Archive for October, 2012

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Hit and Run Bass

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Fishing like life has its routines, many of them centering around tides and weather. Successful bass fishing requires top quality fresh bait, and if your chosen location is a south Wexford strand located somewhere between Carnsore point west to Cullenstown then don’t hit the beach without procuring lugworm. 11.00am on a glorious frosty Saturday morning found yours truly digging away on a favourite strand. Lugworm were plentiful, however a blinding glare from the sun, fast nearing its winter low, made spotting the worms difficult.

Sea fishing in Ireland, digging lugworm on a sheltered strand.

Fresh black lug and south Wexford bass go together like strawberries and cream, Clive Gammon in his fabulous book Salt Water Fishing in Ireland, first published in 1966, endorsed this view and the bass have not changed their dietary habits since. Equally, although they will take a bait during daylight hours, especially if there is a sea running, far better to commence a session as dusk is drawing in, fishing on into the dark. With ample juicy lugworms now in the bucket why spoil a good routine, off to the Strand Bar for a lunchtime reviver, gourmet cheese burger with chunky fries washed down with a pint of uncle Arthur’s, mmmmm.

Sea fishing in Ireland, a bucket of lugworm.

Neap tides, a bright blue cloudless sky, and a light north west breeze create far from ideal surf casting conditions in south Wexford. Faced with a lifeless sea devoid of the fizz generated by a big tide combined with a south westerly, twin lug baited paternosters were cast fifty meters into the gutter as dusk fell. Bites initially were slow, a dogfish and a small plaice all that showed within the first hour.

Sea fishing in Ireland, Surf casting in Co. Wexford.

It was good to see groups of anglers on the strand, bass fishing of late has been steady, lots of schoolies with a smattering of larger fish to make it interesting. Frosty weather attracts cod though, and for sure a plump Gadus or two wouldn’t go amiss tonight, the calm sea and small tide unfortunately dictating otherwise. Now dark and with headlight trained on reflective rod tips, one jags down and bounces back up. Surf pole instantly in hand, reeling and stepping back to tighten any slack line, a thump registers through the carbon, leaning hard, a solid resistance, fish on.

Sea fishing in Ireland, School bass.

Funny how in the dark a fishes initial surge creates a false impression of weight, bass though are doughty, speedy fighters so even a small one, especially in the surf line feels bigger than it is. Running 1.5 – 2.0 pounds, between 18.30- 20.00pm seven schoolies hit the rods, all lip hooked and returned they are tomorrows lunkers if protected. Plump and in great nick, bristly and indignant while being unhooked, they skitter off through the back wash on release giving a seemingly two fingered gesture with their tails. Bass, a fish with attitude……….

Click on: For further information on beach fishing in South Wexford, Ireland.

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Mini Marathon

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Sea angling sessions dominated by juvenile fish catches are a sign of the times, oh for the pull of a decent cod or flattie. A steady southerly wind creates a lovely surf along the south Wexford beaches but equally in the summer and autumn has the habit of throwing up piles of weed, couple this with a big four meter spring tide and fishing becomes nigh impossible. Digging the requisite five dozen lug a decision was made to avoid the weed and target early codling, dabs, and flounder within the confines of the Waterford estuary.

Sea fishing in Ireland, double shot of codling and dab.

Again, just like a fortnight ago immature codling made hay, attacking the baits with gusto, every other cast producing a double shot. Small dabs and flounder made up the numbers, most casts producing fish right through the rising tide. At peak run fishing became difficult, a result of floating weed, casting into the margins during this period helped to avoid the worst of it. Tired of tiddler bashing I hit the road on high tide around 21.30pm – 22.00pm. Five minutes into the drive it was nice to receive a call from Gerry Mitchell, his son Robert had just landed a 6.oz bass off an east facing Wexford strand, you make your own bed as they say…….

Bass Fishing in Ireland, School Days

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

When a rising four meter tide combines with settled weather in October the resultant fishing experience can exceed expectations. Summer and winter merge on an autumn playing field, the sea appears alive, fish oblige, one meets and chats with interesting people,  midday shirt sleeves eventually require topping up with jumpers, scarfs, and woolly hats as daylight turns to dusk, a damp chill envelopes, and a million stars look down from a frost bearing sky. To venture out on such a day is special, it’s why I go fishing.

Bass fishing in Co. Wexford, Ireland.

A big thank you to Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies for giving me a heads up on a productive location, meeting on a favoured lugworm patch we briefly talked fishing, Joe in a hurry to supply eager customers while I had six dozen black lug to dig before a fast making tide. Having excavated the required amount, energy levels were restored in the Strand Bar, Duncannon, liver and crispy bacon, fried onions, mash, gravy, and mixed veg washed down with a pint of stout, top quality fare and all for under fifteen euro, you can’t go wrong.

A coastal view of Co. Wexford, Ireland.

South county Wexford looked stunning, bathed in brilliant October sunshine. On arrival at my chosen mark a steady south west breeze created a lovely swell, clear blue and weed free, ozone filled the air as a single wave turned over and broke in a continuous creamy line stretching miles into the distance. A steep to beach with deep water close in, terns dipped, an odd sea trout jumped, shingle rattled as the heavy wave receded, bass had to be present and they were. Casting twin black lug baited paternosters forty meters into the gutter, having barely settled rod number one double knocked before slack lining, grabbing while running backwards in unison contact was made with a spirited two pound schoolie, beached and returned.

Bass fishing in Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Three more followed up to high tide then as often happens along this strand a temporary lull ensued before proceedings kicked off again an hour into the drop. Relentless explains the next two hours, as dusk closed in bites became frantic and constant as schools of bass patrolled the shoreline. Short gaps of  inactivity being replaced every ten to fifteen minutes with a burst of rod thumps and slack liners. Fishing two rods, I cut back to one and still ended up landing 19 bass, admittedly schoolies in the 1.5 – 3.5 lb bracket, all lip hooked and returned bar one for the pot, good fun though and a positive future sign if nurtured and protected.

Bass fishing in Co. Wexford, Ireland.

At 20.30 pm half way into the ebb I called it a night, what a perfect day it had been, one couldn’t have planned it better. On leaving I counted at least twelve headlamps betraying the presence of anglers along a three mile section of strand, here’s hoping that they were experiencing the same quality of fishing. Surf casting for autumn bass in Wexford on the open beaches when all key factors come together really shines, space and solitude abound, and the bass although on average not as big as their rough ground counterparts, do provide consistent sport with a six pounder or bigger always on the cards. As I write reports of codling  are filtering through, role on the next set of springs………

Click On: For Further Information on Irish Bass Fishing.

Down on the Jetty

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Pier angling is much maligned, associated with casual summer mackerel fishers and youngsters learning how to cast a line, both true. However man made structures such as harbour walls, pontoons, and jetties provide a haven for species such as conger, protection for juvenile fish, peaceful sub habitats within harbour confines of which mullet and flounder take a particular liking, and by deflecting tidal currents create conditions which attract and channel within season bass, codling, whiting, and coalfish.

A cracking pier caught flounder landed by Martin O'Leary, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Having experienced some cracking codling sessions through last winter fishing a couple of harbour marks within close proximity of each other, I decided to test the water a little earlier this season. Retracing a well worn routine of digging five dozen black lug followed by homemade cheese burger, salad, and chunky, very crispy chips, washed down with a pint of Arthur’s best, “you just have to look after yourself “, I drove around to my chosen fishing mark. A rising neap tide and flat calm sea limited proceedings, “a bit of a stir always proving better in terms of fish landed”, That said, the pleasant conditions made for a nice evening and from the get go fish were biting.

Digging lugworm on a sheltered strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Juvenile 25 – 30 centimeter codling were present in abundance, what I would term a “positive” nuisance, a good sign for the future but I wish something bigger would happen along. Double’s to both rods being the order of the day, practically every cast, with an occasional dab thrown in for good measure. Sharing the venue with Martin O’Leary, his young son, and nephew Darren (an up and coming Kilmore SAC member), using crab they tempted some nice flounder and an odd coalfish to up the species count.

Pier fishing on a crisp, frosty, October evening, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Using 2/0 round bends limited gut hooking with most fish returned to the water safe and sound. No big ones this evening although Martin landed a fine flounder, on the other hand, rods continuously nodded and many of the codling landed will be 1.5 – 2.0 pound weight this time next year, so prospects are good. The session was enjoyable, chatting, and sharing information with the lads. Most importantly though the two boys present caught fish in good numbers from a safe location. XBox or fishing? Fella’s you made the right choice……..

Further Information, click on: Estuary Codling.