What does one do in the close season but think about, read up on, and prepare for the new season ahead. Trade shows fill the barren months and Hooked Live at City West certainly delivered in terms of exhibitors and celebrity anglers. It was refreshing to see home grown talent such as Andrew Ryan (Clonanav), International shore angler John O’Brien, and Wexford and Ireland’s number one bass guide Jim Hendrick, rub shoulders with the likes of Henry Gilbey and Paul Young.
Jim was gearing up for his eighth season guiding bass in South Wexford. His record speaks for itself, you do not get invited to guide on Andros Island (Bahamas) if you cannot cut the mustard. Jim leads the way in lure fishing and particularly fly fishing for bass. County Wexford is his home patch and Jim knows the marks intimately, check out his website, www.bassfishing.ie, and give him a call.
You occasionally uncover a gem at these events and rod maker Paddy Clarke certainly falls into this category. Using top quality blanks Paddy produces a range of bespoke trout, sea trout, and salmon fly rods, alongside a selection of spinning rods suitable for both fresh and salt water. With specifications to suit all pockets these rods are built to the highest standards using top quality fittings and the finish is superb. Paddy’s sales and marketing incredibly is by word of mouth only and that has to change, for his prices and product quality are a match for any of the known rod manufacturers. Thinking of buying a new rod, give Paddy a call on +353 (0)86 3820147.
Many exhibitors catered for the fly fishing enthusiast, and one stand that stood out combined skill, knowledge, expertise, and quality products. Jimmy Tyrrell, the county Laois based fly dresser who is, Irish Fly Craft linked up with Pat Cullen and Peter Driver of Avonmore Tackle Products, suppliers of quality fly tying and fly fishing materials, to produce a fine display of tip top products suitable for the fly angler. Deep in conversation with the lads when I arrived was the Irish Fly Fisher himself Liam Stenson. Follow Liam’s exploits through the new season on www.irishflyfisher.ie.
Sea angling is close to my heart and the Beara Peninsula extending West Cork out into the Atlantic is in my opinion Irish shore fishing’s jewel in the crown. Totally under fished, I’ve been going down there six years now and it still wows me. The offshore fishing for pollack, ling, conger, cod, and haddock is superb, and as for the shore fishing, try mullet, pollack, coalfish, codling, mackerel, scad, plaice, dab, trigger fish, wrasse, conger, ling, ray, huss, and bass. Anne and Paul Harris run Dromagowlane House and specialise in shore angling packages, while John Angles skippers Tigger II a fine charter boat based in Castletownbere and markets self catering cottages close to the village of Eyeries.
The time passed so quickly, meeting friends and perusing stands. In its second year Hooked certainly delivered showcasing Irish Angling across a variety of sectors from boat building to rod making, accommodation to fishing guides. A stand that epitomises Irish rod and line fishing for so many was Eric Parkes Irish Angler’s Digest. A fixture since the 1980′s the Irish Angler’s Digest and its contributors such as Liam Kane, Brian Cooke, Bob Moss, and Leo Farrell have inspired and encouraged us all to get out there and cast a line. Yes it was a fine show which did whet my appetite for the coming season. I most definitely will be buying some new kit and thanks to attending the show know exactly where to purchase it.