Last updated on November 25, 2023
Yes, it’s actually very good! Ireland is a top destination for anglers and fishing trips.
Ireland is known for excellent pike, salmon, trout and sea trout! But also for sea bass, eel, conger and many other fish.
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But regardless of the sport fishing and the trophy photo, it’s quite a nice idea to catch a trout on the way on a multi-day paddling trip by kayak or canoe and then prepare it in front of the tent in the evening, isn’t it?
Pure nature! Dinner too!
Ireland is known for its clean water, both on the rivers and lakes and on the sea. So the fish come to you already washed :-).
By the way, we live in Ireland (second home) and run our motorbike rental business here in the summer months (www.easycruiser.tours). We also have nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie). We have travelled the island again and again over many years and therefore know it very well.
Rules for fishing in Ireland
Fishing in Ireland is actually very easy, because unlike in Germany, you don’t even need to have a fishing licence!
However, depending on the fish and the area, you may need to buy a day licence, which can cost around 10 to 20 euros for the day.
In Ireland, there is a tackle shop in practically every town or city. It can also be located in a petrol station or bookshop – or even in a pub.
Not only will you get hooks and bait, but you’ll also get lots of advice about fishing opportunities and regulations in the area. And you can also buy your permit there, if you need one.
Licences and licence-free fishing in Ireland
In Ireland there are State Licences, District Licences and Local Permits.
Almost all waters have local regulations on what you can fish, when, how and what take rules apply.
You don’t need a licence or permit on the coast, whether you’re fishing from the beach or from a kayak (unless you’re fishing for sea trout).
In practically all other waters you need a local permit, which you can usually buy in one of the local tackle shops.
A State or District Licence is required to fish for salmon and sea trout in Ireland. You can apply for this online and you will receive a catch book to register your catch and tags to mark your catch. As you probably won’t be trophy hunting on your kayak trip, this is less relevant to you.
You can fish for brown trout and other fish (coarse fishing) practically everywhere. You are not allowed to take more than 4 fish per day from the water – but that’s enough for a nice dinner.
You may only fish with a rod (landing nets are allowed, but not drag nets…), and use a maximum of 2 rods at the same time. You are not allowed to use live bait, neither live fish nor live worms. By the way, it’s best to buy your bait at your local tackle shop, where you can also get good advice.
For more information on the fishing laws and regulations in Ireland, as well as lots of interesting information on fishing and fishing grounds, visit https://fishinginireland.info/regulations/.
Which kayak for fishing paddling in Ireland?
If you rent a kayak in Ireland, it will most often be an open sit-on-top kayak. These are the safest for their guests from the point of view of the rental company.
They may not be the fastest boats for the longer paddle, but for fishing from a kayak they are a very good choice. You have an open cockpit and some space between your legs where you can get your fishing gear ready and store it within easy reach. If your open kayak is stable enough in the water, you might even be able to stand up and cast standing up on a calm stretch of water.
On Upper Lough Erne and in some places on the River Shannon and its lakes, you can hire a canoe. These are even better for fishing because you have more space and you can fit more camping gear in the boat. However, they are difficult to paddle by one person, but if there are two of you, that’s no problem at all.
And if your own kayak or the rented kayak is a closed boat? Then you have a little less space, but take the fishing rod with you anyway, maybe it will work from the boat and otherwise you can always fish from the shore.
Tips for choosing fishing rods and equipment for kayak fishing
I see anglers lugging tons of gear to shore all the time. When kayak fishing, you will have to limit yourself – less is more!
Your gear has to fit into your luggage first. Especially when travelling by plane, this is quite limited. Then everything has to fit in the boat and then you have to manage in a small space, namely in the kayak!
A short fishing rod is enough! You can move the kayak around and are not limited to your position on the shore. When you fish in rivers, the current also helps.
In Ireland, people like to fish for trout with the fly, but the flasher and all kinds of rubber baitfish also work well.
Have you tried casting sitting down? Your movement is limited because you can only move your arms. The torso is relatively blocked. You’ll soon notice that the lower end of the rod keeps hitting the hull of the boat. So choose a short rod with a short shaft. By the way, you can buy extremely short rods for kayakers and survival fans.
The landing net should also be as handy as possible. The handle doesn’t need to be long because you’ll have your hands close to the water. Choose a net where the hooks will get caught as little as possible, because you don’t have much space on board to adjust it every time.
Attach a piece of line with a snap hook at the end to the rod, paddle and landing net – then you can hook it to the boat and let it drift in the water when you want to free your hands to do some work.
Where do hooks, spoons, floats, rubber fish etc… actually go? There are life jackets for anglers that are equipped with plenty of pockets and fastening eyelets, so you have everything within reach and tidy.
A knife should also be attached to the waistcoat so you can reach it, because all that line stuff is not without danger. If you capsize, you could get caught in it. In that case you want to be able to cut yourself free. There are very compact dive knives that you can attach to your shoulder strap with two straps or cable ties.
Where do you put the caught fish on the kayak, you probably won’t have a bucket with you? Either take a folding bucket with you, or maybe find another solution…
A word in conclusion
This is not meant to be a complete guide, but maybe by now you’ve got a good idea of what you want to take with you and what will work well on a kayak.
In any case, Ireland is an angler’s paradise. If you are planning a paddling holiday, then you should bring your fishing rod (or a new short travel rod) too.
Have fun planning and a great kayak fishing holiday in Ireland!
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Cover photo credit: Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash