Friday 29 October 2010

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 27 - Running down the line

Imagine breaking white water, turbulence, waves wind and seaweed, slippery rocks and sometimes driving rain sea mist and spray. You’re a right handed caster and the wind is blowing from the south west – force four touching five, you’re on a southerly facing shore! Interesting times for the saltwater fly fisher! Go back to this post here – little casts for bigger fish.

You can even visit this post from early 2008 - fly fishing the rocky shore.

The presentations described in this post are made from rocky platforms that allowed me to be slightly above the fish, I can see them and the fly and no doubt at times, the fish can see me. I’m not casting very far. Sometimes it’s more difficult than this, but at difficult times opportunities exist beyond the norm. In shallower water with breaking waves where you don’t have the opportunity to cast into deeper gullies from a height you might need to take a step into the cauldron.
Great care must be taken by the angler in these circumstances – especially as he will often find himself fishing alone under these conditions. One of the key elements of this type of fishing and one often forgotten about (beyond been able to cast and stay safe in these circumstances) is line management. No cast can be made safely with the right hand in these circumstances whilst facing the sea, the Belgian will get it out there but there is the subsequent loss in distance, were looking for a little more this time.

So we learn to cast backwards into the rough sea. First I strip of the line onto the ground, the head drops down first, running line on top, stretched a little against the drag. Then I pull it all back into the basket running line first. I use a mangrove hip shooter which is deep and sits low to my left side. I can take out the line spikes in the bottom that are taller and more flexible and hold the running line higher in the basket; this allows the line to drop to the bottom around the stiffer shorter spikes. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Casting backwards with the line basket on your left hip, the windward side, and unfortunately the ‘wave’ward side too does present its own issues. This can be problematic for a number of reasons.

One thing the hip shooter does it forces me to remain shallow.

Line tray to the left and windward side whilst casting backwards.

The hip shooter is buoyant and will rise and fall in waves pivoting at your waist belt
Sometimes a coil of line will loop between you and the side of the basket under the belt support; it needs to be dealt with
Waves will spill the line out of the shooter
Running line needs to travel out of the shooter close to and across your body and clothing during the backward cast
When you turn to engage the cast and control the fly the hip shooter is now on the lee side of your body – often creating a more difficult swirling ‘close to’ breeze that whips the running line out of the shooter

You’ve made the cast turned and engaged the fly you strip, strip and then you get a tangle.

You’re fishing and the tangle is not too bad, you can see the head twenty feet away – waves are breaking down on the line and there’s weed close to shore.
Decisions regarding your action should be based around the time you can afford to release the tangle without getting the line, the leader and the fly already at sea into more trouble which you will have to then deal with.

If you are fishing with a floating line you may have more time
If you are fishing with an intermediate you will have less time
If you are fishing with sinking lines its probably very little time anyway

Decisions regarding time spent untangling running line mid retrieve should be made regarding depth of water, distance between running line tangle and the head, the extent of the tangle and the difficulty of the conditions. There is a possibility of increasing time spent untangling by using the wind to retrieve the fly and line and keep it out of trouble until the tangle is sorted.
This frequent line management under these conditions is a skill in itself that takes a long time and a lot of patience to learn – but keeping you fishing and the fly in the water longer will inevitably lead to more fish.

Some things to consider

Try not keep more running line in the basket than is necessary
Never travel from place to place in tough conditions over rocks with line in the basket
Finer running line is more liable to tangle than a more robust running line
NEVER take your eye off the sea when you are dealing with a tangle
Sometimes a tangle is a tangle – disengage and stop fishing to get it out
At times a ‘survival cast’ of simply lifting the entire line off and out of the water back onto the shore is needed
Try to get fish onto the reel in these conditions rather than ‘hand lining’ the fish – this can lead to trouble for both of you
There’s a lot of challenges going on in these conditions that force you to remain focused – never lose sight that your safety is priority

Wednesday 27 October 2010


Lots of people have mailed me and asked about the ‘Stretching of the elastic’, the post that you can see here.On the day that I made the post, October 10th a high pressure system had been slowly moving down over Ireland and the forecast was that it would remain in position moving backwards and forwards only slightly for a number of days. The previous few days, as far back as the 04th of October in fact, had seen strong south westerly’s with low pressure systems tracking over the country – forcing me to make customer cancellations as a result of the deteriorating conditions.

From Sunday the 10th of October a calm period of cool north easterlies and easterly’s settled over the country. Wave activity decreased, air temperature dropped, winds dropped and the sky was blue and cloudless. Sea water temperatures were still at 13 degrees and were not liable to change only very slowly over the next few weeks. Up to as far as the 17th of October winds blew from the North, the North east and the east, never really going above force three or four. Water clarity returned after the days of calm and was almost pristine by Wednesday 13th. Andrew and I took a quick session on Tuesday morning and had several fish off the surface here – just as the last of the spring tides were running through. This period of calm coincided with a dropping to neaps tidal cycle. There was very little if any rainfall.

I still managed to get fish on the fly on friday 15th - bottom of the neaps
Typically in Wexford fishing neap tides is never as productive as fishing spring tides. As the tidal cycle then increased towards springs beginning over the period from the 17th / 18th the wind moved into a westerly or North westerly position and remained gentle. I spoke with several people over the week in relation as to what was going to happen next – the sequencing of events that leads to a bass bonanza. An extended period of high pressure had existed over a neap tide cycle and into the early days of the spring tide cycle. This returned clarity and calm to the sea and allowed the systems to return to ‘normal’ after a period of stormy weather.
This calm period was then to be followed, and it was forecasted, by a fast moving low pressure system that would quickly and suddenly change wind direction to a south westerly direction, increase and strengthen - this was to produce my favourite fishing conditions.

The forecast was for the big blow to arrive quickly on the south coast on Friday late morning or early afternoon corresponding to a rising spring tide approaching the top of its cycle. What this would do and depending on the arrival time of the system would be to generate ideal fishing conditions for bass. Coastal water would be clear and break white in the increasing wind strength; the sudden wave activity generated would provide cover to hunt and also create feeding opportunities that haven’t existed for a number of days. All this was happening over a single rising tide on a spring cycle. It was a perfect short bass fishing storm that was visible from as early as the 10th of October – 12 days previously; this was the stretching of the elastic. It snapped on Friday somewhere around midday of the 22nd.

The people with whom I discussed the above situation and were lucky enough to be able to get out and do it - all of them experienced incredible bass fishing for that tidal rise on the Friday. Fish were taken on surface lures, diving lures, plastic lures, metal lures – it was simply ON!

No angling lure or fly 'technology' can ever replace the hard won knowledge of how coastal environments and their many influences interact with your fishing.

Nature gives you these things for free.
from a southern facing coast perspective

  1. Sudden cooler flowing air over warmer water will make fishing difficult
  2. Sudden cooler flowing air over already cool water will make fishing very difficult (Spring - late Autumn)
  3. Sudden change from cooler air to warmer air over warmer/cooler water will create opportunities on the right tidal cycle
  4. Protracted periods of cooler moving air have more impact than shorter periods
  5. Sudden dropping air temperatures have less impact time during autumn than during spring or summer
  6. Impact time during autumn is shorter than during spring or summer
  7. Fishing periods during off-shore winds are more difficult than during on-shore winds
  8. Protracted periods of either off-shore or on-shore winds will affect your fishing
  9. Air temperatures increase/decrease much faster and are much more irregular than sea temperatures which are more stable over time
  10. Some stats from 2009 Here

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Danny boy and the moon

'The moon pulled up an acre of' sprats....
Dan and I enjoyed a late rush of mackerel into the bay last night - sprats jumped everywhere and the fishing was short and brilliant fun

Thursday 21 October 2010

A note that makes it all worthwhile

by mail today....

Dear Jim

I enclose a couple of photos of a Bass Fishing session last friday morning. In all I took Five Bass, the smallest 3lbs and the largest 10lbs, all fish were returned unharmed
and swam away strong. I would like to take the time to thank you for the amount of information you gave me through you website, which helped contributed to a successful year bass fishing in Wexford. I hope the season will continue to be as pleasurable. Again many thanks and keep up the good work, it is of such value and education to all anglers.

Kind Regards


Wednesday 20 October 2010

Changeable and cool

A challenging weekend ahead with some good NW opportunities - get out there and do your best - its very very possible

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Visiting Danish Anglers to Wexford - One

Irish wolfhounds and great Danes

There’s no doubt that any person fly fishing for bass on the south eastern coast of Ireland during the seasons of 2007, 2008 and 2009 have had a tough time. Three seasons have now passed since what seemed like an eternity of very long, wet and dark summers that began in mid 2007. Summers that every day each of us hoped would begin and we would at last get some fine weather.

This season at last, visiting bass anglers have at times experienced some fantastic fishing here in Wexford. It’s been very tough during those three years. And particularly tough when you are trying to develop a new market for saltwater fly fishing in what is an already complex environment.

I have been interested in Danish saltwater fly fishing for quite a while now and as my personal interest in saltwater fly fishing has become almost all consuming it seemed logical to attempt to get some interested people here. In recent years saltwater fly fishing has experienced a tremendous growth in Denmark. So much that today you may see as many - or even more - fly fishermen fishing the shallow water wading from the shoreline as you see fishermen using spinning gear. The advent of long and light graphite rods coupled with light and saltwater resistant fly reels and a fantastic internationally recognised fishery has made this exciting development possible.

Standard equipment is a 9-10 foot long rod for 7-8 weight lines. Forward tapers are preferred as are floating lines for shallow and quiet water in the sheltered bays. On more open and windy shorelines intermediate lines are preferred to get below the waves to facilitate a good contact to the fly during the retrieve. I read this and more from a Danish Seatrout site and thought it sounded very familiar. Sportfishing in Denmark is almost exclusively focused on the prolific and fast growing sea trout in both river and sea. All major river systems are located in continental Jutland with the rivers Guden, Karup, Storå, Skjern, Varde, Kongeå and Ribe being the main fish producers.

Fishing in these rivers usually starts January 16 where "greenlanders" (the Danish name for small, overwintering immature sea trout in prime condition) together with spent and spawned out fish in bad to extremely bad condition dominate the catches. Serious and decent fishermen leave the spawned out fish alone and concentrate on the fat "greenlanders" instead, using light fly and spinning tackle. The "greenlanders" are mostly in the 35-45 cm range.

The "real" river fishing season for sea trout usually starts around June 5 where most major rivers experience the first run of large and mature sea trout. The first fish are often the largest with many silvery sea trout in the 5-10 kilo range being caught. From June on and proceeding to the end of the season (usually November 15) more and gradually smaller sea trout run the rivers and join the often fierce battle for the best holding spots.

What really interested me was that in Denmark, thousands and thousands of sea trout are caught annually along most of the Danish coastline which spans an impressive 8.000 kilometres!
The length of the coastline reflects the huge number of smaller and larger islands which comprise the non-continental part of Denmark. In the shallow water surrounding Denmark sea trout find an underwater Heaven on Earth. Food items of all sorts abound and provide easy prey for hungry sea trout. Here was a large concentration of anglers already familiar with fly fishing in tough conditions for a difficult quarry using gear that would ‘fit’ the requirements for fly fishing for bass in Ireland.
Early beginnings back in 2007

Sunday 17 October 2010

The value of the bass fishery

Putting it diplomatically, the first tourists to Ireland were Danes
President Mary mcAleese at the business launch on the first day of her official visit to Denmark

This week in Probassfisher - An analysis of How the developing Danish Interest in recreational Irish Bass Fishing has impacted on the local Wexford economy and can continue to grow

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Questions people ask - regularly

Some of the things on your mind (regarding bass fishing that is!)

  1. What is your favourite lure?
  2. What is your favourite lure colour?
  3. Why do you fish only with surface lures?
  4. What is the biggest bass you ever caught?
  5. You said I wouldnt catch on neap low tide why did I catch them?
  6. Will fly fishing for bass catch you more fish?
  7. What kind of flies do you use?
  8. Why dont we see more photographs of you on your site / magazines?
  9. What is the most important aspect of bass fishing?
  10. Why do you fish with white flies and lures a lot?
  11. Is fly fishing better than lure fishing?
  12. Where/how can I catch a big bass?
  13. How long is the bass fishing season?
  14. Why do you do more fy fishing for bass than lure fishing?
  15. Is your business fly fishing only?
  16. When did you start bass fishing?

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Blown away by the blow shot

The Smith Blow Shot 90RS has long been my favourite bass lure fishing rod. Anyone who owns one knows they are beyond compare. Andrew did own one - it was stolen last year, he decided recently to purchase another. These were the first fish he landed on his new rod.

We took all the fish from the surface this morning in bright cool conditions at extreme range- aided by the BS's super casting ability.

Quality never dissapoints - simple!

Monday 11 October 2010

A quick note


Thanks to Johnny, Ronain, and Fergus for the great company and fun.


Thanks to Michael, Mark and Bernard hope to see you again in April.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Thursday 7 October 2010

Coming soon to Probassfisher

The Evolution® LT is unquestionably one of the lightest fly reels ever produced. This large arbor fly reel is a machining masterpiece and the lightest in its class. The Evolution LT is fitted with an aluminum spool cap, aluminum drag knob and aluminum escapement cover. Our customers have been asking for more metal in their fly reel and that is exactly what you are going to get! To keep the weight in check with these improvements, we have also added ventilation to the spool and the frame, allowing for the addition of metal components with no measurable weight increase. This series is designed for those anglers who appreciate both art and function. The cosmetic innovation and precision workmanship of the Evolution LT series is only surpassed by its drag system which is precise and sensitive - capable of protecting the lightest tippets even when battling world-class fish. To guarantee the level of dependability consumers have come to expect from all Ross products, the Evolution LT series has been designed with a triple redundancy drag system, providing three backup systems to ensure dependability under the most demanding conditions.

Frame/Spool Material 6061-T6 proprietary aluminum alloy
Manufacturing Specifications Fully machined, 1 piece frame, 1 piece spool - manufactured on automated CNC machining centers
Drag Material Delrin 500AF with impregnated Teflon - space-age polymer that is durable, heat resistant, self-lubricating and maintenance free
Drag Mechanism Delrin 500AF to anodized aluminum interface - conical friction drag system with triple redundancy radial pawl engagement, and seamless transition between line-in and drag engagement (no start-up friction)
Spool Rotation, Connection and Conversion Oil impregnated bronze bushing rotating on a stainless steel spindle, quick release locking spool, easy left-hand to right-hand retrieve conversion
Finish Anodized for the perfect balance of hardness and color
Fly Rod Coverage 1wt. - 9wt.
Fishing Application Designed for use in all freshwater, warmwater and saltwater fishing environments
AVAILABLE COLORS Black, Copper, Grey Mist, Green
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Going back

Coloured water tactics and techniques - December 2010

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Biting your nails...

Sometimes you have to call it like it is. Simple. Martin from Scotland had this week reserved with me to lure fish along the Wexford coast - 6 days bass fishing. After much deliberation and discussion with Martin I felt that spending a week in Wexford bass fishing under current conditions was not what the fishery was about and so we canceled his trip.

This is never an easy decision but based on experiences, forecasts and the current conditions I would not have felt comfortable to take Martin as a guided customer. It goes back to the quality of the experience, I'm sure Martin could have come here and battled through six days of wind, brown and green weedy water and very unsettled weather and maybe even managed a fish or two who knows? But gone away with what exactly?

Given the opportunity and information, if the customer can absorb minimal costs and work/home/life considerations, then he can weigh up the options and say - lets do it next year! This doesn't happen very often and its a difficult time when it does. There is always a niggling doubt as regards the right decision.It impacts on my bottom line and others too. Of course people say I'm mad, and a customer can hear of reports of fish caught - (bigger and more numbers than ever, naturally) reports magnified in dimensions by disappointment, when the reality is so different.

To relate my decision making to the current weather forecasts go to these links HERE and HERE from 2008

So a weeks guiding canceled, Saturdays and Sundays workshop liable to be canceled, it all makes it a very challenging and interesting work environment.

Looking forward to 2011 already and thanks too to Martin.

Interesting week ahead !!

Saturday 2 October 2010

September weather summary

September combined spells of relatively dry, settled conditions with periods of very wet weather, giving some record-breaking daily falls of rain at some stations.

Temperatures were around two degrees higher than normal for most of the month, but cooler weather developed during the final week, bringing ground frost in some areas.

Monthly rainfall totals were above normal except in parts of Munster, with around twice the September average recorded in places; Mullingar had its wettest September since 1962. The number of wetdays during the month (days with 1mm or more rainfall) was close to normal, however, with almost all stations falling within the normal range for September of between 12 and 18 wetdays. Heaviest falls were measured in the period 5th to 7th and on the 9th, 13th and 22nd. Widespread daily falls of between 20mm and 60mm on the 6th were the highest on record for September at some stations: Knock Airport’s fall of 86.5mm on this day was the highest daily fall at the station for any month since rainfall measurements began there in 1988.

Mean monthly air temperatures were around one degree higher than normal and it was a particularly warm month in western areas. The highest daily values were measured during the first four days of the month, when maxima of over 20°C were widely recorded. In contrast, temperatures fell well below normal at times during the final week, when some very low air and ground temperatures for September were measured in midland and eastern areas.

Sunshine totals for the month were close to or a little higher than normal, with most stations recording their sunniest days in the period 1st to 4th. Source met Eireann

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...