Archive for April, 2013

Bass fishing in Ireland, Invasion of the Spider Crabs

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Prevailing south westerlies over the last week coupled with a rise in temperature up to 16/17 degrees have at last encouraged bass to move inshore. Reports of bass, predominantly schoolies it has to be said, have been posted from Wexford right around to Kerry, with this writer having seen photo’s of a six pounder (Wexford) and a fine eight pounder from a Waterford strand.

A Wexford schoolie for Darren O'Connor.

Planning an evening trip down to a favoured south Wexford beach, a four meter five pm tide linking nicely with a rolling southerly sea, or so I thought. On arrival the wind had turned around north west flattening the sea creating conditions more suited to flounder then bass. Being single minded it was bass or bust, commencing fishing at six bells, an hour after high water, twin 4/0 paternoster traces were baited with lugworm and razor then lobbed sixty meters into the gutter.

Top Wexford bass baits, razor clam and lugworm.

Fishing is a constant learning curve, joined on the beach by Gerry Mitchell and two of his friends Darren and Billy, the lads set up a couple of hundred meters to my right. Other than a couple of schoolies for Darren and an odd flounder things were quite. Regularly putting out big fresh baits, coming on dark around 21.30pm I pulled in a small flounder followed by a biggish spider crab. From then on traces started to come in with an odd hook nipped off, signalling that the spiders had arrived in force.

Spider crab.

Running out of bait about 22.10pm yours truly departed, subsequently as I learned that’s when it all kicked off. Yes the spider crabs had been waging war on the boys traces too, however come 22.30pm Gerry started hitting bass with Billy and Darren making a dent on the flounder population. For two hours the lads were kept busy, funnily enough Gerry in the central position caught a dozen bass up to 55 cms with the boys only beaching flatties, such are the vagaries of fishing.

Gerry Mitchell surf casting on a south Wexford strand.

The above experience rubber stamps a trend which has become very apparent over the last couple of years, backed up also by the writing of Clive Gammon describing Wexford beach fishing in the mid nineteen sixties. Do not venture out surf casting with bait in Wexford until at the earliest dusk, and ideally black dark if you want to be certain of connecting with bass. Yes there will be exceptions, however as a rule of thumb and with a view to better catches this season and beyond, it’s advice that I will be sticking to from now on…….

Fishing the Clady River in West Donegal

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Please can you help, Seán Ó Domhnaill is carrying out research into the construction of the Clady Hydro-electric Scheme in Ireland in the 1950s. The scheme was built on the Clady river in West Donegal and had major implications for the future of the river and its surrounding hinterland, as it was an important salmon fishery at the time.

Clady River, West Donegal, Ireland.

Considerable numbers of anglers regularly came to fish on the Clady up to the end of the 1950s. Did any of your relations, friends, or family fish for salmon in West Donegal during the 1940s or 50s? If so Sean would dearly love to hear and or receive your stories. Any relevant letters, articles or photographs would also be of interest.

Sean can be contacted by email at:; or by post at: 81 Belmont Park, Raheny, Dublin 5.

Thank you.

The Politics of Economic Shock Therapy

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Today, 17/04/2013, Margaret “There Is No Alternative” Thatcher is being given a state funeral. Her political ethos sadly is presently alive and well in Ireland. A friend of Pinochet and a divisive force in the United Kingdom, she worshiped at the alter of the free, deregulated market, today Ireland and its people are shackled by similar misguided policies.

Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klien.

If you want to know why you recently lost your job, have taken a severe pay cut or see your wages driven down, live in negative equity, have seen your son or daughter emigrate, find that your vote is worthless, feel talked down too by official Ireland, are constantly told that there is no alternative, witness privatisation of natural resources and public services on a grand scale, in effect feel powerless, then read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”. Not an opinion, more like a thesis, the truth of how social democracy has been hijacked by the troika of corporate interest/politicians/and global financiers will jump off the page at you.

If you really want a better world for your children then start by reading Naomi Klein’s treatise.

Eight Month Old Baby Myles Red Cards FG/Lab and the Troika

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Yesterday I went marching in Dublin with Mammy, Daddy, and two of my Grandparents so that Ireland can be a better place to live in when I grow up. My Mammy told me that I owed €15,000 on the day that I was born to a person that I have never met, which I find very hard to understand. She also told me that the forest where I go in my buggy might be sold to a business man from another country, who might lock the gate before cutting down all the trees. I didn’t like being told this so I waved a red card along with lots of other people at the politicians and EU finance Ministers, telling them to “stop messing with my future”.

I don’t know a lot as I’m only learning, however, when I grow up I would like to have a choice about my education and future career, I would like to know that someone will take care of Granny and Grandad properly if they happen to get sick, and that the countryside which I love to be taken too will not be spoiled by too many windmills, and that there will be fish in the sea again I’m half Grandad’s age.

Red carding FG/Lab and the EU Finance Ministers outside Dublin Castle, Saturday March 13th 2013.

Most important for me is that when I can speak properly my voice is heard by those fella’s who I waved my red card at today. The big crowd around me were waving red cards too, many of them were as old as Granny and Grandad, made me think, do those guys in the Castle ever listen?

Threadlines and Trout

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Took a spin down to a local stream today, literally. With snow still lying on high ground, interminable easterlies delaying the onset of summer, and water temperatures below normal for April, having fly fished on a number of occasions lately with mixed results I decided to call into action my trusty light spinning rig with a view to fishing some deep pots and slow sections. Flicking a size 1 Mepps into likely holes and runs is a method of fishing that I used a lot back in the day on Wicklow streams such as the Vartry. Cast upstream or down, into pots, worked under low lying branches close to the bank, or in channels between banks of weed, small bar spoons can prove irresistible to both brown and sea trout.

Size 1 copper Mepps, an ideal lure for taking trout and sea trout.

Utilizing a 7 foot, 5 – 18 gram casting weight, rod matched to a spinning reel loaded with b/s line, I attached a 1/0 tear drop copper Mepps sporting red spots, a favourite lure of mine. The biting wind necessitated woolly hat, scarf, and gloves, a far cry from the 20 degree heat experienced towards the end of March early April 2012. Making my way downstream I found a nice shallow run flowing off a bend into a deep hole. Casting a long line at about 30 degrees down and across the lure plopped into the stream close to the far bank. Caught by the current a rhythmic pulse transmitted through my taught line signaling that the blade’s working ok. Swinging across, now working deep and slow, guided between two banks of ranunculus, bang, a nice half pounder.

Working a copper Mepps through a likely swim.

A little later while prospecting the far side of a long wide pool, towards the tail a good take pulls my rod tip over, definitely a better fish. On light tackle the trout fights well, guiding it quickly towards my hand, close to three quarters of a pound, good for this river. Nicely spotted, yellow bellied and quite plump, quick photo for posterity and away.

A plump early season Wicklow trout.

With not a hatch in sight come three pm everything went quiet, and also very cold due to the wind chill. Next week the weather is predicted to turn southerly, it can’t come soon enough, a bit of warmth and the river will blossom. Roll on the evening rise……

Further reading: Blustery Day on the Derreen.