The Munster Closed Shore competition was held over last weekend in the Youghal area. One of the most prestigious competitions on the Irish competition circuit, the event was organised this year by West Cork & District SAC. Club member Pete Davis took part, and wrote a great account of the weekend. Take it away, Pete!
2021 Munster Closed Shore
The 2021 Munster Closed Shore competition was held over 3 sessions in Youghal over the weekend. Friday night was Redbarn, Saturday morning we were to head for the Slob bank and finally wrapping things up on Youghal beach itself on Saturday night.
Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
The week leading up to the event itself was one of frantic bait gathering and trace tying with maddies and fresh peeler crab being sought after. Its unfortunate that this year we are in a tide cycle whereby rising tides into darkness over a weekend are all on the smaller neaps and not on springs as would be way more preferable. Anglers had to be prepared for what could be fairly slow fishing as in general, beach angling on neaps isn’t anywhere near as productive so covering all the bases from mini bashing to the hoped for bigger fish was going to be necessary.
The event itself was being organised and hosted by West Cork and District Sea Angling Club and credit where its due, they did a fantastic job. Special mention in particular to Stephen O’Donovan and Mark O’Sullivan with JP Molloy and Barry O’Rourke stepping in to assist pegging the beaches also. Peg draw, card return and result organising were flawless and the information provided in the lead up was also appreciated.
Match 1 at Redbarn was a scratchy affair. There were some nice painted Ray and a few dogfish caught but by and large the bigger fish just didn’t materialise and the ability to put together a bag of mixed bits and pieces on the night was key to building a score. It was a frustrating start for some but that’s match fishing for you, you can only catch what’s in front of you! Still, for anyone who had fish, it was only the end of session 1 and there was still all to play for.
Aidan O’Halloran had the best fish of the evening with a painted Ray, Darren Ryan with a 56cm Strap Conger took the evenings biggest round fish prize. Zone winners on the night were JP Molloy, Stephen O’Donovan and Darren Ryan.
You have to be organised for these multi event competitions and there was a rapid exit off the beach with anglers keen to check their gear and get rid of any mess ready for number 2. Whilst the fishing hadn’t been explosive, anglers willing to push hard and follow through on their plans had certainly got results.
Match 2, Saturday morning was on the (in)famous Slob Bank or Dog Egg alley as it should be called. Woe betide the unwary walker here! Another scratchy affair ensued with anglers willing to adapt to what was in front of them rather than persisting with trying to catch what wasn’t there doing well.
Expected numbers of small codling, coalies or other round fish just didn’t materialise. There were however some lovely big flounders caught along with an odd middling size bass and numbers of small Whiting. That man JP Molloy, once he had managed to park his gardeners world wheel barrow somehow managed to pull out a surprise dogfish, the lads unreal, he’d pull a doggie out of the Lough in Togher if you gave him long enough! Fishing in general was slow once again but the tiny tides and beautifully unseasonal weather made it a pleasant enough morning.
Alan O’Dowling took the biggest round fish prize in this session with a 48cm Bass with the fish of the session (No JP, its not your doggie!) falling to Gearoid McCarthy with a fine 43cm flounder. Zone winners were Kevin Hayden, David O’Sullivan and Troy Francis.
If the fishing on the Slob Bank was mildly disappointing, it was nothing compared to the disappointment experienced for a horde of hungry anglers descending on the Roma Grill in town only to find out it didn’t open until 3pm… They will never know what they missed, it would have been something akin to the last days of Rome! Sustenance was obtained elsewhere before thoughts and attention turned to the final match of the series on Youghal beach that evening.
Chances were it was going to be another fairly scratchy affair and so it proved to be. Troy Francis got off to an absolute flier in Zone C with some fine angling and walked his Zone win in the first hour or so before the fish at distance dried up. Runs of small fish in close turned up late on if you went looking for them, managing to land 6 fish in a 20 minute period myself just towards the end of the match. Whilst there hadn’t been huge numbers of fish caught, it had been a full on couple of days and there were some tired men coming off the beach when the call for lines up was made.
Chris O’Sullivan scooped the pool for the biggest flatfish on the night with a 33cm flounder. The fish of the night, and to be fair, far and away the fish of the weekend however went to Sean Og McShane, an angler more used to flying the flag for Ireland on the World Boat Team, with a superb 76cm bass. Well done that man, that fish will take some matching! Zone winners on the night were Troy Francis, Alan O’Dowling and Richard Gormley.
With all the scores in, the small matter of the Gold medal and also the Munster Team for next years Interprovincial competition were announced the following day. JP Molloy finished in top spot with a zone win and 2 second places to take the title to put the Munster Closed shore Trophy alongside the Munster Open trophy he also currently holds. A really solid, consistent display from JP once again. The Munster team will be made up of JP Molloy, Alan O’Dowling, Troy Francis, Stephen O’Donovan and Richie Gormley. To be fair, it’s a team that’s well able to take on all comers and we wish them well in the Inter Pros next year.
It’s been a long time since I fished the Munsters and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There is a great sense of camaraderie at these events with acquaintances being made and renewed over the weekend. There was some lively banter on occasion and a lot of fun had regardless as to how results had gone. There is a large contingent of us travelling up North to Benone and Portrush beaches this weekend for the eagerly anticipated Master Angler competition. I would like to take this opportunity to wish safe travels to all heading up, look forward to seeing everyone up there and raising a damp glass or two in the process.
Our next outing with the Westies is in the Garryvoe area on September 11th, if you are interested in joining and coming fishing with us, please don’t hesitate to drop us a message through our FB page.
The club was formed on march 19th 2009, in the small picturesque harbour town of Kinsale County Cork. We’re an inclusive club, this can be seen in our membership profile; from anglers who are new to match fishing all the way up to members of the Irish World Shore Team 2010, two of which are in the club! The club holds circa 10 competitions per year, members are encouraged to practice a catch and release policy in the interests of conservation. Anybody wishing to join our club is always welcome, just use the contact us page and we will give prospective members full details. Web:http://westcorkanddistrict.webs.com/ Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Cork-and-District-SAC/201776589958897