Bonjour mes amis
Sorry but that is all the French you will get out of me, the last time I wrote a word of it was for homework forty five years ago at school.
Eight years ago I met Alainpaddy through my blog and offered to take him and Rapha his son to a mark I know well off the River Shannon in County Clare in search of Thrornback Ray (Raja Clavata). I do not know if the Curly Skate is a French name of a google translate name but I like it very much and it suits the fish.
Poulnasherry Bay would be a fast flowing estuary from the Moyasta Oyster beds to the mouth of the Shannon. It is home to many species of fish ranging from flounder, bass, mullet, gurnard, huss dogfish, tope, stingray and the odd Angelshark. Using the fast flow rays come in and out with the tide to feed on the mixed bottom for crustaceans.
Standard methods for fishing this would be beachcasters capable of throwing a 150gram lead plus bait. Personally I use a pulley rig with pennelled 4/0 hooks. Due to the strong flow I would only fish the mark three hours down to low water and two to three hours back up depending on speed of flow. Fresh mackerel is amongst the best bait for rays in Ireland but they will also take sandeel, squid and peeler crab or cocktails of all the above. Stingrays will take king ragworm and peeler crab baits.
On the day I was late to the meeting point, I had tried to catch some fresh mackerel but as so often they were very scarce. Overfishing has seen them lose their blue badge for sustainability. Anyway I scrounged some frozen ones from my friend Joe.
Rods were set up and we started fishing. I had put my guests in the spots that I thought the fish were most likely to be found but it was actually me that caught the first rays.
I moved spaces and put Rapha into the spot I had been in and he was soon landing Thornbacks.
The few photos I have added have not been used on my blog in the past but I could not find any new ones of Alainpaddy who was also catching rays.
My time with my French visitors was very brief but I am happy to still be writing about it eight years later.
Anyone wishing to visit County Clare could do no better than Poulnashery Bay for a mixed bag of fish and I would happily give advice on other marks in the county.
Thats all for now