Fishing in Howth


To salute the summer’s end, nine of us headed off to Howth for an early morning fishing trip. This trip was long overdue, but finally every had some free time and we were able to lock down a Sunday morning to hunt for some mackerel. The plan was to blast them on the barbecue later at our house, as it just so happened that we had a barrel of Guinness ready and waiting for a gathering early the following week. Anyway, Guinness and barbecued things. What better way to enjoy a catch?

The 5 in my family and the four Garlands (our closest family friends who I mentioned here last year) set sail on the dinkiest little fishing boat into the grey weather with a rather work-shy fisherman.


What a day for fishing – the sea was so calm.


This particular fisherman told us that if we were to catch 3 to 4 mackerel on our trip, it would be a good day. Right. Well, there are 9 of us, so we needed to up our game, if that was the case. After ten minutes cruising through the water, Mr. fisherman (we’ll call him Jack) turned off the engine and told us to ‘go ahead.’

No safety procedures or advice. Victor (who’s like my surrogate Dad) looked after everyone and got us set up with our fishing rods. Thanks Victor, no thanks, JACK.


A few minutes of bobbing up and down the feathered lines and my brother caught the first fish. One down, at least 8 more to go!


The weather was crisp, the air was fresh and the backdrop of the cliffs was just beautiful. Where Mr. Jack was bringing us, there wasn’t a whole lot of fish to be caught. We figured there would be more fish along the cliffside, where mackerel might be busying themselves feeding off whatever was on the rocks deep below, but who are we to tell a man where to drive his boat?
Slowly but surely another was caught. Then another! We were up to four exciting! (The fourth was caught by me, just sayin’.)


Jack smoking in his little cabin, shootin’ the breeze. Soon after this picture was taken, Helen (my surrogate Mother) caught another. We were on our way to one fish each. Excellent.


We asked Jack could he take us as close to the cliffs as possible, to get a closer look a the birds nesting on the cliffside. Victor brought his camera along, as he’s big into bird watching and photography and posts his pictures on Facebook here.

Time was nearly up apparently – Jack just couldn’t wait to get to shore, what a go-getter. He turned off the engine near the cliffs and sure enough, the mackerel swam our way. My sister nearly caught four in one go (two scrambled free, darn it) and my Dad caught two, all in the space of five minutes. Jack then insisted we go back to the harbour, just as things were heating up. I guess he decided that our four hour fishing trip should lose an hour.


We returned to shore with nine fish to feed nine mouths. I know it wasn’t much but I was delighted we would at least have one each! We joked over how glad we were to have stocked up on plenty of meat for the one would go hungry. We bid our farewells to Jack who seemed more interested in picking his nose, and all thanked Victor for helping everybody out on the boat. He even took the fish home to gut and clean for the barbecue later on that evening. What a guy!


Just after 3pm and the Garlands rocked up, bearing freshly cleaned gutless fish gifts. Pints were poured and the mackerel fillets were covered in onion, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Little individual tinfoil tents were made for each fillet to cook on the barbecue.


Beautiful ruby red pints of Guinness. I can’t take credit, but I really wish I could say I poured these.


MEAT. There were salads and vegetables and stuff too of course, but meat is far more interesting.


We all agreed the mackerel was delicious…you can’t beat the taste of fish caught just hours before. We ate and drank and had our fill, all ready for a deep sleep after the narcotic sea air.

It was wonderful to spend time together as a large family doing something out of the ordinary. We did agree that our next fishing trip would be in Westport like a trip we took many years ago. Close to a hundred mackerel were caught that day, and the fisherman fried a couple of them then and there on the boat, smeared with a thick layer of mustard.

A different company worth considering if you would like to rent a boat for fishing or for sight-seeing out to Lambay Island or Ireland’s Eye. – Howth Boats


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