Despite the fact that this
is an extremely muddy area it offers good possibilities because the
channel is within easy casting range. The most popular bait in Bannow
Bay is crab which will take all species with the exception of seatrout.
Freelined sandeel is the best method for them. On the western shore of
the bay in the vicinity of St. Kieran’s Quay crab can be collected
in the weedy margins, while lugworm are plentiful in the mud along the
channel banks. From the beach at Fethard Bay (2) bottom fishing over
sand will produce flounder, dab, plaice, and bass. Occasional ray and
dogfish will be taken on night tides with crab, sandeel or mackerel
baits offering best opportunities.
At high water the harbour at Fethard holds a fair head of mullet
during the summer months while the rocky ground to the east around
Ingard Point offers bottom fishing for wrasse, dogfish, rockling and
conger. The R734 road terminates in Fethard village and a much smaller
one winds its way from there for a further 10 kms out along the Hook
Peninsula. Just under halfway along (4.5km) a small “boreen” runs to the
south east, off the main road, to the attractive little cove of Sandeel
Bay . The beach is made up mainly of sand but it also contains a
number of rough patches. Night fishing is generally recommended, as fish
tend to move close to this shore in the dark. Fishing on the bottom
will yield bass, flounder and conger, at low water and the first two
hours of a flooding tide. Spinning over the rocks to the south will
produce pollack and mackerel in season. 3.5km further on, the road meets
a T junction. The east facing road runs for 1.25km to the little
harbour of Slade where shore fishing at high water will yield
dogfish, conger, wrasse and rockling to bottom fished baits, and
spinning produces mackerel (in season), pollack and coalfish. The
slipway there is tidal, parking is restricted, and access is difficult
for small boats wishing to launch and fish there during the summer. The
main boat fishing areas are concentrated over the reefs and gullies to
the south of Hook Head for pollack, coalfish, cod, john dory, ling and
conger, while several wrecks, further south, in water around 50 metres
deep hold conger to over 18kg, ling over 9kg and specimen pouting of
over 1.5kg.
There is also some excellent fishing over sand to the east of Slade
for ray, plaice, dabs, whiting, gurnard, codling and occasional haddock.
This is a favoured area when winds are blowing from the west.
The road leading south west of the T junction runs for a further
2.0km to a lighthouse which stands on the craggy tip of Hook Head .
It is said that a mariners warning light has been in place there for
over 1400 years(true) but today’s stubby, black and white striped,
version dates from Norman times. The rocks around the lighthouse are a
popular competition venue and peg numbers have been painted on the
ledges by local club anglers. Spinning from these ledges, accounts for
pollack, mackerel and coalfish. Bottom fishing over very foul ground is
for rockling, dogfish, wrasse, codling and conger. Care should be taken
in this area as large swells break on the rocks after storms. There are
also a number of blowholes along the shoreline which can suddenly send
large volumes of water cascading over the rocks.
Tides at Hook Head can be calculated by adding 15 minutes to the Cobh
time, or 6 hours 15 minutes to the Dublin time. About a kilometre back
along the road a small track runs almost due west, towards the shallower
waters of Waterford Harbour. This is known locally as Churchtown
where bottom fishing over very foul ground produces dogfish, wrasse and
conger. Float fishing yields pollack and coalfish while occasional bass,
dab and flounder can be found over the sandy patches about 55 to 60
metres out from the rock. Crab is the top bait there. North of
Churchtown at Lumsden’s Bay and Templetown the rough ground of
the headland begins to give way to the sand and mud of the estuary.
Dogfish and wrasse are common over the rough patches and spinning with a
plug can be very rewarding for bass around high water. Bass will also
be taken on crab baits over the sandy patches and flounder can also be
expected there.
The twin coves of Dollar and Booley Bays which are divided in
the middle by the rocky ridge of Black Point are popular bass fishing
locations. A number of 4.5kg plus fish have been recorded there over the
years with sandeel and crab baits accounting for most of the bigger
fish. In recent seasons, these locations have attracted anglers
practising plug and fly fishing for bass with the middle of the beach
close to the rock proving more productive than the open stretches of
sand on either side. Dogfish, dab, flounder, plaice, seatrout and silver
eel are also possible there, particularly on night tides.
A Norman fort guards the entrance to the harbour at Duncannon at
the end of the R737 road. On the sands to the south of the fort, the
first two hours of the flood tide are most productive for seatrout and
bass to 5.12kg, while spinning. Bottom fishing will also produce bass,
plus occasional codling, flounder, dab, silver eel and dogfish. On the
northern side of the impressive ramparts is the outer quay wall of the
harbour where anglers can fish for conger on night tides. There is a
slipway in the harbour where boats can be launched throughout most
tides, with the possible exception of low water on springs, to explore
the fishing on Waterford Harbour which is the estuary of the 3 sister
rivers the Barrow, Nore and Suir. Two purpose built charter boats are
based in the harbour and are available for much of the year. One big
advantage there is that bad weather seldom leads to a cancellation of
fishing, because if it is too inclement on the productive Hook Head
grounds then alternative sport can be found in the estuary where bass,
flatfish and eels are the target species. At low water lugworm, small
white ragworm, and occasional sandeel can be dug on Duncannon Strand
with the southern end of the beach most productive.
Fishing into the channel from the banks between Arthurstown and
Ballyhack will yield flounder, silver eel, codling, whiting and
bass. Crab is the best bait, fished at night, on leger tackle, through
the last hour of the ebb, and first two hours of the flooding tide. The
quay wall at Ballyhack will also produce conger at high tide after dark.
On the banks of the shallow King’s Bay , north of the old quay at
Arthurstown, mussel can be collected and ragworm dug. The all tide ferry
slipway at Ballyhack cannot be used to launch small boats because there
is no facility nearby whereby trailers and towing vehicles can be
parked.
In May and June each year a major fish migration, takes place through
Waterford Harbour when twaite shad run in from the sea to spawn. This
event usually coincides with the peak of the spring tides and migrating
fish provide superb light tackle sport on lure and fly at St Mullins on
the River Barrow. With the exception of the 3 sisters system, twaite
shad are virtually extinct in all other Irish waters, making the annual
“shad run” one of the most unique fishing attractions in the entire
country.
A cross-harbour car ferry operates regularly between Ballyhack and
Passage East , the eastern gateway to the city of Waterford which
stands on the River Suir some 10kms to the west. There are a number of
top class tackle shops in the city where bait can also be purchased
during the summer months.
An all tide slipway is to the north of the quay at Passage to
facilitate the car ferry but small boats can be launched and retrieved
there during periods when the ferry is out on the water. Would be boat
anglers should note that the ferry takes precedence on the slipway so it
is essential that no hold ups occur due to poorly parked trailers, or
slow launches and retrievals.
At high tide, the outer wall of the harbour provides bottom fishing
for bass and flounder on crab baits, while spinning or “plugging” from
the banks to the south produces bass from low tide through the first
couple of hours of the flood. At low tide the shore around the mussel
banks, at the northern end of Passage Strand affords the collection
of mussel and provides excellent digging for ragworm.
The coast road runs south of Passage for 5kms to Woodstown Strand
. The beach is very shallow there and at low tide strips by over 800
metres. There is however, reasonable depth at high tide and beach
fishing provides sport with bass to 5.8kg, silver eel and flounder.
Occasional black sole to over 1.5k. and electric ray to over 15kg have
also been recorded. Night tides in autumn are generally most productive
with the top baits being sandeel and crab. The beach below Woodstown Car
Park is of firm sand along the low tide line and cockles are
plentiful and easily collected there. Some lugworm is also available.
Two kilometres to the south is Fornaught Strand which is a small
shallow beach, of less than a kilometre in length. It appears to be
squeezed between Knockavelish Head on the northern side and the
considerable lump of Creadan Head which juts out for almost 2km into
Waterford Harbour in the south. Like Woodstown this beach fishes best
around high water on an autumn evening when bass, flounder, sole,
dogfish, silver eel and occasional plaice can be expected. On the
northern side of Dunmore Bay, about 700 meters from the R684 road, is
the picturesque, south facing, Ladies Cove which is almost totally
surrounded by red sandstone cliffs. Fishing over sand from the rocky
platforms on the southern side will produce dabs, flounder, plaice,
dogfish and occasional bass. The beach is very sheltered and as a result
is very popular in good weather with swimmers and sun worshippers. On
such occasions, fishing is fruitless and is restricted to evening tides
when the beach becomes almost deserted. (Care should be exercised there
at all times, as the rocks can be cut off at high water, particularly on
spring tides).
On the south western corner of Waterford Harbour is the picturesque
fishing port of Dunmore East which is one of the most important
commercial fishing centres in Ireland. The area is also a popular
holiday destination and there is a wide range of accommodation locally,
including a plush 4 star hotel and numerous well appointed self-catering
cottages, many of which have thatched roofs. The town also has a
growing reputation for its reasonably priced eating places, which
specialise in fresh, locally caught, fish and seafood.
Two charter boats are based in the harbour and are generally
available from April to the end of September, while a slipway can be
accessed on the northern side of the Western quay. It should be
remembered that this is a working harbour which can be very busy at
times. The slipway is also popular with canoeists and general boat
enthusiasts in the summer months, so anglers are advised to launch small
boats early in the morning if they want to beat any possible rush!
Parking is also restricted on the pier so vehicles and trailers may be
required to park in the main car park above the East Pier.
A wide range of species is available to boat anglers including blue
shark to over 48kg from July to September. There is top class boat
fishing over mixed ground, in water up to 20 metres deep, between Red
Head and the Falskirt Rock off Swines Head which may not be visible at
low water, where a wide range of species is available. Included are
pollack to 5.9kg, cod to 12.50kg, ling to 14.18kg, whiting to 1.50kg,
pouting to 1.4kg and ballan wrasse to 2.25kg. It is also one of the few
areas in Ireland where red bream and john dory turn up with any degree
of regularity. Tides are strong in the area and anglers in small boats,
in particular, should pay attention to wind speeds and tide heights,
because sea conditions can change very quickly there. The golden rule,
as in any similar situation, is to seek local advice and “if in doubt,
don’t go out.”
Shore anglers are spoilt for choice in Dunmore with pier, beach and
rock fishing, all available locally. Irish specimen rockling over
1.25kg, ballan wrasse over 2.25kg, bass to 6.9kg and flounder over
1.35kg have all been recorded there while pollack, mackerel (in season)
and garfish have also been caught from the rocks below the car park to
the south of the town. Some bits and pieces of tackle can be bought in
the general store on the main street, some 250 metres from the pier, but
specialised tackle will have to be purchased in Waterford.
Tides at Dunmore East are +00.13 minutes on Cobh times.
Some 4kms west of Dunmore, along the scenically, spectacular shore
road, and just beyond Swines Head is Rathmoylan Cove where there is
bottom fishing for flounder, dogfish and occasional bass. Spinning from
the rocks to the east provides sport with pollack and bass on plugs and
fishing is best when high tide and dusk coincide. Fishing is similar at
Ballymacaw Cove some 2kms further west but spinning and plug
fishing is best on the western point of the cove where mackerel can be a
welcome addition to catches in summer. There is an old slipway in
Ballymacaw which has suffered some damage during storms, which means
that boats can only launch and retrieve there at high water. The space
for turning and reversing trailers is very restricted and parking is
also limited. All in all not the sort of place that the majority of
small boat anglers would choose to set out from.
As the coast swings away west from Ballymacaw and around Brownstown
Head, which juts out to sea for 3kms to the south west, the large
expanse of Tramore Bay, opens up. There is a car park about a kilometre
west of Corballymore cross roads which affords access to the shore at
Saleens . To the north of the car park, peeler and soft crab can be
collected under the seaweed, at low tide. Moulting crabs begin to appear
there about mid May and can, in some years, be available up to the end
of September. To the south of the car park in the narrows between the
eastern end of Tramore Strand and Saleens the main channel funnels
through the narrows of Rinnashark . Traditionally crab baits have
accounted for many big fish from either side of the channel including
bass to 6.4kg and flounder to 1.75kg. Plug fishing has also become
extremely popular and the area also appears to be the ideal place for
the growing number of saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts to try their
skills. Grey & Golden Grey Mullet too are visitors to the area and
as the tide fills they make their way through the narrows into the
estuary behind. Care must be taken as high tides can leave anglers cut
off from the mainland.
As the estuary opens up it uncovers a vast expanse of mudflat behind
the beach at low tide. This is known as the Back Strand (G) where
lugworm are plentiful particularly to the south of the R685 road as it
runs close to the dyke wall. Peeler and soft crab can also be collected
around the stone and weed margins at the outlet from the marsh, below
Lisselan.
The popular holiday town of Tramore, some 10km south of Waterford
City, sits at the western end of the 4km long Tramore Strand .
During the fine days of summer, the beach attracts hordes of holiday
makers, making fishing totally impossible. After dark, however, when the
tourists have adjourned to the cafes and bars the beach angler may find
fishing of a very high calibre in the surf, for bass to 6.5kg and
flounder to 1.3kg. In periods of high pressure, when the sea is
becalmed, painted ray to 5.8kg, dogfish to 1.4kg, and dabs to .45kg can
be taken by those anglers capable of casting baits up to 130 metres off
the beach. The summer is not the only time of year for anglers to visit
Tramore Strand, because during the winter from October to February,
there are no problems with swimmers and sun worshippers, and numerous
big bass have been recorded by anglers prepared to put in the time and
effort to catch them. Codling and whiting are also possible, at night,
during these colder months. Crab, sandeel, ragworm and mackerel strip
are the best baits there and the most productive periods are the last
hour of the ebb through the first half hour of the flood, and one hour
either side of high water. There is a tackle shop on Main Street in the
town.
Tides at Tramore are + 00.13 minutes on Cobh times.
The shore road to the south of the town runs parallel to the sea for
2kms before reaching a car park at Newtown Cove . Between there and
Newtown Head, some 2kms further south, there are a number of access
points where spinning and plug fishing is possible in summer for
mackerel, pollack, occasional garfish and bass. Float fishing will
produce ballan and corkwing wrasse and coalfish. This area should never
be approached in easterly winds which cause waves to break on the shore
or when rain is falling, as the rocks can become slippery and dangerous
in these conditions. The local authority have erected notices advising
anglers, that as a safety measure, fishing is not permitted at the
bathing place.
On the headland stands three high concrete pillars. These were
erected by Lloyds of London in 1823 as navigational aids to warn vessels
away from the rocks and shallows of Tramore Bay. Standing on the
central pillar is a statue dressed in Georgian seafarers costume and
known as the ‘Metal Man’. Local legend has it that on nights of high
winds and rough seas the Metal Man can be heard warning shipping away
from the treacherous shore beneath by calling out;
“Keep out, keep out, good ships from me,…………... For I am the rock of misery”.
Boat anglers take note!
About 4km west of Tramore on the R675 road there is a sharp turn to
the left after Fennor Bridge and a narrow road runs for 2kms down to the
very pretty cove at Kilfarrasy . The Kilfarrasy Stream crosses the
beach there and when surf is running the combination of freshwater and
churning wave acts as a magnet for flounders and bass. In calmer
conditions, particularly at night, thornback ray, dogfish and even the
occasional conger are possible. This is a popular venue with local
anglers who hold regular club competitions there. The beach at Annestown
is situated where the R675 road from the east meets the coast and
provides similar conditions and fishing to Kilfarrasy. At the western
end of the beach, where the Annestown Stream enters the sea, mullet will
occasionally be taken on small ragworm baits. Bottom fishing from the
middle of the beach, at high water will produce bass to over 5.5kg,
flounder, dogfish and thornback ray. On the south western side of
Annestown is Dunbrattin Head where bottom fishing close to the rock
will yield conger, dogfish and huss particularly at night while float
fishing and spinning accounts for wrasse and pollack. Boat fishing off
the Head yields ray, dabs, plaice, gurnard, dogfish, pollack, codling
and mackerel in season.
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