Waterville in stunning South Kerry was the next stop for a weekend of angling and crack. Waterville sea angling club were hosting a competition on the golf course beach, on the Saturday. The only problem was the weather was too good (I know to good) a sentence in Ireland you rarely here. After 2 weeks of glorious weather the surf beaches were more like lakes. The surfers along with the shore anglers were in the horrors, with no waves to be seen.
Knowing the comp would be a bit of a disaster due to the conditions we had to give it a go none the same. Some lucky anglers caught a few small flatties on the first casts and then nothing for the next 4 hours, apart from the odd fluky flounder. Joe Murphy was smiling though after catching 2 fish in his first 2 casts, this lead the comp for 4 and half hours.
In the last half hour, things took a different turn for a few lucky anglers with a small run of bass. Craig Corbett was the first to catch a bass of around 3 pound, this was enough to win the juniors comp. John Osbourne was next with a bass around the same size. Pa Egan thought he was into a good fish only to see a lovely sea trout on the end of his hook. Unfortunately sea trout don’t count in competitions and the boys around poor Pa had a good laugh at him.
In angling anything can happen though, and on the next cast Pa caught a double bass which took the smile off their faces. The fishing was so poor that Pa won the match with his double. On the other side of the beach the fishing was much harder and anglers were trying not to blank (catch something). Aidan O Sullivan saved the blank when he caught a massive turbot of 6 cm, greedy little bugger it was the same size as the bait. As anglers know a 5 hour match is more like a week when the fish aren’t around.
After such a long day a steak and a few Guinness were next on the agenda as we made our plans for the following day. As usual a few pints and an early night didn’t happen, the following morning and we decided on fishing the cliffs on Valcentia Island on the way back home.
Valcentia Island is an awe inspiring place overlooking the famous Skellig Islands. The bird life is in credible and with the 2nd largest Gannet colony in the world living on the little Skellig, there is an estimated 70,000 birds, this place will blow you away. The Greater Skellig Island was once the home to the St. Fionan’s monks. They had a monastery in 600 AD on the island and this island is recognised as 1 of the ancient 7 wonders of the world. The monks lived in beehive shaped huts made from stone; the island reaches 714 ft. in height from the Atlantic below. We were fishing from the infamous Culoo rocks which are known as the death rocks in Ireland. Dozens of anglers and walkers have been swept off these rocks over the years. So you don’t get a chance to fish off Culoo very often in such calm conditions.
The wrasse and Pollock fishing is incredible here from June until November. With it only in the first week of April we were a little early, but any excuse would do in such calm conditions to fish off these famous rocks, if not alone for the fantastic scenery around you. It didn’t take long though for the first wrasse to be caught, one off a couple of pounds. With it being so early in the year we were surprised to be catching so many wrasse. Peeler crab was doing the job along with maddies, but with so many small wrasse around they were making bits of the bait. There was only a few small Pollock caught, but we must have had over 30 wrasse between us. The best wrasse was around 3 and a half pounds. Rock fishing from culoo can produce conger, ling, cod and just about anything. I’ve seen whales and lots of basking shark from this mark in the past. I’ve heard stories of Mako, Porbeagle and Thresher shark being hooked from the rocks anything is possible from Culoo.
Valentia Island is a wonderful place not just for the angler but for the family as well. The 1st transatlantic cable from Europe to America was built and based on the island in 1857 and was completed in 1858. Some going for its time the cable was 2980 km in length.
The island is also famous for its slate quarry; it’s said to be the best slate in the world. Valentia slate is on the roofs of some very famous buildings, such as the houses of parliament and Westminster Cathedral in London. It’s also on the roof of the Paris opera house to name but a few.
Another amazing fact about the island is the pre dinosaur foot prints of a tetrapod. There’s over 150 foot prints and are dated between 350 and 370 million years old. These are the only ones found in Europe and are really worth seeing.
We are very lucky in Kerry to have such incredible places to fish from and south Kerry is another one of those special areas.
On behalf of Ullcatch Eugene singing out.