Wednesday 31 March 2010

The benefits and the threats

There is no doubt that tourism is a major contributor to the Irish economy. With overseas tourist visits for 2008 estimated at 8.2million people, foreign exchange earnings for the same period were at €4.9 billion, and the tourism and hospitality sector is currently supporting 12% of jobs in Ireland.

An International market research report has revealed that Ireland is a key competitor in the market for British, French and German anglers. The report, commissioned by the Marine Institute, will be launched by Mr. Fahey T.D., Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, at an Overseas Angling Tourism Seminar in Galway. (2002)
£24 million has been secured for the development of the Tourism Angling over the next 5 years under the National Development Plan", said the Minister. "This report will help underpin a focused approach to marketing and promotion to ensure that this money is invested effectively, by matching Ireland's angling product to the needs and desires of the target markets", he concluded.
Key attributes identified by foreign anglers that could give Ireland the competitive edge are the unspoilt nature of the environment, the availability and quality of wild fish stock, the possibility for seclusion and the famous Irish welcome.
Source the Marine Institute

The future success of the tourism industry, however, is inextricably linked to the quality of our environment. Our scenic landscapes, coastline, rivers and lakes, and cultural heritage are the bedrock upon which Irish tourism has been built. The economic viability and competitiveness of the Irish tourism industry can only be sustained if the quality of this raw material is maintained. Ireland’s tourism industry now, more than ever, relies on strong environmental and sustainable policies.

Some of the major opportunities that lie ahead for the marine sector in Ireland include:

Exploiting growing international markets for seafood products, especially health foods;
Exploiting new niche global markets in marine environmental technologies; Developing new tourism offerings in angling, boating and water sports that provide exciting experiences in a quality marine environment;
Source the Marine Institute

The angling tourism sector is now particularly vulnerable and is at risk of loosing a huge part of that marine opportunity and the current benefit to the economy and existing jobs. The latest FIF proposal to re-open commercial bass fishing in this country is without doubt the greatest single challenge that angling tourism has faced for many years.

The biggest challenge that angling tourism faces is the one that presents itself with a fa├žade of pseudo responsibility, effective resource management and job creation whilst at the same time hiding behind a veil of expected and anticipated public sympathy when times are tough. Why should we have sympathy for an industry that marches from the decimation of one species to the next and then holds its hands out for subsidies with the shocked and surprised look of ‘where did all the fish go' whenever the latest resource dissappears?

Sean Connick TD is now the Minister for Fisheries. Deputy Connick has spoken about some issues recently –extracts from his website @

Local Fianna Fail TD Sean Connick spoke about the fishing industry in Wexford at a number of recent meetings of the Oireachtas Committee on European Scrutiny. Deputy Connick, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Committee on European Scrutiny, used the opportunity of these meetings, which were addressed by the Federation of Irish Fishermen and the Minister for Fisheries, Tony Killeen TD, to raise issues which are of concern to local fishermen.

Among the issues raised by Deputy Connick at these meetings were:

Consultation with fishermen over stock “Are fishermen ever consulted on the question of fish stocks? Many fishermen complain to me about scientists’ estimates of stocks. While scientists say cod stocks are depleted, fishermen will say they are leaping out of the sea. Similarly, fishermen complain that they have not been allowed to fish bass for ten years although they are obviously plentiful. Are fishermen consulted on the question of what species can or cannot be fished?”

Deputy Connick also mentioned the need to re-open fishing in sea bass, eels and cockles; the difficulties criminal sanctions against fishermen pose when administrative sanctions should be used as an alternative; and the difficult relationship local fishermen have with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

Deputy Connick informed the Oireachtas Committee that the fishing industry in certain ports in Co. Wexford had been decimated in recent years “There are a number of fishing ports in Wexford in which I am acutely aware of the decimation of the industry. Decimation is the only word we can use in discussing what has happened to the fishing industry here in recent years. The same is true of what has happened upriver, forms of fishing on rivers, including eel, salmon and cockle fishing are now either banned, about to be banned or cannot be engaged in.”

There is much to be learned from the above.

It is absolutely vital that anglers now take this opportunity to write to or visit Deputy Sean Connick immediately to express their feelings about

How much they spend on their Bass fishing and how much it benefits people in remote costal communities.

How much it means of the sheer enjoyment of been able to go and catch some fish and the possibilities of angling in one of Europes greatest saltwater resources

The importance of maintaining sea Bass as a recreational resource is the only way to manage the species. Commercial fisherman have already demonstrated they cannot sustainably manage the species. Why else did the government close the commercial fishing in 1987?


Between 1985 and 1995 Bass numbers in Irish waters reached their lowest levels. estimates, based on anglers’ catches, suggest populations were 1.4% of their levels prior to 1967. In 1987 a ban on commercial fishing was introduced but five years later, Irish-caught Bass were still on sale in shops and restaurants. The ban on sale and on (commercial) fishing appears to have arrested the decline and, in the following decade, Bass numbers increased threefold. Illegal fishing has not however been eliminated.

Source Ed Fahy 5th March 2010

Bass angling is an €8 million annual, sustainable and growing industry. It employs hundreds of people all over the country directly and indirectly and can continue to grow and develop and be sustainable and those jobs and the fishery must be protected.

At which point in time are anglers going to realise they are important, much more important than they can realise - this is the time for that realisation.

Write to :Minister Sean Connick Priory Lane The Quay New Ross Co. Wexford

Email: Mobile: 087 2564576

Tuesday 30 March 2010

September - A week of Bass Fishing Workshops

Bass Fishing Week

Forecasting the weather - March - 7

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

Bright, sunny, mild days suddenly give way to dull, frosty ones often with blizzards, chiefly on high-levels in northern and eastern parts of the country. These contrasts provide the reason for March winds. After mild bright days, cool frosty nights often follow.

Rainfall is not heavy but falls in sharp and brief showers, on the whole a fairly bight month with a few severe gales and these mostly from the North west. The sea is at its coldest to the south and east, but temperatures will begin to rise slowly during the later part of the month.

If earlier months have been wet/snowy the suns power is spent in evaporating the moisture rather than warming the earth. This may delay spring, since vegetation requires warmth.

1st to 7th This week can be unsettled at the beginning and end. There are usually bright days between
8th to 15th usually changeable days to a fairly bright spell in the latter part of the week.
16th to 23rd Mixed weather, but some bright cool or mild days
24th to 31st Usually unsettled weather, at the beginning and end of week – rather cool with the chance of snow

Bass Fishing : Sea water temperatures are now at their coldest in the South and East but will begin to warm slowly from the end of the month. Further south towards Cork and Waterford some fish will begin to show in the middle or later part of the month but its probably not until mid/late April that Wexford will generally see its first of the early fish. Increasing light levels plays a major part in fish first appearing at anytime.

Rating 1/5

Thursday 25 March 2010


Both Paul and I are still talking about our visit to the UKBASS AGM at the weekend. For both of us I can safely say it was a wonderful experience - the second we walked in the door at the Premier Inn we were immediately followed and greeted by Geoff and Graham, it was as if we had known each other for a long time.
It was the same with every new person we met and had a chat and dare I say, a pint or two with!
Its impossible to remember everyone but Saturday night was great fun.......
The sense of history as I stood to begin my presentation on Sunday was indeed an incredible moment for me. To Ian, Mick, Matt, Mike, Steve I & II, Graham, Geoff and many many others a big thank you from both of us.
It might have been the last time I walked down Tewkesbury Road - but hopefully not the last time at the AGM - Paul and Jim

Wednesday 24 March 2010

The Goal Posts Have Moved -

Its VERY important that we continue to remind our NEW minister of the importance of the recreational bass fishery. Sean Connick now has that responsibility - to read some of his interpretations in respect of salmon, eel, and indeed the bass fishery please visit the link below

To leave a message on his Face book Page please also visit the link below

Anglers have to start believing in themselves now seems like a good time. Continue to send or re-send your letters to the minister above

Monday 15 March 2010

UKBASS AGM - Presentation

I am looking forward to meeting some of the many members of UKBASS this weekend. I will be making a short presentation about the continued evolution of my bass guiding service. Customer expectations and satisfactions plus the development of my Fly & Lure fishing workshops will be at the center of my presentation.

Tim Harrisson and his Dad Colin were some of my customers during year two of my guiding service, six years ago now - Colin's words below, received by a letter he sent, still mean a lot to me. It was one of those moments. If I can achieve this on a day by day basis then I know I am doing my job properly. thought us where the fish might lie, and how to cast to the right position and use the waves and tide to take the line into the right place. The result of all that was that we were able to hook and land some unforgettable fish and those memories will last forever....Colin Harisson - 2005 Then aged 69.

Tim Harrisson was inspired enough by what he saw and experienced in Wexford to later establish his own successful bass guiding business in Wales -

What counts cant always be counted and what can be counted doesn't always count ~ Einstein

Sunday 14 March 2010

Bass Fishing Survey - Help needed.

If you have a moment and are interested in helping recreational Bass Fishing in this country please complete the quick and simple survey HERE

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Saltwater Fly & Lure Bass Fishing Workshops

Having completed a train the trainer course in December of 2009 I recently received my certification. My Saltwater Fly and Lure fishing workshops have been re-constructed and I will shortly submit them To FETAC for benchmarking.

This is part of the process I am working towards making my workshops a FETAC certified qualification.

Courses for 2010 Start on April 1st and are available on demand. More details available HERE

And remember a 10% discount on gear applies to all workshop attendees

Wednesday 3 March 2010

How does a bass hunt? - Introduction.

Vision, smell, lateral line, taste and hearing.

"Evidence from nature and the experience of many anglers suggest that eyes on baitfish imitations increase their effectiveness. The oversized eyes on many patterns underscore Dan Blantons assertions that predacious fishes are 'head hunters' or 'head hitters'."

But what other factors influence and affect a bass when hunting in visual mode. Bass dont see detail the way you or I do so why do we bother with realistically finished lures and flies. In the photograph below clients and I have caught hundreds of bass on each of the flies or lures - yet each is very different - but they also share some similar characteristics -

More in this series coming soon!

Part I - Vision

Part II - Smell

Part III - Hearing

Probassfisher - Bi-monthly E-zine - Coming soon

Publication 1

Green ragworm anyone? II

Physical Description
Ragworms have long, flattened bodies, consisting of many segments each with a pair of parapods, or swimming legs. These parapods are covered with bristles called chaete and are used for crawling and swimming. At the head end, they have a toothed proboscis, four eyes, and two pairs of antennae.

They are variable in colour, typically appearing reddish brown but turning quite green during the spawning season.

Abundant in estuaries and sandy or muddy beaches. They inhabit U- or J-shaped burrows in the sand that may stretch for around 20cm (8 inches) depth.

The ragworm is both an omnivorous scavenger and efficient predator. When scavenging, it feeds on mud, detritus, phytoplankton and plankton. It is also a active predator, rapidly shooting out its powerful jaws to catch other soft-bodied invertebrates. This species also feeds on phytoplankton by spinning a net at the top of the burrow. By undulating it's body within its burrow it causes a water current which carries phytoplankton into the sticky net. After a while it consumes the net and the particles, then spins another.

The feeding behaviour of the ragworm depends on phytoplankton densities. When densities are high, it uses its net to catch prey. When densities are low, it scavenges or actively hunts prey.
Ragworms are tuned to the lunar phase, reproducing in synchrony at distinct times in the moon phase (e.g. new or full moon, depending on the locality).

Spawning is triggered by a rise in temperature during spring. Females brood eggs within their bodies. As the eggs develop, the female's body becomes brittle and ultimately ruptures, releasing the eggs into the burrow. Males are drawn to the burrow by pheromones and discharge their sperm around the burrow entrance. The female draws this sperm down into the burrow using water currents where they fertilise the eggs. After spawning, both males and female ragworms die.
Source - BBC Science & Nature

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Green ragworm anyone?

To everybody who spoke to me on Saturday or Sunday I just wanted to say thanks a million for all of the positive and kind words. I was suprised at how much the articles in Irish Angler, the blog, the workshops and all the other stuff meant to a lot of people. I was left dumbfounded at times.
I left the show on Sunday having had a great experience - meeting everybody and chatting was fantastic - it left me feeling re-charged and full of energy for fishing again!

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...