Henry Gilbey

So you want to go fishing in Ireland?


A load of information on the parts of Ireland I have been to - how to get there, where to stay, what to fish for, guides to speak to etc.

Fethard on Sea/Bannow estuary area, Wexford (south east coast)

Some awesome bass fishing from countless open coast marks and of course the extensive Bannow estuary system. I love this part of Ireland and it’s where the magic of bass fishing in this fine country was first really opened up to me.

I have stayed a lot at the Horse and Hound hotel at Ballinaboola which is about half an hour along the main road from Rosslare (ferry terminal) to Waterford/Cork. Very friendly people in the hotel and it’s about a twenty minute drive from the coastline at Fethard on Sea – which in turn is as good as on the banks of the Bannow estuary. 

A few times we have also rented one of the excellent houses at the Grange Court Holiday Homes complex in Fethard on Sea and they are about as well placed as possible. Some great bass spots are very close by.

I can’t go giving specific bass locations out on here, but please believe me that if you use your head and look around carefully then you will quickly find loads of spots. Again, don’t ignore the Bannow estuary. In some parts of Ireland you can catch bass all year round if conditions are right, but for visiting anglers I would look to fish around here from right after the close season (June 16th onwards) until at least the middle of November. There is of course far more fishing than for just the bass, and somewhere like the Hook peninsular is well known for pollack and wrasse for example.

Personally I always travel to this part of Ireland on the Fishguard (west Wales) to Rosslare (south east Ireland) StenaLine ferries. I love this ferry and there tend to be two sailings there and back a day. Booking nice and early usually secures the best prices. You could also go with StenaLine from Holyhead (Anglesey) to Dun Laoghaire (just south of Dublin). It’s no more than about an hour and half drive to this part of Ireland from Dun Laoghaire.

When I am going fishing in Ireland I do tend to take my own car so that I can load up with all the fishing and photography gear I think I need, but if you want to fly then check out flights in and out of Dublin and Cork for this part of Ireland.


Copper Coast/Tramore/Dungarvan Bay area (Waterford, south coast)

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time along this fabulous coastline and I feel that I am starting to get to grips with the almost scary amount of bass fishing available – but still every time I go I realise that one lifetime is not nearly enough to discover it all. One important thing to remember about bass fishing in Ireland is that it’s often the estuaries and bays that produce the biggest fish, and the option of being able to tuck away in bad weather and keep on fishing is a very good reason for visiting this part of Ireland – plus of course that the bass fishing can be truly world class when the conditions are right. The Copper Coast is for the most part very shallow, rocky and weedy as hell and just about the most perfect bass fishing terrain you could hope to find. You need to be aware that a coastline this shallow can blow out in strong onshore conditions, but the great thing is that huge areas like Dungarvan Bay and Tramore offer all kinds of more than viable options for proper bass fishing. And as much as I am obsessed with my bass fishing, don’t forget that there is loads of decent shore fishing around here for any number of species. You need to see the silly numbers of mullet around for starters……..

I always stay in Dungarvan, and it's an excellent base to access and fish this glorious coastline. The place I always stay in Dungarvan is the perfectly situated Gold Coast Golf Resort – there are numerous self-catering options plus a hotel etc., and it’s situated down the peninsular on the east side of Dungarvan Bay with stunning views across to Helvick Head. Almost right outside the self-catering lodges, cottages and apartments are numerous good bass marks for starters. I love Dungarvan and I am really enjoying getting to know the place better and better. Give the Gold Coast people a shout and say you are coming fishing and they will go out of their way to help you out with timings, budgets etc. Dungarvan to Tramore takes about half an hour on the fast road and about forty minutes along the Copper Coast.

Now when it comes to your vital up to date local advice and of course loads of fishing tackle, then your first port of call when heading for Tramore must be the Absolute Fishing tackle shop. The people who work here are all anglers and they always have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on. I can not speak highly enough of the Absolute Fishing people and they will always go out of their way to help visiting anglers with getting to grips with this fabulous coastline. This part of Ireland can and does fish for bass all through the year, with an emphasis on bait fishing during the depths of winter, but for a visitor I would think about possibly mid-April until the start of the close season on May 15th and then June 15th onwards to mid-November. Any time can throw up the big fish.  

Once again I always travel to this part of Ireland on the Fishguard (west Wales) to Rosslare (south east Ireland) StenaLine ferry. I love this ferry and there tend to be two sailings there and back a day (check here). Tramore is about an hour’s drive from Rosslare and Dungarvan about an hour and a half. You could also go with StenaLine from Holyhead (Anglesey) to Dun Laoghaire (just south of Dublin). It’s no more than about a two hour drive to this part of Ireland from Dun Laoghaire.

Flying options are once again mainly Dublin and Cork, but Waterford airport is situated right outside Tramore and might work really well for you. Cork is less than an hour from Dungarvan.

The Beara peninsula (south west Ireland)

If your jaw does not drop to the floor when you drive around this magical part of Ireland then you might need your head examined. The wild, stunning west and it’s got some truly awesome shore fishing. I absolutely love the Beara peninsula !! You will have to go a long way to find better pollack and wrasse fishing for starters, and on the bait side of things you are talking mad fishing for huss, rays, congers etc. Expect all kinds of weather but there are countless places to tuck away and keep fishing if needs be, and the chances are that you will never even see another angler out and about. This truly is the wild side of Ireland and like me you will be left wondering how on earth places like this still exist in northern Europe and that they are not crawling with anglers.

The great thing about going fishing on the Beara peninsula is that it’s ridiculously easy to organise – you need to contact Paul and Anne Harris at the wonderful Dromagowlane House B&B that is situated along the peninsula and get yourself booked in. Not only is it a magical place to stay, but the food is out of this world and Paul Harris is an obsessed saltwater angler himself who I guarantee will go out of his way to help you out with the local fishing – and this might well include Paul actually taking you out fishing himself and therefore putting you right on the best spots at the right times. He also stocks plenty of bait at the B&B. How easy is that ?

Getting to the Beara is pretty easy. Cork airport is only about an hour and a half away, but still I like the option of taking all the fishing gear I think I might need in my car. And them some !! There is no Swansea to Cork ferry anymore, but it’s an easy, less than four hour drive from the StenaLine ferry at Rosslare to Dromagowlane House on the Beara. Driving in Ireland is a pretty relaxed affair with lots of newish and fast roads.

Waterville, Kerry (south west coast)

Kerry is just a perfectly magical part of the world and I have spent a bit of time down around Waterville on the Ring of Kerry. There is every kind of shore fishing you can imagine around here, including some very good bass fishing on bait, lures and fly. I don’t imagine that many anglers are going to make the trek over in the middle of winter, but if the conditions are right then this can be the best time of year to go bait fishing for bass on those classic surf beaches.

For fly, lure and bait fishing for bass there is John Quinlan of Thatch Cottage Ireland who is very well known for producing lots and lots of bass for his many clients. John and his wife Lynn run a combined guiding/B&B service. Make sure to book early as they are very popular the the best tides especially get booked up well in advance.

I am now working with John Quinlan on co-guided fishing trips in Kerry - please check here for more details.

Waterville is going to take you around five to six hours from the StenaLine ferry that comes into Rosslare, but it’s well worth the drive. Cork airport is another good option, as is Kerry airport. Driving from Dublin airport or the ferry port at Dun Laoghaire is pretty easy as well.

Tralee/Fenit, north Kerry (south west coast)

I have only been to this part of Ireland a couple of times now, but in those all too brief few days I have had my eyes very quickly opened to the scarily good bass on lures (and of course bait) fishing potential. Get the weather right and you could find some truly electric fishing from the north side of the famous Dingle peninsula right on up to the banks of the mighty Shannon estuary. As with the Waterville area, the lads up here get some awesome winter bass fishing on bait when the conditions are right. Bass fishing aside there are all kinds of shore fishing for species such as stingrays, tope, thornbacks, mullet, wrasse, pollack, huss, congers etc.

It’s an easy drive from the StenaLine ferry at Rosslare up to Tralee – go via Waterford and then the Cork bypass and it will take around four hours. Cork, Kerry and Dublin airports are all viable alternatives.

These Trident Holiday Homes self-catering houses here in Tralee sleep five anglers easily and are really good value for money. I have stayed here once and will be back again sometime soon.