For this months adventure we would be looking for the very  elusive Megrim. They are a hard fish to find and you normally have to do long drifts of a few miles before maybe even getting one. I will give you a brief description before continuing with my session. 

Habitat 

The Megrim is usually found over a sandy or muddy sea floor. They are ferocious predators and eat small fish and squid and also consume crustaceans. In turn Megrim are themselves prey for larger species such as sharks, seals and large cod. Megrim spawn in deep waters off  Iceland and the west of Ireland, while there is a separate spawning population in the Mediterranean. 

This species is found throughout European waters and the Northeast Atlantic, the Megrim are also found off the north coast of Africa.

It can grow up to 2ft in length. It is left-eyed, has a slightly larger head than usual in flatfish with a narrower body. The dorsal and ventral fins are relatively short and start far back on the body. The colouration is usually light brown with dark spots across the body and dark grey fins.

My Dad with a Megrim

How to catch them

First you need to get the tides and weather right. You are looking for low to mid strength tides with light wind, which will let the boat drift at a comfortable speed as your lead and bait is being worked along the seabed. Bigger tides are a disaster as you need heavier leads and it is far harder, but not impossible, to keep your bait in the killer zone. Next is depth, we fish between 230ft to 300ft over muddy ground where it seems to be barren of fish and features. 

In a good session we would land a few dogs, the odd Whiting, Haddock, tiny Ling and a handful of Megrim. This means it can feel like a very boring trip so to try to break up the lack of fish we would put out a shark rod in the hope of some excitement between the small fish we were looking for.


The few sessions this year looking for them the weather was super and the wildlife was amazing with Sunfish and Dolphins swimming around the boat, Fin whales, Pilot whales and Basking sharks hunting for food under a hundred yards away also made the days a success before even catching a fish.

A fin whale within 40ft of the boat!

Like all fishing adventures, fishing gear and bait preparation can be half the battle for catching fish. The rest is location, focus and some luck. One of the best sessions this year for me was when I had four Megrim with a mixed bag of other species. 

That day we headed south of Cork Harbour until we reached one of our drift marks. The depth was over 250ft and with the little to no wind and small tide the boat was drifting under a knot. 

With our home made traces, thin mackerel strips and 10oz leads slowly covering the seabed we waited for an ambush fish to hit them. My dad put out a small chum bag and one shark rod too. It took around half an hour before we landed our first fish, that was rather disappointingly a Dogfish. It was nearly two hours before my brother Derick landed the first megrim of the trip and it was just shy of specimen length! 

Derick's Megrim, so close to a specimen weight

We then had a few more dogs and another Megrim landed before the shark reel made that lovely sound, like in my favourite movie jaws. A few clicks, then when I looked for the float it was gone and the reel screamed off. When using one rod, we draw numbers to see who gets to go first and I picked number 1 from the hat. Before I lifted the rod I hoped for a 100lb plus Blue shark but sadly it was only a pup. 

With the shark rod back out it was time to get my Megrim bait down, as I was at the back of the line for sharks I sat up on the bow of the boat taking in the sun and looking at Dolphins. 

Just a pup, let's hope it doesn't get caught by the commercials taking them just for their fins

It was about an hour before my next fish, it was another dog but on the larger size. We gave it a quick weigh and it was 3lb 2oz. Only two ounces shy of specimen. With my new pb dog put back I quickly re-baited  and got back down. At this time we had 4 Megrim, a handful of dogs, some tiny Whiting and another small Blue. It is scary how empty the seabed is out here, it was about every half hour we caught a fish. 

You would think that miles out to sea that the sea would be full of fish and not just one or two every half hour. 

The next few fish were small Megrim and another small shark that we unhooked at the side of the boat. My next Megrim was my new pb and just shy of specimen length, then my dad landed his first ever Hake. Even though he has caught tonnes and tonnes of fish of all shapes and sizes over the years he was delighted to get a new species and though it was tiny he was over the moon. Sadly, that was the last action of the day before heading in .

Hopefully, next time we will  catch  a specimen Megrim. 

My new PB megrim!
Dad's first ever hake!
Share on facebook
Share