Jim O’Donnell is a renowned fishing guide based in Courtmacsherry. Jim has vast experience of fishing the UK and Ireland and also works as a freelance fishing journalist and photographer. Jim’s passion is saltwater fishing. He has authored several successful books for the Royal Yachting Association and he’s been a regular contributor to monthly sea fishing magazines for many years. www. jimodonnell.ie.
Pictured above: A huge Lee System Pike for guides of Fly Fish Ireland
Firstly a big thanks to all the local fishing business that have contacted me with local news over the past month. It would be great to see more reports from anglers, local or visiting. You can email your fishing reports and pictures to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a difference a month makes. The past few weeks have seen the county’s fishing kick off with early summer action. Many anglers commented on the widespread brown coloured water throughout mid May. This is a natural occurrence called May Bloom caused by marine plant life and very similar to flowers blooming above the water. Although it makes for tough conditions, May Bloom is actually a good thing. The brown colour in the water is actually thousands of microscopic plant and marine life, which forms the start of the marine food chain and a good bloom can often mean a great seasons fishing. Over the last week of May bloom dispersed, and true-to-form, Mullet have started to return in their thousands to take up their summer residence in our estuaries, soon to be followed by huge shoals of Sand Eel, which in turn attract our early season Bass. Just a reminder that the Bass Ban is still on until midnight on June 15. I can’t wait for June 16!
Shore fishing has kicked of with a bang in the far west. Guests of Paul Harris’s ‘Dromagowlane House’ on The Beara Peninsula have been experiencing some fabulous action from the rocks with lots of Big Bull Huss and Pollack to almost 8lb. For those seeking a double-figure Pollack from the shore, this area offers serious potential — especially around Dursey Island. Moving East, the words on everybody’s lips around Union Hall is that the “Mackerel are in”. Tom Collins, skipper of ‘Loch An Iasc’ was one of the first skippers in the West to bag-up on Mackerel for bait, after taking a gamble looking for an early season Giant Skate…which coincidently paid off too, with two monster Skate of 174lb and 210lb for happy customers! (The latter surely qualifies for West Cork Fish Of The Month but more about fish of the month in a moment). Here in Courtmacsherry, when the weather has allowed us to set sail, the fishing has been excellent aboard the Lady Patricia. While I have no specimen big fish to report, the reefs south of Seven Heads are producing plenty of early season Pollack up to 8lb, and plenty of conger to 30lb. This weekend sees the Lady Patricia make her first trips in search of Flatfish and Rays, so watch this space! Unfortunately I have no report from Kinsale this month but, I did notice some big Pollack posted on Social Media in early May and I can only presume they come from the reefs south of the Old Head of Kinsale. Over the coming months I hope to be able to add reports from Kinsale, Baltimore and Clonakilty, from local skippers and angling business in those areas. (If there is any other fishing business in West Cork that would like to send in reports or photographs, please also get in touch).
In Freshwater fishing this month, the Houlihan Brothers of ‘Fly Fish Ireland’ report that the pike fishing on the Lee system (using fly and lure) was excellent pre spawning, with many pike in the 6-8lb bracket and a few breaking the magic 20lb mark. This next month is always a great time of year to land a trophy Pike, as they feed up heavily after spawning. In sea fishing, June will see huge shoals of Sand Eels turn up around the West Cork coast and, hopefully these will shortly be followed by a good run of early season bass ready for the start of Bass season on June 16! Mullet fishing tends to become more stable through June, as the water temperature rises and with calmer days, fingers crossed, Mackerel should start being caught off the counties harbours and piers. During June local specimen anglers will also start to look for Gilthead Bream (a Mediterranean species that visits us during our warmer months) and Golden Grey Mullet, and towards the end of June Offshore, Blue Sharks become a regular target for all local charter boats from Castletown to Kinsale. June also sees larger Pollack, and the first of the summers Cod and Ling should arrive on our inshore reefs.
To end this month, I’m excited to announce that TronixPro UK have kindly offered to sponsor a West Cork People, Junior ‘Fish Of The Month’ prize every month, with a brand new fishing rod from their Rockfish range for the best fish of the month, caught by an angler under 16-years. Hopefully by next month we’ll have an Adult prize too, so get sending in those reports and photos to email@example.com.
Tight Lines until July!