Autumn Bass on the Beach.

South Wexford comes alive in the Autumn. Bass hunt the shoreline again after their summer fry fest and winter species such as coalfish and codling make an appearance. In the estuaries flounder are feeding hard prior to their spawning migration and their is always the chance of hooking a marauding bass. Codling have been ever present in boat catches off Kilmore Quay this summer hinting at the prospect of improved winter fishing off the south Wexford beaches. With that in mind and the real prospect of bass, Gerry Mitchell, John (Ringo) Ring, and I headed to a favourite mark with confidence. Baiting up with freshly dug lugworm and fishing two rods each our leads hit the water shortly before eight bells. Given high water was due around ten pm we expected fish from the off, they duly obliged.

Gerry Mitchell with a plump four pound plus Wexford bass.

Within minutes bites were being converted into fish, initially small whiting, poor cod, and flounder. The rod tops were nodding, then leaning as dogfish entered the swim. We had commenced fishing in the dark but knowing the beach bass can run close, VERY CLOSE, to the tide line. Gerry had his bait in the right spot landing the first silver bar of the night. At 45cms plus he knew there were bigger. Shortly after a tentative bite Gerry leaned into and connected with a fish. “Think it’s a doggie Ash”, then the rod lunged over as the fish entered the shallows. A few choice words drifted towards me as a fine bass appeared in the wash, four pounds plus, a great start to the evening.

Watching for bites on a south Wexford strand.

Bass feed on the move, and with these beaches many miles long anglers have to make hay while the sun shines. The fish will move in and move on just as quick. Bites are quick silver and the fish do not come back a second time. So it proved tonight, a twenty minute spell rods hit hard and slack line bites, a couple of dropped fish and Gerry’s tally. It’s what beach fishing is all about and it was fun to be a witness. No bass for Ringo or I, but things were to improve.

South Wexford beach caught codling.

A noticeable rattle made me lift the rod, it leaned and the line fell slack. Backing up I connected with the weight, no bass but it does not feel like a dogfish. As the fish enters the wash it gives a few kicks, Gerry walks towards it, “nice codling Ash”. I do not believe it, at two pounds plus I have caught bigger off the shore but not in recent years. Maybe our prediction of improved winter codling catches could come true. One swallow doesn’t make a summer but that one fish gives real hope, we’ll be back!

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