Monday 30 July 2012

First bass and a great offshore trip too!

Where are my keys? Oh I left them in my hat!


Dear Jim,
Many thanks for last week. We had a fantastic time and would like to repeat the experience next year.

I will follow your site with great interest on the wider issue of what is causing catches to fall, and will hope soon to see a reversal. It's clear that something unusual is going on and one only hopes that it is something cyclical.

But it was a great couple of days nonetheless and we were full of admiration for the quality of your operation (and your latest web-post!).
Regards Mark
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Friday 27 July 2012

A fight on our hands


Just received this from John at Irish Bass – tough times ahead.

What can you do ?

Taken from Simon Coveneys’ Facebook account –

‘Don't forget what makes us proud to be Irish. With positive thinking and new politics, we will succeed. Together, let's rebuild our country!’

Please e-mail and write to the minister voicing your concerns in respect of the issues above

I saw this and I thought of you

Monday 23 July 2012

The state of the Wexford bass fishery at this time

Late last year I posted regarding what I consider to have been a deterioration in the numbers of fish that I expected to catch on a day by day basis in Wexford. That deterioration was significant running at 65%. Surely a reasonable post for discussion.

See this link - A challenging season – but who knows why?

At this stage of the 2012 season that deterioration has continued and worsened to the extent that anticipated versus actual returns is down by 88%.

This post is not a discussion regarding debate across techniques or learning curves or methods employed, I measure very accurately across all factors. This post is a wave of a red flag that something is not right. This may be viewed as contrary to popular belief – but it depends on what and why you want to believe I guess!

Ensure comparisons, logic and timescale are valid – one or two big fish don’t make a season.

Today was a classic example of how tough it is – DSC_3418fishing with Pete Browne, who is a return customer who suffered last year too, Pete is a capable fisherman and under my guidance we can make a strong team and yet Pete had an extremely difficult day today, fish yes, fish missed yes but only at extraordinary effort and with minimum returns.

Throughout this blog and for the five years of its existence I have emphasised the extent of the influences that the fishery is prone to. To a large extent those influences are hard wired into the reality of the business, this is reflected here almost daily. The essence of what you see here is a reflection of the fishing, always has been.

Understand the influences and their effects on the marine environment/fauna and you can understand a large part of the challenges of bass fishing.

Remember ‘bass fishing’ is easy and fun and can be done by any person – other elements create the challenges.

Last year and into this year I believed that ‘weather’ was the major reason for such a tough season during 2012 and I guess I tried to validate that. Don’t get me wrong I know what bad weather is, but this is different. I like to believe that the fish are just a short distance off, inshore in ‘suspended’ mode waiting for ‘better’ conditions. A poor growth year perhaps. Just like 1986.

But I cant help wondering at this stage is it something else. Hopefully it can turnaround.

Whatever it might be, a big thanks to all for your patience and perseverance!

Jim Hendrick

Bass in surf

Thursday 12 July 2012


I left it for twenty-four hours and then e-mailed John. John lives in Sussex and arrives in Wexford on Saturday to fish for bass on the fly for four days. The mail of course informed him of the forecasted weather conditions for his visit, difficult to say the least!

At this time its still only a forecast…….

Giving John the option to cancel and in fact many other people too, is something that I've had to get used to over the past few weeks. This is not easy and its very very disappointing for customers who have made commitments and look forward to their days fishing. From a small business point of view its damned bloody difficult.

Getting people from both around the world and from within Ireland to come to Wexford to experience regular quality guided fishing is an exercise in itself, a task that needs constant attention, work and management.

It just doesn’t happen spontaneously!

When customers do arrive the automatic aspects of the job kick into place, guiding, gear, transport, food, location timings…this is what a guide does, no problem!

By default in the middle of June July August or September in Ireland, one should expect ‘reasonable’ weather when the fishery will operate normally to a large extent. In other words with all the other aspects of the job falling into place after months and years of hard work only to be thwarted at the last furlong by something beyond your control is indeed tough.

Other guides worth their mettle and working in Ireland will surely recognise and appreciate this. Realising there’s already enough to deal with at this time, they will already know the reality the extent and the scale of the difficulty of what’s involved!

At this time it doesn’t need to be made even more difficult by anybody playing silly games who doesn’t understand or appreciate that, and I’m not talking about customers here.

So I made a decision this morning, a necessary and now regular one – but John made a braver one, he called me, he’s coming to weather the storm!

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

The weather of June 2012


Rainfall was well above average with long-term average (LTA) values ranging from 135% at Valentia Observatory to 286% at Casement Aerodrome. Most stations, apart from Valentia Observatory and Belmullet, recorded double or more of their June Average. Of these, most reported it as their highest June rainfall on record, apart from Dublin Airport and Phoenix Park which reported their wettest June since 1993 (19 years) and 2007 (5 years), respectively.

Days that recorded the highest accumulations were mainly on the 7th and 8th, with Shannon Airport measuring 41.8 mm on the 7th, its highest for June since 1947 (65 years). The month’s highest daily rainfall was on the 22nd at Malin Head with 50.9 mm, its highest June fall since 1955 (57 years). The number of wet days (days with 1 mm or more) were above average ranging from 13 at Malin Head to 22 at Knock Airport, with very wet days (days with 10 mm or more) ranging from three at Valentia Observatory to eight at Phoenix Park and Fermoy (Moore Park).

Mean temperatures were all below average with differences of around 1°C at Johnstown Castle and Malin Head, both reporting their coolest June since 1991 (21 years). Most maximum temperatures were recorded at the end of June, with the month’s highest temperature of 23.8°C at Phoenix Park on the 27th, its lowest June maximum in 5 years. Most other maximum temperatures recorded in the South, Southwest and West were the lowest since 2002 (10 years).

Sunshine was below average with Cork Airport reporting only 93 hours, around half of its average and its dullest June on record. Other stations reported it as the dullest June in a number of years with Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport reporting it as their dullest since 1993 (19 years) and with remaining stations reporting it as their dullest June in at least seven to 15 years.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Interlude - The moment

In the world of waves curving crashing in to shore breaking white and clean at three feet breaking and falling over and running up and then more slowly back, mixing with others into a place a time a now where you stand to groin depth where you are reduced to simply only how you can fish with what you have, the sweet rain and warm wind forgotten tasting the salty champagne mist on your lips feeling it burning your face and then suddenly all doubts all pointless thoughts worries and anxieties are banished by a fish that takes and runs hard across the shallow surging surf

This is the moment when all is forgotten – all


Sunday 1 July 2012


Well Jim
We left the hotel in orlando at 3.30am myself and mark and drove 155 miles to Port Charlotte to meet Robert at 6am sharp. With my steady driving, we were at the boat ramp and 5.40 and ready for action. Shortly after Robert and Vinny his mate arrived and slipped the boat into the water. Sunrise was 6.35 am and the plan was to throw  cast net for live mullet to freeline from the back of the boat and I was to cast live mullet at rolling fish although Robert felt there was a good chance of a hook up on a SP fished just under the surface and as slow as possible.

Even throwing the cast net was exciting as we waited for sunrise so we could see the mullet shoals breaking surface... It wasn't long before we had a!cid_8C1F0BD6-4BEB-4BA0-9F00-177B1D31C163@cfl_rrbout a dozen perfect sized mullet(about 9 inches long) and we were speeding out to where Robert had located the shoal on the previous two days. He reckoned in his matter of fact southern drawl that there was about 5,000 fish in the shoal and he said we will see many many fish rolling and hitting baitfish. I thought he was dreaming until the day unfolded.

Within 15 mins we were on the trolling motor searching around the spot recorded on the GPS, sun was just up, and we were about to come off slack tide and Robert said to listen for 'em. Unbelievable when I seen the first Tarpon rolling. And sure enough it was constant for the next 3 hours. I now believe there was 5,000 fish in the shoal!
Vinny clipped the fins off two mullet and set them out the back of the boat. as he was doing this I started blind and sight casting to the rolling Tarpon with the most unlikely SP. After about 10 casts I said to Robert(you know me well enough now!)"do they really hit these little plastic yokes" He replied "sure do, they are Tarpon candy".

!cid_95ED858B-08B5-45E1-A105-C5D77E315FAF@cfl_rrThen, a fished rolled, i casted to him 5 foot ahead like i was told and began to reel so slowly, in fact painfully slowly and really difficult to do with all the excitement. I felt two little bumps and said to Robert, "do they bump it before they hit it?"... before he answered the tarpon slammed the lure and I was on tight. I set the hook and he jumped about 10 feet in the air. MAGICAL and unforgettable. He jumped and fought and jumped and fought for 25 minutes plus. Vinny slagged me over getting "Tarpon shake" where I had to let go of the rod with my right hand and shake the tiredness out of it. Of course I moaned a little and begged, literally begged the fish to give up. But he wouldn't. I eventually got him to do the "circles of Death" where it kept turning in a tight circle at the edge of the boat about 5 feet under until he eventually surfaced. We tagged him and Robert took DNA from him and he was released unharmed. Estimated at 80lbs.

This pattern repeated itself 4 times. The second fish came in at about 40 lbs and Mark fought him with great difficulty. See photo attached.
The third fish jumped 20 feet into the air when i set the hook. Robert and Vinny were amazed never mind myself and mark.

The fourth fish jumped four times, i was cocky and too casual and forgot to lower the rod on the fourth jumped and the 60lb mono was sheared by the fishes sandpaper type teeth. I think he was the biggest, and Robert says he was a"a buck twenty or thirty easily". i was ragging but i had my fun and probably would have had to give him to vinny to fight as my right arm was dead. in fact it still is now 7 hours later.

Sorry for giving you the whole story but I wanted to record most of it while memory was fresh.


I cant believe I hit 4 with lures and landed 3. Unbelievable considering Vinny has never had a Tarpon on a lure. Robert was impressed but sure I told him I was taught by a master lure fisher from Wexford!
Bendy Bendy

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...