Thursday 25 February 2010

Breaking the rules

I think its probably easy to interpret what some people say or write in bass fishing and then apply it as a rule, even if it is only a generalisation or something that applies to particular circumstances. When this is done of course it is often perceived as an ‘issue’ for anglers to go out and ‘break’. This attempt to ‘break’ the ‘rules’ is often done on the basis of nothing like what the original words might have meant. Unless of course it’s a blatantly obvious statement. Can you show me the RULE BOOK please? Particulalry the chapter on fly choice, lure choice, tide choice, location choice, colour of your underwear choice..........

I saw one of these blatantly obvious statements recently – ‘- if bass will take a shallow feed then they will also take a surface lure’. Its simply not true. Sometimes they wont.

The big fly big fish is another one of these debates that will continue to rage, and yes of course we have all done the contrary – and if we are clever anglers we will fish after the circumstances.

I like to use Andy Elliotts flies in certain places here in Wexford at certain times. Most of the flies are in the six to eight inch in length category and I fish with either a #8 or #9. In this type of fishing where I intend purposefully to catch (I hope) a big fish – I very seldom make regular casts. I sit and watch and make maybe five casts in one hour, maybe I choose to move a little………..I take my time and wait for situations to develop.

Have I taken bigger fish on smaller flies? Yes, many times in many places, do I feel more confident fishing slightly bigger flies in the circumstances above? Yes. Why? Under the few circumstances/locations above I have caught bigger fish with bigger flies – simple. But it doesn’t apply to the whole of the Wexford coastline all of the time!

The only rules that need to be broken are the ones you have interpreted as such.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

An Irish Saltwater Sportfish

Im off to on Thursday evening where I will have a stand at the two day show. I hope to be able to capture peoples imagination and interest at the show in order to demonstrate that saltwater fly & lure fishing for bass is as good, challenging, interesting and as rewarding as that done for our freshwater sporting species.

Irish bass fishing remains as one of the great potential sport fishing resources of Europe.

Hope to see you there - Jim.

drawing courtesy of Ruth Hendrick - aged 7

Why should every bassfisherman own two goldfish?

Sunday 21 February 2010

Forecasting the weather - February - 6

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 February according to D&K Barlett with BASS indications by Jim Hendrick

This usually the coldest month of the year , particularly during the middle weeks, and especially in the eastern or north eastern counties. The cold easterly and north easterly winds flow across from Europe and the north sea.

Snowfall can be as severe and as frequent as January, the cold weather and light levels are at the opposites of June and Julys. The coolest conditions are now firmly settled into the land and sea water temperatures at the coast will fall a little more to perhaps eight degrees or a little less. As much as two degrees less than on the south and west coast temps.

1st to 7Th This week is usually unsettled with wind gales and rain
8th to 15th Usually there is a cold spell, and often the chilliest part of the month
16th to 23rd The cold spell will slowly break up and a thaw will set in.
24th to 28th The weather gradually becomes milder often ending the month in stormy unsettled weather.

Bass Fishing - Probably the most difficult month for the bass fisherman in Wexford. Having undergone some serious physiological changes over the past few weeks, bass are less likely to feed regularly they have their minds fixed on something more serious - depending on conditions, and as they dictate, spawning will take place only when they know best - then be ready.............

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Bass need your help!

You can help your future bass fishing - by going HERE

Friday 19 February 2010

What should I be thinking about at this time of year?

There is always that sense of anticipation, Spring causes it I guess. Its very very early in the season and expectations need to match that - but have a look at the links below for a few pointers

Here Here Here Here and indeed Here

Thursday 18 February 2010

Workshops, Guiding, Equipment, Hosting - 2010 from SEAi

For more details of these services plus a unique range of saltwater fly rods, reels, flies and much more-why not visit my stand at next weekend. or

For more details of these services plus a unique range of saltwater fly rods, reels flies and more why not visit my stand at next weekend.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

High Tide Saltwater Fly Rods

A new range of saltwater fly rods not previously available in the UK or Ireland are now at the SWFFS - for a more detailed description of these rods please visit HERE

One of the reason for my stocking these rods is their ability to load very quickly with short lines - often critical for making that one shot cast to cruising fish that you have just spotted or any peripheral observed subsurface activity that might need a fast cast .

Tuesday 16 February 2010

What you can do to help the Irish Bass Fishery

Please write expressing your objection to the current FIF proposal and relate your view of the happiness, the enjoyment, the challenges and the value to the Irish economy that recreational Irish bass fishing creates for hundreds of people:

Send your letter to

Mr. C. Lenihan,
Minister for State
Department of Communications,
Energy and Natural Resources,
29-31 Adelaide Road
Dublin 2

And also send a copy by post or email to:

Minister Tony Killeen care of

Monday 15 February 2010

Thirty two years in perspective

These are three of my four sisters, from left to right Catherine aged 10, Emily aged 8, and Una aged 9. The photo was taken 32 years ago in 1978 at Forlorn point in Kilmore Quay, I was aged 13 at the time. Emily holds my fishing rod a light ten footer from Berkley. Twelve years later commercial fishing for bass was stopped.

Landing Gear -
Reel - Abu Ambassadeur 5500
Rod - Berkley Buccaneer 10 ft
Line - Abu monofilament
Lures - Abu Krill, Abu Toby and Abu Hi-Lo

I fished hundreds and hundreds of summer hours along those rocks and all along the summer coasts. There was never any other spin fisherman in sight. Its where I learned the instinct of bass. 1978 was a good year for me I caught plenty of fish. I got cold and wet and lost a weeks pocket money on a daily basis, then went back and got it at low tide. I didn't do anything else for as long as the holidays lasted.
I know these rocks by heart. I know their shape and colour, and when the wave breaks upon them I know where the fish will be.
I have brought Dan and Ruth here a few times - to this special place and let them find what they look for. I talk to them too about the days I spent here fishing. Dan is ten years old in June. I will make his photograph here this year with a fish. I have already made hundreds with international customers.

Twenty years with the opportunity to develop this fishery have gone to waste, twenty years of protection, and as the species slowly recovered somewhat, what have we done to maintain its protection and future as a recreational sustainable and economic opportunity ? It could be one of the greatest saltwater fisheries in Europe? We have stood idly by, and now at the first signs of recovery we face into the abyss of the possible destruction not only of the fish but of what thirty years of visitors, businesses, services, enjoyment, happiness and hard work have meant to thousands of people.

Remind me again for what and for whom and what ultimately will the real impact be? Its simple really, given the nature of the industry it will be destroyed in a short space of time.

I have fished bass for the last 38 years here in Wexford - the last seven professionally - I have a valid perspective and sense of the species. I have seen its destruction its slow and partial recovery, its exploitation - its part of my life - always has been and always will be. If you are reading this blog I'm sure bass fishing has also been part of yours - do what you can.

Its worth thinking about the future..................!

Thursday 11 February 2010

Bass Fishing Influences - Tides Part IV

The sandy shore, shallow white waters and crystal surf

My father tells me of the times he cycled home from fishing the surf at Curracloe in Wexford. It’s a round trip of about fifteen miles but his friends and he made the return journey more difficult by having bass tied to the handlebars of their black Raleigh bikes. These weren’t small fish and often there were a lot of them, it was 1958 when bass blitzed the seas summer surface like they are supposed to, signs of a healthy population.

He has fifty two years in perspective

Clive Gammon and Des Brennan were fishing Splaugh Rock

By the time he reached home his 'handlebar' of fish was often diminished, too tired to carry them all the way to Wexford he simply knocked on doors along the way home and gave them to people. They fished, his friends and he the way they knew how – early in the strong wind pattern - greenheart rods and fixed spool reels and lugworm cast only into the clean white surf at the Raven or at Culletons gap.
Today we overlook this great bass fishing opportunity in our quest for estuary and rock. I know the fish don’t shoal like they did in the old days but there is something special about imagining what it must have been like. Shallow sandy water presents its own tough opportunities and challenges.

When moving waves heading towards our beaches reach shallow water the friction against the sea bed causes the waves balance to become upset. Orbiting particles within the structure change and the speed of the wave decreases. Becoming steeper until the point at which they break and fall over. The total stored energy of the wave is released and most of us at some time or other have experienced that crash and boom, the power of the surf.

On the open sea a moving wave will often break at winds speeds of force seven or greater, this breaking water will move ahead of the wave and the energy is passed on to other passing or overtaking waves. The death of a wave occurs in shallow water when all of this aggragated energy or force is released onto the shore. This is a wave of translation.

Next - how the tides, waves and refraction, together, lead to better bass fishing at the sandy shore

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Bass Fishing Influences - Tides Part III

Waves and bars and breaking water

Frequently due to local configurations of many factors like wind, sea floor, tides and flows - waves may be seen to break more frequently at regular distances from the shore – a sand bar may be forming or perhaps has already formed. Small waves travelling in the direction of this sand bar may pass over it without breaking, but as we have mentioned below they will be affected by it, inevitably they will be slowed and their wavelengths decreased.

Larger waves moving in from the sea will break on or at the bar as soon as the water depth reaches less than 1.3 times the waves height. Breaking waves with their forward momentum will push large quantities of water over the bar and inshore creating rising levels of water. This water has to return seawards and often does so through channels scoured through narrow sections of the bar both by waves and returning water.

This can be a dangerous place to fish, keep in mind the factors from Part I aswell as these -scour holes, drop offs, and currents will be plentiful – but – because of these circumstances and in the right conditions and at the right times fish will be holding up here and they will be hunting actively.

Next Open sandy shore and the tidal influences

Monday 8 February 2010

Bass Fishing Influences - Tides Part II

Tidal streams wind and waves.

The friction of wind on the water creates the waves that we see crashing onto our shores. When and where wind and the sea meet, the energy of the moving wind is transferred into the surface of the sea. This is the reason why at sea level the strength of the wind is considerably less than say at even thirty feet; some of the wind energy is lost and captured by the sea. When a gentle breeze first starts to blow over a calm sea ripples are formed, as the wind strength may increase or continue these ripples transform into little waves and eventually into waves proper. As the side of the wave that ‘receives’ the wind is affected most by it, the wave collects more energy on one side than the other and so will tend to grow in size.

This process does not continue indefinitely however, as the wave grows in size so does its speed ‘across’ the sea increase. Its speed of movement relative to the wind speed plus the loss of energy due to motion within the wave keeps the waves at heights related to particular wind strengths whilst in open water. There is a state of equilibrium reached and unless the wind increase or decreases the waves remain at a fairly steady size.

Lets imagine waves generated by a recent force four blowing constantly for the past five or six hours in a southwesterly direction. The waves in the sequence will all look pretty similar. The wave heights will be the same – the distance from the top of the wave to the bottom of the troughs following the wave. Their wavelengthsthe horizontal distance between two crests will be very similar, and the frequency at which they pass a particular point will also be the same.

What we see happening on our shore is the change in shape, appearance and activity of the wave as the depth of water changes. As soon as an ocean wave enters a water depth that is less than half its wavelength it will begin to slow down, get taller, and change shape while at the same time its frequency will remain the same. The speed of the wave entering shallow water is slowed down as it gets ‘tripped up’ by the grip of the shoreline floor. Relative to other waves, as they slow down, the wavelength decreases and as it moves into continuously shallower water it becomes more and more unstable, increasing in height until eventually falling over when it reaches a water depth that is less than 1.35 times its height. This is breaking wave action.

When waves pushed by the wind run against a strong tidal flow or stream, like the tide running out of an estuary, the wavelengths also become shorter, the waves more steep and higher and hence they are more liable to break. This situation can also be aggravated by uneven or shallow bottom structure – having wind-assisted waves running against the tide can create fantastic bass fishing situations. Following the breaking wave pattern as it moves may assist you in finding fish more regularly. Conversely wind blowing out of an estuary with a ebbing tide increase wavelengths and reduces wave heights but may assist in ‘emptying’ the estuary faster than normal. Adjusting your fishing times to the patterns of how different winds and tides will create different types of waves and wave breaks will see you catch more fish.

Next - tides waves and sandbars

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Say No to commercial exploitation of Bass


Bass Fishing Influences - Tides Part I

Tides and the weather

Weather conditions have a significant impact on both tides in general and on how they flow and move. This of course will influence your fishing decisions and indeed the fish. Sea level will tend to rise or increase in the direction that the wind is blowing, and hence lowered in the direction from which the wind has come. Sea water can be 'pushed'. The stronger the wind, the longer it blows and provided it blows in a pretty constant direction the greater this 'push' can be. A changing or constant wind direction can create a degree of confusion as regards tidal height predictions and their interpretations.

Tidal heights are predicted using an average barometric pressure status - 1013. When the barometric is rising or higher than normal, tides will tend to be lower than predicted. Similarly when pressure is low or dropping tidal heights will be greater than that predicted. A change in barometric pressure of 35 milibars will cause a subsequent change of 1 foot or 0.3 metres in tidal levels. This is not an immediate change but rather happens over a period of time.

So bearing in mind the following
  1. Wind direction
  2. Wind strength
  3. Wind direction 'longevity'
  4. Atmospheric pressure -
  5. Atmospheric pressure activity - +/-
  6. Spring or neap tide and phase
  7. Wave type and direction

All of these factors will greatly influence your fishing and indeed the fish. Just because your tables say 2.2m at 16:10 doesnt neccessarily apply to the real world. Remember fish can't read tables........only influences.

A word of caution - dropping atmospheric pressure combined with strong breezes and Spring tides can make for dangerous fishing situations.

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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...