Yesterday we fished the last in our current series of light line competitions. This one was the fourth one this year and, similar to the last one in March, the cod were about in abundance. Unfortunately, we didn't have as large a turnout as in previous outings but we still had 9 anglers turning out bright and early at the pier bursting with enthusiasm. All that were due to fish were present and on time. Now that was a first as in all other comps we were kept waiting by Danny and Sandra who are always leggedy last. Fair play to the two of them this time. The only trouble was there was no sign of the 'John Boy.' A quick call and we soon established that Donie couldn't start the engine this morning; the battery was flat. However, Johnny Geary soon sorted him out with a new battery. Within no time at all he was under steam again and on his way to the pier head.
We were soon on our way and the boat draw was made. Starting on the starboard side with position number 1 and working all the way around the boat to position 9 on the opposite side, while placing angler no. 5 in the middle of the stern, we had Martin O' Leary, Eric O' Neill, Piotr Nowakowski, Danny Kane, Sandra O' Shea, Sylwester Skowronski, Denis Murphy, Noel Carey, and Frank Burke. We steamed directly for the Harbour mouth. Rather than fish 'Deep Hole' as we had done the last day, we decided to fish a different spot. Donie had heard that the ground around the dividing buoy was fishing well. However, I convinced him to try and old mark just at the harbour mouth. We could always work our way back in.
We anchored just off the southern edge of the harbour rock where the rock gives way to sand and mixed ground. This had always been good codling ground in the past. It was a bit dirty here as the last of the ebb was still pushing against the SSW breeze. No place for those with weak stomachs but we knew we had a hardened crew of veteran anglers onboard. In any case the oncoming flood would flatten it out.
We hadn't settled in at anchor long when the first of the fish came aboard; beautiful golden codling. The ones close to the rock here have a very vivid colouration on their flanks. Within short order everyone started catching. Nothing like the numbers apparent in the last competition but everyone was landing a few! Martin O' Leary joked that he had never had more than two fish in a competition before. That record was soon broken!!! He was so taken by the fish that he had 'a Rex Hunt' moment. He should just be fishing with Cobh SAC more often!
As the tide turned and started to flood the quality of the fish started to improve, with some of the codling nudging the 4lb mark. The variety of the species also started to increase with pollack, pouting, poor cod, and dabs coming onboard. Denis Murphy picked up a 'Johnny Cobbler' or scorpion fish; that was unusual in a competition. Sylwester let his lead go way in with the flooding tide and as his gear was now closer to the rock itself he managed to winkle out one of the resident ballan wrasse. It was a beautiful coloured fish aswell but before I could take a snap, Sylwester had already returned him to the deep.
We were sooned joined by the resident pod of dolphins, who looked as if they were hearding a shoal of fish into a baitball. More than likely herring, as several dense shoals had shown up on the fishfinder on the way out. They came very close to the boat aswell and as I had the camera out I tried to get a picture. Unfortunately, they were just too fast for me.
As we neared the third hour of the flood Donie reckoned a move was in order. Although, we were picking up fish it wasn't as prolific as the fishing in at Deep Hole the last day. So off to Deep Hole we went. Here the tide was running at a fierce pace. Nevertheless, everyone was into fish within short order. The fish, though, were smaller here. Frank even managed a few herring. We weren't here long when the heavens opened. It was typical of these heavy April showers...although, it lasted longer than a shower! Donie and myself retreated to the shelter of the cabin to leave the competitors to brave the elements. Funny enough, the showers seemed to be coming in a line across our position. Outside the Harbour, where we had been, was bathed in sunshine. Inside the Harbour, inside us, was also bathed in sunshine, and here we were drenched by a constant procession of showers. Weird! It did seem to dampen the spirits somewhat for only Sandra, Danny, Denis, and Noel seemed to be still catching. Danny and Sandra in particular seemed to motor ahead.
For the final hour Donie suggested another move. This time we anchored up channel side of No. 8. This had also produced during our series of light line comps. Unfortunately, this time it didn't. Sandra did manage a stonker of a dab here, though. It measured 37cm. Surely, it must have been nudging the specimen weight. Denis Murphy was the only one here that was steadily catching away. He still had some lug left and this seemed to be doing the trick. The others were using crab and this was just not getting any interest at this spot. Strange, as it was working at the other two marks. That's fishing for you!
At 3pm Donie called lines up and it was time to tally up the scores. It was going to be a close run thing. Danny Kane and Denis Murphy were leading the field with 41 fish each. However, by virtue of the fact that he had more species, Denis was the outright winner. Only 14 points separated the top two. Its just aswell Danny didn't win, as we'd have never heard the end of it. In third spot was Sandra O' Shea with 37 fish and in fourth was Noel Carey with 34 fish. In all 248 fish were landed which made it an average of 28 fish per angler. Of these there were 207 codling making it another Cork Harbour cod feist.
Once again the slagging back at the prize giving was rife. Many thanks to Colin Downey of Barry & Fitzwilliam who sponsored the prizes. Colin has been threatening to fish the light line comps for awhile but couldn't make any so far. May be next winter Colin!
That now concludes the light line competition series until next winter. Overall winner of the series was Steven O' Neill of Guileen SAC, who, despite not being able to make Sunday's competition, won with 26 points. In second place with 27 points, and overall winner of the best placed Cobh SAC angler prize, was Noel Carey. Both anglers won prizes of fishing reels sponsored by Jim Clohessy of Cork Small Boats Festival and Irish Angler. Well done to both!!!
The series will kick off again next October and go right through the winter until the following April. Your best six scores out of seven competitions will be taken for the final shake-up, so watch this space!!!