Tuesday 28 September 2010

Bass Fly Fishing Ireland - Part 26 - Little casts for bigger fish

Thirty seven years later I’m still fishing at the location. Now I do it a bit differently and with a little more experience. There’s still so much to learn though. I’m here looking for a low tide fish on the fly, a favourite time of mine, and now all this time later the fly is my favoured method. The timing is critical like most things in bass fishing and this is no different. It’s just a little too early yet, I can see plenty of oar weed folding and bending in the gentle waves, stalks and blades, and so I sit and wait a while. My gear is already rigged – a six inch white deceiver pattern, seven feet of tapered Rio fluorocarbon leader – 4’-0” – 35lbs, 2’-0” of 25lbs, 1’-0” of 15lbs – then the tippet – the fly is tied on with a Lefty Kreh loop knot. I’m loading my Redington CPS #7 with a #8 Rio aqualux fly line, I want to load the rod as quickly as I can (even with the long head) the line sits on my Danielsson.

It’s easy to make mistakes when fishing at low water and I believe that fly fishers tend to make two simple ones. They cast too far and they cast too frequently. In these early stages of ‘the lift’ I believe it’s possible to catch fish that haven’t moved far between tides, they simply lie in the weed and wait, and then as soon as conditions change they move to hunt. Keeping the cast short, gaining immediate contact and control of the fly whilst keeping it in the water longer is essential. Remember a line like the aqualux will have sunk only about 12-16 inches in ten seconds – it’s a long time to show a fish something to eat. Stopping the fly’s forward motion and leaving it suspended without losing control for as long as possible can pull fish from under your feet.

What am I looking for in these instances? I’m looking for a south westerly breeze that has suddenly picked up strength after a calm period of some hours, 36 or more. It’s during a spring tidal sequence and I’m here at low tide – time of day is NOT important. I’d take a bit of cloud cover too. I’m at the rocky shore with fingers and gullies – sometimes I have the opportunity to fish from a slight height without revealing my profile. I’m a right hander so a south west wind will travel from my right hand side; it’s always an issue on the Wexford coast. I’ m waiting for the white water to begin breaking over the earliest part of the shoreline revealed by the low tide. The oar weed is covered, I start to fish.

I keep my cast to less than forty feet and sometimes even shorter. I have the head of the aqualux in the basket with maybe five feet of running line that’s all! I’m not making long drifts, more casting and then small slow strips with LOTS of stops. As waves run up the V of a gully, I’ll try to cast just as the wave is forming outside landing the line and the fly as the wave passes up the gully and then returns, as it returns I’ll try to hold the fly or let it back drift with the flow of water around the end points left and right of the gulley – head facing up the gulley, lifting some of the line off the water and then replacing it as the wave receeds. Retrieve slowly and stop.

In this posting HERE using this method I took some very nice fish – missed fish YES, it is inevitable that there may be some bow or slack in the line and often times you won’t feel a take. The good thing is you will SEE the take. Fish in these instances are not moving quickly or even very far but rather drift up take the fly and turn to settle back.
Many times I don’t see the fish move at all but rather see the fly disappear – the lights go out. Any slack and its often missed, again! The fish will often seem to hang at the point of the opposite side of the V or gulley of the direction of the approaching wave.

For example you’re facing south and seawards – a gulley exists to your right and the waves are approaching from a south westerly direction – the waves are breaking over the right hand side of the V and crashing up to fill the void to the end point and then returning. Make your short casts to the right of the middle of the V just as the wave is running up, too early and it will get carried past. Water moving up the V will slow and the water depth at your fly may decrease as the next wave forms, as water returns down the gulley depth increases and complex currents are formed carrying opportunities for food and ambush. Incoming and outgoing waves meet. Getting your fly to behave properly just at this moment left of centre of the V and less than twenty feet off shore will catch you some very nice fish indeed.

Give the fish the fly. You only have ninety minutes to do so!

Monday 27 September 2010

Weather Influences - A year in summary

Bass fishing is subject to many influences and none more so than the weather. Below is a series of quick internal links of a month by month summary of the weather during the year and my personal notes as regards expectations of bass fishing.

Within each month you can click on links that will bring you to three years of reports from within this blog as they happened

Month one September
Month two October
Month three November
Month four December
Month five January
Month six February
Month seven March
Month eight April
Month nine May
Month ten June
Month eleven July
Month twelve August

Saturday 25 September 2010

Salty # seven

My new fly rod was tested late on Friday evening. The G-Loomis cross current GLX #7 proved its worth and indeed capability. Casting flies up to seven inches in length into cool northerly head winds with ease it will complete the team that I now fish with, the other been my much loved Redington CPS #7

Friday 24 September 2010


Wave after wave, I watched it
Just to watch it turn
Day after day, I cooled it
Just to watch it burn.

Bless the weather that brought you to me
Curse the storm that takes you away
Bless the weather that brought you to me
Curse the storm that takes you away.

John Martyn

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Proving the French can do it too!

we catch 'average' size fish too - 80/20

Although I dont consider any bass taken on the fly as average - we do take a lot of fish in particular weight ranges. As much as 80% of the fish we catch are between 1.5 and 4.5 pounds. Bigger fish are exceptional and often are only targeted either in specific weather windows or on particular locations with specific flies. Taking bigger fish without using a 'fly fishing strategy' to do so is a rare occurrence.

There are many days when we wont catch any fish - this is not because the fish are not here but rather because a combination of conditions have forced them to behave in ways that puts them beyond the range of the fly. The biggest barriers to our fly success are suspended particles and debris in the water.

Monday 20 September 2010

Taking silver today

Spent a wonderful day today in the company of Thomas, Jan, and Didier from Denmark. The guys saltwater fly fished through strong winds to catch some very nice fish - the best running to 77 cm's.

Sunday 12 September 2010


Bass Fishing Open Week Sept 4-11 2010 at SEAi

Marty Harrisson
David Norman
Colin Rigney
Andy Elliott
John Weir
Andrew Nolan
Jean Yves Quillien
David Wolsoncroftt Dodds
Seamus Hartigan
Patrick Molitor
Alan Larkin
Colm Gallagher

Its difficult to describe the feeling this morning when I open the door on an empty house at number 7. After such a brilliant experience from last week, fishing, talking, laughing with the guys above who stayed during the week its going to take a while for me to gather my thoughts. Fish were landed, flies were tied, tactics tried and tested, dicussions were heated, interesting and valuable, so much was shared it goes beyond measure.

Thanks to everyone who fished this week. I will get some fotos and words about the week up soon.

Friday 10 September 2010

Jean Yves goes home happy

A great little country - Doom Island episode II

...by-mail yesterday

Hey Jim,

I went fishing today at........ was a bit late in the tide and fish were clearly at the far side, birds diving etc... But the thing is i actually stopped fishing and went home early because i couldnt continue to watch the boats catch bass after bass for keeping, almost like they were mackerel bashing, 5 boats all slaughtering bass of all sizes, a couple of monsters among them.

It was shocking, I was literally never so mad! Im sure you know of these tramps and was just wondering do you know why the bailiffs havent done anything about them? Iv seen the same boats there all summer killing over the quota but today was ridiculous, Surely the bailiffs know whats going on here and in S.............!

Iv emailed the fisheries board of what went on today but to be honest i dont have much confidence in action being taken.I just dont understand how these fellas arent being caught and punished.. Anyway just thought id share my frustration which im sure you share...Hope the season continues to go well for ya by the way!

Best wishes

six tips for life from a 8ight year old (girl)

Always be organisd
Never get out of the rong side of the bed
Don’t get giddy in class
Always bring your pencil case
Never ever go into the boys bathroom
Never get cot running in the caridoor

Wednesday 8 September 2010

The spirit of where the fish lives

Yesterday I fly fished with David Jean Yves and for a little while with Seamus. During the afternoon the sun shone, the wind blew strong and the sea picked up. Clean clear and fizzing with life. My heart was racing as I felt the energy of expectation.

I managed to take two fish in an environment that for me has become the essence of bass fishing - the challenge of remaining safe whilst casting into a strong head wind with breaking white seas and current, trying to fly fish is without doubt one of my favourite experiences.

It was enhanced in many ways yesterday, the personal history attached to the location, the weather, the battle to fight, land and return the fish, and the company of good friends.

Friday 3 September 2010

Colins Super Summer 2010

Proving that age is no restriction to bass fishing Colin Harris at 74 enjoys the August sun and blue skies. He seems to be doing rather well at taking bass on the surfce too, by the way Tim ( who is Colins son) at Seabasssafaris seems to think it might stop him from talking about his past experiences in Wexford - maybe Tim, maybeee!!

Colin, Tim and I had a nice time here a few years back and apparently Colin mentions it every now and again see HERE

August weather summary

Although there were spells of wet weather at times during August, rainfall amounts were generally small, especially in southern areas, while many days were sunny. There was little variation in temperatures during much of August, but a cool northerly airstream over Ireland during the last week brought mean temperatures for the month below normal at most stations. Rainfall totals were below normal everywhere and it was a particularly dry month over Munster and south Leinster, where less than 50% of normal rainfall was recorded. Cork Airport’s total of 17mm was its lowest for August since 1995. This station had only three wetdays during the month (days with 1mm or more rainfall), but between eight and 14 wetdays were measured at most stations, close to normal for August. Temperatures were near or a little above normal
during much of August, but cool conditions during the final week brought mean air temperatures for the month a little below normal generally, and many stations had their coolest August for 16 or 17 years. There were very few days during the month when maximum temperatures rose above 20°C, while there were no such days in some western and southwestern areas. Slight ground frost developed in eastern and midland areas towards the end of the month, with many stations recording their lowest August temperatures for up to 46 years on either the 29th or 30th.
Like every other month so far of 2010 apart from July, sunshine totals were above normal everywhere and it was the sunniest August for between seven and 15 years generally. Unusually for August, the second half of the month was sunnier than the first, with some stations recordingtheir sunniest day of the month as late as the 30th. Source Met Eireann

Indications are

Bass quake approaching.......

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...