Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand

Portstewart Strand © Kenneth-Allen

Portstewart and Portrush – Portstewart harbour can fish well for pollock with float fished baits such as ragworm, sandeel and sprats getting the best results. Cod, whiting, dogfish and flounder are caught on bottom fished baits and mullet are also spotted here in calm weather and mackerel can be caught on feathers and daylights. Portrush harbour has mixed ground and some snags but produces similar species. Rock marks nearby (between Potstewart and Portrush) are also good to float fish and can also produce wrasse. Conger are a possibility here to large mackerel/squid baits and big hooks and wire traces. Portstewart strand is a two-mile stretch of sandy beach which can produce bass to bottom fished peeler crab and ragworm, as well as plaice, dogfish, dab, flounder and winter whiting and cod. Castlerock strand produces similar species and has been known to produce sea trout to spinners. Low tide and night produces the best fish at these venues. View this area on Google Maps here.

Ballycastle Rocks

Ballycastle Rocks © David McFarland

Ballycastle – Ballycastle has a number of good sea fishing venues. Ballycastle strand fishes well for flatfish such as flounder and dab, while catching a turbot is not out of the question. Bass can also be caught here, and plenty of dogfish can also be caught. Try varying casting distances as fish can feed anywhere from close in to at distance. Nearby rock marks will also produce pollock, wrasse and mackerel to float fished baits and spinners, while mackerel will also be caught on daylights/feathers. Bottom fished baits will catch coalfish, dogfish and bull huss, while conger are also present here and can be caught to the usual big hooks and baits. Rock marks in this area are dangerous and should not be fished in bad weather or rough seas. View this area on Google Maps here.

Garron Point

Garron Point © Anne Burgess

Garron Point – This is a very rough ground mark, with heavy shore tackle needed and tackle losses to be expected – use rotten bottom rigs to try and cut down on lost rigs. Bottom fished baits will catch coalfish, dogfish, bullhuss, pollock and cod in the winter. In the summer months many anglers use float fishing tactics or spinners as a means of avoiding the very snaggy seabed. This will produce mackerel, wrasse, coalfish and some very good pollock. Use ragworm, mackerel strip, prawns, sandeel or sprats as bait. View this area on Google Maps here.

Glenarm Beach

Glenarm Beach © Nygel Gardner

Glenarm – The beach at Glenarm can see plenty of flatfish caught with summer bringing plaice and all other times of the year seeing species such as bass, dogfish and winter cod and whiting caught. It is best to arrive at this mark a few hours before low water and fish the tide down and then a few hours back up. Whiting, flounder and bass come in close, but the better cod are caught from longer casts. Most anglers see the area in front of and around the police station as the best area to fish. Glenarm harbour/breakwater can produce dogfish in great numbers, plus pollock, wrasse, coalfish and flatfish such as flounders and dab. View this area on Google Maps here.

Ballygally Head and Beach

Ballygally Head and Beach © Anne Burgess

Ballygally – The beach at Ballygally can produce plenty of species such as flounder, dab, coalfish, cod, whiting and potentially bass when there is some sea running. The beach is quite steep and long casting is not always necessary to reach the feeding fish. Although Ballygally is a small village it is popular with tourists and the beach will inevitably become full in the summer, but this beach fishes best at night so fish this mark once the sun begins to set. The rockier area around Ballygally Head can produce decent catches of pollock and mackerel to lures, plugs and spinners. Float fishing will also catch these species, along with wrasse. Conger eels can also be caught. View this area on Google Maps here.

Portmuck Harbour

Portmuck Harbour © Albert Bridge

Islandmagee – Portmuck harbour and the surrounding rock areas fish well over high tide for mackerel on feathers and daylights in the summer and pollock to spinners. Both of these species will also take float fished baits, as will wrasse. Bottom fished baits around this area are likely to catch pollock, coalfish and dogfish. Ballylunsford harbour can produce wrasse, pollock and mackerel to float fished baits and dogfish, coalfish and whiting to baits fished on the seabed. The clear sandy beach at Brown’s Bay can produce bass when there is surf, and dogfish and flounder will take baits at all other times. Rock marks around Brown’s Bay can produce pollock, wrasse and strap conger eel. View this area on Google Maps here.

Blackhead Lighthouse

Blackhead Lighthouse © Wilson Adams

Whitehead and Carrickfergus – Fishing from Whitehead promenade at high tide can produce a number of species with dogfish, rockling, flounder and dabs caught and cod and whiting showing in winter. The flat rocks around Blackhead lighthouse offer good fishing for mackerel as well as all of the other rough ground species such as ballan and cuckoo wrasse, pollock and coalfish. Very large conger are also present here and are caught with heavy rough ground gear, size 8/0 hooks and large mackerel flapper baits. Carrickfergus harbour and piers can produce over high tide with lots of whiting around in winter as well as cod, pouting, dogfish, pollock, coalfish and wrasse. There are also some conger eels around the rockier parts of this area. Calm weather will see mullet present. Mackerel anglers can overwhelm this area in the summer. View this area on Google Maps here.

Donaghadee Pier

Donaghadee Pier © Mattrhysmic

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. View this area on Google Maps here.

Strangford Lough

Strangford Lough © Barry Scroggins

Strangford Lough – Strangford Lough is a huge salt-water body of water separated from the sea by the Ards Peninsula which offers a massive range of sea fishing opportunities. Most sea angling takes place close to the mouth of the lock 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 reduced compared to previous generations and these species are now protected. View this area on Google Maps here.

St. John's Point Lighthouse

St. John’s Point Lighthouse © Ross

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. View this area on Google Maps here.

Newcastle Harbour

Newcastle Harbour © Eric Jones

Ardglass, Newcastle and Kilkeel – 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. Newcastle harbour will produce plenty of flatfish (mostly dab and flounder), while dogfish, whiting and cod can also be caught here. Nearby rock marks also produce all of the rock species such as pollock and wrasse plus mackerel. A Kilkeel harbour can provide a lot of mackerel in the summer months, as well as dogfish, flounder and dab. Nearby beaches can also produce decent catches, with bass a possibility when there is some sea running. View this area on Google Maps here.

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