Three small boat anglers fishing out of Cork Harbour were surprised when a slow fishing session was livened up by a very solid hook up yesterday. The anglers had endured a quiet morning with only a handful of small pollack and a couple of grey gurnard to show for their efforts. Switching tactics and changing rigs regularly did not help and though cod were the species of choice most drops were sabotaged by mackerel which seem to be back in the area in good numbers.

Conger eel about 6 feet long
The conger was not weighed but must have been over 30lb at over 6 feet long

Using soft plastics to avoid the mackerel yielded no fish until early in the afternoon when one rod bent over and gave a brief shudder. The expectation of a huge cod lifted the spirits on the boat and all eagerly awaited seeing the fish come to surface. However the fight was dogged, and little ground was made for the first number of minutes with fears that the bottom was snagged being voiced. Eventually the fish was up in the water and away from the bottom but still it was far from over.

The gear was tested to breaking point – a light 9 foot spinning rod and a small reel – and though the rod was often bent in a hoop and the reel forced to give line the fish finally broke the surface about 20 yards from the boat. No one was sure what it was, though it clearly was not a cod. The fish trashed about a bit and it was suddenly plain to see it was a conger. The huge eel was netted (itself a tricky procedure) and brought into the boat for a couple of photos before being returned safely to the sea.

Conger on a soft plastic
The conger took a lime and white Wave Worm on a 2 oz jig head.
Jig head hook bent out of shape
The fish almost straightened the hook