February 7, 2019 Last Updated 10:59 am

* Kingdom Come! Fishing in Kerry – Valentia Island – Pt2

Another installment of a summer trip to Valentia in Kerry. Towing your boat to other locations is a rewarding effort.

Kingdom Come!

A Kerry morning!

In many areas the wrasse fishing has been impacted in recent years by pot fishers taking wrasse for pot bait. It is a shame and an ignominious end for such a fabulous fish. If you look out for long lengths of rocky shoreline it is still possible to catch decent wrasse. Kerry has lots of rocky exposed shoreline. Kerry has lots of pot fishermen as well. Generally, the more remote the stretch of coastline and the further it is from the local ports then the better the wrasse fishing.


The rocks are to the left!

Our plans were coming along nicely. We had fished the sand off Coonanna. We had tussled with the tope off Inch beach. Now as the tide continued to strengthen we decided it was time to investigate the wrasse possibilities. Again, we were looking at marks we had not fished in a few years. In those few years the area could be cleaned out but when to look at the charts and then when you arrive into the area it just screams wrasse. We anchored close to a headland that gave us lots of choice where to fish. Rob dropped a crab bait while I flicked a lure out. Rob didn’t have to wait long and his rod doubled over and the fish wrasse was soon netted. I was getting consistent action with my lures, a simple pintail lure on a 20g jighead however I was getting only small wrasse whereas Rob was starting to threaten specimen size. I soon clipped a light trace onto my lure rod.

The quality of Kerry wrasse

At this stage the temperature was being reported on the VHF as 33 degrees. Incredible weather for Ireland. It actually got to be tough going into the afternoon. We had a distance to travel back towards Valentia so we decided to travel as the conditions were hottest. The cruise across Dingle Bay heading for Beginish Island. It was late in the evening but it was just too nice to come off the water. We decided to fish another headland closer to the harbour at Knightstown. It was a similar situation here. The wrasse were consistently big and we rattled the specimen weight being just a couple of ounces short. Crab baits consistently caught the bigger wrasse than lures. It’s hard for a wrasse to resist a well presented crab bait.

Gavin with more colourful fish

As usual, we tried our best to fish vertically under the boat rather than casting away from the boat. It is a matter of angles really. If you are flicking away from the boat the chances of losing traces are high. If you are fishing straight down there is less chance of losing your gear although a boat that is spinning at anchor will lose you gear too.

It was hunger that drove us off the water that evening. We pulled into the pontoon, we tied to the outside because the forecast was so good, and after unloading we made the dash to the hotel for some grub and to hatch a plan for our final session of this trip.


Day 3 – Offshore Again

There will be time when we are in Kerry again when the weather will dictate where we will fish. The weather on our final day was so good we really just had to head offshore for a few hours to see what we could winkle out off the reefs. We headed to a spectacular reef a few miles offshore in superb conditions. All looked fabulous the peak rose from the depths and there was a tell-tale could of fish over the top. I dropped a 100g lure over the side and once I hit bottom and began my retrieve it did not take long for the hit and run of a crash diving Pollack. Just as I was gaining some line the fish took off again at blistering speed. Was it a shark? Typically, the line angled toward the surface and that’s the tell-tale hint that a seal is the culprit. I managed to get my lure back and sure enough a big bull seal surfaced. Not long after another seal surfaced and soon we were overrun by five or six seals. I’m convinced that they were cute enough to dive when they saw the lure being dropped into the water! It became impossible to fish with them. I never remember having such a difficult time for seals down this way. They fairly bullied us off this mark!

We spent the rest of the session between lures for Pollack and coalies and catching more bluemouth again. The average size was still smaller than we had hoped for. We had the usual scratchy species while drifting the bluemouth ground: ling, whiting and suchlike. We were surprised at the lack of haddock.

All too soon we had to head back to Valentia in order to retrieve Skua and begin the journey back to Cork and on to Dublin for the lads. We just had to stop off at the Fisherman’s Bar for some late grub before the trip home. It made the perfect wind down and post mortem of the trip.

Ready for home!

If you manage to get to Valentia, and if you manage to get offshore, be sure to pay a visit to the Skelligs. The Skelligs are a pair of rocky islands off the coast near Valentia. The larger of the islets was made famous by Star Wars. It has a monastic settlement dating back centuries. It is a World Heritage site. You cannot land on the Island from your small boat and the amount of visitors is controlled. While Skellig Michael is no doubt a beautiful place, the Little Skellig is a wondrous place indeed. With more than 30,000 pairs of Gannets nesting it is a feast for the senses to be close to the island. The sights, sounds and smells are something that will not fail but to impress all anglers.

60,000 gannets…

Getting there:

Kerry in general and the Valentia area is popular with tourists. There are options for staying from Bed and Breakfast to Hotel and even camping offerings on the island. Self-catering is also an option but you would be advised to book well ahead. Of course booking a long way off takes the risk that the weather may not be ideal for boating and fishing. Of course there are other popular area. Ballinskelligs is great. You can also head for Dingle. Dingle has great launching facilities and if required you can also visit Brandon. In a nut shell Kerry still has a lot to offer the travelling small boat angler.

You can read part one here:   PART1





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