Having decided that I will tackle trying to catch a fish in each of Ireland’s 32 counties I now need to sit down a begin planning the whole thing. This is going to be a large part of the fun, just researching various places to fish a figuring out what I need to use, how to get there etc. The good old internet is a wonderful tool for searching out potential fishing spots There may not be a huge amount of detail on most websites but there is often enough to whet the appetite and encourage some deeper inspection via phone calls or emails. Perhaps in pre-internet days it was more fun just turning up somewhere and hoping the fishing was going to be vaguely like what you expected. Nowadays we can be much better prepared and forearmed by a few quick taps on the keyboard.
I started by listing all 32 counties so I could get a feel for where my travels are going to take me. I was a bit taken aback my my near complete lack of knowledge of so many of them! I honestly thought I knew more about Ireland than it appears I do. Here is how I summed each county up in one line:
|Antrim||Northern Ireland (Ulster)||Far north, rocky coastline. Looks out on Scotland|
|Armagh||Northern Ireland (Ulster)||virtually landlocked|
|Cavan||Ulster||Hundreds of lakes, pike fishing paradise|
|Clare||Munster||Long coastline, Cliffs of Moher|
|Cork||Munster||Huge, famous for the sea angling|
|Derry||Northern Ireland (Ulster)||Unknown to me|
|Down||Northern Ireland (Ulster)||Belfast, Mountains of Mourne|
|Dublin||Leinster||City, industrial, canals|
|Fermanagh||Northern Ireland (Ulster)||Rural, lots of lakes|
|Galway||Connaught||The Corrib, shallow coastal waters|
|Kildare||Leinster||Landlocked, commuter towns|
|Kilkenny||Leinster||Known for its hurling not its fishing|
|Laois||Leinster||No coast, not much fishing as far as I know|
|Leitrim||Connaught||Coarse fishing around Carrick upon Shannon|
|Longford||Leinster||Heart of the midlands, lots of coarse fishing|
|Louth||Leinster||Border county, river Fane|
|Mayo||Connaught||Western lakes, river Moy|
|Meath||Leinster||The grand canal|
|Monghan||Ulster||Rural, also lots of lakes|
|Offaly||Leinster||Central location, no salmon|
|Roscommon||Connaught||Mainly coarse fishing|
|Tyrone||Northern Ireland (Ulster)||Lough Neagh|
Suddenly, the enormity of my task is laid out before me. Gaps in my understanding the size of the grand canyon have opened up before my eyes and completion of the 32 seems unattainable. Where do I even begin. My embarrassingly skimpy knowledge of some (most) parts of the island needed to be addressed if I was going to achieve my goal. I couldn’t set off for the far flung corners of the Ireland without some better understanding of the different places I hoped to visit. I have now given myself a target to read up about each county before I visit it.
Getting the first one under my belt is going to be tough. March is usually the beginning of my angling year but it would be nice to have bagged one or two counties before then to set the ball rolling. Some possibilities include trying for whiting and coalfish from Glassilleun beach in Co. Galway or maybe a pike from one of the lakes in Leitrim or Monaghan. There used to be great bass fishing in Kerry in January but I think that fishery has all but collapsed these days, so the huge journey there and back would be a very risky objective.
I’ve never fished Glassilleun beach despite its close proximity to the mark on Little Killery which I fish regularly. That’s because the beach itself is a very popular spot for tourists, walkers and others during the summer. The small car park is normally thronged and romantic couples, boisterous dogs while Japanese tourists roam the golden crescent of sand in all weathers. I don’t blame them, it is a lovely spot with grand views out to sea. Night time during the winter is the time to fish here, in biting winds with a sea running. Then the whiting come close to the shore looking for food which has been loosened from the sand. Importantly, it also the best time to avoid the holidaymakers and dog walkers.
So unless a better idea pops into my head I am planning on targeting Glassilleun beach in January next year to kick off the 32 project. In between now and then I’ll keep my ear to the ground in case I hear of anywhere else that happens to be fishing well.