July 23rd: Wicklow Boat Charter’s skipper Kit Dunne reports on an exceptional week of fishing including Smooth-Hounds to 14lb, near specimen Tope, Thornback and Homelyn Ray, Bull-Huss and Gurnards in numbers.
The great fishing started with a group from ESB, targeting tope they got what they came for with 2 notable fish reaching the 154cm and 156cm lengths, they were clearly 40lb plus with one fish measuring a 60cm girt. Eric Salmon’s group and John Mellerick’s group bagged many Smooth-Hounds, with some guys recording their 3 Hounds for 1012. The week just got better when Clyde’s group from C&J Angling set out to target tope, we planned this trip in detail and it paid off, 15 tope were landed, some tagged , and all released.
Then with big thanks to the IFI for the Mike Thrussell Total Sea Fishing magazine visit. We planned 5 days fishing out of Wicklow to target animals. On the slack tides of Day 1 Smooth-Hound were the target, and specifically specimen weight Hounds. Loaded with peeler we agreed a, “peeler only”, bait strategy to keep dogs to a minimum. Sitting right on my favoured Hound mark we landed at least 80 Hounds that day, at least 15 were of specimen weight, one taken by Mike himself, and the notable prize fish of the day was a 14lb Hound caught by fishing legend Norman Dunlop.
Day 2 we targeted the Huss, Ray, Gurnard and Tope, we managed to bag all of these species with 15 Huss taken, 5 Ray and 2 tope. With no major record breakers in the Tope department we set out the following Friday in bigger tides to target the bigger fish. We fished my favourite inshore mark, and landed numerous Tope on Day 3, the first one taken by Mike himself on a down tide flowing trace. About one hour later I managed to land a fine Tope on my uptide rig, weighing in at approx 36lb he measured in at 158cm long, a mere 2cm off the specimen length threshold. 5 Tope were landed, including one for Willie Walsh and Gerry O Connor. Day 4 was now a case of, “what would you like today lads”, we agreed to go back after the Hounds in search of more specimen size fish and a possible record fish ! After a relaxed start that morning we managed to take over 100 hounds to the boat, 17 of which were taken by Mike Thrussell himself, in what was a very strong tide. Day 5 was abandoned as we had more than enough done in the 4 Days, many thanks to the IFI team for making it happen.
Bray Outcasts were out with me on the Sunday, they set out to prove a few things, Hounds will take baited red feathers – they did ! and Gurnard will take a soft plastic – they did, well done lads. They also landed Tope, Huss and ray, many Hounds, one to specimen size.