Down Your Way

With a seem­ingly end­less list of lo­ca­tions, the fish­ing op­por­tu­nites are su­perb

Sea Angler (UK) - - Contents - Words & pho­tog­ra­phy by Martin McGowan

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.


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.


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.

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