Sea Angler magazine has printed many articles in recent years relating to the quality of fishing available in West Cork; in particular the Ring estuary, which is just minutes from Clonakilty town centre. The wide variety of bird species, whatever time of year you visit, is a good indication of the quality of this unique estuary, with visitors being drawn from across Europe by the opportunity to study so many species at close range. Welshman David Edwards has such faith in the tourism possibilities of the Ring estuary that he has given up his globe trotting career in telecommunications to set up Clonakilty Coastal and Deep Sea Charters. David speaks to Sheila Mullins about the challenges and rewards of this idyllic location.
A 35 year career in British Telecom saw Cardiff native David Edwards working in the USA, Asia and around Europe and culminated in an invitation by Prince Charles to his home, and on the Royal Train, to discuss David’s position on the Welsh Business in the Community Board and his expertise in energy efficiency and carbon reduction. However in 2013 David decided to follow a new path in life and made the permanent move to West Cork, after years of visiting every chance he got.
“It came as a surprise for many when I decided to leave BT and come to West Cork but people who knew me well, knew that I had taken every opportunity to visit since first staying in Ring eight years ago. A combination of people, attitudes and of course Guinness, kept drawing me here and I have had small boats in Ring for the last seven years,” says David.
Although access to the open sea at Ring is limited by a centuries’ old sand bar, the quality of the environment and availability of so many species of fish close to shore helped make the decision for David and his wife Sian to set up a new business very easy.
“Having fished since a child and owned boats for more than 30 years, last year I decided that I would buy the charter boat ‘Tigger’ so that more people could have the opportunity to get out to sea and enjoy the superb fishing and marine wildlife that is right on Clon’s doorstep.”
The Ring estuary and Clonakilty Bay offer superb quality angling from the stone piers and shoreline throughout much of the year with bass, mullet (grey and golden), flounder, pollack and gilt head bream being realistic targets. Heading out to sea sees the list of available species increase dramatically.
David is looking forward to his first commercial summer season, “Summer shark fishing in particular is unbeatable when weather and sea conditions allow us to reach more distant marks. Often we are met by pods of dolphins and occasionally whales which are a welcome sight that confirms the quality of the waters in the area.”
Having quickly integrated into the local community in Clonakilty and Shannonvale, where the couple have settled into their new home with dogs Celt and Meg, David lobbied the Marine Survey Office and TD Jim Daley to improve access to the superb resource that is the Ring estuary.
“Jim Daly has met with local fisherman to investigate how we can improve access into Ring Harbour and the Marine Survey Office has sent down two experts to assess the harbour and Clonakilty Bay so that it can be zoned for smaller, lower cost, licensed boats to operate; thus increasing the amount of aquatic activities in close proximity to the town. Jim has been very supportive of this initiative and has spoken with Simon Coveney on the matter so it’s moving along nicely.
“I am also working with the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce to see how we can further benefit from the Wild Atlantic Way and in particular I have been researching the background to many of the varied shipwrecks off Clon to help bring out the history of our coastline to our visitors.”
David is a qualified Offshore Yacht Master, which is globally recognised and allows him to operate up to 200 miles off shore in a vessel up to 200 tons in weight; clearly the sandbar at the entrance to Ring Harbour would have something to say about that, so his boat ‘Tigger’ weighing in at around five tons makes far more sense!
To book a trip on ‘Tigger’ contact David on 083 449 1403.