Southern Regional Fisheries Board
Knockadoon Head to Ballycotton
There is a track across the headland that leads down to the fishing mark on Knockadoon Head (1) where there is spinning and float fishing for pollack, wrasse, mackerel and mullet. Bottom fishing will yield conger and rockling.
On the southern corner of Knockadoon Head a narrow road runs towards an Old Signal Tower (2). The ground below the tower is of weed and rock, interspersed by a number of sandy patches, over which spinning and float fishing can be carried out for pollack, mackerel and wrasse. Bottom fishing will produce conger, cod and coalfish.
The rocks at Ballymakeragh (3), particularly on the eastern side of the small headland, offer several productive vantage points for wrasse, dogfish, rockling and bass in summer. Codling and coalfish can also be taken there in late autumn. The best baits are crab, lugworm, mackerel and squid.
The beach at Ballycrenane (4) is over 1km in length and due to the varied nature of the inshore seabed along the stretch, offers some very interesting beach fishing.
At the eastern end, fishing is influenced by the rock, weed and sand mixture, so rough ground species such as, coalfish, rockling, conger, ballan and corkwing wrasse can be expected. Bass can also be taken on plugs or spinning tackle at high water in spring and summer, while codling usually turn up to bottom fished baits, in autumn and winter. As one moves west, so the beach becomes cleaner, and is made up mainly of sand. When surf is running, bass and flounder can be expected in autumn and codling in winter. In the calmer summer conditions, the species list is enhanced by dabs, plaice, thornback ray, painted ray and dogfish. Lugworms are plentiful in the sand on the beach at (A) and can be dug easily. Sandeel can also be dug up in summer, particularly at low tide on springs.
Bottom fishing from the tumble of rocks at the seaward end of Ballinwilling Reef (5) produces dogfish, rockling, flounder and bass. Casting out over sand gives best results. To the left of the Car Park (B) peeler and soft crab can be collected in summer. Bottom fishing in front of the car park on Ballinwilling Strand (6) will return bass, flounder, conger and coalfish. Bass and flounder are also probable while fishing between the stream and the outflow from the marsh with codling also possible in autumn. The top baits on this stretch are crab, lugworm and mackerel.
Garryvoe Strand (7) is one of the best known shore fishing locations in the Southern Region, and has an awesome reputation for its consistent specimen fish returns. Several bass and painted ray over the specimen weight of 4.5kg are captured, almost annually while specimen flounder to over 1.36kg and dogfish of 1.58kg have also been taken.
Over the years many shore angling tournaments have been staged, ranging from local club competitions to full blown inter-provincial or international matches and on more than one occasion a winning bag in excess of 45kgs has been recorded! Lugworm, squid, crab and mackerel are the best baits on Garryvoe.
Between the car parks at Garryvoe and Shanagarry the beach is known as Ardnahinch (8) where the fishing is of similar quality to the shore to the east. A large number of specimen fish have been taken there including an Irish Record painted ray of 7.81kg. Bottom fishing will also produce turbot, thornback ray, flounder, conger, codling and bass. Night tides are generally more productive than daylight ones, particularly in mid summer. Lugworm can be dug on the beach close to the Shanagarry Car Park (C).
Where the Bay swings to the south at Ballynamona (9) a large area of lagoon and wetland opens up behind the beach and extends all the way back to the R629 road. This is not only a good fishing place but it is also an ornithological site of international significance as it is the annual stopping off point for many rare gulls and waders.
Anglers visiting the area in winter should be aware of this and try not to disturb the many roosting birds in the vicinity.
From the beach at the entrance to the lagoon, surf fishing, two hours either side of high water will produce bass, flounder and codling. Spinning will also occasionally account for seatrout.
On the western side of the channel, as the R629 begins to swing south east and about 1km before Ballycotton, a small lane runs down to the beach at Silver Strand (10). At the southern end near the rocky ground, congers of over 9kg have been taken. Bass are fairly common on a flood tide over sand and specimen flounder of over 1.30kg have also been recorded there.
The village of Ballycotton (11) boasts the longest sea angling history in the entire country. It was there in the early 1900’s that the “Dreadnaughts”, a group of anglers from the London based Explorer’s Club first set up a base, and their exploits over the early years of the century has become the stuff of angling legend. No fewer than three of the oldest records on the Irish list continue to survive there. They are pollack of 19lbs 3ozs (8.72kg) from 1904, common skate of 221 lbs (100.70kg) from 1913 and cod of 42lbs (19.05kg) from 1921. As the years rolled by, further records were also set up only to be beaten elsewhere, but at the time of writing three survive; they are one boat caught record for mackerel of 1.87kg in 1979, and two shore caught records for plaice of 3.73kg in 1982 and black sole of 2.87kg in 1986. Charter boats operate annually from May to the end of September and specialise in reef and shark fishing. Boat anglers have a very wide range of species to aim for, including spur dog to 7.20kg, garfish to 1.20kg, hake to 6.38kg, ling to 13.38kg, pouting to 1.64kg, thornback ray to 11.11kg, cuckoo ray to 2.25kg, blue shark to 68.04kg, and whiting to 1.79kg. Two species above all others seem to predominate at Ballycotton; pollack and conger. Although they seldom grow over the specimen weight for either species (5.44kg for pollack and 18kgs for conger), the sheer numbers available on the local reefs, almost guarantees a good days sport, with the possible exception of mid winter.
Shore anglers too will find the harbour area to be a top class fishing location as the shore caught records above, both came from the breakwater wall. Mullet are common in the summer months and fish of over 3kg have been caught on small float fished fish strips.
Crab can be collected along the shore below the Old Schoolhouse (D) on the R629 road.
Spring tides at Ballycotton are +00.11 minutes on Cobh times.
The Southern Regional Fisheries Board strongly advises shore anglers to wear a lifejacket at all times, particularly on exposed rock platforms. It should also be noted that the law in Ireland requires all users of small craft to wear a lifejacket while on board. The use of marine band radio (VHF) is also strongly recommended as the use of mobile phones at sea is not compatible with the Irish Coastguard and other emergency services. It is also essential that someone on shore should be informed of the intended fishing location and the estimated time of return. This applies for both shore and boat fishing.