'Where did you get those bream?' I asked.
' Those what, sir ? ' said the man.
' Bream,' said I.
' Divil a bream,' was the reply ; ' they're carrp.' ' I beg your pardon, they are bream ; the carp is a freshwater fish'.
' Arrah, no, they're carrp'.
' I assure you they are nothing of the kind,' I said.
' Maybe it's brame that the gintilman manes,' suggested the man's companion.
It was a ray of light striking Cimmerian darkness ; the man's face brightened up, and he exclaimed :
' Some of us call them carrp, and some of us call them brame ; but bream's a new word intoirley'.
Those, therefore, who go to Ireland will do well, to prevent mistakes, to forget their English accent if they wish to go out bream fishing. I found out afterwards that carp was a very common name for sea-bream in that locality.
Speaking generally, amateur sea fishing is not much pursued on the Irish coast, so that the information available is somewhat limited. It may perhaps be useful to give a list of the principal fishing-boat stations, where men and boats can be had ; but it does not follow that just that fishing which the amateur seeks after is close at hand. Most of these stations, it will be noticed, are on the east coast. The list includes Dublin, Skerries, Howth, Arklow, Wexford, Dunmore, Dun-garvan, Ring, Ballycottin Bay, Queenstown, and Kinsale, once celebrated for its weatherly hookers. Between Baltimore and Kinsale are capital fishing grounds and plenty of fine natural harbours. In Bantry Bay is Glengarriff, which rejoices in three hotels, good sea fishing, and not a very long journey to the Lakes of Killarney. Kenmare Bay and Dingle have prolific fishing grounds. In Dingle Bay the very light canvas boats called ' curraghs ' are much used. They are also found on the coast of Clare, and as far north as Galway Bay. On the other side of Dunmore Head is Smerwick Harbour, and Brandon and Tralee. Beyond the mouth of the Shannon and the exposed coast of Clare comes the fine coast of Galway, where the many inlets of the sea and the sounds between the numerous islands and the mainland should afford the sea angler good fishing grounds in almost any weather. The Galway hookers are noted sea-boats.
Mackerel fishing is periodically excellent on this part of the coast, and cod, whiting, and other hook fish are only waiting to be caught. Haddock, too, are very plentiful in winter, remaining till about the end of May ; cod and ling disappearing a month earlier. In Blacksod Bay there is good shelter for the small-boat fisherman, and cod and ling are there in due season. Belmullet, at the northern end of the bay, was once a noted fishing station. Following the coast northward we come to Sligo and Bundoran, the latter in Donegal Bay. A good deal of herring fishing is carried on here, and where herrings come other fish follow. The more northern parts of the bay afford a good deal of fishing with both long lines and hand lines. Whiting are sometimes extraordinarily abundant in this bay.
Further north there is still less trawling and more line fishing, which is all in the amateur fisherman's favour. On this part of the coast coalfish, 'glassons' or 'glissauns,' are very plentiful. Both in Loch Swilly and Loch Foyle there is often very fair fishing. In former years Belfast Lough afforded grand sport, but friends who live in the neighbourhood tell me that since the increase of steam traffic the fish have become very much less numerous.
Other stations down this coast are Strangford, Carlingford, Ardglass, Greencastle, Rush, and Balbriggan.
Coming back again across the Irish Sea to the north-west coast of Wales, we pass the Isle of Man, which may be referred to here. The fishing round the island is good, and the place is much visited by amateur sea fishermen, particularly in the months of July, August, and September. There is some inshore pollack fishing in June when the season is early. Good sport may generally be had in October and November, providing the weather is favourable. Douglas is perhaps, on the whole, a better place to make one's headquarters than Ramsey. At Peel there is often very good fishing for bream in the early summer ; and at Port Erin is a breakwater from which amateur sea fishing is carried on in fair weather. At Douglas there is a breakwater at the mouth of the harbour, which can be tried when the weather is too bad for boat work ; and fish are sometimes taken from the Victoria Pier. There is also a little fishing from the breakwater at Port St. Mary, and last, but not least, the mackerel fishing is excellent.
The Manx names of fish and bait are somewhat puzzling to people who come to the island for the first time. Like the Irishmen of Dublin, they call bream carp ; the pollack is callig; coalfish, blockin or blocken ; herring, scadder ; dog-fish, gobbock ; wrasse, bollen ; cuttle-fish, sea-cat. That invaluable little bait, the ragworm, is termed by the Manx fishermen pellic. There are plenty of big fish round the island, and very strong tackle is required for use in the deep water.
Let us now cross over to the north-west coast of England and work southward. In shallow, sandy Morecambe Bay flat fish afford some sport, and shrimps are very abundant ; but, so far as I know, the seaside resorts in the neighbourhood of Liverpool do not offer first-rate fishing. Towards and on the coast of Wales we begin to get among the haunts of bass. I should look upon this coast as most useful for summer fishing ómackerel, bass, and flat fish, with whiting in places. Bass are plentiful in the Menai Straits. In the small shallow lagoons of the Crigyll River mullet are found ; but they are most difficult to fish with a rod, the water being shallow and clear. There is no shelter on the bank. Bass enter most of the tidal rivers and creeks of Anglesea in August and September, particularly in the estuary in Malldraeth Bay, where there are many mullet, these fish also frequenting the river Cefni. Large plaice are caught in the mouth of the river Ffraw. Boats can be obtained in Aberffraw Bay, which is also a good place for bass. Soft crab is considered the best local bait. Aberffraw is about three miles from Ty Croes station. From the same station Rhosneigr can be reached, where there is excellent sea fishing from boats. There is also some bass fishing at Towyn, in the mouth of the Dysynni River, and at Aberdovey.