Steven Neely of Rookie Bass Angler gives us a taste of what fishing is like in wonderful Co. Donegal…
After a fair bit of planning and trawling through maps and satellite photography I finally made my first recce to discover some new wrassing marks … not that there was anything wrong with my old ground, but I knew I had only tapped into a mere 10% or so of what the awesome Co.Donegal coastline had to offer.
First off was a trip down the south coast and to look at some super shallow, reefy ground and given that we had a big set of springs I could think of no better time to go exploring.
What I found was pretty epic stuff … gullies / reefs / boulders a lunar landscape covered in rock pools full of little blennies etc!
Steven Neely - Donegal scenerySo the first scouting mission was a success – I found a good 3 or 4 miles of new terrain and managed to get plenty of access points marked and logged ready for an assault at a later date.
I then decided to head further up north to look at a few boulder fields which I had stumbled upon by accident when looking for boat launches.
These didn’t disappoint either … I found some really nicely spaced boulders with plenty of muscle ledges nearby and as you can imagine the wrasse weren’t far behind on the flood tide!
We only fished the location for about an hour but we had some pretty solid wrassing … nothing massive but instant success and hits on the Craw Tubes.


I talked in one of my previous posts about these Craw Tubes and I can confirm that with a little more water time they are an absolute winner with the wrasse along my stretch of coastline … they simply can’t get enough of them!
Steven Neely - Wrasse Aug 2016 1It was great to have a plan come together and reap instant rewards … it goes to show that a bit of time and research can really open up your fishing options and start freshening up your sport. I love my old haunts but discovering these untapped and untouched corners of Donegal is what I get a real buzz from these days!
I know for a fact I am catching fish in places no one has ever been never mind thrown a lure into … it doesn’t get much better than that!
So after a few excursions to new pastures I decided it was time to hit up one of the old faithfuls and given that we had a big set of spring tides I was curious to see how it would impact the fish behavior on some of our favourite ledges.
The first hour into the flood was slow but the water level were incredibly low which meant it took longer for the fish to move up onto the ledges to feed. However, once they arrived all hell broke loose and they hit the feed big time!
Steven Neely - Wrasse Aug 2016 2At one point I had 5 wrasse in 5 consecutive casts … I was fishing with my father and between us if we weren’t landing fish on every cast then we were getting smashed up – it was mad!
The average size was seriously solid … not complete tanks but we had over half a dozen fish well into the 4lb bracket.
Again Tube Craws were doing the business but the undisputed champion was the humble 4″ Craw which was simply being ravaged everytime it hit the water. The rigging was simple just a 10g cone lead and a 4/0 heavy guage weedless hook!
We ended the session with 50 + wrasse between us … making it a bit of a red letter day in terms of average size and numbers.
A special place and fishing which I think is hard to top when it kicks off!
The coastline of Donegal never ceases to amaze me in its wildness and just generally how pretty it is … with sea cliffs 3 times higher than those in Co.Clare and a rugged coastline to rival Co.Kerry it really baffles me how no one ever debates coming over to explore what it has to offer the lure angler.
Steven Neely - Wrasse Aug 2016 3To top it off I caught was is one of the prettiest wrasse I have ever landed … I had some stunners in the Channel Islands but this little buddy was one had the most vibrant blue spots I have ever laid eyes on. Photo is a tad out of focus unfortunately but you get the idea … stunning! Looks like it belongs in an aquarium not off the west coast of Ireland!
A pretty cracking couple of days on the wrasse and a ton of new stuff learnt and a whole lot more rumbling around inside my skull at the moment.
Lots of new ideas and theories to wrap my head around.
So until next time …
Tight Lines,

Check out Steven’s online shop….Fish on Lures

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Steven Neely

Rookie Bass Angler


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