Ballyquinn Strand (1) which is about 8kms west of Mine Head has a huge reputation for turning up Irish Record and Specimen fish. Some notable captures over the years have included painted ray of over 5kg, plaice over 3kg, black sole of 1.9kg, lesser spotted dogfish of 1.62kg and flounder of 1.59kg. Thornback ray, bass and dabs can also be expected there. A flooding tide into darkness is the best period particularly from June to September, when crab, sandeel, mackerel and ragworm baits will all take fish.
Between Ballyquinn and Ardmore Bay to the south, is an area of low rock and boulder known as the Black Rocks (2) where plug fishing and spinning has yielded bass to almost 5kg, pollack to over 3kg and mackerel in summer. Bottom fishing produces dogfish and occasional conger.
Ardmore Beach (3) is popular with swimmers and windsurfers for much of the year. The beach fishes best during the hours of darkness so it is unlikely that anglers will be disturbed by either type of sporting enthusiast. As on Ballyquinn the species available include painted and thornback ray, plaice, flounder and sole. The successful baits are also similar. Lugworm can be dug on the beach just north of the Car Park (A)
Small boats can be launched from the slipway at Ardmore Pier (4) to fish in depths up to 40metres. Cod of over 11kg are a fairly regular occurrence over mixed ground in the area as are whiting, pouting and ray. There are several wrecks within easy striking distance of Ardmore including the 1330 ton steamer “Kenmare” which went down south of Ram Head in 1915 and the “Comita” of Glasgow which sank east of Ram Head in 1917 following a collision with a mine. Conger, ling, and pollack can all be expected over local wreck sites with the very real possibility of a specimen fish being taken.
Bottom fishing from the pier has produced bass, sole, plaice, ray and dogfish. Spinning has accounted for seatrout and mackerel, while mullet are also possible on float fished or free lined baits.
Spinning and float fishing from the rocks on Ardmore Head (5) will produce pollack, mackerel (in season), ballan and corkwing wrasse, seatrout and occasional garfish. On the southern side of Rams Head there are a number of vantage points where rock fishing is available. The best marks are Fr. O’Donnell’s Well (6), Fallawaderra (7) and Fall an Iarann (8). All these sites produce pollack and mackerel while spinning, wrasse on float fishing tackle using crab or ragworm baits, and occasional conger on bottom fished baits of squid or mackerel. As the rocky ground of Rams Head begins to give way to sand at Goat Island (9) so the fishing also changes. Bottom fishing produces bass, dab, flounder, dogfish and coalfish while spinning at high tide yields mackerel (in season) and occasional seatrout.
From the R673 at Sluggera Cross Roads a narrow road runs south west to a car park at Ballynamona (B) where there is excellent digging for lugworm, on the beach 500 metres to the left. Crab can also be collected under weed and around the base of rocks. The beach at Whiting Bay (10) faces almost due south and takes on surf conditions when the wind is in that quarter. There is a car park adjoining the beach which is situated virtually midway along. Fishing can be carried out from either side of the car park, but to the west, the beach is cleaner and contains less stone and weed. Numerous specimen fish have been taken there including plaice of almost 2.85kg and a one time Irish Record bass of 7.72kgs! Sandeel, crab and ragworm are the best baits.
Sheltered between Cabin Point in the east and Blackball Head in the west is Calliso Bay (11), which is popular as a surf fishing venue. Although the beach is less than a kilometre in length it throws up a wide range of species annually. Surf fishing with crab or sandeel baits, over sand, produces bass, flounder and dogfish. Bottom fishing over mixed sand and rock at the eastern end yields conger, wrasse and rockling while spinning in late summer and autumn accounts for bass and seatrout.
Mangan’s Cove (12) lies between Blackball Head and East Point at the eastern entrance to the Blackwater River Estuary. Bottom fishing over mixed ground yields bass, ray and dogfish on crab, sandeel and ragworm baits in summer. Lugworm and crab are the best baits for flounder and codling in autumn and winter. Crab can also be collected there at (C) in spring and early summer. As the coastline swings north into the Blackwater estuary, the shore becomes rugged and weed covered. At first glance there may appear to be little prospect for shore angling but the rough ground gives way to mud and sand at about 50 metres. From East Point to Monatrae House (13), casts into the channel of 80 to 120 metres, will produce bass, dogfish and occasional plaice and ray in summer and flounder, codling and eels in autumn and winter. Crab can be collected along the foreshore at (D).
A short distance north of Monatrae House is Ferry Point (14) which is a spit of land running at right angles to the main shore and almost dissecting the Blackwater Estuary, creating a narrows along the eastern shore. This has traditionally been one of the most consistently prolific shore angling locations on the south coast. The main beach is of steep shingle which fishes best from half way up the flood tide, through high water and two hours into the ebb. Codling and flounder are the main target fish in winter and spring, with bass, plaice and dogfish showing in summer. Bottom fishing from the point for an hour at slack water, at low tide, can also provide excellent flounder fishing with fish to over 1.36kg possible. Spinning into the fast water of the narrows, also accounts for seatrout and mackerel at high water. Conger are also commonly taken on night tides at the angle of the beach close to the rocks, below the Monatrae House access. The slipway at Ferry Point is accessible at all stages of the tide, but care must be taken if using a car to launch or recover, as this area can be covered in a thin film of weed making for very slippery conditions. When strong winds are blowing downriver, care should also be exercised, to avoid boats being pushed on to the stony beach adjoining the slipway.
North of Ferry Point is a large area of estuarine mud and sand and above the road at Newtown (E) lugworm are plentiful and can be dug with comparative ease. Travelling along the main N25 from the east, and about half a kilometre before crossing the main road bridge, on a sharp bend, is the remains of the Old Bridge (15). Bottom fishing from there two hours either side of high water will yield flounder, bass, and codling on crab and worm baits while spinning will account for small pollack. Between the old bridge and new Youghal Bridge (F), soft and peeler crab can be collected at low tide in spring and early summer. In good years there may be a second “peel” in July or August.
As the River Blackwater is crossed so one moves from County Waterford into County Cork and on the western shore only a few hundred metres beyond the bridge, and before the N25 byass the Tourig River (16) flows below Rincrew Bridge and into the main Blackwater channel. Spinning at high water produces bass and seatrout, while bottom fishing turns up flounder and eels. To the south of the Tourig River, the western end of the old road once made its Cork landfall.
mmediately to the south is an old Dyke Wall (17) which protects a large area of marsh, known as the Youghal Mudlands from high tides. This runs south to the old Carpet Factory Pier (18). There is first class fishing on this stretch for flounder, codling, plaice and bass. Crab is by far the best bait while bottom fishing although spinning at several spots along the wall and pier is also worth trying for bass.
The sea side town of Youghal (19) from the ancient Irish “Eochail” meaning “yew wood”, was probably first settled by early Christians and developed into a strategically important site with the arrival of the Vikings in the 9th century. The town’s most famous inhabitant was Sir Walter Raleigh who was mayor in 1588/9 and resided at the 15th century “Myrtle Grove”.
In 1956 film director John Houston used Youghal as the main location for the filming of Herman Melville’s classic “Moby Dick” which was a huge success at the box office and is regarded locally as being the most important shot in the arm for tourism to the town.
An angling charter boat operates from the town quays and specialises in shark, reef and wreck fishing. Boat fishing off Youghal has produced many specimen fish, including red bream 2.49kg, coalfish 9.25kg, conger 23kg, lesser spotted dogfish 1.70kg, grey gurnard 1.13kg, ling 17.24kg, blue shark 15.87kg, cod 13.04kg, pollack 6.8kg, thornback ray 9.30kg, plaice 2.34kg. Some of the better fishing marks are a remarkably short run from the pier which has obvious advantages for small boat enthusiasts. The inshore fishing in Youghal Bay is of a very high standard particularly for bass, ray, conger, flounder, codling, plaice, dab, and dogfish. Shore fishing from the quays and Green Park Corner (opposite Walter Raleigh Hotel) is best on a flooding tide for flounder, bass, codling, plaice, conger and dogfish. In mid summer night tides are generally most productive and crab, sandeel, mackerel and ragworm are the best baits. There is a tackle shop in South Main street in the town.
The 5km long, south east facing Youghal or Redbarn Strand (20) is a popular, shore fishing and tournament stretch which features a number of events every year. This is also a favoured beach with day trippers and tourists so fishing is mainly restricted to off peak holiday periods or on night tides when relative peace and tranquillity prevail. The beach is best fished on a flood tide and catches tend to peak when the water is well aerated by a rolling surf. Bass and flounder are the main quarry but match anglers enjoy the annual inshore migration of coalfish from October to December. Crab and lugworm are the most popular baits there.
At Pillmore Strand (21) on the northern side of the entrance to the Womanagh River estuary, a flooding tide will yield bass, flounder and occasional plaice, with codling showing in winter. Spinning in the channel will also occasionally result in seatrout. Below the Pillmore Car Park (G) lugworm are plentiful on the channel banks and can be dug easily.
Inside Pillmore Estuary (22) below the R633 road, spinning in the channel on a flood tide will produce bass and seatrout. Bass to 4.5kg and flounder to 1.40kg will also fall to bottom fished crab baits. Spring tides can be difficult to fish at Pillmore due to the inordinate amount of floating weed that is carried along with them. This can be very frustrating as cast after cast is swept away up tide by heavy clumps of weed which engulf the terminal tackle on every cast. This can also lead to high losses of tackle, so tides like this should be avoided. On the southern side of the estuary at Ballymacoda (23), bass and flatfish arrive for a short period of an hour or so around high water and can be caught on crab or worm baits. Night tides are generally best there. About 5km east of Ballymacoda village is Knockadoon Pier (24) where spinning at high tide is successful for pollack and mackerel (in season). Float fishing produces mullet but prior ground baiting will afford best chances of success.
Dogfish, ballan and corkwing wrasse are also common around the pier as are a whole community of mini species including tompot blenny and black goby.
Small boat fishing locally around Capel Island is for codling, wrasse, pollack, conger, coalfish, with baited feather lures offering best opportunities.
Tides at Youghal are +00.14 minutes on Cobh times.