As all of us are fully aware Ireland is experiencing the full effects of possibly the deepest economic recession in its history. With unemployment touching 500,000, in reality 20% plus of our working population and not the lesser figure so often quoted by the establishment and politicians, Ireland really needs to start looking at its key natural resources and managing them correctly. Rod and line sea fishing is such a resource with tourist anglers contributing upwards of €150.00 per rod day, guided bass angling easily doubling that figure, while staying on average 11.8 bed nights (Failte Ireland 2008).
Co Wexford, home to a host of sea angling opportunities encompassing boat and shore fishing, includes in its population people such as Jim Hendrick (arguably the best professional bass angling guide in the country), and Paul Noble (who recently took a bronze medal in the 2011 World Long Casting Championships while casting in the 175 gram lead category.), also boasts the largest charter boat fleet of any port in Ireland located in Kilmore Quay, with a further two top class vessels working out of Duncannon.
A European bass fishing Mecca on a parr with what is on offer along the north eastern states of the USA, and still lucky to have reasonable off shore reef and wreck fishing between the Tusker Rock and Hook Head, when are the powers that be, politicians, individual anglers, groups, vested interests, and associations going to get their collective finger out and develop something world class from this sadly underutilised, definitely unrecognised, and totally mismanaged pot of gold.
This writer is fully aware of how our bass resource might be improved and has highlighted, with as yet no real official response, the need to reform our inshore passenger boat legislation to allow guided small boat rod and line fishing in the open sea. This one activity will generate substantial direct and indirect jobs and become a flagship angling product if the politicians and legislators would only take the idea seriously. You know where I am.
Also, I am aware of a famous bass angling location south of Rosslare Harbour which has always been targeted, got wiped out in the sixties and seventies, started to come into its own since the commercial bass ban was adopted post 1990, but in recent years has seen a resurgence in nefarious activity from both commercial and angling interests which threatens the future viability of the mark.
I am calling on Wexford County Council to consider building a bass angling interpretive centre at this location (not my idea); Montauk Point in the USA I believe has one. In one fell swoop a marker will have been laid down recognising the significance of the bass resource to Co. Wexford, with the added benefit of seriously curtailing illegal and overfishing fishing in the area. Money well spent guys; again you know where to contact me.
First published in People Newspapers, Tuesday 27/09/2011.