Wednesday 25 February 2009

Bass fly fishing Ireland - P13 - Where are the fish?

Lure fishing for bass in the sea whilst difficult at times, and fly fishing too with its greater challenges should not to be viewed as impossible tasks. They do however require some particular skills. Casting yes, presentation yes, patience yes, but the essence of this post is based around the knowledge of 'where the fish are'.
If you spend some time with succesful fishermen and you happen to have found one of them who will talk sensibly about his experiences over time, you will quickly learn that they have several unique abilities. One of them is that they instinctively seem to know where the fish are, or rather they know where the fish are going to be! The 'where' is not specifically like what we have mentioned before HERE but rather the 'where' along many miles of coastline (be it estuaries, current, rocky headlands, open beach) at any particular point in time during the day. This of course doesnt mean that ALL the fish gather in one location that is privy to only a few people, but it does mean that at certain times under certain conditions, you are more likely to catch fish at location X rather than Z.

Lets go back to our 'virtual' rocky point - its 5 in the morning (June) and the wind is blowing easterly with a rising tide. This means that three major influences are sourced from a singular direction - the rising sun will shine from the anglers right hand side, the wind will blow from the anglers right hand side and the current will be flowing from the right hand side. This little scenario presents a particular set of circumstances to the bass angler -

  1. At this time of day the sun is low on the horizon for some time. When currents flow, fish tend to point into the direction of current and in this case when they point into the current they will also be pointing into the sun. They will experience lots of light in the water in the direction they are facing for the first few hours over dawn. Their field of vision is bright.
  2. Wind blowing in the same direction as current flow tends to 'flatten' the water and if atmospheric pressure is dropping both the volume and speed of the moving water may increase significantly as a result of this.
  3. Depending on the strength of the wind and whether the angler is casting lures or flies his mainline will be affected by both wind and current. As a consequence so will the presentations he makes to the fish with the fly or lure. A lure moving in a head on collision with a predator does not induce many takes!

During the periods of dawn and dusk contrast should play a significant role in your lure and fly colour choice. With fish staring into the sun against a lighter bckground a darker lure or fly will appear more visible. Bass tending to hunt mid or low water in these conditions may need to change position more frequently to view prey from different angles to make determinations. Having to change and jostle for position will expose them to the strengthening current, this current as I have mentioned may be stronger because of lower atmospheric pressure and wind force and hence the fish may not spend as much time as they would hunting in this local as they are expending energy. In other words this simply may not be the place to fish today! Fish holding lies are often volatile and based on subtle external influences that can change from hour to hour and day to day!

Appearing to have what can seem like the fishing powers of a Jedi Knight is based over years of experiences coupled to a high level of sensitivity towards many of these influences.

Next - Making the best of the circumstances

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Forwarded to - The Irish Bass Policy Group (David McInerny, John Quinlan, Shane O Reilly, Mike Hennessy, Dr William Roche, Dr Nial O'Ma...