First of all I would like to apologize if any (or all) of the following seems obvious, as I don’t mean to offend or question anyone’s knowledge or seamanship.

Take A quick look at a chart of the area surrounding the saltee islands and its plain to see why Kilmore Quay is famous for its outstanding fishing and vast array of species (40 +).
But take a closer look and you will see that the same reefs and rocky outcrops that attract the fish could also make this sea area a very dangerous one.

Several of the rocky pinnacles that offer outstanding fishing (8 or more species, including cod,Pollack,coilie,conger,ling,pout and several species of wrasse) include the bore, the long and short bohur, conningmore rocks, conningbeg rock and the brandies. Particular care should be taken around the latter two of these as at certain states of tide they lay just below the surface showing themselves only as the tide drops. Care should also be taken around the red bank and in-between the islands as tide rips can make the seas here very unpredictable.
To the east of kilmore there are large expanses of clean seabed interrupted by some areas of broken ground and the odd reef, but when heading east you should be careful of St. Patricks causeway, it runs from land (just east of the harbour) right out to the little saltee and is only just under the surface in places. About a mile out from the harbour there are two buoys, they mark a gap which is a safe place to cross.

To the west is mainly clean ground and is where many target the flatfish.
Kilmore quay is a busy fishing port with quite a few of the local fishing boats targeting crab and lobster. With this in mind, care should be taken around pot marker bouys so as not to foul props on the pot lines.

important note about bass fishing

Anglers are only allowed to have two bass in their possession in any one 24-hour period and they must be over 40 cm in total length.

There is a closed season for bass from the 15th of May to the 15th of June each year. If you accidentally catch a bass during this period, just return him alive to the sea. Specimen bass cannot be claimed during the closed season.


A few pointers.

1. Many newcomers forget that it is primarily a species hunt and get preoccupied with catching bass, conger, ling ext... Remember that as far as your species count is concerned the humble doggie or tiny launce is just as important as a 6lb bass or a 20lb conger.
2. A lot of the mini species are mistaken for other fish i.e. Poor cod are often thought to be small pouting and corkwing wrasse can easily be mistaken for small ballan wrasse.
3. Although there are some big fish caught, the festival is famous for the huge variety of species rather than the large fish caught, so tackle should be chosen accordingly.

4. Just to remind you that it's against Irish law to not be wearing a lifejacket whilst aboard a small boat in Ireland.

As I said, please don’t be offended if these points seem obvious but I have seen many people make these mistakes.

Paul O'Connor


Limited moorings  for the duration of the festival are available on the pontoons at kilmore quay at a very reasonable rate. Please contact the harbour masters office direct to enquire or email


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  John Belger

98 Dunbar Road, Southport PR8 4RL

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