Kit Dunne of WICKLOW BOAT CHARTERS reviews 2020, anf reports that for angling it was better than expected…
Well it was a strange year to say the least, hindered by Covid we all tried to make the most of our days out, and that we did, max 6 onboard everyone fished hard when they got a break.
Our biggest result was a new Specimen on the boat with our first really big Pollack. With the introduction of Wreck fishing out of Wicklow we claimed 3 Specimen Pollock.
Tope fishing was excellent with more than 250 recorded, and about 15 Specimen fish caught.
Smooth-Hounds were very prolific with nearly 1000 caught, and 67+ Specimens recorded, plus numerous un-recorded.
Spurdog Specimen numbers increased again this year with 41 recorded and the best winter Months weren’t even fished. Numbers of smaller fish increased massively.
Shark Fishing improved again, we landed an average of 3 sharks per trip, with 2 Specimen weight Blue Sharks caught, 100lb+, and 2 length-based claims made at 1.9+ Metre long.
Trip numbers were down due to Covid restrictions but when we got out we got fish.
Jan, Feb & March were all affected by Covid in many ways, trips were minimal however we managed a few Spurdog, Huss and Tope. Jan produced our best day of the year on Spurdogs, with 70 fish caught, 14 being of Irish Specimen size. A total of 33 Specimen Spur were recorded in Jan, while Feb and March brought another 20 with 5 Specimen. BullHuss were plentiful and a few Tope for good measure.
April & May we were shut down completely due to Covid so nothing to report.
June opened up angling on the 9th and we saw settled weather and many trips. Tope, Huss, Hound and Ray numbers were exceptional. Black Bream, Tope and Specimen Smooth-Hounds came in as expected. 47 Specimen Hounds were recorded in June while most groups fished crab, Black Bream, Codling, Conger and Ling came off the inshore marks. Species were steady inshore with the Bream, Pollock, Ballan, Tub, Pouting, Poor-cod, and Codling in numbers. While the majority targeted the Hounds we set out for Tope a few days, recording 75 Tope in June with 7 Specimen size fish, I’ll say it again Tope are plentiful in June but we focus on Hounds.
July saw continued numbers of Tope, Smooth-Hound, BullHuss, Thornback and Homelyn Ray. We had another 18 Irish Specimen Hounds plus a few Tope while we just couldn’t nail the Specimen Black Bream, Huss, or Ray. Wind didn’t favour our planned Wreck trips so they rolled into August. Grey Gurnard were common out deep and Tub Gurnard numbers increased inshore.
August seen the Tope, Huss and Hound catches continue while our Shark season began, we boated 29 Shark and 1 Specimen Blue at 100lb in August. Our Wreck fishing began out of Wicklow with just 1 trip, we managed plenty of Pollock to 14lb and Cod to 7lb, this was more than we wished for and was topped off with a Specimen Pollock for Clubmate Jerry Dixon. This day was one of my most memorable, meeting an old friend, Gethyn Owen, from Wales in the middle of the Irish Sea while starting our new wreck ventures.
Inshore fishing was good with the usual fish plus a few Dab, Whiting, Plaice and even a Red Mullet.
September saw more restrictions due to Covid so trip numbers were down. Tope, Huss, and Hounds still showed at Wicklow, while the Blue & Porbeagle sharks continued off Kilmore. We had more Specimen Blue Shark and Tope while the Wicklow wrecks produced another 2 Specimen Pollock. The wreck fishing was exceptional in September with plenty of Pollock between 3lb and 14lb and a few Pouting to nearly 3lb plus the odd Cod and Coaly. No doubt these wrecks will fish well through out winter, we just need the weather and no more Covid restrictions.
October & November brought tighter restrictions due to Covid so trips were very limited, the few dates we got out were locals only or a personal trip for Myself. The weather didn’t play ball, but we got a small number of days out which produced big numbers of Spurdog with a few BullHuss. 3 Specimen Spurdog were recorded, including 2 for myself. Inshore produced a few big Tope with 1 Specimen recorded.
All in all it wasn’t a bad year considering everything, but we still strive for more, in 2021 we hope to do much more wreck fishing, and get more Wreck specimens, the signs are good for our first Specimen Pouting and we plan to target our first Irish Sea Porbeagle.
BIG thanks to all our customers for their support during 2020. Unfortunately, I cancelled our Awards Night and we won’t meet at the Angling Show or the Specimen Fish Awards. Roll on the Spring & an end to Covid, Stay safe and we’ll meet soon.