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Wreck fishing

Wreck fishing off Baltimore, cod
The sea bed south of Ireland is littered with wrecks. Most of them date back to wartime, though a few, like the 160,00 ton ore-carrier Kowloon Bridge, came to grief more recently. There is good fishing on almost all, including those quite close to land, but it is the wrecks farther offshore that most often make headlines in the angling press.

Wrecks 30 miles from land can be in depths of 400 ft (120 m) or more. A lot of fishing is on the drift, but with care and the right conditions anchoring is possible and often highly productive. In deep water braid is a big advantage, both for bite detection and to reduce the amount of weight needed. Tides are not strong by some standards, but at this depth it can still take a lot of lead to hold the bottom. For the same reason a reel with a high gear ratio is also desirable.

At anchor, fresh mackerel is the normal bait, on an 8/0 hook and short heavy mono trace. On the drift, artificials (shads, in particular) come into their own for pollack, coalfish and cod. Pirks are less popular, though a baited pirk can be good for ling and even for conger at times.

Irish wrecks are rightly famous for their ling. Most offshore wrecks hold 30 lbs (14 kg) ling and probably ling over 40 lbs (18 kg), too. Cod over 20 lbs (9 kg) occur fairly regularly, even though cod inshore are more likely to be found on reefs than wrecks. Small coalfish are abundant on inshore marks, but it is here in the deep water that you are most likely to find the really large coalies of 20 lbs (9 kg) upwards.

Wreck fishing off Baltimore, ling and anglerfish

Big pollack are another possibility, though much of the best pollack fishing is inshore. And, of course, the wrecks hold conger. Irish conger might be small compared to those in the English Channel (in Ireland a 40 lb eel is a specimen), but they make up for it in numbers.

Almost anything can turn up on a wreck at one time or another – megrim, turbot, haddock, spurdog, common skate, shark. And when it does there is a good chance that it will be an exceptional specimen, which is part of the appeal of wrecking. With such a lot of other good fishing available, wrecks do not dominate the boat fishing picture in Ireland quite like they do the UK. However, for the specimen-hunter wreck fishing is still the icing on the cake.

© Nick Dent 2005 Email nick@wreckfish.com Tel. +353-86-824 0642

sea angling in ireland | albacore | blue shark | common skate | wreck fishing