Posts Tagged ‘Bass’

Bass Hat-Trick

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

My surf pole bounced in its stand as the rod top first hauled forward then immediately straightened in unison with the main line billowing. Instinctively grabbing the rod I ran backwards into the darkness while simultaneously reeling, my rod heels over, a thump thump contact is made and a good fish swims diagonally to my right. Now retracing my steps towards the water while keeping a tight line a fine bass appears in my headlight beam, all silver and spray as the fish head shakes in the surf line.

Bass fishing in County Wexford, Ireland.

My third bass of the evening all of which were like peas in a pod ranging three to four pound in weight, plump hard fighters in great condition. This fellow like the others had taken freshly dug black lugworm presented on a two hook paternoster fished at about 60 meters into what was a flat calm sea. Earlier a slight breeze wafting from the south east had manufactured mini wavelets however it died off as night fell to create a muggy, foggy, still evening. The strand now deserted of holiday makers was pitch black other than for the narrow swath of light cut by my head lamp beam. Apart from the swoosh of a single wave an eerie silence prevailed.

Beach fishing for bass in County Wexford, Ireland.

On only my second visit to this particular mark, I had always felt it would deliver on a big night tide, this being a four meter full in at 20.30 pm my hunch was proved correct. The first bite as dusk merged into dark had been just a tickle on the rod top, barely visible I thought it was a flat fish. The second had been a rod pulling rush out to sea, rod top bending over and staying down, the third a slack liner as described above. Three bass complimented by two flounder all condensed into a half hour blur of action, then it was over and the road home called…………

Autumn Sea Fishing off Kilmore Quay

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

It’s not even nine in the morning and we are catching mackerel, drifting a half mile off the Burrow shore west of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, John Devereaux skipper of charter boat Celtic Lady II placed us over the mother load. Smiling faces greeted full hanks of the tiger striped little beauties as they came dancing and skittering over the gunnels, their tails drumming on the deck while we feverishly unhooked them before lowering again our feathers towards the throng below.

Mackerel fishing off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Autumn sea fishing off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford is a special time as resident summer and returning winter species merge over the offshore reefs to create a quality angling experience. On this day a warm light north westerly beeze faded to nothing creating a calm sea with a blue green clarity. On occasions as one peered into the depths the water would glitter and shimmer as herring fry swam by no doubt pushed up by the mackerel preying on them at will. Gannets dived, seals bobbed their heads, all this a backdrop to a regular smattering of codling and pollack taking interest in our mackerel baited jigs as we drifted eastwards across the kelp covered reefs.

A nice Kilmore Quay codling for Belgian sea angler Jean Reginster.

Belgian nationals Karel and Jean, no strangers to fishing in Ireland, having just enjoyed three days pike fishing in the midlands were sampling reef fishing Kilmore Quay style for the first time. Drift fishing over foul, kelp strewn ground where one has to feel the tackle claiming ups and downs of the seabed combined with grabbing weed can be a tough learning curve for the uninitiated, however Karel and Jean coped well. Codling, pollack, ling, wrasse, pouting, poor cod, dab and mackerel came aboard while the following morning Karel added icing to the cake with a brace of shore caught 5/6 pound bass.

A copper coloured Kilmore Quay pollack for Belgian national Karel Deckers

Relative abundance is how I would describe the sea fishing off not only Kilmore Quay but the south and south west coast of Ireland in general, one has to place an honest perspective on the resource. The fish are there but in the main are smaller and thinner on the ground when measured against very recent times, by that I mean up to twenty years ago. Skippers like John Devereaux work hard to deliver a quality experience which Karel, Jean and I most certainly had last weekend. In tandem the powers that be should work equally as hard to maintain and enhance this wonderful inshore resource ongoing for it’s the reason people like Karel and Jean choose Ireland as a holiday destination. As they say, it’s not rocket science………..

Sea Fishing in Wexford: Welsh Rarebit

Monday, September 14th, 2015

South Wexford has the ability to deliver quality sea fishing even when the odds are stacked heavily against you. Stalwart supporters and promoters of Irish sea angling Alan Duthie, Daron Lawry, Clive Jones and friends were making their third trip of Summer 2015 to Ireland only for the weather Gods to throw an almighty spanner in the works. Planning a September shore and boat fishing visit strong south easterlies not only forced the boys to stay ashore they also pushed mountains of wrack onto the beaches making shore angling extremely difficult.

Welsh sea angler Daron Lawry displays a fine shore caught  Wexford bass.

Undeterred the lads asked around and plummed on a beach venue free from the worst excesses of floating weed and set about fishing. Using bait supplied by local digger Joe Carley the boys were soon into fish, mainly good sized flounder with the cream reserved for Daron Lawry who caught a grand 55 cm bass.

Clive Jones with a grand beach caught Wexford flounder.

Not to be outdone the lads beached numerous flounder up to three pound in weight exemplified by the beauty displayed by Clive Jones in the photo above, as they say, out of adversity. Autumn into early Winter is the prime time to shore fish Wexford with resident bass and flounder mixing with codling, coalfish and dab to give wonderful sport which usually lasts until mid to late January. Tight lines………..

Bass Fishing in Ireland: Float Fishing with Live Sandeel.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

John George is a Pembrokeshire lad who first traveled to Ireland as an 18 year old with the sole intention of catching a Kerry bass way back in 1970, forty five years later he is still coming. Over the years John has seen the changes, from brilliant to bad to good and currently worrying and the man is concerned, like many of us, about the quite obvious and visible decline in bass numbers along Ireland’s southern coastline that has occurred in recent years. Prior to John’s current sojourn he contacted me with regard to getting to know a little about what Wexford has to offer in terms of bass fishing given that to date he has passed through the county on his way to Kerry, not stopping even once.

Welshman John George returns a nice estuary bass tempted by float fished live sandeel.

John informed me that he was bringing live sandeel, a bait that I have no experience of and a plan was formed to give John a Wexford welcome and hopefully a bass too, we would float fish an estuary location. Fast forward and one hour before low water John was briefing me on the set up and approach to this very traditional but effective form of angling. As John iterated, “no lure known to man can emit electrical impulses and that is where live sandeel scores”, boy was John right. Two fish and many more missed as the bass ran through on the first of the flood, it was a grand and extremely informative two hours in great company. Thank you John for getting in touch, safe journey to Kerry, we will definitely fish together again………

For a more detailed account of the day see: Float Fishing Live Sandeel for Bass.

For further Information: For guided bass fishing in South Wales contact John George through his website “Gower Guiding”http://gowerguiding.co.uk/.

Irish Kayak Fishing Open, Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork, Saturday 15th August 2015

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

The Irish Kayak Fishing Open will take place on Saturday 15th August 2015 at Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork, commencing at 11.00 am with fishing until 16.00 pm. Sponsored by industry leaders in the kayaking field, first placed on the day will receive a €1000.00 Wilderness Systems voucher, second placed a voucher from Palm Equipment for €500.00, with Adventure Technology Paddles donating a €250.00 voucher for third place.

Wilderness Systems KayaksPalm Equipment Kayaks

The competition will be open to all anglers over 18 years of age, however every entrant must meet a number of criteria to ensure their own safety and the smooth running of the event. Check in on the day will commence at 09.00 am.

Gary Robinson, A Kayak Fisherman in Ireland.

Based in a sheltered venue renowned for its sea angling, the scenic West Cork fishing village of Courtmacsherry enables kayak anglers access to a range of species to include bass, flounder, dab, ray, pollack, wrasse and conger.

Angling writer and event organiser Gary Robinson from the A Kayak Fisherman in Ireland website in advance thanks all those who offered advice and encouragement in helping him put together what promises to be a great day out in a beautiful and prolific sea fishing location.

All enquiries to Gary Robinson at: kayakfishermanireland@gmail.com

Adventure Technology Kayak Paddles

Event Details

Irish Kayak Fishing Open, Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork, Saturday, August 15th, Fishing 11.00 am – 16.00 pm.

The competition will be open to all anglers over 18 years of age, however every entrant must meet a number of criteria to ensure their own safety and the smooth running of the event:

  • Every competitor must have their own seaworthy kayak, paddle, appropriate clothing, PFD, camera, signalling equipment of some description (VHF, flares, etc.)
  • Must be confident in their own fitness levels, self-rescue and paddling skills and be well prepared for a day afloat
  • Must register to participate in the competition by sending an email to kayakfishermanireland@gmail.com by the Monday before the competition date
  • Must carry a measuring mat (to be provided by Inland Fisheries Ireland) and competitor’s card (distributed at check in on morning of event) as well as a camera.
  • Should carry relevant protection from the weather. Ireland has a tendency to throw four seasons at us in one day. With this in mind it would be a good idea to carry at least a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen as well as enough food and liquids for the day.

Competition Rules:

  • This event is weather dependent. In the event of bad weather an alternative site will be considered but ultimately the event depends on relatively safe weather conditions. Judges will make the appropriate call on the day.
  • This is an individual event. There are no team prizes or challenges.
  • Entry fee will be small, probably in the region of €10. It is hoped that funds raised can be donated to the RNLI
  • Fishing time from 11.00 am  - 16.00 pm. Kayaks that do not make it back to the launch point by 16.00 will be disqualified. Check in from 09.00 where gear (kayak, PFD, etc.) will be checked.
  • Paddles or pedals only. No motors. This is in the interests of fairness to all competitors. Other electronic equipment such as echo sounders, GPS units and chartplotters, etc may be used.
  • No more than two rods may be fished at any one time. Static fishing rigs should have no more than three hooks. Jigging rigs for baitfish should have no more than six hooks.
  • Bait or lures – angler’s choice
  • The competition is based on the ethos of Catch, Photo, Release. Images, not dead fish, will win prizes. Competitors are free to keep fish as they see fit but for prizewinning purposes it will be the photos only that will be judged. Each competitor will be given a competitor’s token at check in. EACH image submitted for prize consideration must include this token. Photos submitted without the inclusion of this token will not be counted.
  • Prizes for species count, 1st, 2nd and 3rd and longest fish categories for selected species.
  • Judges decision is final.

 

 

Sea Fishing Wexford: Dogfish Central

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Ballymoney strand is a beach that I have never fished. Ironically, most of the beaches south of Arklow I rarely set foot on until the race to catch smooth hound picked up in the early 1980′s. In those days venues such as Morriscastle, Tinnebearna and Blackwater produced amazing catches of ray, spurdog, smooth hound, bass and the odd tope to those anglers who commenced fishing at dusk. Today, while the area can still produce quality bass catches most bites, if they do materialise will come from dogfish.

Evening sea fishing off Ballymoney strand, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Digging juicy fat black lugworm the day before I placed them wrapped in newspaper in the fridge to toughen up. The secret with lug when gathering is to separate whole ones from split by utilising two buckets. For some reason also two day old lugworm appears better at attracting fish, with dabs especially partial to sticky black gutless wraps.

Dogfish

Anyhow, back to the fishing. Meeting up as planned with the two David’s and coarse fisher extraordinaire Robbie on Ballymoney strand we set up to the left and commenced fishing round 20.00 pm. Armed with lug, rag and crab, smooth hound were the prime target with bass our secondary option. A light south easterly breeze created a bit of movement in the water which raised our hopes for bass. From the get go rod tops nodded that slow dogfish lean and so it transpired. Doggies homed in on whatever bait adorned the hooks. By half ten although both rods were kept busy I called it a night, catching and releasing dogfish not my ideal cup of tea. On the plus side, I’ve got my seasonal shore fishing hand in………..

Estuary Bonus

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Autumn in Ireland is when estuary fishing comes into its own and whisper this, we do not concentrate on them enough. Not easy to fish being heavily influenced by tidal movement, muddy, full of pesky bait robbing crabs, expansive in area the angler often faced with limited access points and of course so full of food items that one wonders would the fish be bothered at all taking a random bait. Well brothers and sisters the piscatorial inhabitants of estuaries do take a well presented offering so long as it is the correct one with green shore crab, especially when they are moulting, top of the hit parade.

Green shore crab in peeling mode, a top bait for many sea species.

Targeting flounder yours truly ordered and collected two dozen ready to pop fresh peeler crab from Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies before heading towards a new location for this angler with exploration in mind. Estuaries by their nature are not designed for static fishing most species moving up and down the main and various side channels with the tide quartering for grub. Usually following a set pattern it is not unusual to meet fish like clockwork at a particular point relative to tidal movements and the time of day, only regular fishing trips unlocking these secrets. Experience will suggest ambush points such as estuary mouths, the main channel and the entrances to creeks and pills and it is these that one should gravitate towards if unfamiliar with a particular estuary location.

Estuary bass from south east Ireland.

Commencing to fish an hour after high water having checked where the main channel was located relative to my chosen mark on “Google Earth”, a flowing two hook paternoster baited with whole peeler was precisely cast into the slowly emptying creek. Setting up another identical rig ten minutes later it happened, down went rod number one, a true wrap around bite delivered with real purpose. No messing here, surf pole in hand leaning into an obviously large angry bass the rod kicked, thirty meters out the surface boiled and thrashed before dicentrachus moving up through the gears exited stage right. Negotiating an inshore bladder wrack bank no sooner did its belly hit the muck then the hook fell out, quick finger under the gill and a 7.lb plus silver beauty lay safely above the tide line.

Estuary flounder from south east Ireland.

Lighting up a grey, damp, blustery day estuaries can do this, flounder were the target species however coalies, codling, gilt head bream and bass all in season frequent the same locations creating opportunities for mixed bags and welcome surprises, this fish being no exception, wonderful. Safely returned, it was not long before a good old tap, tap, lean indicated flounder, the first of five it topped a pound and a half in weight. Two quality fish in the space of ten minutes, within an hour as the creek emptied bites ceased necessitating a move to a deeper location and a date with gadus morhua but that’s another story……..

The European Bass Fishery, Wake Up and Smell the Roses!!

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Let us be clear and with not a hint of arrogance this angler can catch bass. Living within south east Ireland yours truly has access to a variety of marks ranging from estuaries to rocky headlands, tide races to storm beaches, all local habitats where over the last fifty years bass once swam in prolific numbers, were summarily decimated by both angler and commercial activity in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s before making a partial recovery post 1990. Between 1998 and 2008 the recovering south east of Ireland bass fishery delivered consistent sport, enough to sustain a burgeoning tourist angling product. Today it stutters after 24 years of Irish Government initiated protection, why?

Competition landings of bass for Cork Sea Angling Club members 1963 - 2013.

Ref: Ed Fahy, 2014

Yesterday afternoon this writer after close on thirty hours of fishing effort over seven trips landed two five pound bass attracted by a shallow diving plug worked through a tide race within five minutes of commencing fishing. Great stuff you say, however the bigger picture must be taken into account, late summer/early autumn in south Wexford relative to the tides, times and marks fished should have delivered those much appreciated bass thirty hours previously, bass fishing in Wexford unfortunately experiencing terminal decline since 2010.

Irish bass from the archives, 2008 to be precise.

To place the feat in perspective Jim Hendrick’s last ever French clients, yes Jim has closed his successful and professionally run high end bass guiding business, South East Angling Ireland, after 10 years trading, encountered only 9 bass in over 120 hours lure and fly fishing over the last set of spring tides. Five years ago the same three anglers would have averaged 180 bass between them. Yours truly has lovely images of four bass caught yesterday ranging from 4 – 8 lbs. Until professionalism and responsibility is applied from decision makers, commercial interests and recreational anglers alike, An Irish Anglers World will not publish another bass image ever, the image above an oldie from 2008.

Recent annual bass returns for South East Angling Ireland.

Having attended and presented a perspective on the actual benefit of recreational angling to south east Ireland at the North Western Waters Advisory Council Bass Workshop held in Dublin Castle last Thursday 18/09/2014 it became clear how little is known about the species at official level and how the way forward to better management of the species is staring all vested interests in the face, sadly many but not all of them cannot see the wood for the trees. “When all interested parties to include the political establishment view the resource as a public owned entity then begin to learn, understand and accept the needs and wants of all interested parties, then reach out and through dialogue build trust the bass will survive and prosper”. Continue on the same old tack regurgitating the same old failed self centered mantras and you may kiss the European bass fishery goodbye, Ed Fahy’s “LPUE” graph a true reflection of where the fishery is at today………

Pollack from the Black Rocks

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Welsh anglers love coming to Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, some of the reasons for their repeated visits being a grand welcome, good fishing, familiarity and trust of the charter skippers ability, and craic in the pubs and restaurants of an evening. Centre stage in this appreciation is Alan Duthie, visionary chairman of the Welsh Pleasure Anglers and Kayakers Association, Alan has championed Kilmore Quay and Ireland since a presentation of tourism angling given by this writer in Burry Port, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire back in September 2009. Subsequently hundreds of sea angling trips by both groups and individuals have been taken, many by first timers based on recommendations, to not only south Wexford but also Cork Harbour and the Beara.

Alan Duthie, Chairman of the Welsh Pleasure Anglers and Kayakers Association.

Make no mistake, these guys love Ireland, a repeated comment being, “you live in a beautiful area”, indicating clearly that when hopping on the ferry at Pembroke its not just the fishing that attracts them. On this occasion, for the second time this summer Alan Duthie and a group of 15 anglers from the Swansea area descended on Kilmore Quay with intent to not only fish the reefs for pollack, wrasse and codling but also hopefully catch a few bass.

One happy Welsh angler off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford.

Dick Hayes, amiable skipper of charter vessel “Enterprise” listened to the boys wishes for the day and worked out a plan, first catch some mackerel then head east to fish the reefs inside of Carnsore Point. Initially employing standard size feathers it became apparent that the mackerel were small and not taking, swapping to sadiki rigs solved the problem and enough bait was secured in jig time.

Catching mackerel is easy with old yellow.

The sea appeared chock full of herring fry evident by gannets dive bombing and occasional schools of mackerel driving myriad whitebait onto the local beaches only to be left hopping and gasping in a silver carpet as the waves receded.

Whitebait driven onto the beach east of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Was this the reason fishing was slow on that beautiful sunny day in a three month long summer of continuous gorgeous sunny days. Were the fish stuffed to the gills with food and not interested in our offerings, who knows? Dick tried everything as did the crew until eventually a few pollack and codling came aboard, then drifting close to the Black Rocks it kicked off.

Double headers of pollack for Welsh anglers Darren and Richard.

The boys, some gilling some using baited feathers, rods collectively heeled over as Enterprise drifted over a shoal of pollack swimming close to the rock pinnacle. Doubles and singles came aboard in a welter of scales, spray and good humoured banter. Whoops, laughing and smiley faces lit up the afternoon and then it was over. “Come on lads it has been a good day we’ll head for home”, said Dick. No bother skipper, a shower, meal and a few pints beckoned then tomorrow once more into the breach. Kilmore Quay, it’s a special place………..

Six Species from a Rolling Sea

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Codling, whiting, pouting, flounder, dogfish and bass, the beach mark which fished so poorly last week opened its autumnal door a chink and hinted at what is to come. A warm south east breeze pushed a heavy swell onto the strand creating a large, heavy, single crumping wave which roared on breaking before racing creamily up the shingle bank. Water fizzed, the air was muggy and mackerel fishers lined the strand as Ger and I cast southwards into the deep gully. Employing fresh black lugworm on a rising tide full at 21.30 pm, Ger hit immediate pay dirt with three schoolie bass weighing 2 – 3 pound each within the first hour, happy days.

Sea fishing in Ireland, playing a bass on a south Wexford strand.

Fishing slowed after the initial flurry, however as dusk merged into dark yours truly landed a whiting/flounder double followed by a dogfish, Ger beaching a pouting. Post full tide a succession of codling in the pound class came to both our rods. Indication of a year class probably spawned in 2012, these young fish which have been evident within offshore charter boat catches all summer giving hope for the future and of course the winter shore codding to come.

An Irish school bass for shore angler Gerry Mitchell.

Yesterday evening showed how much energy the sea has stored up, the single wave digging out a hole in front of us at least six foot deep which ran right along the strand, then filled it in again as the tide receded. Swimming here and or wading is a complete no no. Mackerel fishers who the previous night enjoyed good catches by casting their feathers and kilty lures into the marauding shoals found it difficult to fish this evening due to the forty meter wide maelstrom in front of them. Natures washing machine releasing stored up ozone and oxygen into the air, it is sights, smells and sounds like this which make sea fishing so interesting, all told a nice evening……..