April 5, 2014 Last Updated 11:55 am

* Changing Seascapes – After the Storms…

Kerry native Martin McGowan reckons you need to go checking out your marks more so this year than any other... The winter has left a lasting impression on many beaches...


A changed landscape...

A changed landscape…

I think pretty much everyone in Ireland has felt the effects of the past few months’ storms that bashed the coastline. Being an angler, all I can say is God Damn! What has happened to our beaches, cliffs and ports? Has Mother Nature decided it was time to give our coastline a facelift?


walk way blocked

walk way blocked

Fenit Pierbanna



The damage is evident in the local fishing marks where I do all my fishing. When the dust settled a little, and the weather eventually gave us a break, we had to get out fishing. One of the first things we planned to do was dig some bait. Well, we were in for a shock. Just to point out that when an angler has his reliable marks to dig bait and feels quite confident going there, the last thing he thinks is the bait would disappear. Well that was the case the first time I ventured out bait digging after the last big storm. I headed to my usual spot, parked up and started digging, but to my dismay there were no Lug to be found. Obviously, it took me a while to notice something was not quite right because I spent most of the time in awe of  the damage done and the power of mother nature. After half an hour I accepted defeat and wandered back to the van a broken man. Just as I approached my van I noticed a few very light lug casts on the ground, why not I thought, and low and behold the Lug were everywhere.
What had happened? It became obvious that the power of the storm surge had pick up the sand and stones and literally moved the beach up to the high water mark, Lug and all. It was only after speaking to a few anglers from around Kerry that I realised Lug, along with 1000s of scallops, were washed up all along Banna beach.


Undulate Ray - A Kerry speciality

Undulate Ray – A Kerry speciality

So now that I had my Bait, it was time for some fishing, so I headed to one of my favourite Bass marks along with some mates. A normal bass outing would consist of a few traces, a handful of leads, along with bait rod and reel. This would have been plenty as we knew the marks so well. Losing tackle was never a problem! Walking along the beach we did notice the beach, which would normally be covered with seaweed along the high water mark, was spotless. Happy days we thought! We normally fish this mark 2 hours up and 2 hours down. It was my first cast out, and as you do, I left the cast for 10 minutes, however, when the time to came retrieve it was stuck. Now, there is always a chance you can get stuck no matter where you fish, be it in a rope imbedded in the seabed or a lobster pot. Nonetheless, this was my first time getting stuck in this spot, and I was not the only one; one of the guys had the same problem but he got his trace back with one hook less. We all said we would persevere for half an hour or so, but three rigs later it was time to give up. As frequent visitors to this area, it was very unusual to lose so much tackle, so, I decided to come back next day at low tide to see what was out there. We all knew there was a storm, but never for a minute did I think it would have such major impact on our beaches. The beach where we once fished had now turned into a rocky reef, which clearly explained why we lost so much tackle.

Where once there was sand.....

Where once there was sand…..

Peat has been washed ashore on many beaches

Peat has been washed ashore on many beaches


How long will it take for the seas to get back to normal? Well that’s anyone’s guess!

Will the storms of late have an impact on our shore fishing? Who knows, but with the changes I have seen; only time will tell. Tonnes of sand have been taken from beaches making them very steep, new reefs have been uncovered and a lot of seaweed beds have been wiped out, which were one time cover for fish. Only time will tell the real impact the storms will have on our fishing. But maybe it will have a positive impact, when fish return from shelter in deeper water to feast on all the food that has been ripped from the seabed.

Rockling habitat has been devastated until the kelp grows again

Rockling habitat has been devastated until the kelp grows again


So what is the moral of the story? It is important that you get yourself out there and check out your usual marks. All might not seem to be as it is. I would recommend a trip to the coast at low water. This is not the usual moving of gullies and banks over the winter. This is dramatic changes to beaches. In some cases the beaches may never recover. All cover for fish is gone. Others may actually improve due to the exposure of rocks and reefs. We have done our checking. If you are looking for information on the beaches in Kerry before you travel contact us for the most up to date position. I can say for certain that the bass have already began to show on some of the traditional beaches and there is a general positivity from anglers all over.


Ullcatch – Is an angling company that is growing. The Kerry based company offers many services to the angling industry in Ireland. Apart from sourcing quality tackle from around the world Ullcatch also provide a guiding service in the Kerry. They cater for all methods and styles of angling and can cater for both salt and fresh water. You can check out details and information at www.ullcatch.com or contact Martin @ 087 315 2516

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