Down Your Way
With a seemingly endless list of locations, the fishing opportunites are superb
Spotlight on Tralee Bay, County Kerry.
Tralee Bay, with its soft, sandy beaches, rugged cliff faces and rocky outcrops is an angler’s paradise. Located on the west coast of County Kerry, Ireland, it is situated between Kerry Head on the north side and Brandon Head on the west and extends eastwards as far as the town of Tralee.
You will find several villages dotted all around the bay, some of which include Ballyheigue, Ardfert, Spa, Blennerville, Camp and Castlegregory.
When it comes to fishing in Tralee Bay, the possible locations are endless. Two species of rays, stingrays and undulates, migrate into the shallow bay every year to breed and give birth to their young. As a result, anglers travel here each year in search of these stunning and unique fish; but the rays are just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is my take on a few marks that might help anglers visiting North Kerry.
Located on the northern side of the bay, Ballyheigue is a perfect place for rock fishing. Easy to find, the village is at the point where rock meets sand.
Looking seawards to the right-hand side you have flat, low-lying rocks. Here you can walk along at low water and spin for bass using soft plastics and shallow working lures.
Main features along the strip are the small, shallow gullies, with lots of boulders where the bass wait in abundance. Look for the fizz that we hear so much about, because it is the draw and where these bass work for food.
BANNA BEACH CAR PARK 1,2, & 3
The well known Banna beach has much to offer regarding surf fishing. All along it will turn up the usual species such as flounders, bass, small turbot, and sometimes even small stingrays.
However, if you’re visiting this mark from October onwards, it will also start to turn out small-eyed rays.
This venue is best fished on the flood at night, which can give the angler increased chances of good catches. If you have to fish it during the day, move well up from car park 1 to car park 3, which can be quieter in the summer.
This strand is often overlooked by anglers heading for the more famous surf beaches on the Dingle Peninsula, which is a real pity. Banna beach takes the full brunt of the Atlantic storms and can produce excellent results when good swells start rolling in.
FENIT PIER VIADUCT
Fishing from the viaduct produces dogfish, flatfish, rays, whiting and some bass. Congers and pollack can be found near the rocks on both sides at the end of the viaduct.
Tope, monkfish and common skate have been caught here, but are very rare now. Thornback rays, stingrays and undulates are available along the viaduct, along with flounders and dabs.
Results can improve when fishing is quiet, and you are able to move up and down along the viaduct to find where the rays might be located. It is best to focus your sessions around the turn of the tide; low or high water. Either side of the viaduct can produce good results, however, the majority of anglers seem to favour the seaward side facing the lighthouse.
Garfish, mackerel and scad can also be caught from the viaduct by float-fishing a thin strip of mackerel. Spring tides are best avoided because they produce a lot of weed, which can make the fishing quite difficult. Most time it is fishable. Fishing from the Fenit pier viaduct is a must and can be very rewarding.
If it’s more lure fishing you want, then you have to fish the Black Rock. Situated between Ballyheigue and Banna beach, and within walking distance of both, it can throw up double-figure bass to lures.
It offers easy access for anglers, but it is a rock mark, and will get cut off at high tide. However, this is avoidable as you can easily keep an eye on the incoming tide. This is a mark that is quite shallow, meaning bass can be spotted swimming around, which is an awesome sight.
Tralee Bay is home to some stunning rays
HOTSPOTS: Along the rocks on the right-hand side.
TOP TIP: Fish the gullies. RIGS: Try a soft plastic Senko lure fished on a Texas rig. SPECIES: Bass, wrasse, and pollack.
TOP TIME: Bottom of the tide, two to three hours up.
HOTSPOTS: The right-hand side of the rock facing Ballyheigue.
TOP TIP: Fish weedless and shallow lures and poppers. Also, bounce a crab along for wrasse. RIGS: Lures and crabs. SPECIES: Bass, wrasse and some pollack.
TOP TIME: Two hours from top of tide.
HOTSPOT: Pillar 13 fished seaward, also pillar 25 seaward side into the channel.
TOP TIP: Fish the seaward side. RIGS: Pulley rig size 1/0 for rays, and two-hook flapper for most other species.
SPECIES: Dogfish, flatfish, rays, coalfish, small pollack and congers. Rockling along the viaduct and mullet in around the marina.
TOP TIME: Low water to high water, day and night.
HOTSPOT: Directly in front of car park 1. TOP TIP: Try to fish at night if you can. RIGS: Two-up, one-down size 2 hooks baited with lug, or if targeting small-eyed rays, use sandeels
SPECIES: Bass, flounders, turbot, occasional stringrays and dogfish, and small-eyed rays at night.
TOP TIME: From low water to high, and can also fish well at the turn and an hour down.