Bass Fishing in Ireland, Seasons Opener.

A chance phone call from marine scientist Ed Fahy was the precursor to an enjoyable days bass fishing in Ireland’s showery south east. “I have a mountain of bait and nobody to share it with”, enough said “I’ll meet you in Gorey” and with that a sort of plan was laid. Strong southerly winds had backed around to the south west and decreased 4 – 5 making the beaches north of Carnsore point worth a pop as the big offshore swell would create a nice surf. There was no point in trying the south Wexford strands as these would have been blanketed with weed and so it proved.

A nice early 2011 season bass from a south Wicklow strand.

First port of call was Ballytrent strand, as expected a nice surf was running and initial evidence pointed to a weed free zone. Ominously though weed was evident about a quarter of a mile up the beach to our left. Unfortunately on casting our lines got snagged up with wrack and smaller pieces of weed. After half an hour we called it quits deciding to move further north and fish in the vicinity of Blackwater.

Ed Fahy surf casting on Ballinesker strand, Co. Wexford.

The weather God’s were kind, although hit with showers all day in between it was warm and sunny the wind staying in the west. A move to Ballinesker north of Curracloe, the stage for the awesome opening scene from “Saving Private Ryan” looked promising but again our hopes were dashed. A crumping surf hid a myriad of broken half rotten weed, a bi-product of the recent south easterlies. This time we persevered for an hour but again fishing was impossible. “Third time lucky” says I, “we’ll find a beach out of the main tidal current”.

Awaiting that bite, beach fishing in Co. Wicklow.

On arrival a nice rolling wave promised bass. Having never blanked on this beach I was confident that it would deliver. Baiting up with double fresh razor clam and popping the rig sixty meters out, the rod was barely in its rest before a lively pull down signaled our first fish, a schoolie promptly returned. From then on things were slow, not unusual for this mark for it has an all or nothing nature, but as stated it always delivers. So it proved an hour in when a good heave on the rod followed by a slack line resulted in a spirited fight with a three pound plus bass. Not the biggest from this venue but welcome nonetheless.

A school bass from a Wicklow beach for marine scientist Ed Fahy.

I was delighted for Ed, as the full time whistle sounded on his last cast he landed a small bass with which to christen his new surf pole. He will catch bigger this year but importantly the fish provided scale samples from which Ed will be able to continue his fine work in trying to understand the biology of this wonderful species. On packing up I thanked Ed for his morning call, we both agreed it was a fine day out and certainly will plan a repeat performance or two before the summer is out.

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