The town of Westport is renowned for its sea angling festivals. On almost every weekend during the summer months, festivals and boat angling competitions are staged in Clew Bay. The most famous event is the Westport International Festival, one of the oldest competitions on the Irish Sea Angling calendar.
Several purpose-built boats operate daily from the town Quay offering two different types of fishing. The relatively calm inshore waters among the “365 islands” of Clew Bay can be fished for ray, bull huss, monkfish, dogfish and occasional tope. Large skate over 45.4 kilos are taken with a fair degree of regularity aboard boats anchored in the channel off Inishgort Lighthouse. These fish are all tagged and released unharmed as part of a programme to help conservation and scientific research.
Even in difficult weather conditions, visitors to Westport are almost guaranteed a day afloat because of the many sheltered waters in Clew Bay.
In good weather, the fast boats from Westport fish regularly outside the bay in the more exposed but very productive waters around Clare Island. Excellent boat fishing over reefs and sand banks is available and different species include: cod, coalfish, pollack, ling, whiting, ray, gurnard and turbot.
Blue shark can also be taken during July and August from the deep water 50 meters to the west of Clare Island. Virtually all blue shark are tagged and returned alive. The largest fish in recent years weighed 56.7 kilos.
Between the islands of Caher and Inishturk there is good boat fishing over reefs for pollack, cod, ling and coalfish. Turbot, megrim, dabs, ray and dogfish can be taken over a sand bank when boat fishing close to the shore on the southern side of Inishturk. Specimen red and grey gurnard can be expected from this area.
Little is known about the shore fishing along Clare Island except that pollack and mackerel can be quite plentiful and are often taken on light spinning tackle in Summer and Autumn. Nearby there is potential for fishing deep water over sandy areas where ray, dabs and plaice can be caught.