The Deepwater Quay

The half – six train to Cobh Co Cork on a summer Sunday evening many years ago, beside me The Deepwater Quay where I enjoyed the happiest times of my earliest fishing days. Every Sunday evening from early June to the end of August I made this trip accompanied with my father.
Preparations for these exciting trips commenced the previous day. As my father worked on Saturday’s, it was left to me to ensure that a most important aspect of the venture next day was attended to, namely the collection of fresh bait. After checking tide times on the Cork Examiner I would pick up my small bag containing a large trawel and a small piece canvas sacking and head off to pick up the No 11 Bus which would take me to my destination at Tivoli. Out of the bus and a few minutes later I was on the slob bank. After a couple of hours digging in the mud for slob worms better known today as ragworms it was off home again, mission completed.
Next morning worms would be checked and any soft or green looking worms would be discarded. Keeping an eye on the clock with excitement building inside me it would soon be time to get ready and head off on foot to the Railway Station, with Rod, bag and bait in hand.
Arriving at the Station and collecting our return tickets it was on to the platform. The hissing sound of steam and the black belching smoke from the big engine all added to my excitement. A wave of the green flag, a slow chug dugg, a toot from the engine whistle and we were on our way. The train journey was always an adventure in itself. Getting off the train at Cobh the first thing I always looked our for was the time in the large station clock, it should have read five minutes to seven and I cannot recall any occasion it being different.
After all every second counted, to get my line in the water. Out the station door turn right and in a few steps you were standing on the Deepwater Quay in Cork Harbour at Cobh.
Fishing tactics were simple, tackle up the rod tie on a silver mustad worm hook, pinch a piece of sheet lead on the nylon line about 3ft up from the hook, add a few worms, drop hook line and sink her to the bottom, give a few turns of the reel handle and you were ready for action. Pollock and Coalfish were always in abundance and the main target. However the odd panting and dangerous Weever fish would also be hooked. I can never recall going home empty handed in fact we could not carry home all we could catch at times.
The Deepwater Quay also held some great Monsters of the Deep. Conger eels 7ft and 8ft long would be caught by locals fishing with very strong handlines. It was a fearsome sight to see these angry looking fish splashing on the surface of the water after being hauled up from the Deep.
As Summer moved on the Mackeral would arrive and the peace and quite of the regular bait Anglers would be shattered. Boys and Girls, Fathers and Mothers would appear in droves from far and wide. It was standing room only on the Quay. Lines getting tangled, Rods snapping, Leads cracking off the lines, it was utter chaos but great fun and excitement all round. Nearing 10 O’ Clock it would be time to pack up. Back into the Station everyone happy, looking forward to the next trip already.
Magical Memories…..