Recreational Sea Angling
The sea angling throughout the area divides between shore and boat based activities. Although popular the shore based rod fishing is not widespread but localises to key points often associated with a limited number of piers and known hot spots from rocks, sandy shores and freshwater inputs. Boat based angling is organised around many privately owned craft or fishing parties can hire from numerous skippered boats which can provide gear and local knowledge, for example locations for wreck fishing.
British Sea Fishing summarises some of our County Down sea angling locations:
Donaghadee and Bangor – The pier at Donagahadee pier offers a great range of species. There are plenty of mackerel in the summer which will be taken on feather or daylights. Pollack will go for spinners and float fished baits. Wrasse will be also be caught to a bait presented in mid-water. Fish which can be caught on bottom fished baits include the following: pollock, coalfish, dab, flounder, pouting, rockling, whiting, haddock, cod and conger eel. The piers, breakwater and harbour area of Bangor offer the same species to similar tactics. Like many piers and areas where mackerel can be easily caught these places can be full of mackerel ‘anglers’ in the summer months.
Strangford Lough is a large body of water separated from the sea by the Ards Peninsula which offers a range of sea fishing opportunities. Most sea angling takes place close to the mouth of the lough and the pier at Portaferry fishes well in summer for mackerel, pollock, coalfish and wrasse. There are also sea trout in the lough which are taken on flies but they can also be caught on spinners. There are big species for the boat anglers in the lough as well with skate, tope, conger eels and ling all caught, although the numbers of tope and skate are very much reduced compared to previous generations and these species are now protected. Mackerel can show well in the summer but can be erratic. Sea Trout are throuhout the lough and associated with freshwater inputs which are all minor with small runs of fish.
St. John’s Point – St. John’s Point offers all of the usual rock/rough ground species with most anglers fishing around the lighthouse although other marks around this area can also fish well. Pollock fishing can provide great sport with plugs and spinners on light rods or even on fly-fishing gear, with large fish caught. Float fishing will also catch pollock and wrasse and mackerel will go for spinners, lures, daylights and feathers. Bottom fishing can also produce decent fish including cod, bull huss, conger eels and even shore-caught ling. However, the ground is very rough indeed and even if rotten bottom rigs are used a lot of tackle will still inevitably be lost. For this reason many anglers stick to the float or lure fishing.
Ardglass, Newcastle – Ardglass rock marks (next to the golf course) produce great fishing with pollock, wrasse and mackerel to spinners/float fished baits and large conger to big hooks and baits fished on the bottom. Dogfish, bull huss and cod can also be caught here. The outer Dundrum Bay to Newcastle harbour will produce plenty of flatfish (mostly dab and flounder), with dogfish, whiting also; mackerel can be abundant in the summer.Nearby rock marks also produce all of the rock species such as pollock and wrasse plus mackere , as well as dogfish, flounder and dab. Nearby beaches can also produce decent catches, with bass a possibility when there is some sea running. The inner Dundrum Bay has minor but important seasonal runs of salmon.