An Irish Anglers World

Right Place, Right Bait, Right Time

Absorbing the scene I noticed two chaps below setting up close to the waterline. In front of them a flat calm sea stretched azure blue to the horizon underneath a cloudless sky. The pair looked up as I approached, “how’s it going” said I, “great evening for it”. As one they affirmed my comment in unmistakable UK accents, “yes it is and hopefully a few bass are about”.

Sparking up a conversation it materialised that this was the second full day of their first visit to Ireland and that the previous evening they had caught a 2.5 lb schoolie bass on a bubble and red gill rig at this very spot. Encouraged they had returned to make sure their initial success had not been a flash in the pan.

Bass fishing in Ireland, every bass anglers dream.

I told the lads that I had never fished the mark before and had not heard any reports good or bad on the location, it really was a question of  us all assessing the options present and trusting on experience. Then noticing an eddy off a nearby elbow of rock which jutted out into the tidal current I wished the boys well before clambering across the rocks to my chosen fishing station.

A September high sat over Ireland bringing with it slack winds and daytime air temperatures in the low twenties. Shoals of big launce filled the bay and it was these which prompted me to clip on a slim silver/blue coloured shallow diving plug imitation about seven inches long. Casting out about thirty meters at 90 degrees to the current I felt the tidal flow take hold and began to retrieve.

After two turns of the reel handle I felt a thump, after four turns my ten foot pike rod heeled over and everything momentarily went solid. Instantaneously a heavy splashy swirl filled with silver scales a large open mouth and a baleful eye clicked my startled mind into gear. There is something unmistakeable about the second a bass takes your lure, unmoveable like being caught in a rock then thrash, thrash, thrash as the fish tries to shake off the lure. After that it is thrash run, run thrash non stop until the bass slips into the landing net.

A selection of proven bass fishing lures.

This fellow played to form and on landing proved to be in the 4/5 lb bracket, what a start. Noticing the commotion my UK companions hopped over to take a look, “fine fish, can we take a photo?” Formalities done I returned the fish and cast out again. Bang, off again only this time I knew my adversary was bigger. “Hey lads I am in again, get yourselves over here as they are obviously on the feed”.

Upon landing this fish weighed in at 6 lb plus, “Cast in there lad’s” said I. The boys looked incredulous, “but that’s your spot”. “You’re on holidays work away and I’ll take some photos, sure have I not caught two at this stage, get in there”, which they duly did. Clipping on similar plugs to my successful lure they cast out. Two turns later, bang fish on and it’s a whopper.

Equipped with the most up to date of lure rods your man was having some tussle as the large bass thrashed, dived and ran backwards and forwards in front of our position. In the clear water one could see the dark back, silver sides, large eye, and gaping white mouth contrasting with the waving dark green weed attached to the rocks below. On landing his prize the fellow was shaking, “Gee that’s some fish, must be close to if not over eight pounds”, which it was.

Lure fishing for bass in southern Ireland.

After the customary handshakes and congrats our now very happy UK based tourist angler casts out again. Now nearing the top of the tide, his lure caught by the ever strengthening current was swept quickly around towards a clearly visible sunken ledge. Wallop, over goes the rod hard and it is obvious that the gentleman is into a serious fish. “Bloody Hell look at it”, says his mate as the very large bass dived deep in front of us. Double figures and no mistake this fish really put our friend through his paces.

After about four or five minutes the bass looked like it was ready for the net which his friend was holding ready, however in a dream sequence, which the previous fifteen minutes most definitely felt like, there is always one last twist. Mr bass decided to give one last go, a hefty thrash and it was all over, the rod jumped straight, line went slack and one shell shocked angler stood staring into the depths. “Wow” he uttered, “We are definitely coming back next year, regardless of losing that fish, what a sequence of events”, and he was right you could not have made it up.

Four bass in more or less four casts, each one larger than the next, the final connection albeit escaping, the icing on the cake at ten pounds plus. Casting away for ten more minutes it became apparent that the fish had moved on or gone off the feed. Sitting down on the rocks to get our breath back the boys iterated as one, “that session was worth the ferry ticket alone, it’s not often we experience such quality fishing”, and they were right not just for them but for everybody who casts a line.

Bass fishing in Ireland, rod, reel and lure.

For it is true, not everybody will experience a session like that described above, however anybody who chooses to fish has the opportunity to experience such a moment, so long as they get out regularly so putting themselves in a position to make hay when that piscatorial sun shines. It really is that simple, right place, right time, right bait. Over the years, especially in terms of bass fishing the above quoted cliché has been my experience time and again.

Bass when they are on are easy to catch, there I have said it. The problem is they are just not on all the time. Relative to the day described above, which occurred mid September last 2014 yours truly had not been bass fishing in ages, then deciding on a whim to go and choosing a new location bingo the jackpot is hit. Not the first time bass have surprised me like that and certainly not the last. In all instances though tide, time and methodology were a consideration, lure not so much, that said whatever was finally clipped on be it spinner, surface lure or diving plug would always be relevant to the prevailing conditions. As stated in this instance, the presence of launce in the bay predicating the decision to clip on a launce imitating plug.

So for all of those anglers dreaming of multiple bass hook ups, clear your mind, make time, pick up your gear and just go. Do not put to much thought into it but position yourself firmly in the right place with the right bait and you never know, just like myself and the UK tourists last September 2014 it could very well be the right time also. Tight lines………

Ashley Hayden © July 2015