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Sea Fishing Ireland

To book your sea fishing holiday in Ireland – contact us on info@ifish.ie.


Where fishing for marine fish, licences are not required

Where to fish:

Please visit the following for details and shore marks


Listed below are some of the most common found marine fish species around Ireland.

Fishing for Bass in Ireland

Sea Bass

Species: Bass

Scientific name: Dicentrarchus labrax

Please note:

Anglers are only allowed a bag limit of  two bass in any one 24-hour period and they must be over 40 cm in total length. There is a closed season for bass from the 15th of May to the 15th of June each year. If you accidentally catch a bass during this period, just return him alive to the sea. Specimen bass cannot be claimed during the closed season..


The bass is a chunky, long and streamlined fish that has a fantastic silvery appearance. The scales are almost always grey, with the flanks being bright silver that merges into the dark back. Bass have two dorsal fins. The first is rayed and quite spiky, while the second is a much softer fin. Watch out for the additional spines around the gill plates. Finally, the mouth is very large and has fairly thick lips.


They enter coastal waters and river mouths in summer, but migrate offshore in colder weather and occur in deep water during winter in the northern range. Being not particularly sensitive to low temperature some fish may over-winter in coastal lagoons instead of returning to the open sea. Young fish form school, but adults appear to be less gregarious.

Sea bass are predators, mostly a night hunters and their feeding range includes small fish, prawns, crabs and sand eels. Juveniles feed on invertebrates, taking increasingly more fish with age. European Sea Bass are found all around the Irish Coast with the best fishing around East (Dublin), South East (Wexford), South (Cork), South West (Kerry) of Ireland. Numbers diminish the further north you go. Some popular marks could be found at http://www.fishinginireland.info/sea/where.htm



Best bait for targeting Bass would be, crab, lug work, rag worm, razor clam, sand eel and squid. Lure and fly fishing is also very popular and very productive.

Specimen Weight: 10Lb

Record Weight: 17.78Lb

Fishing for Cod in Ireland


Species: Cod

Scientific Name: Gadus morhua


The Cod is instantly recognisable due to the barbel or beard which protrudes from its lower jaw. The barbel is used as a sensor, to help enable the Cod find food among the murky depths, and around the sea-bed. The Cod is a fast growing fish with a huge mouth and even bigger appetite and is known as both “old bucket mouth” and “hoover of the sea” due to its habit of just opening its jaws and sucking everything before it into its giant mouth.

Most Cod are around 2 to 3 feet long and about 10 pounds in weight when caught by fishermen, but there are places in the North Atlantic , where adults up to 6 feet in length and over 100 pounds weight have been found!


The Cod is perhaps the best known of all Irish sea fish, thanks to its traditional place over the last several decades as the staple of fish suppers.

Atlantic cod live in a variety of habitats but generally are found at depths of 200 to 360 feet and in temperatures ranging from 34 to 46 degrees F in the summer and a depths of 295 to 440 feet and in temperatures of 36 to 39 F in the winter. They are seldom found deeper than 660 feet. Cod undergo seasonal migrations in the more northerly and southerly reaches of their range in the northwest Atlantic. Some move considerable distances in search of food or in response to overcrowding at certain spawning grounds, but generally adults remain within limited areas of uniform physical conditions. Cod do not swim about in large schools but they do travel in small groups when searching for food.

Feeding Habits

The smaller bottom dwelling cod feed mainly upon small crustaceans such as shrimp and amphipods. Adults will eat almost anything small enough to fit into their mouths, including clams, cockles, mussels and other molluscs, as well as crabs, lobsters and sea urchins. Adults also pursue schooling fish, eating substantial numbers of herring, shad, mackerel, silver hake, young haddock and other species.


The best baits are Peeler Crab, Lug Worm, Mussels, Rag Worm, Razor, or Squid. Lures and Pirks also works great for Cod.

Specimen Weight: 20lb

Record Weight: 42lb 

Fishing for Mackerel in Ireland


Species: Mackerel

Scientific Name: Scomber Scombrus


Mackerel are small slim and streamlined fish built for hunting in mid to upper water. Attractive, almost tropical looking marbled blue/green back with around twenty black bars running down the sides. Silver belly and lower flanks, short fins and highly forked tail. Like the related tuna there are a ridge of finlets running from the last dorsal fin to the tail.The Atlantic Mackerel is typically an open ocean fish with voracious feeding habits. They travel in schools that often contain thousands of fish. All individuals within a specific school tend to be the same size. Since cruising speed increases significantly with age and size, scientists believe that conformity of body size within a specific school is necessary to allow all fish to maintain identical swimming speeds. Mackerel may grow as large as 7 1/2 pounds and have a maximum age of about 20 years.


Mackerel are very fast swimmers and are constantly on the move; it is necessary for mackerel to have a constant water flow through their gills for respiration. They are pelagic and form large shoals, spending the summer inshore closer to the surface and the winter offshore, closer to the seabed. Mackerel can filter plankton through their gills and predate upon shallow inshore crustaceans and small fish. Post spawning mackerel are voracious predators feeding upon schools of sprat, herring and sand eels; it is at this time they are easier to catch by rod and line. In the winter mackerel inhabit deeper waters and have a reduced feeding rate. Common throughout Ireland in summer months. Atlantic mackerel can be found anywhere along the shore, from deep water to shallow bays. Anglers fish for them from boats or shoreline sites such as piers, jetties, bridges and beaches.

Feeding Habits

Young mackerel feed on microscopic copepods. As they grow, they feed on progressively larger prey. Adults will eat any fish smaller than themselves, feeding heavily upon small herring, sand lance and young mackerel. They also consume a variety of invertebrates such as copepods, crab larvae, squid and shrimp.


Floatfishing is a fun way of caching with a small sandeel, sprat, ragworm or strip of silver mackerel belly suspended in midwater, this being a good tactic from deeper water. Artificial lures, with feathers, daylights and spinners being the most commonly used. A set of three to six feathers pulled through a shoal of mackerel is capable of hooking a fish on every feather.

Specimen Weight: 2.5lb

Record Weight: 4lb 2oz

Fishing for Plaice in Ireland


Species: Plaice

Scientific Name: Pleuronectes Platessa


Plaice can be identified by their conspicuous vivid orange or red spots. These are quite easily distinguished from the dull reddish spots occasionally found on Flounders, which are sometimes mistaken for Plaice. The Plaice body shape is oval, with the end of its tail noticeably rounded and quite small in proportion to its body. The bony ridge behind the eyes is another characteristic for Plaice. The underside of the Plaice is white with an opaque herringbone pattern visible. The Plaice is smooth all over no matter which way you rub it, it has a bony ridge on its head behind the eyes which follow the line of its lateral line, it has vivid orange spots and the herringbone pattern on its underside.


Found from spring to early autumn on sandy, muddy and shingle seabeds throughout Irish waters. Also present throughout the Mediterranean and European waters. They are usually small (growing to a maximum of three feet with most being half this size or smaller) plaice are aggressive little predators and will take most of the common sea fishing baits. Plaice are not known to come into very shallow water in the way that flounder are, and usually a few metres of water depth is needed to be with the chance of catching a plaice. Sandy outcrops next to rocky areas are also good areas to target plaice, especially if there are shellfish beds nearby.

Feeding Habits

Plaice usually feed best on the flood tide with dead low water and the first hour of the flood often the best time. The middle hours of the flood also produce fish, but marks where plaice feed over high water are generally few and far between. Ebb tides are rarely good from the shore unless the water is in excess of 20-feet deep.It’s wrong to assume that plaice will not feed at night as some are caught in pitch black conditions, but this is unusual and most experienced plaice anglers would always pick a tide in daylight. Plaice actually feed best in quite bright conditions in water over 10-feet deep, but in shallower water an overcast sky is preferred.

The bigger spring tides, and as is so often the case with most fish, the tides three days before the biggest spring tide of that cycle will usually produce the better fishing from the beaches. In estuaries, due to the fast flow of the tide, the smaller rising tides may be the better bet, though again invariably the bigger the tide the better the plaice fishing will be.


Early in the season black lug, ideally fresh but also good quality frozen black, tends to be the better bait. You can tip with squid and razorfish which can sometimes pull in extra fish. Plaice respond best to baits that have a little movement. When tipping with squid, a slice of sandeel fillet or razorfish, leave a little below the hook to wriggle in the tide.

Specimen Weight: 3.31lb

Record Weight: 8.23lbz

Fishing for Flounder in Ireland


Species: Flounder

Scientific Name: Platichthys flesus


The flounder is a typical flatfish. It has flattened fins that wrap around the oval-shaped body. Its eyes are positioned on one side of the head – the uppermost side. The eyes of a flounder are situated on the right side of the head (if you imagine the fish swimming upright). But, identifying flounders can be quite difficult as some have been found with eyes directed towards the left. Plus, flounders have been known to interbreed with plaice, several variations in colour have been known to exist. And, there are also flounders out there which have undersides exactly the same colour as their backs – normally they have white undersides. The tail of a flounder is quite square at the end, plus there are bony tubercles around both sides of the body, at the bases of both the elongated dorsal and anal fins. Flounder can be distinguished from plaice as they are duller in colour, do not have the bony ridge on the back.


It is a very widely distributed flatfish found all around the Irish coast. It lives from the shoreline down to depths around 50m deep, prefers muddy bottoms but will also live over sandy bottoms. Flounders are amazingly tolerant of variations in the salt content of water. They can be found living in the sea, they can be found living in estuaries where slat water meets fresh, and they can even be found (and caught) in the freshwater of rivers well away from the sea shore. As far as anglers are concerned the flounder is primarily a spring, summer and autumn species as it is at these times of the year when flounders live within casting range – as close as 15ft.

Feeding Habits

Flounders feed upon much smaller crustaceans and animals than the plaice simply because they do not posses the same shell-crushing strength within their teeth. They survive on cockles, shrimps, lug & ragworm and molluscs. They feed best at night where they move into the shallower water. During the daytime they often remain buried within the mud or sand.


Bait when fishing for flounder is lugworm and ragworm, although they will also happily take mussel, mackerel and peeler crab.

Specimen Weight: 2.42lb

Record Weight: 4.91lb

Fishing for Tope in Ireland


Species: Tope

Scientific Name: Galeorhinus galeus, 


The Tope shark, the only member of the genus Galeorhinus, is a large, slender shark with a long snout. Its large mouth contains sharp, triangular teeth, typical of predatory sharks. The large almond-shaped eyes are located in front of pronounced spiracles: openings which enable water to be pumped through the gills whilst the shark is resting. The colour of the tope shark varies between bluish and dusky grey on top, and blends to white underneath. The Tope shark possesses two dorsal fins; the second, situated over the anal fin, is much smaller than the first. Juveniles less than 61 centimetres in length have black tips on their dorsal and caudal fins and a white edge on the pectoral fins.


The Tope shark inhabits cold to warm temperate waters. It can be found well offshore, in shallow bays, or at the surf zone. It often occurs near the bottom, preferring substrates of sand or gravel, but can be found in mid-water or near the surface when feeding, usually water with a decent tidal flow. Tope will come into large inshore estuaries and bays, but some depth of water is still required as they will not come into very shallow water. There are tope all around the coast of the Republic of Ireland. Tope are not a deep-sea fish and are found in a maximum depth of up to three hundred meters. Smaller Tope, up to 20-30lbs may stay in small packs and hunt together. Larger fish tend to be solitary. Tope are nomadic and can travel huge distances during their lifetime. It is not unusual for tope tagged in Europe to be caught again in America or Africa.

Feeding Habits

Tope are an extremely active predator and feed on a wide range of prey including mackerel, whiting, dabs, coalfish, flounder, eels and squid. Smaller pack Tope will also feed on shrimp, prawns and crabs. If the mackerel are out of season then in many areas, the staple diet is Whiting and Dabs.


Proven baits include mackerel, whiting, dabs and coalfish. Baits should be cut in half to release blood and oils to attract Tope. Other effective baits include squid, launce, herring and sections of eel. In most cases it helps to match baits to what packs of Tope will be feeding on naturally in the area.

Specimen Weight: 20lb (Shore) 40lb (Boat)

Record Weight: 66lb 8oz

Fishing for Bull Huss in Ireland

 Bull Huss

Species: Bull Huss

Scientific Name: Sycliorhinus Stellaris, 


A small shark with an elongated body, the upper and underside of the body is pale or dark brown and appears to be mottled, as is covered with a series of small and large black (sometimes white) spots and the under side tends to be paler in colour. The skin is also very abrasive, much more than other species.


Bull Huss is a member of the shark family which is found most commonly around Ireland. This fish is much less common than its relative the dogfish and is therefore a much more highly regarded fish by anglers. Bull Huss tend to feed more at night, spending the days hidden away in cracks and crevices in rocks. They generally prefer deeper water and rockier ground but it will move into shallow water to feed if food is available there.Found at depths between 1/2m to at least 125m, although most commonly found at 20/63m. Likes a rough or rocky bottom and areas where there is algae covering.

Feeding Habits

Molluscs (mussels and oysters) crustaceans (crabs, lobsters and squat lobsters and prawns) and boney fish; small species like Pouting, Poor Cod and Whiting.


Baits need to be fairly big so a single hook rig is usually used. Bull Huss are not fussy eaters and mackerel strip or a small fillet is a good choice of bait. Squid, sandeel and peeler crabs are all baits that can get results.

Specimen Weight: 10lb (shore) 17lb (boat)

Record Weight: 23.75lb

Fishing for Wrasse in Ireland


Species: Ballan Wrasse

Scientific Name: Labrus bergylta 


Stoutly built fish with broad body and large scales. Single, long dorsal fin that extends all of the way along the back and rounded tail fin. Colour ranges from brown/reddish to dark green, with light spots and a paler belly. Mouth is fairly small and lips are prominent. Teeth and jaws are powerful. Colour varies due to age and sex, with young fish being a shade of green, whilst older individuals tend towards a reddish brown / dark green livery, with numerous small white spots all over. Sometimes dark bars or lateral white banding may occur.


Wrasse stick to rocky areas and will be found in mixed ground, but the heavier, rocky marks will hold the most and biggest fish. Wrasse feed primarily on shellfish. Their thick lips and sharp front teeth are adapted to pull shellfish from the sides of rocks, and they have powerful teeth located further back in their throat to crunch through the shells and get to the flesh inside. They will also feed on crustaceans and can easily consume hardback crabs and small lobsters. Ballan wrasse will come into shallow water and will feed on shellfish attached to submerged cliff faces and inshore rocks. Wrasse also like areas where there is heavy kelp and seaweed cover.

Feeding Habits

Feeds on molluscs such as mussels and other invertebrates, including crab and shrimp, which are crushed by the front teeth, and ground by the teeth located at the pharynx.


They will take a wide range of baits. Worms work well with ragworm seem to have a higher success rate than lug. Shellfish of all types will be taken, as well as fish baits such as mackerel.

Specimen Weight: 4.75lb

Record Weight: 9.47lb

Fishing for Skate in Ireland


Species: Common Skate

Scientific Name: Dipturus batis


Diamond shaped body with long tail. Snout is long and pointed. Back is usually brown in colour, although sometimes greenish, and features lighter coloured spots. There are twelve to twenty spines or horns running along the tail, and mature skate may have small thorns on the body. Underside is pale to white, sometimes with a bluish tinge.


The common skate is the largest species of skate in the world, and, is one of the very largest fish in Irish waters. Skate (along with rays) are closely related to sharks, sharing common features such as a skeleton made out of cartilage. A fully grown skate can be massive with a wingspan of eight or nine feet and weigh in excess of 250lbs. Skate of this size are thought to be up to seventy years old. Skate are found in water up to around two hundred metres deep, although they will come into shallower water during warmer weather. They feed on crustaceans and molluscs. Their incredibly powerful jaws can easily crunch through the shells of these creatures. They also feed on fish, especially flatfish such as dab, plaice and flounder that they are most likely to find along the seabed, although they are perfectly capable of catching pelagic species such as mackerel, herring, pollock and dogfish. Larger skate are likely to feed exclusively by hunting fish.The most productive areas are the West coast of Ireland.

Feeding Habits

Feeds on bottom living crustaceans such as crabs and scallops and most species of fish, often coming well off the bottom for Mackerel, Herring along with the more normal Whiting, Hake, Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Rays and Spurdog.


Best baits are mackerel flapper or whole mackerel, or as skate are unfussy any other fish bait such as very large sandeel or herrings, or even flatfish such as dab or flounder are worth a try.

Specimen Weight:

Record Weight: 221lb

Fishing for Conger Eel in Ireland

 Conger Eel

Species: Conger Eel 


Appearance Conger`s have a dark back with a grey-white belly, they have a scaleless body, with a single fin on the back and underside. Long snake-like muscular body. Upper jaw extends beyond lower jaw. Relatively large eyes and prominent lips with mouth full of small, sharp teeth.


Conger eels inhabit rocky ground and spend most of daylight ours hidden away in caves or other small spaces, and come out to feed at night, although in deep, dark water near the shore they will feed during daylight. They will wait and ambush fish or swim around freely to hunt fish, although they are also happy to scavenge along the sea bed for dead or injured fish. Very occasionally conger eels will emerge from their rocky homes under the cover of darkness and hunt over mixed ground, or even sandy seabeds.

Feeding Habits

Predator which will hunt down any fish species it can find, but will also happily feed by scavenging for dead or rotting fish.


Mackerel baits are the most commonly used to catch conger with mackerel flappers, mackerel heads and entrails, fillets and full small mackerel all proven baits. However, full large squid, cuttlefish can also produce.

Specimen Weight: 40lb

Record Weight: 72lb

Fishing for Dogfish in Ireland


Species: Dogfish

Scientific Name: Scyliorhinus canicula


Body is tan or light brown and covered in small dark spots. Underside is light grey to white in colour. Mouth is set quite far back on underside of body. Strangely for a fish the dogfish has eyelids


Dogfish are common around the Irish coast, and their willingness to feed on pretty much any bait, presented on any rig sees them turn up regularly in angler’s catches. However, the dogfish is a member of the shark family, and does provide a dependable catch on days when little else is biting, especially as dogfish feed just as well in bright sunlight as they do at night. The dogfish lives in relatively shallow water and prefers sandy to mixed ground, although they can be found in numbers in some rockier marks.

Feeding Habits

Unfussy scavenger that will eat pretty much anything it can find. Worms, fish, prawns, shellfish and crustaceans will all be taken.


Baits such as mackerel strip, squid and sandeel are commonly used to catch dogfish, although they are a famously unfussy species which will take almost anything an angler offers. Baits should not be too large as the dogfish has a small crescent-shaped mouth, situated fairly far back on the underside of the body which forces the fish to turn sideways to attack its prey.

Specimen Weight:

Record Weight:

Fishing for Garfish in Ireland


Species: Garfish

Scientific Name: Belone belone


Easily recognisable by thin, extremely elongated body and long, tooth-filled beak-like mouth. Single, small dorsal and anal fin set very far back on the body, as are the pelvic fins. Underside is pale and back and flanks are blue to green. Tail is forked.


Garfish are generally found in the southern and western coasts of Ireland as they prefer warmer water. They are a summer species which follow the sprats and mackerel into inshore waters in the warmer months, and then move offshore and hunt over deeper water when the weather cools. They are strong fighters and can provide spectacular sport as they can leap out of the water when hooked in their attempts to throw the hook.Garfish are unusual in the fact that they will feed right at the surface of the water (other pelagic fish such as mackerel and herring usually stay deeper in the middle of the water column). They will come close to the shore and often hunts around structures which break up the tidal flow of the sea. Garfish will also form shoals and travel around hunting as a group. Occasionally they will also shoal with mackerel and, occasionally greater sand eels as well.

Feeding Habits

Small fish such as herring, sprats and sandeels.


Thin silver spinners being the most productive. They will also take daylights, feathers and plastic worm type lures. Mackerel – especially a silvery belly strip – is a top bait, but a strip of herring or squid are also worth a try. Small lesser sandeels are also a brilliant bait to floatfish for garfish, and fresh sprats are also an underrated bait to use for this species. Groudbait, such as the insides of a freshly gutted mackerel, can be used to attract garfish to the float. If you are running low on bait but have caught some garfish, then strips of garfish itself will catch more garfish.

Specimen Weight: 2.205lb

Record Weight: 3.81lb

Fishing for Haddock in Ireland


Species: Haddock

Scientific Name: Melanogrammus aeglefinus


The haddock is easily recognized by a black lateral line running along its white side (not to be confused with Pollock which has the reverse, ie white line on black side) and a distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin, often described as a "thumbprint" or even the "Devil`s thumbprint" or "St. Peter`s mark".


The haddock or offshore hake is a marine fish distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic. Haddock is a popular food fish, widely fished commercially. Haddock is most commonly found at depths of 40 to 133 m, but has a range as deep as 300 m. Haddock are a shoaling species which thrives in temperatures of 2° to 10°C (36° to 50°F). Juveniles prefer shallower waters and larger adult’s deeper water. Generally, adult haddock do not engage in long migratory behavior as do the younger fish, but seasonal movements have been known to occur across all ages. Haddock feed primarily on small invertebrates, although larger members of the species may occasionally consume fish. Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking during late March and early April. An average-sized female produces approximately 850,000 eggs, and larger females are capable of producing up to 3 million eggs each year.

Feeding Habits

Much more selective feeder than the closely related cod. Generally takes shellfish and worms, with only bigger specimens hunting other fish.


They may occasionally feed on small sandeel but rarely take fish baits offered by boat anglers. The haddock’s preference of deep water, and the fact that it is a fairly selective feeder (certainly when compared to the cod) explains why it is a relatively rare catch for sea anglers.

Specimen Weight: 7lb

Record Weight: 10lb 13.5oz

Fishing for Ling in Ireland


Species: Ling

Scientific Name: Molva molva


Member of the cod family. The body is long and slender with mottled green/brown appearance. Flanks are lighter with brownish blotches, belly is white. Has a characteristic dark blotch at the rear of both dorsal fins. There are two dorsal fins and one anal fin. The tail fin is rounded. The second dorsal and anal fin are feathery and extend almost to the tail, both are second dorsal and anal-fin are feathery and extend almost to the tail, both are white edged. The lateral line is arched over the pectoral fin. Young fish have an olive / yellow colouration. The upper jaw protrudes slightly and it has one barbell on its chin. Teeth are very sharp.


Ling frequent very rough, rocky ground, the more uneven the seabed, the better. They`re found over medium to deep water reefs, though these are the smaller fish mainly running up to double figures. They`re especially abundant where tide races are created such as in the vicinity of islands and in narrow sounds between islands and the mainland. Places where coastal cliffs fall sheer in to deep water is another ling residence. The bigger fish exceeding 20lbs choose the food abundant offshore wrecks laying in very deep water. The same applies to rising rock pinnacles surrounding by a cleaner seabed.

Feeding Habits

A voracious eater, the ling will feed on all kinds of fish from cod and pout to flatfish and octopus. Occasionally feeds on crustaceans and starfish.


Frozen mackerel seems to work as well as fresh mackerel. Ling will take frozen sandeel, whiting, pollack or coalfish strips, and sometimes squid, Use whole fillets of mackerel, pollack, coalfish, whiting, codling, or smaller ling. Pirks are also good.

Specimen Weight: 25lb

Record Weight: 55lb

Fishing for Pollock in Ireland


Species: Pollock

Scientific Name:


A member of the cod family, pollock is a long, thin, big-eyed fish ranging from 4 to 35 lbs. It is distinguished from its cousins by its greenish hue, by having a pointed snout and a projecting lower jaw, a more rounded body, and a forked rather than a square tail. The Atlantic pollock is olive green above, paling on the lower sides to a yellow-gray, and finally to silver gray on the belly. Its lateral line is white, and it has a small barbel on its chin. Pollock averages 4 to 15 pounds (1 to 7 kg) and 2 to 3 feet (50 to 90 cm) long and can grow to 40 pounds.


In inshore areas, pollock are particularly active around breakwaters and other structures during moving tide. Early morning and evening produce the best results, but pollock can be caught throughout the day. Small juvenile pollock up to 1lb or so are often found close to rocky fingers inside estuaries, also around harbour and quay walls, breakwaters, jetties and piers. Bigger fish are to be found over offshore rocky reefs and rough ground underneath cliffs. Weights run from 1lb well in to double figures. The best fishing regards quality pollock is the privilege of the deep water rising rock pinnacles, but especially the wrecks in deep water which can hold vast shoals of pollock from 4lbs up to record size.

Feeding Habits

Pollock will feed at all water levels hunting for small fish with such as sprats, small mackerel and sandeels between mid-water and the surface, and also searching the seabed for flatfish, worms and crabs and shellfish. Bigger fish tend to live in deeper water, and especially favour feeding over wrecks, while smaller pollock form into loose shoals and tend to stay in shallower water where they will feed on a wider diet including mussels, crabs, worms as well as any small fish they can catch.


Fish strips, squid, rag worm, sand eels and artificial lures.

Specimen Weight: 12lb

Record Weight: 19.3lb

Fishing for Rockling in Ireland


Species: Three Bearded Rockling

Scientific Name: Gaidropsarus vulgaris


The Three-bearded Rockling is found in European waters throughout the North Sea and around the Ireland. They can grow to a maximum length of 60 cm. The coloration varies from dusky to pale, with large chocolate brown spots on the head and body, and fin coloration varies with location. Three barbells, one on the bottom jaw and two on the snout, provide the fish with its common name.


Mostly found on rocky or mixed ground around weed beds and are seldom found on sandy seabeds without any rock or weed cover. They hide in cracks and gaps between rocks and come out to scavenging on the seabed for pretty much anything they can find, while avoiding becoming a meal for larger, predatory fish.

Feeding Habits

Feeds on anything it can fit in its mouth, often caught after stormy weather has passed. Three bearded rockling feed on marine worms, prawns, shellfish, crustaceans and pretty much anything else they can find such as dead or rotting fish. Larger rockling over a pound in weight may also actively hunt for small fish.


Ragworm, Lugworm, Mackerel or Herring strip, Mussel, Razorfish, Peeler Crab and Squid

Specimen Weight: 1.75lb

Record Weight: 3.1lb

Fishing for Thornback Ray in Ireland

 Thornback Ray

Species: Thornback Ray

Scientific Name:


Thornback Rays are by far the commonest Irish Ray, inhabiting virtually every bay around the coast. This species can easily be confused with the blonde ray which also sports thorns on it`s back. The thornbacks thorns tend to be largest along the middle of the back and tail. The thornback has a sharper nose and head profile when viewed from above and sharper points to the ends of the wings than the blonde rays which are more rounded. Male fish can be segregated from females by the long claspers trailing from the body towards the tail.


A wide spread resident of the Irish Republic, Adult fish often migrate offshore during the winter and return to coastal waters to reproduce in the summer. Juvenile fish remain in coastal waters for several years before migrating offshore.

Likes clean open sandy ground, sometimes mud, where it can cover itself with sand and pounce on food fish as they pass by. In areas of fast tides thornbacks will sit in deeper holes and let the tide rush over it. Congregates in gutters and gullies, takes up station on sandy patches in amongst rock and reef and is not put off by muddy areas and shingle banks. Also moves in to major estuary mouths in the spring.

Like Dogfish, Rays reproduce by mating sexually. The female Ray lays several large egg-cases on the sea-bed, and a baby Ray develops inside each egg-case for about 5 months. By the time the baby Ray hatches, it is already a fully formed Ray, ready to fend for itself, and it goes straight into hunting for small crustaceans on its own. Empty egg-cases from previously hatched Rays (and Dogfish) often wash up on beaches round the shore, and these are known as Mermaids Purses.

Feeding Habits

Thornback Rays are opportunistic predators and scavengers and feed mainly on crabs, shrimp, shellfish and fish. Mainly small whiting, dabs, herring, sand eels and sprats. Occasionally, small gurnards, crabs and squat lobster.


Popular baits include mackerel, whiting, squid, sandeel, herring, lugworm and peeler crab. Certain baits are more successful in different areas.

Specimen Weight: 20lb

Record Weight: 37lb

Fishing for Mullet in Ireland


Species:  Common Grey Mullet

Scientific Name: Chelon labrosus


Common Grey Mullet has an upper body olive-green to grey. Silvery sides and a white belly with short pectoral fins and a large `V` shaped tail. A flattened head with large eyes and thin rubbery lips. They are extremely hardy. It is no coincidence that they are often found in huge numbers round sewage outflows: when other fish have turned tail and fled away from the pollution, Mullet are in heaven feeding away on any organic matter they can get their lips round.Mullet have no real teeth, and instead rasp away with their thick lips.

Despite their omnivorous attitude they are extremely difficult to catch by anglers. Part of this is because they have small mouths with thick lips which are difficult to hook, but also because they have excellent eye-sight, and the slightest movement, even of a shadow on the water, is enough to send an entire shoal diving to deeper waters.

The most common of the Grey Mullets is the Thick-Lipped Grey Mullet, but there are also Thin-Lipped and Golden variety to be found in Irish waters.


Found all around Irish waters. In calm waters around islands, near rivers and estuaries over sand or mud bottom in salt, brackish and freshwater. Coastal reaches, often feeding just below the surface. Piers, jetties and harbours. This species must return to saltwater in order to breed. Adults are commonly found in summer months in estuaries and harbours. They can tolerate a wide range of salinity and temperature and will venture far up rivers. A coastal species which breeds inshore, the fry are a common rock pool fish.

Feeding Habits

They will eat anything which they can swallow that contains organic matter, and are common round piers and jetties where they will feed on bread or crisps if you are careful not to frighten them. Also feeds on algae, small invertebrates.


Fly-fishing with Czech Nymphs and the “bread fly” are great fun and very addictive.

Fishing with floating bread as bait, on or near weed floating on or near surface.

Specimen Weight: 5lb

Record Weight: 9.1lb

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