Our angling experience to date heralds boat drifting over the rocky kelp reefs in the general 25-35m range west of Helvick head, and more particulalry east of Mine Head and Ardmore Head as very productive for a variety of fish species.
Ardmore bay is an acclaimed excellent fishing ground for nursing cod and codling. The rough ground here seems to do a good job a good job in sheltering the cod population from the fishing nets and maintaining a strong cod population almost all year round.Double figure cod can be quite a regular phenomenon. When the Cod are on they are truely on with the majority of them in the 3-4Ib range. Get two of these on the end of your line and you have afight on your hands.
As with all fishing, there are on and off days. Cod feeding in this bay tends to switch on and off . If an 'off' occasion occurs it is often prudent to set off to a nearby wreck and possibly return at a later stage of the tide. Other species caught here are large pollack, ling, gurnard, coalie, pouting, wrasse and dogfish.
Mine Head reef which runs out three miles from the cliff, has become heavily populated with Ling and conger. There is one rock pinnacle here which is very productive for conger and is worth anchoring up to for an hour or two. Remainder of the reef is productive for ling pollack and coalie. Octopuss have recently become a common catch.
Tackle suggestion is a mackeral baited three feather rig with stainless steel weight with 4/0 hook beneath for a mackeral flapper. P.S. Cod in Ardmore Bay like pink feathers!
Similarly it would be a waste of time trying to catch Tope during the Winter.
Other factors to consider are the type of ground to be fished i.e. Reef or Sandbank, Sandbanks will hold a population of flatfish which could include Plaice, Turbot, Brill, Dabs, Flounder etc. so you would need to make up a rig that ensured your bait was hard on the seabed, a paternoster rig made up to catch (for instance) Black Bream would be useless on a Sandbank.
Reefs can be quite varied in there make up, from large rocky pinnacles to relatively flat slate ground, Pollack and Bass will be found haunting the rocky pinnacles of a deep water reef whilst Congers and Ling are at home in the base of the pinnacles and also on the flatter marks,
Fishing on the drift or fishing at anchor, depth of water, tidal flow, flood or ebb tide, wind speed and direction, water temperature all need to be taken into consideration.
So where do we start?
Firstly dependant on the time of year I would recommend that you target a specific species and then adjust your tackle to suit the prevailing conditions,
I would personally set my sights on Bass, Whiting & Cod for my Winter targets and Bass, Black Bream and Turbot/Brill for my Summer targets.
Make sure you have sufficient tackle with you to be able to adapt when your skipper decides to move to another mark, or, if you are trying to catch Black Bream and are getting pestered by Pouting then you could change tactics and make up a Conger Eel rig using a Pouting as bait.