So the plan was set, the times where decided and the tides looked perfect. Only issue, the weather. The west coast of Ireland is renowned for never having unpredictable weather. We watched the weather and called it. Its time for Donegal. I drove 3 hours to Galway to meet with one of the lads and head from there to Killybegs. Unfortunately as said before the weather did not play ball. It went from 17°C sunny blue skies to misty crappy weather and the wind decided to swing all the way south and hit force 5. Not a day to head to a spot we have never seen before, so we said we would weather the storm in Clare for a few hours.
Even with all the wet gear we had on we both got soaked. Fishing this mark produced some Dab and Flounder on the beach casters and a few Pollock in close which was great fun on the LRF rods. Well if the fish aren’t big might as well have fun with light gear.
After the weather had passed we left Galway at 11am to head straight to Killybegs. The sun was now splitting the stones and there was no wind at all. We arrived in the town for about 3pm and the weather only got better.
After booking into the B&B and having a quick bite to eat we headed in search of some marks. We had gotten some local knowledge from the Killybegs Mariners, much appreciated, we headed to the mark that we ended up fishing for the next two days.
The targets we had set were Spotted Ray and Plaice. As neither of us have ever had a Spotteds before we really wanted these more than anything.
The track down to the pier is not one for the faint hearted and should not be attempted in anything low, or in my case heavy. Not fun trying to keep the speed to get up some of the stones. Inspecting the pier and the water around it we could see some Wrasse and Pollock at our feet.
These could not be left alone so as we were setting up we had to drop down quick for some of these. Clearly the water was a lot deeper than we thought as this lovely Ballan looked a quarter of this size when he took the bait.
After playing with the tiddlers enough we decided it was time to cast the beach casters. Baits being used where Sandeel, Mackerel, Bluey, Squid and Lug. Casting as far as possible to try get as much depth as possible it wasn’t long before the first fish came in. Caught on fresh Sandeel on a wishbone pulley rig. They are a lovely looking fish.
We spirits high we continued casting for the horizon in search for some more. Ian had gotten 3 at this stage and I still was to see any sign of a fish. Reeling in to re-bait I thought I had weed on as the rod felt a little heavy. at about 60 yards I could see something flapping on the surface.
I had convinced myself it was a spotted as it skimmed its way in. It wasn’t a spotted but a very nice sized Turbot. My personal best for now. The day started turning to night and we still were only getting the usual dogs and some of us couldn’t get away from the Spotteds, not jealous at all, we decided to pack up and head back to the B&B to try get an early start tomorrow.
The next morning we decided to have a quick search of a few more of the piers around just to see if the grass was in fact greener. Nothing looked as good as the pier we fished yesterday so back we went. Knowing we only had a few hours before we had to head again we used every rod at or disposal to try get a plaice. It wasn’t long again when a few Thornies turned up to take the bait. At the same time some local anglers decided to come down and have a chat and couldn’t believe that we were getting them. Apparently they aren’t taken in numbers on this pier but this clearly wasn’t the way today. We had between eight and ten between us which seemed like a good haul from this pier.
As time was running out we really needed a plaice to make this trip a complete success. Even though I had not gotten a spotted I had to know when to give up for them and try get a Plaice. My old friends the Turbot decided today was the day they were going to come out in plague proportions and murder my baits. Watching them skim across the surface always gave me hope that it was a plaice but it was not to be.
On our last Ian did it again. Pulled it out of the bag and got himself a nice sized plaice as we were packing up. Unmistakably bright orange spots were seen from a distance and our trip had been deemed a success. Quick photo and released for another day. We finished it on a high and loaded he van for the long drive back with us making plans already to return so I can possibly catch some of these species.