Friday 01/03/2024 March, Sea Trout

Friday 01/03/2024 March, Sea Trout

A “Yuck” morning in Foxford, it has got cold and nasty with sleet and rain. March already, the river is not in great condition, 1.44m at Ballylahan bridge and rising, very few anglers are trying their luck. On a positive note, if you are reading this you are alive and that’s half the battle. My apologies for disappearing last week, I spent a few days on the charger but cant say the batteries feel any fuller.

Scan this with your phone camera for a nice shot of a Sea Trout

Since I last reported,we had a few sessions on the beaches for trout and we did manage to catch a few. It was during one of these sessions that I had a chat with another angler who was new to fishing for trout from the beach. He was exploring and was keen to learn more about it. The baits he was using were “Old school”, at the time I met him he had a Toby spoon on the end of his line. I’m not saying the Toby is a bad bait and it will take a sea trout. It’s just that there are more modern and possibly better designed baits available now. We chatted for a little while and after he left, I got to thinking about how many other anglers are out there who would like to try this type of fishing but are put off by what appears to be the enormity of it all. We ourselves have been doing it on and of for a good few years now and it’s easy to forget how daunting the task looks when one first starts. You’re standing on a beach with thousand of miles of Atlantic Ocean in front of you, where do you start. I’m not claiming to be an expert on it or say that I know more than others. I am willing to share some of what I have learned here in this condensed piece.

Whatever line you use, a fluorocarbon leader cam make a difference


Tide: Tides come in and tides go out, we have high water and low water. So, what part of the tide is the best to fish. Like everything in angling its debatable and we all have theories and preferences. It has been our experience though that if you plan a four-hour session, fishing the last two hours of the going tide and the first two hours of the coming tide you will not go to far wrong. Here’s a link to a great resource, just search for the area you want to explore and go to tides, you will find everything you need

Lures have come a long way in the past 30 years. The Danes have led the way

Where to fish: The west coast of Ireland is dotted with beaches and I think that nearly every one we have tried we have managed to catch a sea trout. Speaking with other guys who do a lot more than us and they seem to be of the same opinion, there are plenty of trout out there. There are also some good-sized fish among them. Where these trout are going to or coming from, I cannot say. It is a safe assumption to say that they are feeding along the beaches and sand eel forms a large part of their diet. I would say that beaches with little rivers or guts that the tide flows in and out of seem to be hot spots.

The “Gut” at Lacken strand, places like this are ideal Sea Trout spots

Bait: Well, you do not need to be Einstein to work it out. If the trout are feeding on and searching for sand eel then some form of bait that represents a sand eel is what you should be using. Fresh sand eel is not always available but thankfully there are many very realistic sand eel representations on the market. The Danes are years ahead of us at this game, it is a long time ago since I guided for some Danish anglers who were very much into sea trout angling from the beaches. They gave me some of the baits they were using and explained some of the tactics to try. At that time these guys made their own baits but today they are available from any good tackle shop.

A very realistic sand eel imitation

Rod, Reel and Line : A reasonable good quality rod from nine to eleven foot is ideal. Pick something that will cast the baits you want to use but that will be light enough to use for a few hours and will give some sport when a fish is hooked. Do not use a beach caster, yes you will catch sea trout using it but its pointless. Even a decent sized trout will not give a noticeable fight on a rod designed for hurling 150grams of lead out on a storm beach for a cod.

A Shimano Bass rod. Choose a rod that will be fun to fish with

Saltwater and sand is bad, bad, bad for reels. Use what you can afford to damage. At the moment I’m using a Shimano Stradic 4000 that I refurbished. It’s a good reel but at this stage it owes me nothing, if I can keep it going for another year, I will be happy to retire it. Pick a reel that will hold 150 or 200m of 0.25 to 0.28mm line, a mid-priced Shimano or something like that, you will not be leaving it to the grand kids.

Line is a personal thing. Most baits cast well and you’re not trying to hit America. Like the rest of your equipment in the harsh Atlantic environment, it gets damaged easily and should be changed regularly.  I like Stroft monofilament but I also use Berkley X9 braid. No matter what line I use on the reel, I attach a leader of light fluorocarbon and it works.

Sunset on a Mayo beach, a beautiful place to be.

Pick a nice day with a tide time that suits and go for it. Do not be put off by not seeing fish and even if you do not succeed on the first outing don’t give up. Perseverance is key, It will happen and when it does you will be well rewarded. To catch a sea trout in the ocean is something special and if you never caught one you will enjoy just being there. There’s more to fishing than catching fish.

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