Fishy Tales from the Emerald Isle –

Terry’s Travels A failed hunt for Porgies.


“Tight Lines” tackle shop owner, Alister Smyth (or is it Lawrence of Arabia!) with a decent Tope

With a break in the weather last weekend, we used this window of opportunity to have a look for porgies off the Donegal coast. Our fortunes altered for the worse, when half-way to the mark, a call from an angling friend suggested we change our plans! Boat anglers had caught absolutely nothing the day previous and blamed it on a large pod of Orca’s that had arrived in the area. I have no knowledge of how Killer Whales would affect angling, but we decided to come up with a contingency plan.

This reef was “thick” with Coalies

We headed instead, for an off-shore reef, and to our relief found it absolutely thick with Coalfish and small Pollack. If I was a Porbeagle, that’s where I would be, especially with the current lack of mackerel around our coastline! We anchored above the reef and dropped whole coalfish baits, suspended below balloons, and down-tide towards the back-end of the huge shoal.

The Penn 30-50 Wave blaster, ideal for sharking

With a bag of “chum” providing the scent trail, we thought we had an outside chance of finding a stray porgy. After five hours, we threw in the towel. I guess you can’t win them all, and realistically, a prize Porbeagle is always going to be a bit of a long shot. To avoid a wasted trip, I headed for a Tope mark and we weren’t disappointed.

Ready to wrestle

"got ya"

Straight onto the measure board, he’s not happy!

A quick photo before tag and release

The only down-side was there were plenty of Tope, but no bait to catch them with. Persevering with small Pollack and Coalfish, we tempted a few, but I am in no doubt that a few fresh mackerel would have made the world of difference. I realise that our seas are running a little colder than average for this time of year, but it is extremely worrying when the Mackerel shoals are slow to arrive. Without them, we will be lost! I only hope the “powers that be” know what they are doing regarding Mackerel quotas; they are playing a very risky game!

Andrew releases a tagged fish


Alister looks a little worn out after struggling with this fish, they were feistier than normal!

Tight Lines

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