Posted by: daisycottage | July 19, 2009


Donegal has around 780 miles/1235 km of coastline on to the Atlantic Ocean and as a result, a long history of fishing.  The shores of Donegal as well as being on the Atlantic benefit from the warmth of the Gulf Stream sweeping past and that brings a great variety of fish.  For the visitor to Donegal there are now many people offering charter boat trips around our coast whether for fishing, diving, or simply sightseeing.  A day out on a boat is a great experience even for the non-fisher folk.  The taste of the salty air and the fabulous scenery is memorable and really worth the time and money.  I have been on one such fishing trip and even as a total novice to fishing, managed to land many fish including mackerel, ling, pollock and even red gurnet.  Give it a go ~ you’ll love it.

Teelin Pier

Teelin Pier

 Here’s a list of some of the charter boats in Donegal:


Welcome to An Duanai Mara Charters.  We offer Deep Sea Fishing, Shark Angling, and Sightseeing trips in Donegal Bay, along one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in Ireland.”


Fishing out of Downings means the choice of shallow reefs for light tackle spinning for Pollock, deep water bottom bouncing for numerous species, sandy bottoms for “flatties”, 109 Wrecks for Pollock, Ling and Conger. Some of these Wrecks are “virgins” that haven’t been fished on at all. Deep water reefs for Conger Eels, rocky bottom for massive Common Skate etc. Also shark and blue fin tuna later in the season.”

 BUNDORAN STAR 087-4198323

Bundoran Star is available for charter from April to November for half day or day long trips, usually 09.30 a.m. to 17.00 p.m. Rod and Reel hire available. Shorter evening mackerel fishing trips are available as well.  We cater for all sorts of groups: from Individual anglers to fishing clubs to corporate groups. We invite you to further explore the activities we are offering. It may be for one day or we can arrange a complete package for you comprising of transport, boat and accommodation. Tell us what you would like and we will do our best to organise it.”

 THE CRICKET 074-9135062 or 086 8331924 email:
Reef, wreck, shark, tuna and general inshore fishing.”

CELTIC DAWN 087 2727538
Skipper Rodney Lomax has many years experience fishing the waters of Donegal Bay. The Celtic Dawn was custom built for Charter Angling, and was the first boat to be granted a passenger and angling license by the Department of the Marine. Her license number is 001. Celtic Dawn is available for general fishing, e.g. cod, pollack,ling, wrasse, pouting, etc. from April to the end of October, and for game fishing, mostly blue shark, from August to the end of October.”

Whether you’re a novice fisherman, an experienced angler, or an enthusiastic sightseer, you can experience the thrills of deeps sea fishing in the Atlantic.  West Donegal Sea-Angling Charters offers you the chance to sail and fish off Donegal, on Europe’s most scenic and rugged coastline.  It’s a region full of history with many islands and a strong marine tradition.”


Donegal Bay is the ideal sea-angling venue; from our base Donegal Town we have easy access to the entire bay which is one of the most diverse fishing grounds in Ireland. On our doorstep are famous tope marks where we can fish skate, ray, tope as well as flatties and even monk.  This area is full of estuarine channels with a sandy muddy bottom and deep scoured holes, the bottom dwelling fish congregate in these holes waiting for lunch to come to them on the tide. We sit uptide on a heavy sand anchor with a rubby dubby bag on the anchor chain and set ground baits. While we are waiting it is the norm to fish light tackle for flatties.  A little further west we fish reefs where there are nice ledges and drop offs. Sometimes we drift the reefs and at other times we fish on the anchor at the reef edge or on sandy bottom areas between the reefs or patches of hard ground. Here we target john dory, wrasse, pollock, cod, gurnard, pouting, ling, conger, bream, coalies, garfish etc. We have even caught squid and two different types of octopus on these marks. We fish shark from June to October, the area is very good for big blue shark who cruise the north east atlantic all year and move inshore this time of year. Porbegle, mako, thresher and six-gilled shark are also known in the area.  Recently we have equipped the charter boat with trolling gear and will be targeting albacore when they next show up off our coast. The giant bluefin tuna is of course hot on our list of priorities and to this end we are fully equipped and ready to go. I have been picking Adrian Molloy and Michael Callaghan’s brain in this regard and am confident we will put one on the boat if they play ball this year.  Doorin and St John’s point shelter the inner bay from the north and west and abound in good hard ground fishing and spectacular dive sites. The harbours at Mountcharles, Inver, Killybegs and Teelin are an easy steam and provide ideal pick up points for fishermen and divers staying in the surrounding areas.  Murvah, Rossnowlagh, Creevy, Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Tullaghan and Mullachmore are to the south of the bay and these areas provide great surf fishing.  We can bring the boat right inshore and fish the surf on a heavy sand anchor. The species of note here is bass but the prospect of fishing mackerel on fly-fishing gear is also very exciting.  We also pick up in Creevy, Bundoran and Mullachmore if that is more convenient.”


There are a wide variety of bottom fishing to be found within one hour steaming from Downings pier. The reefs around Tory Island are renowned for large pollock, coalfish, and conger eel.  Mulroy Bay, which can be fished in stormy weather, has an abundance of ray, large plaice, dabs, turbot, and dogfish. Our record number of turbot caught in one day stands at 30.  Shark fishing from July until September. Our record Blue shark stands at an impressive 168lbs. A good variety of bottom fish can also be caught while fishing shark.  There are a large number of ship wrecks off the Donegal coast. Between Arranmore Island and west of Portrush 50 degrees north there lies a total of 138 recorded wrecks, of which 38 are U boats. The Skipper Sammie Scott’s expertise at wreck fishing is well known. The most common variety caught while wreck fishing are ling, pollock, coalfish and torsk. Most of our fishing is done on the drift, bigger fish can be caught on anchor.”

HUNTRESS BLUE  074-9731401 or 087 2871423 email:
General, Shark and reef fishing.”

INISHFREE CHARTERS 074-955133 or 086-2209508

Inishfree Charters provide services to the commercial and recreational marine sectors in the area aound Burtonport and Northwest Donegal.  We provide promotion, development and support for rectional diving. Training and diving experience are offered as are equipment sales and service.  Ferry services are provided to the small islands and tours are available for the those who want to explore unspoiled atlantic shores.  For commercial users contract services are provided for access to the islands, diving services and submarine survey and maintenance.  In all our activies safety, professionalism and service are our guiding principles.”


Killybegs Angling Charters is based at the Blackrock Pier in Killybegs, Co. Donegal, Ireland.  The MV Meridian is a 40′ Louchin purpose built for Sea Angling in 2000.  Brian McGilloway owner and operator of Killybegs Angling Charters has over 30 years experience in charter angling and is chairman of the Killybegs Sea Angling club.  The boat leaves daily for full or half day angling charters, sight seeing trips of the Bay or longer trips to the majestic cliffs of Sliabh League.  We offer angling charters for Cod, Pollack, Ling, Conger, Brill, Turbot, Blue Sharks and now even Bluefin Tuna – the first Bluefin Tuna ever taken on road and line in Irish waters was caught aboard the MV Suzanne (Brian’s former boat) by Alan Glanville.  The MV Meridian is fully equipped with the latest navigational, fish finding and safety equipment.  Tea and coffee served aboard, rod and fishing tackle hire available.”

NUALA STAR 074-9739365 or 087-6284688

The Nuala Star is a 36 – foot fiberglass Ocean tramp purpose built sea angling boat with a 300hp engine and a top speed of 18 knots.  Onboatd we have all the up to date safety, navigation, fish finding equipment and an experienced skipper to bring you to where the fish are anywhere in Donegal Bay and beyond.  The boat is licenced and insured for up to 12 anglers.  For larger groups we can arrange hire of other licenced boats in the area.  The skipper Paddy has over 20 years experience in both commercial fishing and leisure angling and has all the necessary qualifications and training to make your trip a safe and memorable one.  Paddy is a member of the North West Charter Skippers Association (N.W.C.S.A.) who have 14 members in Sligo and Donegal and who work together to promote angling in the north west of ireland.”

PINALIA 074-9731569 or + 086 8600736 email:

Reef, shark and general inshore fishing.”

RATHMULLAN CHARTERS 074-9158129 or 0870507464

Lough Swilly is a sheltered sea lough stretching from its mouth at Fanad Head, inland some 20 miles to Letterkenny.  A British naval base during both world wars, Lough Swilly has a long and interesting history.  It is in this magnificent setting that we provide a variety of lough tours from sightseeing and historical tours to bird and seal watching and relaxing evening cruises.  You will visit the site of “The Flight of the Earls”, Dunree, Fanad head lighthouse, Knockalla caves and Macamish fort and enjoy the spectacular scenery that is Lough Swilly.  We also offer day trips to Tory Island, a unique offshore island with some rare bird life and great views of the mainland.  We want your trip to be a memorable one and we will be happy to cater for your particular requirements.”

ROSGUILL 074-9155080

Rosguill is a “State of the art” charter vessel equipped with twin 310 HP Caterpillar Diesel engines and all the best in electronic equipment.  Designed for the total comfort of her passengers, the RosGuill has: Fully functional galley, Bench seats for 6 at a large table, Extra large windows giving a feeling of airiness & spaciousness, Roomy toilet with hand washing facilities, 2 bunks, Sheltered seating for 5 + behind wheelhouse, Huge deck area, Fully insured, 30 Mile Government License.”

SAOIRE MARA 087-9870266

Onboard there are toilet & cooking facilities with tea/coffee & light refreshments provided free of charge and our Radio/CD/MP3 player allows you to listen to your favourite music and provides a guided talk on our sightseeing cruises. The boat is also equipped with a dive platform & ladder allowing easy access for divers. Her wide beam makes her a very stable boat and provides ample deck space like such on a bigger vessel. Under foot the Tek Deck provides a comfortable non-slip platform.”

SMITHY’S MINI CHARTERS 074 9739889 and 087-2759731

Smithy’s Mini Charter service is specifically designed to cater for small angling parties of up to 5 anglers, and those who are unable to get 10 anglers to club together for the expensive larger charter boats.  If you are a small group and do not want to be cramped up in a big boat with tangled lines every 5 minutes, this could be for you.”

MORE READING North West Charter Skippers Association


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