The South West coastline varies from magnificent sweeping bays to rugged inlets to wide estuaries and sandy beaches. The five huge headlands that jut out into the deep Atlantic Ocean and bathed by the warm Atlantic Drift ensures a wide variety of species. In all well over 50 species of sea fish are on offer to the angler ranging from blue shark to sea bass, and from cod to conger.
Currently there is no State Rod Licence or permit fees required for sea angling. There is no closed season for sea fishing in the region other some restrictions on bass fishing and these include a closed season from the 15 May to the 15 June when all bass must be returned alive.
Deep Sea Angling: There are two deep sea licensed charter boats based in Ballycotton Harbour. Species on offer here are blue shark, conger, pollack, ling, coalfish, garfish, pouting, whiting, wrasse etc. Rough ground to the west provides some excellent pollack and conger catches.
Shore Fishing: The best of the shore is on the Garryvoe side of the bay. These beaches are very popular with match anglers. Catches include thornback and painted ray, bass, conger, dogfish, codling, whiting and flatfish.
Small Boat: Some small boat fishing in the inner bay for ray, flatfish and dogfish. Launching near Ballycotton Harbour.
When to Fish: June to October for blue shark. September to December for ray, codling, dogfish, flatfish etc. on Garryvoe beach.
Comments: Holds 7 Irish records, i.e. black sole, cod, mackerel, plaice, pollack, painted ray and common skate. Excellent venue for large pollack and conger. Some small beaches to the west which are very productive for bass and flatfish while flyfishing or plugging.
Deep Sea Angling: 10 deep sea licensed charter boats based in Crosshaven, Glenbrook, Cobh and East Ferry. Charter boats offer fishing over offshore wrecks and reefs outside and sheltered water inside. All boats have tackle hire. Blue shark fishing opportunities from June to October.
Shore Fishing: Choice of pier, beach, estuary and rocks yielding a wide range of species such as wrasse, conger, bass, ray, codling, dogfish, mullet, mackerel, dabs, plaice, flounder and whiting.
Small Boat: One of the best small boat centres in the entire country over 22 different species recorded in an annual festival. Very deep water and excellent sheltered fishing and can be fished 365 days a year. Irish record blonde ray to 37lbs and irish record turbot to 38lbs recorded here. recorded here. Exceptional bass fishing in summer. Selfdrive boats available here.
When to Fish: All year round for cod and ray. June to October for blue shark. September to January for shore angling for codling, whiting, coalfish and dabs. Cod and whiting best during the hours of darkness.
Comments: The area holds 7 Irish records i.e. dab, ling 55 lbs in 2005. Grey mullet, Golden grey mullet, Blonde Ray 37 lbs. , Homelyn Ray and Turbot. There are numerous deep water quays in Cobh which offer safe angling during the hours of darkness.
Deep Sea Angling: One of the oldest angling centres in the country dating back to the late 1950’s. Several licensed charter boats based there. The famous Ling rocks and the wreck of the Lusitania all within an hour of the Old Head of Kinsale. The main target species are blue shark, pollack, ling, conger and coalfish.
Shore Fishing: Local beaches and the Bandon Estuary produce bass and flounder. One of the best bass venues is Garretstown Strand. Codling, dabs and coalfish are caught from the road bridge during the winter months.
Small Boat: Some flatfish and dogfish caught in the lower harbour and behind the island in Sandy Cove. Trolling for bass in main river channel.
When to Fish: June to October for blue shark. Best months for general fishing are June to December.
Comments: The Ling Rocks will always yield consistent catches of pollack, ling, conger, cod, wrasse and many other species. Holds 4 Irish records i.e. garfish, haddock, thornback ray and six gilled shark.
Deep Sea Angling: Two licenced charter boats based here. Courtmacsherry has one of the top centres over the past 8 years producing many specimen fish. Specimens include cod, coalfish, ling and pollack.
Shore Fishing: Two main species are bass and flounder. Several specimen bass and flounder recorded here. Two other species worth mentioning are mullet at Timoleague and conger at Courtmacsherry Pier.
Small Boat: Small self drive boats for hire here. Specimen bass recorded while trolling in the Timoleague estuary. Ray, flatfish and dogfish in the lower harbour and inner bay.
When to Fish: All the year around for wreck fishing and best results November to January. Bass fishing September to December. Blue Shark June till October.
Comments: Courtmacsherry is popular with specimen hunters. In recent years many common skate caught off the Seven Heads.
Deep Sea Angling: Licenced deep sea charter boats based at Clonakilty, Union Hall and Baltimore all cater for blue shark anglers. General, reef and wreck fishing also available. Species to expect are pollack, coalfish, conger, cod, common skate etc.
Shore Fishing: The many fine beaches, in the Clonakilty area, provide some excellent bass fishing. Some large mullet and gilthead bream in Rosscarbery Estuary
Small Boat: Good small boat angling out of Clonakilty, Union Hall and Baltimore for ray, dogfish, flatfish, bull huss, pollack, wrasse and conger.
When to Fish: Blue shark June to October. Wreck fishing October to January. Bass September to November.
Comments: One of the best areas in the country for large pollack on the offshore reefs. The Clonakilty estuary and Inchydoney beach are popular areas for bass anglers. Best bait is live sandeel on the flooding tide. Record coalfish recorded here 15 kg. Record scad and stone basse also held here.
Deep Sea Angling: Charter boats based at Schull and Goleen. The main action here is the offshore reefs off the Mizen Head which provide excellent pollack fishing. Other species in this area include blue shark, conger, bull huss, ling, coalfish, cod and pouting and some of the best haddock fishing in Ireland. Some common skate and thornback ray also.
Shore Fishing: The best marks for shore fishing are at Crookhaven, Barley Cove and Dunmanus. Pollack, wrasse, dogfish, bull huss, flounder, conger, dabs and wrasse are the more common species. Some sea trout and bass in Ballydehob Harbour.
Small Boat: Excellent small boat fishing off Schull and Goleen for ray, dogfish, plaice and some turbot. Good wrasse, pollack, conger and rockling in Dunmanus Bay.
When to Fish: Blue shark June to October. Shore fishing will produce results from June to December. Wreck fishing for coalfish, cod, pollack and ling November to February.
Comments: Over the last decade many common skate up to 180 lbs. recorded. First class area for specimen size pollack. Good wreck fishing during the winter months for specimen ling, coalfish, conger and cod. Albacore have been recorded here inside the 20 mile limit.
Deep Sea Angling: Three deep sea licensed charter boats operating out of Castletownbere. Many marks have seen little angling action. One of the prime areas for blue shark. Specimen ling, pollack, haddock and coalfish recorded here.
Shore Fishing: Some excellent rock marks at Dursey Sound which yields specimen size wrasse and pollack up to 7 lbs. Some bass beaches on the western side such as Ballydonegan.
Small Boat: Small boats can operate in Bantry Bay, Kenmare Bay and some sheltered marks for ray, huss, flatfish, spurdog and conger.
When to Fish: Shore fishing for bass, pollack and wrasse September to November.
Comments: Castletownbere is a comparatively new centre and is rapidly building up a reputation for some excellent general fishing on the offshore reefs. Specimen ling and pollack recorded here recently.
RING OF KERRY
Deep Sea Angling: Charter boats are based at Sneem, Caherdaniel, Caherciveen, Valentia and Cromane. The more common species are blue shark, pollack, ling, coalfish, conger, pouting, cod etc. Some common skate, bull huss, tope and blue mouths also available.
Shore Fishing: Superb beach fishing at Caherdaniel, Waterville and Rossbeigh for bass anglers. The reefs at Hogs Head and Valentia (Culoo) are ideal venues for mackerel, pollack, wrasse, conger, rockling, dogfish and bull huss. Sea trout at Rossbehy Creek.
Small Boat: The main centres are Valentia, Cromane and Cahersiveen. Some excellent tope fishing off Kells in the channel running into Cromone with also bull huss, ray and dogfish, Tope are caught on the flooding tide.
When to Fish: The best months for tope are June to September. Blue shark June to October. September to November is best for shore angling especially bass.
Comments: The most sought after species here are blue shark, common skate, tope and bass. Some albacore and blue mouths recorded here. Holds seven Irish records i.e. Blue mouth, bull huss, dogfish, Ray’s bream, red sea bream, whiting and conger.
Deep Sea Angling: Charter boats based in Dingle and Castlegregory. Both centres offer blue shark fishing. Other species are tope, pollack, common skate, six species of ray, gurnard, ling, cod, John Dory and coalfish. Deep water close inshore.
Shore Fishing: Some first class beaches for bass anglers such as Inch, Smerwick Harbour and Brandon. The surf beaches at Inch and Brandon Bay are highly regarded. The rocky marks at Clogherhead to Smerwick Harbour produce ballan wrasse to over 7 lbs. , pollack to 10 lbs. and conger to 30 lbs.
Small Boat: Ventry, Dingle and Ballydavid Bays, are well know areas for thornback ray and flatfish.
When to Fish: June to September for tope and blue shark. September to December for shore fishing especially bass and ballan wrasse.
Comments: Bass fishing is showing signs of recovery. The renowned Dingle Pairs Festival has been held here over the last 26 years. Ballan wrasse record held here (a fish of 9 lb).
FENIT AND TRALEE BAY
Deep Sea Angling: The area offers deep sea and inshore fishing. Charter boats based at Fenit pier. Main target species are blue shark, sting ray, undulate ray and occasional monkfish.
Shore Fishing: The top centre in the country for sting ray from the beaches of Derrymore and Killfenora. Surf beaches from Fenit to Ballyheigue offering bass and flatfish including turbot. Excellent rock marks at Kerry Head producing pollack, mackerel, wrasse, conger, buss huss and rockling. Fenit Pier yields catches of ray, flatfish, bass, dogfish, whiting and mullet.
Small Boat: Excellent venue for inshore boat anglers. Good launching facilities in Fenit. Species caught in the Tralee Bay are tope, six species of ray including sting and undulate, common skate, bull huss and occasional monkfish.
When to Fish: Inshore boat angling May to November. Sting ray May and June. Tope June to September. Shore angling June to December.
Comments: Holds three Irish records i.e. monkfish 73lb, sting ray 33 kg and undulate ray.
Sea angling maps
- Cork Harbour
- Courtmacherry to Kinsale
- West Cork
- Mizen Penninsula
- Bantry Bay
- Ring of Kerry
- Dingle Penninsula