Saturday 30 June 2012

Wexford Business Awards, runner-up tourism category.

I was absolutely delighted to receive the joint runner-up award in the Tourism category of The Wexford Business Awards 2012 in Whites hotel last night. It was a real honour to share the stage with the other runners-up, Bill and Isobel Kelly of Kelly’s Resort Hotel. Kelly’s Resort Hotel went on to win the overall Wexford Business Award.

The shortlisted finalists in the Wexford tourism award category were


Celtic link ferries
Griffin group
Irish national heritage park
Kellys resort hotel
Morriscastle strand holiday park
Talbot hotel Wexford
Wexford festival opera
Whites of Wexford
Whitford house hotel
South East Angling Ireland

This category was sponsored by Highwind Films

To have been shortlisted within this group of dynamic Wexford tourism business providers was in itself a privilege. To receive the runner-up award was beyond my greatest expectation.
I feel this award will only help to strengthen the validity of the bass fishing product in this country.

Thanks to all my friends, customers and loyal bass fishing network.

For more information regarding the 72 shortlisted finalists visit this link here


Thursday 28 June 2012

The challenges and cycles continue

Sometimes I notice that if I'm ‘researching’ the jet stream phenomena I often come across statements from meteorologists that sound like the following

1. The Jet stream moves because of weather (e.g. warmth or cold somewhere) and or
2. The weather is like it is because of the Jet stream.

Both may be true to an extent but it needs to be clear, the jet stream IS weather so what we really have here is confusion on a description rather than cause.
The question is WHY are it ( the jet stream) and our associated weather behaving rather differently now than say from a decade ago? That’s not for me to say or conclude.

‘The weather pattern is so stuck in a rut that there's every chance that low pressure will dominate our weather for the rest of June and into the first half of July too - meaning more cool and at times wet weather - with a few fine warm days in-between.’

And it's all down to the position of the jet stream. A low lying jet stream is also connected to AMO see this post here on Striper bass decline
The risk here is that we incorrectly associate animal behaviour and rationalise exceptions into slots that ‘fit’ our derivations. Ants are flying early or badgers are blacker than white this year – and then we attach a weather pattern as either the cause or the displayed animal behaviour is an indication the end the world is approaching!

jet2The jet stream is a fast moving zone of winds high up in the atmosphere, caused by the temperature contrast between cold air to the north, and warmer air to the south.
It's along this boundary, where warm and cold air constantly battle each other that most of our rain bearing weather systems form.

'The jet stream, for some time now, has been further south than normal - hence the inclement weather.

During 2007, 2008, 2009 the Jet Stream has been at an abnormally low latitude across the UK, lying closer to the English Channel, around 50°N rather than its more usual north of Scotland latitude of around 60°N. However, between 1979 and 2001, it has been found that the position of the jet stream has been moving northward at a rate of 2.01 kilometres (1.25 mi) per year across the Northern Hemisphere'

From my own observations based on fish returns and expectations you could draw some conclusions see here A challenging season, fish behaviour changes because of weather – this has been inherent in this blog for a long long time.

I do know this – when I started guiding in 2003 my ‘management’ of how the weather was communicated to customers at the beginning of the week along with the information pack and the detail etc., the summary went something like this – ‘Guys, looks like we will have a tough day on Tuesday and fishing will be difficult until Wednesday lunchtime’, (or something similar) at the moment I’m looking for a good day amongst several tough or impossible days!

Looking at this forecast it looks like its set to remain difficult for a while.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Mid summer madness, I don’t think so!




Fishing remains extremely difficult in ideal conditions, some fish about but generally very patchy. Weather windows, exact timings and presentations with ‘focused’ fishing in otherwise productive locations leading to some results.

Saturday 23 June 2012

The Hook Bass Fishing Festival

October Bass Festival at the Hook Peninsula -

Having been invited, I attended a meeting this morning in Fethard as part of a working group involved in creating a Bass Angling Festival on the Hook Peninsula. Many aspects for the proposed development of the Festival were discussed.

I emphasised my usual cautionary approach to 'development' of the fishery, and having built a small business that utilises the reasons why many people want to come to Wexford and to fish bass, I expressed and re-emphasised that many bass anglers simply like the environment, peace and a sense of isolation combined with a chance of exploration and the challenge of the fishing.
Those same people contribute to local economies throughout the season on a day by day basis in many Wexford coastal communities without using my services or having to experience it through the medium of a Festival.

Anglers use the peninsula and the facilities provided there all of the time, they do so on the basis that it is simply what it is and it already provides what they need. Indeed many are not necessarily bass anglers. Not everyone is aware of this.

This doesn't mean I am opposed to the Festival, I think its an opportunity for the Festival committee to demonstrate and to add and include other bass fishing related activities, some evening presentations, local history workshops, tours of the Peninsula to provide a sense of the magic, the spirit of the place. An inclusive experience for people.

I personally feel we have many local people who could make considerable and interesting contributions to the Festival - Billy Colfer (historian), Jim Hurley (naturalist), Kevin Dundon (chef), among many others too, promoted responsibly through Irish angling press it could be a real opportunity to showcase local expertise, talent and environment.

As a Wexford person who has invested ten years of my life in bass fishing in the area and many places in close proximity , how much I can contribute I'm not entirely sure as its the busiest time of year for me - I do know that the dates the Festival is on I will be just finished working with two returning Dutch visitors!

Friday October 26th - Sunday October 28th

Friday 22 June 2012

Skiff to ma looo my darlin!

Dark and silent late last night,
I think I might have heard the highway calling ...
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
And signs that might be omens say I'm going, I'm going
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
. - James Taylor

I guess after much deliberation and debate and toing and froing and confusion the decision is made and taking delivery early/mid autumn.

Thursday 21 June 2012

The stars

Fishing at 2 am last night I found myself not for the first time looking at the stars.
Night fishing always makes me more contemplative. Every splash and wave, every creak of the cast is louder and clearer and at times seemingly closer. The voices of the shore blend into a rhythm of sound and sensation that forces me to focus on the task at hand. Out of that comes the slotting into place of the cast, the safe footing, the minimal vision and the accentuated attention paid to what I am hearing and feeling.
I am in the place where anticipation always grows greater as the eastern horizon lightens.
Looking at the stars and stripping big flies slowly over a shallow drop-off, I am thinking, and also not for the first time, about my website. Probassfisher is rapidly approaching 3000 photographs, 1000 posts, this is post no. 970, the site represents five years of commitment to my experiences and some thoughts about bass angling in this country.
Now I find myself changing in relation to the fishing and what I post on Probassfisher and for how much longer do I want to attend to it. Its not just the fishing experiences I have had this week but those from late last year and early into this year too are making me think differently. There are always the usual questions about the quality of the writing, the structure, the posts, and the content. It’s too big to change it now and it is what it is. Somehow the benchmark of 1000 posts sounds like a stop, a milestone reached, a time for change for me at this time.
I love making the site and it makes it possible for me to do my job. Now I’m thinking, wanting to do something different something that is closer to the fishing. What that is I’m not quite sure yet, to be honest it’s probably a more ‘instinctive’ version of Probassfisher, but as I say I’m not quite sure, maybe its something like Thirtyards
Maybe it’s a different approach to the fishing and the business.
Spontaneity, desire, heightened anticipation, a headlong rush to a location in the wind and rain to fish, hoping that your instinct is right, not really caring if its not – call it what you might sometimes you just know you need to do it!

Jim Hendrick


Friday 15 June 2012

Happy Opening / Bloomsday – June 16th

‘..its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights DSC_2393and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon’

James Joyce – Ulysses

Thursday 14 June 2012

I know a good place

I met a man once, fished with him even, he wrote of good places! The bass fishing world has changed.

Change, its inevitable!

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking racing around to come up behind you again. Pink Floyd - Time

Today is June 14 2012. In two days time my tenth season for bass guiding begins on this coast, I will be guiding Jean Yves, a long-term customer and now a good friend. This is Jean Yves’ fourth year of bass fishing on the Southern coasts of Ireland.

Jean Yves first fished for bass in Wexford during 2004. During his fishing over those years its inevitable that he has drawn comparisons to his previous experiences. These comparisons and insights let me know what my customer witnesses and feels and this in turn helps me to improve that experience. Sometimes that’s not possible, things change!

Providing something that a customer feels he would like to return to makes good business sense. It makes running the business a little easier, if I can easily encourage customers to return I don’t need to spend time looking for new ones. It also places me in positions where I am working with people whom I know and trust. The customer knows what to expect and the way we can work together, an Irish fishing experience!

About 67% of my customer base is recurring – customers don’t always have positive experiences or indeed return again, and I often find its what people bring with them to their guided fishing or workshop days that will work for or against us. That customer base is always evolving and over time new customers arrive and older customers evolve to become friends! Friends don’t make good business sense but I wouldn’t change any of them!

The business and its operation is limited and I have always accepted those limits, plugged those constraints into the business model so to speak. The limits of the fishery allow it to be what it is. This is what you have to work with. The truth. After ten years of experiences under these challenges you grow to accept the patterns of nature, the highs and lows of the fishing, twiddling your thumbs during the close, the delight, the excitement, the anticipation, the tough drudgery, the beginning and the end of the week, the season!

There is much ‘talk’ of expansive changes in bass fishing in this country at this time, talk of licences, extending the closed season, making it a catch and release period, increasing size limits, decreasing daily allowable catch. Some of this makes sense to me, I probably have posted here about a lot of those things over the years. Change can be good of course, if communicated and shared properly and is seen to be widely agreed with and supported.

Provided the change is based in valid experiences over time, a sense of involvement with participation and contributions from many different people, and with a good supporting knowledge base then change could be of benefit to the bass fishery.

But suggesting or even making change for change sake or because its a trendy topic to talk about or because it seems to appear to benefit economically then this of course is a different type of issue. This is especially true if its not transparent as to how or why change should be made. There are many wider contributing factors at stake that ultimately support the fishery that are equally as viably important and ‘economical’.

These factors will ‘pay off’ over a far longer period of time, the long haul – these need to be considered in the mix.

Development of the bass fishery does not need a ‘slam dunk’ approach at this time. We have all seen and experienced what this type of development means in this country, and what has that achieved? A change for change sake because it benefits through the perceived rationale of short term economics may in the longer term not prove to be beneficial to the resource at all – why shoot the goose if the goose can lay eggs for many years?

Friday 8 June 2012

This is a copy of the regular newsletter as posted by Justin Anwyl who has worked as a bass fishing guide in Chichester Hbr for the past ten years.


To all those caught by the fly...

This year so far has been a tale of two halves as the very clement weather in March saw water temperatures get to 11.8 degrees and well above average for that time of year, only to be stalled in April where they sat for nearly a month between 10 and 11 degrees. We didn't manage to hook a Bass in April due to the poor conditions and even throughout early May it felt like winter.

The good news is that the Solent has rocketed in the last 2 weeks by 4 degrees and is now above the magical 14-15 level. Bait is everywhere and school Bass can be seen on nearly every piece of structure you go past. The stock looks healthy enough but so far we are hooking up to year class 6, 7 and 8 with plenty of fish but no trophies to date (300 in the last three days).

A Solent Blitz

Cockroach patterns have been isolating the Bass from the Mackerel, but small red and white as well as olive Clouser Minnows reflect the size of the bait so far this season. Sandeel and small mullet fry are covering the whole of Hayling bay and very large blitzes are seen in the very early morning on the west side of the harbour, this bite is over by 7.30-8.00am as the sun breaks through. The same bite can be seen in the late evening when the thermal pressure drops and the sun comes off its vertical position.

Hopefully as the season gets into full swing the areas we cover will become better populated with quality Bass but I have heard from many sources of the damage been done East of Chichester throughout the Kingmere reef system where pair trawling has been operating since Christmas. This area is particularly important for both spawning Black Bream and Bass and the greatest fear is the physical damage being done to the reef itself - it is beyond me to understand how such an important area can be subject to such abuse especially during late winter when both species are shoaling and easily targeted - the Bass will have been feeding over white ragworm for months and have no commercial value when brought to port - they wouldn't even cover the diesel expenditure -

Sussex Fisheries (Chief Fishery Officer and Clerk: Mr T.M. Dapling 01273 454407 Fax: 01273 454408 email: are aware of this problem but are moving way too slowly for my liking - case study the Eastern Seaboard for a template and start to take control of a resource which is everybody's to enjoy.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Bass fishing protection

I attended a meeting yesterday afternoon at the IFI offices in Clonmel. Also present were John Quinlan of the Irishbass group, Colm McCann a recreational bass fisherman, and Henry Lynham, of Henrys Tackle. Three fisheries officers and the area manager David McInerney took time to talk to us regarding many aspects of bass fishing protection on the South East coast. Topics ranged from illegal netting issues to the current spate of recreational take at locations on the Wexford coast before and during the bass ban.

We hope to see a lot more of the fisheries officers in the future.

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...