With the recent poor weather we have been experiencing in Northern Ireland, it pains me to say that boat trips have been few and far between! However, I did manage one short session out in the deep water off the Antrim Coast last week. A welcome break from the northerlies allowed me to launch at Dunseverick Harbour. As this would only be a six-hour trip, my crew and I decided to anchor on one particular mark that looked quite interesting.
This is an un-marked reef lying in 400 feet of water that dies away onto sand and broken shell. We decided not to waste time in search of mackerel, relying on previously frozen mackerel and calamari squid. Small, baited hooks produced an array of species over the clean ground including large dabs, gurnard and weaver fish, the poisonous little species with the venomous black dorsal fin. It goes without saying that this species should be handled with reasonable caution!
We had great fun with the smaller species until the change in tide positioned the boat directly over the rough ground of the reef. A change in tactics and tackle was immediately called for. Glenn opted for the flying collar rig, picking up plenty of small to medium sized pollack to keep him busy, whilst Dessy and I tried baited hawk rigs to target cuckoo wrasse.
We found a few Cuckoos, but in the process, I lost a larger fish that “bit off” the light snood. A quick switch to heavier tackle and I soon discovered what the culprit was! There were a number of nice sized Ling below the boat, not huge, just nudging double figures, but great fun on light gear. Seizing the opportunity, Glenn and Andy followed suit and rods were soon buckling in unison!
As the tide slackened towards high-water, Glenn hooked into the best fish of the day, a solitary female Spurdog that pushed the scales well into double figures. This was his largest spur to date; I think he’s still grinning from ear to ear!
With the nights closing in, we were fast running out of day-light and it was time to head for harbour. This certainly wasn’t a spectacular day, but a very enjoyable and relaxing few hours deep-water angling amongst good friends. You need to grab these opportunities when Mother Nature allows, and make the most of your day on the water.