Wednesday 27 January 2010

A Year in the life of a Bass Guide - Irish Angler 2009

This summary link post forms part of my submission to the Minister Conor Lenihan at the Dept of the Marine in relation to the proposed re-opening of the commercial bass fishery, sorry for the repeat of links that are available on the sidebar.

I am making a second submission to Mr Tony Kileeen TD Fianna Fail and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with special responsibility for Forestry, Fisheries and the Marine.

A Guides Diary January
Jim Hendrick takes over the reins as he tells us about his life as a bass guide in Wexford. Guide’s diary Blues a day for sitting and watching, rather than fishing! There’s a lot of work involved to ensure that Jim Hendricks’ business runs smoothly. It’s January and it’s cold, dark and……..
A Guides Diary February
Looking to keep the wolf from the door, Jim Hendrick takes up winter pike guiding, but can he handle the cold after all those summers on the beaches? “That’s not what I was looking for. There’s ice in the bottom of the boat that’s an inch or more thick. I can see around 20 feet, at most, in front of me………………….
A Guides Diary March
Explaining that he is a bass guide is always something of a conversation stopper at parties for Jim Hendrick, but he’s glad that his job is a little unusual…in fact, So when I’m asked “And what do you do……….
A Guides Diary April
Going the Extra Mile. A group of three Dutch fly fishers have recently booked a week’s fishing here at South East Angling Ireland (SEAi). They expect five days of good bass fishing within a seven-night, six-day stay in Ireland. Arriving late on Saturday, we will begin fishing on the Monday. This plan has already been……..
A Guides Diary May
Blind Eye For Bass? Something is rotten in the state of Irish bass fishing. Jim Hendrick laments our inability to protect one of Ireland’s finest angling resources. A properly managed Irish bass fishery would be the envy of the world and could draw visiting anglers in their thousands. From May 15th to……………..
A Guides Diary June
After an inauspicious start, Jim Hendrick finds a chance customer becomes an established client. “Hello Jim, this is Eric calling from Belgium. We are coming to fish with you on Monday afternoon in Wexford, myself and Michele, can you tell me how far it is from Dublin airport?” This took me by surprise…………..
A Guides Diary July
A testament of the ability of fishing to transcend all walks of life are the fishing and angling references embedded in both of James Joyce’s masterpieces. For me, June 16th is the opening of the bass season after a month of anticipation. It is also the week in which the first international clients of the…………….
A Guides Diary August recognise the promises people make to themselves – “I must do this more often.” “I should make more effort.” “I will stay at the practice.” These things are said and too often simply don’t apply. On a more personal level, I feel that I have found fly-fishing far too late in life. I often wonder where I would be today if I had found it…………..
A Guides Diary September
He may be a guide, but sometimes Jim Hendrick just likes to get off on his own to relax and unwind. It’s not all about the fishing. Driving slowly down the hill, I catch glimpses of the estuary through the trees. Like some magical gold and silver fleece it reveals itself only to those who know where and when………….
A Guides Diary October
There’s a fine line between selling the fishing and giving your clients realistic expectations, says Jim Hendrick. A good guide will try to strike that balance. hilst creating articles for magazines I try to portray Ireland in a very positive light. I do this by making the most interesting photographs that I can, not
A Guides Diary November
Jim Hendricks client Pat Boyle from Donegal guest writes the diary this month as he muses on what really matters in fishing. Another August, another eagerly anticipated trip to Wexford finally comes to pass. It seems like no time really since we were there last. Expectations were tempered by the fact………………..
A Guides Diary December
As he pens his last diary, Jim Hendrick reflects on his career as a guide and says thanks to those who have helped him. Irish Angler December 2009 have come to the last of the series of Guide’s diary. I have also come to the end of year seven for my bass guiding business in Wexford. There is no………………………

Coming soon to SEAi

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Tuesday 26 January 2010


Dolphin fish out of season at the Tongue of the Ocean. Depth of water drops from a pleasant and comfortable wading height to 6000 feet - quicker than you can say black eyed peas!

One of the most beautiful fish I ever caught!

Capable of short bursts of speed up to 60 knots per hour, acrobatic, aggressive - the landing gear was going to be important. Leader and Fly played a big part.

Monday 25 January 2010

The Marine Institute Bass Paper - 2009

The Marine Institute Bass Paper

FACEBOOK - an attempt !

Good to see you on fb, looking forward to the Spring and hopefully will make it down to you this season. Cheers, Rich.

Hi Jim. I'm Still getting your updates ok, nice to see you on facebook.I had a reasonable end to the boat season. I hope to get started on the shore shortly. How about yourself, when will you get started? If i don't here from you i will make a point of introducing myself if i make it to the I.S.F.C. awards.
Tight lines Ferris.

hi, been been keepin up with your website and plan on a lot more lure fishin this year , mainly around dublin. tried a bit last year with no luck (1 hook up) but must do better this year. maybe someone will buy me a workshop with you for a few days. i live in hope – ken

Hi Jim, Have you started on the bass yet, will be over your way this coming season. hope you have a few on the fly, do a lot over here in Wales on the Gower

Hi and thanks to all whom welcomed me (very late) to facebook over the pst few days. It was a little bit off an adventure and also a test for me in relation to software and communities. The list of subscribers to the blog has grown quite large and I am trying to find software that isnt forum oriented where 'like' minded people could chat etc - a bit like 'the wall' in facebook. I'm afraid facebook doesnt do it for me though! I will keep looking.

I did get lots of questions like the ones above and many thanks for them all - so broadly speaking
I dont do any bass fishing until April - sometimes you just have to leave them alone -and conditions are probably at their most difficult for the next few months - somebody is trying to catch one no doubt!
I hope to see some of you at This Spring Show where I will have a stand and do some presentations on bass fishing
I look forward to a shorter season for myself this year and hopefully will bump into some of you on the beaches

I heard a voice

Saturday 23 January 2010

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 21 - Ten Knots

Please find some diagrams of useful knots you can use during your fly and lure fishing - simply clicking on each picture should create a larger printable version in your browser.

Friday 22 January 2010

Braid to Fluorocarbon Knot ?

One of the questions I get asked most frequently! This is tied with .53mm hard alloy mono and powerpro.
I highly recommend this Knot. - the reverse albright. Simple to tie under all conditions. I dont think I have ever had one fail - and if you note the leader surrounds the braid at the junction rather than the braid surrounding the leader.

For more details of my knots and set-up go HERE

Wednesday 20 January 2010

2.30 pm Saturday 30th. January 2010

Ennis Road (at Sarsfield Bridge)


Dr. Philip McGinnity
University College Cork

Dr. Niall O’Maoileidigh
Marine Institute

Dr. Paddy Gargan
Central Fisheries Board

The Seminar is an opportunity for both Anglers and Conservationists to hear the views of the leading Irish Scientists on issues affecting the Salmon in its struggle for survival and to understand why rivers are Closed, Open for Catch and Release or have a Surplus.Topics to be covered include the distinguishing genetics of multi-sea winter salmon, the current state of the stocks and what might be done to enhance stocks. As you can see, all of our top marine scientists will be giving a presentation and you might seriously consider travelling.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

The saltwater fly fishing shop

You may have noticed (or not), a little activity around the shop section of SEAi (see top right). At the moment I am loading the software with some parts and actual inventory is been shipped tomorrow and over the next few days. I am not striving for world domination but rather have the intention of supplying people with accessible quality saltwater fly fishing gear.

The equipment that I have decided upon and not all of it is on-line yet, is gear that I have used in all of my fishing both here in Ireland and elsewhere in the world. Its gear that simply works and will continue to do so for a long time once used properly. Yes there is probably more expensive equipment available, this is not an objective of mine.

I want to provide cross functional, cost effective and capable solutions for anglers whom maybe want to do some fly fishing for bass fishing in Ireland and whom also have the intention of visiting warmer climes for light destination fishing – for bonefish, barracuda, and jacks etc. Without spending the equivalent of many months of mortgage payments these solutions are entirely possible!

I have always avoided loading this blog with posts of You must buy this or You have to have the latest this or that, and I have no intention of starting now. I remain fully impartial to all gear and equipment, I do have preferences based on many years of experience spending hundreds of days at sea, guiding. My inventory decisions are based around reality and performance over time and an agreed arrival at what will suit an anglers various needs. Those decisions to add or subtract items will be based upon the performance of equipment in the field (or sea) should I say.

To stay in touch, if you feel the need to do so on new products added and reviews etc they will be found at this location

Monday 18 January 2010

Bass Fishing Influences - It doesnt always work out of course.

Having had the benefit or rather the experience of guiding on this coastline during the the last seven summers/autumns theres no doubt at times it hasnt always worked out well. The frequency of difficult bass fishing days has risen through the seasons of 2007 '08 and '09 and this has had its consequences and impacts.

Irish weather is of course what we all talk about here almost constantly - 'Nice day isnt it?', or 'Is this rain ever going to stop'. Its the one topic that we seem to find a little time for. We are used to a degree of changeability and unpredictability.

The season of 2007 at times stopped both my clients and I in our tracks on many occasions, but this time it didn’t have a huge impact on my moral, I simply put it down to ‘freakish’ weather. All previous rainfall records were broken during that summer. None the less some customers suffered either from cancellations or chosing to brave it through well ‘nigh on impossible conditions. 2008 would be better I thought.

I started this blog at the end of 2007 and reported on the season of 2008 in summary here The fact is,there was very little that was ‘summery’ about it – again all previous records were broken for rainfall. Eventually I caught up with customers that I was forced to cancel and move from 2007. Surely another weather anomaly that would disappear in the glorious sunshine of 2009. My moral was dented but simple fuzzy logic dictated that next summer would be better.

And that’s the way it looked a the beginning of 2009 until July came and – the rain came with it. And it stayed for a long time, again breaking all existing records – unprecedented really. Forced into cancelling customer days I made the best of those I still had - there is still a 'spill over' into 2010 that needs to be cleared.
Its not an easy thing to do, and to strike a balance - yes clients are unhappy, some would rather try than be unhappy and thats fine with me I love guiding when its tough - its those people whom are stopped completely with little room to move - thats where the problem lies.

Having had the added benefit of running the guiding business through the seasons of 2004, ‘05 and ’06 it is inevitable that I might draw some comparisons wih the las tthree years. I’m not going to post some statistical chart on catch numbers and the impacts of weather that’s obvious, but I can say the following with certainty over similar variables i.e. number of hours, type of fishers, ability etc

Slow moving and regular low pressure systems cause havoc with fly and lure shore fishing - no brainer!
Not as many big fish were caught on the fly during 2004, 2005 and 2006 than during 2007, 2008, 2009
Fly fishing the last three seasons has been infinitely more difficult than the previous three seasons
More fish were caught on surface lures during 2004, 2005 and 2006 than during 2007, 2008, 2009
Bigger fish tended to eat bigger flies during 2007, 2008, 2009
Smaller fish did not eat many flies during 2007, 2008, 2009
Average fish tended to eat smaller flies during 2004, 2005 and 2006
Average fish tended to eat larger flies during 2007, 2008 and 2009

Flies tended to outfish lures when conditions were busy in nearly all occassions

Thursday 14 January 2010

Eric le Guyader in Wexford - Part II

When I first started guiding there was a name that was spoken with tones of reverance awe and respect. It was a name that to me sounded like somebody had fallen on the keyboard whilst spelling it - and even today at times I have to check before pronouncing it. Eric le Guyader never went to angling shows simply because, he said, '......I cannot catch bass at a show'.

A professional fisherman, working in the awesome and incredibly dangerous stretches of the Raz de Seine, to many Frenchmen he represents the ultimate predator angler. Over time I began to subconsciously place him alongside Cu Culainn in terms of myth and prowess. Then one late summer afternoon in 2004 whilst guiding somebody (who shall remain nameless) from a little boat at the back of a tidal rip I was handed a STICKER lure, hand poured and built by Eric le Guyader.

It wasnt so much that the lure provided me with a solution to catch more fish which made me feel the way I did that afternoon, but rather as if I had been handed something that had been made real from legend - like Excalibur, or one of Robin Hoods arrows or the stone that slayed Goliath.

I still have it of course (ten years later) and now it sits on top of my mantle, scratched, worn, a little tired but very happy. I had some fun with that lure for many years and it is a talisman to me now. I darent fish with it too often for the simple fear of loosing it but sometimes we sneak out together and catch one or two fish -

Since that time Eric has built more of these incredible lures in many different shapes see the slideshow below. We spent some time together during a miserable few days in October talking techniques and tactics - seeing him and meeting him was even more inspiring - a gentle giant of man with the natural instinct. If you would like to know more about these lures and how they work please don’t hesitate to drop me a mail at

the best

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Forecasting the Weather - January - 5

I came across a little book recently - Signpost to the weather by D&K Barlett. First published in 1949, I have extracted their forecasts for each month of the year. I hope you will enjoy their weather theories over the next few months –

The Month of January according to D&K Barlett with BASS indications by Jim Hendrick.

There can be a good deal of rain with wind and gales in any part of the month, but mostly at the beginning and end of it, with south westerly wind directions affect most of the country.

During cold spells and high pressure conditions, freezing fog occurs. Often there is heavy snowfall, especially in the North , the east and the midlands. The mildest areas are in the south west of the country. Generally a chilly month, especially in the midlands and along the east coasts.
Sometimes before the south westerly rainy weather occurs after a cold spell there are odd days when temperatures will rise to 9 or 10 degrees. This however is a rare occurrence.

1st to 7th – Often a mild period, with a great deal of rain which causes floods..
8th to 15th – The coldest period usually occurs in this week
16th to 23rd – The weather continues cold with the lowest temperatures of the month
24th to 31st – There is usually a thaw with unsettled rainy weather

Bass Fishing - It is extremely difficult to catch bass after mid to late Jan and this will be true until April or May, of course there may be some opportunities but generally very few - water temperatures continue to fall and light levels are still very low - fish are primed and will spawn once conditions are right over the next few months.

Rating 1/5
Bigger bait, bigger Bass!
I came across this today.

Every year I build a snow sculpture in my front yard. This year I made a giant lure because I love Bass fishing and I'm ready for fishing season- I've got the itch and there is still about four months until it gets warm enough to fish.

Species: Largemouth
Where: Indiana
Method: Artificial Lures
When: at 12:00 am

Monday 11 January 2010

Gunna need a bigger fly

Later this week - How we took LEMON SHARK on ORANGE pike flies tied on barbless hooks !

Way back then, and now in 2010!

Way back then
  • I didnt know how to flycast properly
  • I didnt know how to flyfish properly
  • I felt that this was something special
  • I already knew the patterns and the behaviour of the fish
  • I thought I knew a lot about fishing and people
  • It was something I wanted to do
  • It was going to take a long time
  • It was going to take a lot of work

And now

  • My fly casting has improved
  • My fly fishing has improved
  • It is something very special
  • Im still learning the patterns and the behaviours of the fish AND the people
  • I still re-read Gary Borgers - 'Presentations'
  • It is something I will always want to do
  • It will continue to take a long time
  • It will continue to take a lot of work

Sunday 10 January 2010

The weather of 2009

2009 - Wetter than normal everywhere; mild and sunny

Annual rainfall totals were well above normal for the second successive year. They ranged from 918mm at Dublin Airport to 2175mm at Valentia Observatory, between 12% and 55% higher than the 30-year annual average amounts. Like the previous two years, the summer period of June to August was extremely wet, while November 2009 was the wettest November since records began at most stations and the wettest of any month on record in several places.
Annual totals were the highest in over 50 years of record at both Mullingar and Johnstown Castle, while Valentia Observatory’s total was its highest since observations began in the area in 1866, considerably higher than its previous highest total of 1923mm in 2002. The exceptionally heavy rainfall brought extensive flooding during the late summer and again during November, especially in the west and south. The driest months relative to normal were March and September, but the annual number of
wetdays (days with 1mm or more rainfall) was above normal everywhere, by between 10% and 20% generally; there were between 145 wetdays at Casement Aerodrome and 231 at Valentia Observatory. Most stations measured their highest daily fall of the year during November, but there were also very heavy falls locally over short periods during the summer months, usually associated with thunderstorms.

Despite very cold weather at the end of the year, mean annual air temperatures were around half a degree above normal for the 1961-90 period at most stations. Mean values were close to those of 2008, but Valentia Observatory had its coolest year since 2002, while it was the coolest since 1996 at Cork Airport. Mean air temperatures for most months were slightly higher than normal, while values for January were near normal and December was colder than normal everywhere. The highest temperatures of the year were observed during early summer at most stations, with both Birr and Claremorris measuring 27.5°C on June 2nd. The lowest values were recorded during early January and late December. Mullingar’s air and ground temperatures of -10.0°C and -13.0°C respectively on December 25th were the lowest at the station for almost 30 years. The total number of air frosts during the year of between 38 and 58 at inland stations was close to normal.

New Website

The beginning AND the end…

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