Sunday 30 October 2011

Conservation police ?

Angling to protect stripers

By Ann Baldelli
Publication: The Day
Published 10/30/2011 12:00 AM
Updated 10/27/2011 11:30 PM in Rhode Island (where there is also a two-fish limit) but landed their catch in Stonington. Other anglers troubled by their greediness alerted the conservation police to their activity, including the fact that they would set out from Barn Island but unload their catch at Lords Point, where Hochman's family lives. The conservation officers were waiting when they came to shore Oct. 4, and nabbed them as they moved the bass from their boat to a vehicle on Boulder Avenue.

If convicted, the two could be fined $100 each for the first fish over the creel limit, $200 for the second, and $500 each for the third and fourth, and/or face up to 60 days in jail. I doubt the court will incarcerate these guys, but if they did indeed go out of their way to cover their tracks after illegal fishing - they should face the highest fines.

Not every recreational angler agrees with all the state's rules for managing its saltwater fisheries, but they're applauding the state's efforts to go after these alleged lawbreakers and make them accountable for their indiscretion.

Overturf, the conservation police colonel, said while environmental officers are committed to natural resource protection, it sometimes requires a cooperative effort from sports enthusiasts. The state's hotline to turn in poachers is 1-800-842-4357, he said.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

A challenging season - but who knows why?

Fish Returns

When I started guiding first I did so on the basis that there was a number of fish that could be caught on the Wexford coast. These fish could be caught regularly on the tidal patterns and could be caught using both fly and lure methods during normal Summer and Autumn months. This product base was enough for me to encourage international anglers to Ireland during that time, in other words it was valid. It took a lot of time and effort to establish and to verify that base.

My normal expectations are measured and re-measured against that base regularly, its not an unrealistic expectation and it is also matched to the discipline, I don't expect high catch returns from fly fishing in comparison to lure fishing. Nor am I unaware at any time in terms of other influences like weather.

From the simple chart above my expectations for 2004, 2005 and 2006 were pretty much close to reality and then during 2007, 2008 and 2009 these returns dropped and improved slightly again in 2010.

There is a significant decrease in terms of returns versus expectations during 2011 that is not easily identified.

Monday 24 October 2011

Thank you

Coming out the far side of a guided season, and particularly a guided season like 2011 has taught me many things, again! Its definitely becoming more difficult for me to unplug from the fishing and being out in the coastal environment after a season like 2011 can change your life. Yesterday after nine days of having not been on the coast was the first day that I felt I could operate reasonably well in the real world again. In the rarefied atmosphere of bass fishing and guiding you can lose yourself to its unique demands. Its taking longer each year for me to disconnect and it does have its impacts.

The reality of having to sit in front of a computer screen trying hopelessly to catch up on my Bsc and the submissions I need to make, household administration, sitting on the sofa with my children watching a DVD, walking on the main street with all its people, shopping - these things are normal things that I need to get used to again!

The one thing that keeps coming back to me again and again over the last few days and will continue to do so over the next few months, is the incredible sense that I have of having shared wonderful days, interesting days, challenging days, immensely rewarding days with fantastic people in fantastic places. All those experiences and more are firmly embedded in my thoughts at this time. As I look back over the schedule for 2011 and the names of the people who made bookings, the expectations the excitement the thrills and disappointments, phone calls or e-mails of support when I felt I was going a bit mad, the amazing and at times very difficult days of 2011 come flooding back. Thousands of photographs and thoughts help to confirm I wasn’t dreaming or imagining. I hope to get these words down over the next few months.

This is a quick thank you to all of you who considered and then used my services during 2011 and for many other things too from many other people, some of which you might not even consider important.

A special thanks goes to my wife Eileen at this time, without her it simply wouldn’t happen.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

At the end of the season - 96 guided days later

Nearly 1000 hours of guided and workshop fishing, hundreds of miles, sun, sand, rocks, barnacles, mussels, briars, wire, salt, rain and wind......the boots are close to collapse the waders one small leak at the knee, the jacket waterproof but some white at the main zip......I wish they made them from plastic entirely!

The waders come from Vision - Ikon waders
The Boots come from Vision - Vision emerger

The Jacket comes from Vision - Vision Speed

Slot sizes for Irish bass - II - The Future is beginning

Spending a lot of time with people who are interested in bass angling forces many issues to the surface during the fishing. Conversations over the season varied from the usual talk of tackle, locations and strategies often leading to the inevitable conclusion that at times the fish are very hard to catch and sometimes very easy! Season 2011 has been an ‘exceptional’ season for many reasons which I will post about later in the year. Time and again the fishing words would find themselves tripping over topics like bass fisheries management, protection and promotion within this country.

All favourite topics of mine not! I’m not going there lest I begin to rant which is highly possible, but one of the issues that came up during the summer was the slot size used in fisheries management. I’m not a fisheries manager (which ultimately is an angling behaviour manager) nor am I a fisheries biologist but it does strike me that there may be some sense in slot sizes. Yes there may be pain too!  

A customer asked me a simple question – ‘Jim why don’t we catch more of the big bass?’ I have always believed that catching bigger bass requires more than specific types of lure or equipment, it demands that the angler ‘angles better’ especially from a fly and lure perspective. Catching bass is not straightforward, catching bigger bass regularly is another angling dimension. Accepting that degree of difficulty and trying to understand the behaviours of bigger fish make it challenging.

But is it even more challenging simply because the numbers of better fish are not there?

I know there are several reasons why the fish may not be there more regularly and most bass anglers are definitely not that reason at this time.

So I hear you ask why impose another restriction on anglers? The post was made in a hope that it might force us to think about the fishery and its current management in some small way. Like many things in this country there appears to be no current thinking on the issues facing the fishery or even its further enhancement and continued protection. It needs a real investment, commitment and a sense of national worth at this time. 

Maybe this is the beginning -  A welcome for (bass) fish permit refusal HERE

In the meantime if you are visiting here at this website you may meet with some technical issues from time to time as I move Probassfisher to another platform. I am re-building and configuring the site to preserve its unique identity over the next while. 

I hope you have enjoyed some of the reports from 2011. I will expand on the experiences and wonderful times I had with the people I met and fished with during the season over the long winter months ahead but not just yet........!

Thank you - Jim

Monday 17 October 2011

Slot sizes for Irish bass?

The current minimum size limit on bass in Ireland is one method used for the stock management of the species from a recreational standpoint. Most anglers who retain fish observe both the size and number limits. The addition of a maximum size might help improve the fishery even further and enhance the management of the fishery based on a slot size.

As the popularity of bass angling increases and anglers operate within the current restrictions on a take basis, it may impact on the distribution of the type of fish we will have in our waters. Currently the minimum size for killing fish is 40 cm’s. The fish population over 40cms includes both male and females, but larger fish tend mostly to be female. If there was to be say an increased tendency to take larger fish then we could be left with a greater population of smaller male fish over time.

The introduction of a protective slot limit would prevent the keeping of mid-sized fish, whilst allowing the capture and retention of both smaller and larger fish. Catching fish below the protective slot may take advantage of the greater number of small fish, which would then allow mid-sized fish a better opportunity to survive and grow out of the protected size range.

As the protected mid-sized fish continue to grow, they eventually become the large fish. A further restriction of the retention of one such large fish in a 24 hour period might be further considered as an increased enhancement of the stock management. As anglers we would like the increased opportunity to capture the ‘fish of a lifetime’ – slot size management might help to increase the overall numbers of larger fish and the opportunities to capture that elusive mystical creature.

I realise there are huge pressures on bass stocks at the moment – spear guns, illegal netting, commercial pressure, taking of bass beyond the legislated restrictions by anglers, lack of enforcement and even increased recreational activity. 

These pressures are all taking their toll – the continued removal of the population of breeding females could impact negatively on the species too.

Sunday 16 October 2011

A REAL Wexford angling hero

Martin Howlin pictured with Ruth and Dan and the Guinness Perpetual Trophy for the Irish Master Shore Angling Championship. A big congratulations on your brilliant success and wishing you the best for Holland in 2012.

Friday 14 October 2011

Thank goodness its Friday


This mornings Landing Gear -

Reel - Daiwa certates
Rod - Illex element rider
Line - Famell SW super
Leader - Rio fluoroflex 
Lure/s -Senko worm 7" and Illex gambit head - Z-claw

Thomas' extraordinary fish were taken on the surface with the Z-claw - location, circumstances, timing, patience and hard work has its own rewards - returning to Holland tired with smiles and memories

Thursday 13 October 2011

Nothing like shortening the winter


This mornings Landing Gear -
Reel - Daiwa certates
Rod - Illex element rider
Line - Famell SW super
Lure/s - Megabait chihuahua, Illex - I-Shad, Ima skimmer

Wednesday 12 October 2011

I-shad revolution

Its not often I get excited about bass fishing gear - there are exceptions and one of those things that I really like at the moment is the Illex I-shad combined with the Illex gambit jig head - the discovery of the summer - fished with or without the head enjoy it - available for Henrys Tackle

a beautiful mornings fishing - simple

One of those simple days when it begins to fall into place a little bit - you can instinctively feel it beginning to happen. We saw fish blitzing many times and then were overwhelmed by activity......again and again!

Landing Gear -
Reel - Daiwa certates
Rod - Smith bayliners
Line - Famell SW super
Lure/s - Lucky craft flash minnow, sammy, and slim pointer

Thursday 6 October 2011

SOME reports from nine years of guiding

I have included this free download as a.pdf from the blog - its a simple set of fotos and notes from only some of the bass fishing experiences I have had with many people over the past nine years. Years 2003 to 2007 are pretty scant in the file as I wasn't aware of blogging technology at the time. I do have an extensive foto record of this period and may in time fill something retrospectively.

Looking forward to year ten already!

Bass Fishing Reports from PBF

Two bass fishers and a golfer

Black eyed angels swimming with me

What can your Tackle company do for you or rather the fishing?

From: martin
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 8:39 AM
Subject: Priority email from website: Lures for consideration
my name is Martin and I`m an overseas sales manager at DUO, a Japanese lure manufacturer with tradition of over 20 years. We recently started to promote our products internationally(more than in the past, at least) and would like to ask you if you can consider reporting about our lures on your website. You can check our products at and we also have a FB fan page for all the latest news at
Thank you for your consideration.
Looking forward to your reply.
Best Regards, 
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 11:22 AM
To: martin
Subject: Re: Priority email from website: Lures for consideration

Hi Martin
many thanks for your e-mail – I would be delighted to report something about your lures in 2012 on my website –  Before I do - Can I ask what can DUO do as a company to help/assist in the continued protection of the Irish bass stocks?

please visit www.probassfisher for details of more fishing in Wexford, Ireland.

best regards - Jim@

Tuesday 4 October 2011

An early customer returns - five years later!

I met Colm the best part of five years ago for a Bass Workshop during 2006 - he returned again this week for a few days an accomplished and very experienced bass angler. Hard work and determination creates lifetime experiences which we have shared over the last  few days.

We are also enjoying difficult but rewarding fishing!

Monday 3 October 2011


My laptop has, in the last 24 hrs declined to start, so its off to Toshiba for two weeks - if i'm missing you in any way please let me know at my usual address

Willeeeee, Nialleeeee, Jimmeeeee

I took a day out yesterday just to go fishing. I went with my brother, and nearly brother in law! And what a day we had in the grey gloom of October. No mobile signal and no radio signal, we were remote - out there catching and having fun.
Thanks guys.

Saturday 1 October 2011

Out there

Out there in the clear aluminium grey sea lie big black eyed silver angels. Today and for the next few days beyond the reach of comfortable warm laptops and flat screens and the ego ridden bass forums are possibilities that only you can make. Out there in the dark and the rain and the mist and the tide and the peace and the waves and you – Out there!


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...