Wednesday 31 July 2013
Monday 29 July 2013
That I don't ever want it to end
If I had it my way I would never leave
Keep building these random memories
Turn in all our days into melodies
But since I can't stay……
I'll just keep playing back
These fragments of time
And everywhere I go
These moments still shine
Daft Punk - Fragments of time
Saturday 27 July 2013
Sometimes its tough out there.
Yesterday was one of those days for me and I woke this morning, early, still not able to shake off how I feel right now.
In a world where easily gathered or misused information leads to unlearned and perceived success without responsibility, much emphasis is misplaced on what bass fishing is really about. I learned that again yesterday.
Through more than 1000 days of guiding people from around the world some, less than a dozen, of those people will have shared a unique and special experience at what I consider to be a special bass fishing place. I genuinely do.
Its also special in my heart in a way that is hard to explain, even how I found the place is significant to me. I have brought some people, very few, there in the hope of being able to share an experience and to marvel at what exists there. Not in any ‘fish number’ or ‘fish size’ or ‘look at me’ type of way but simply to partake in an experience maybe a sense of what it might feel like upon entering a secret pyramid or seeing the sun rise from within New Grange.
I visit this place rarely with a significance and obsessive care that borders on due diligence to a natural resource. A value to me that maybe only a few people in my life, maybe in the world really understand. People whom are close to me and indeed most of the people who remember fondly what they have experienced there share that responsibility trust and care and also fully understand what it means to be a real bass fisherman.
Thursday 25 July 2013
Tuesday 23 July 2013
The nuances of late September light the stark hardness of a cool April north westerly blowing grey curtains of showers across lilac skies whilst spring geese V their way home, the sight of the first swallow when fishing for sea trout, the silence after the last tern has gone, the smell of summer rain on dry rocks and sea pinks refreshed like some bejewelled Italian ice-cream nodding their heads in a summer breeze.
The skylark high in the sky or a curlews startled cry as you walk back a late October estuary when already the sky is darkening.
All these things bred into your skin into your person over years, into your heart,into what you are – north winds, south winds, east winds, sunshine, frost, blue skies, rain, salt and sand. The shape, the colour and the sounds of the sea the waves that break on the shore into white bass water where you know it will happen, you can smell it.
This is where you have spent and invested time and work – this is your home.
Irish Angler – August Edition 2013
Wednesday 17 July 2013
Some tactics to use for the next few days as the tidal sequence increases and decreases – July 18th to July 31st.
We are on ‘safari’ over the next nine days spending time in three counties – Cork Waterford and Wexford. This is reasonably complex in relation to timings tides and locations but coupled to this is the new dynamic and challenge of a very very settled weather pattern with sun and high pressure. Fishing will need to be adjusted and our plans need to include the added dimension of high air temperatures and lots of sun – we need to be practical economical and tactical in our efforts over such a long time.
I’m equipping the guys with rods, reels, and lines plus lure choice – so its the usual that you are familiar with from here Illex and Smith Rods, Sunline braid, Rio fluorocarbon and Shimano Stradics Ci4’s, nothing revolutionary there just practical.
But what of lure choice, what’s in the box? What am I thinking to try and do the best I can?
Monday 15 July 2013
Friday 12 July 2013
So its the end of the second guided week for me– one where we have all experienced remarkable summer weather. Weather we haven’t experienced for perhaps five years or more. It was also a week spent in the company of two great people – John and Paul. John is an avid saltwater fly fisherman who travels to Florida regularly and Paul is much more relaxed about his fishing not having fished since his visit last year.
At this time the Wexford bass fishery remains very much below what it is capable of under these positive circumstances. I am speaking here only of what I know. The fishing is difficult and a little more challenging in the current conditions yes, but this is not the reason for the much lower returns. I have had too many experiences and years spent on the water, where it was a chore to climb into your waders not matter how breathable they were, in the middle of bright days hands shredded from unhooking and returning fish. John and Paul caught fish of course they did as can be seen below and they caught them by working and fishing hard, time spent on the water tactically, listening and doing. And boy have they worked hard, they got their results through perseverance and skill.
Now you can say many things at this time in relation to this particular weeks fishing, you chat to a few people (many of whom seem concerned about their fishing) and then we have a tendency to experience a ‘lets wait and see what happens on the next tidal phase’, ‘lets wait till it goes south Westerly’, ‘lets wait till the clouds come home’, ‘lets wait till October’. The fact is any improvement in comparison to current fishing is going to be a massive jump. Hence we hear ‘The bass fishing is back on…’ but that level of improvement is only measurable in terms of your own actual experiences over considerable time compared to the scale of your knowledge of how well it can actually operate. And so the myth is perpetuated whilst in fact the fishing deteriorates.
There’s nothing wrong with standing up and waving a flag when you feel something is wrong. In fact it might help to alleviate the problem. At the very worst you have made a mistake and the very best is that things can change, get better and improve! Having a mature conversation based on valid experiences with real data and expertise is what people do to resolve or determine a cause and/or possible solution.
Its been a great week for me, I’m tired, sore and whilst I avoided sunburn I feel very lucky a little sad the guys have gone and excited too, also I’m already challenged by the next guided fishing week during late July. After all its always about you!
This week is about me as i take myself working (fishing on the fly along the Co.Cork coast)
Another acid test…
Thursday 11 July 2013
Current conditions contribute greatly to bass fishing as warmer temperatures increase their metabolic rates and hence their need to feed more frequently, its almost like a vicious spiral more frequent feeding requires more energy which is available through increased digestive time and then more feeding…..of course not all fish feed at the same time.
Where there is warm clear moving water with energy through either wave or current then expect to find hungry and aggressive fish. And boy are they aggressive, their often hidden ‘tropical personality’ emerges in the sun and they become the fierce fish they can be.
To tap into that aggression when fish are fast moving, hot and competing, small bright and noisy lures are often the key. Remember the fish are active and hunting throughout the water column. Is colour that important? For aggressively competing fish its lower down the list of my priorities and I tend to choose simple SOLIDS solid white, fluo yellow or orange and if its not working then I move to a more translucent type and clear or clear and a slight chartreuse is often perfect.
Fly fishing with lavender and grey and hot pink flies are often keys for me and have proved successful recently on the Cork coast. Its the blend that’s the key here and I’m afraid that’s just too much information for this post.
One of my favourite bright fly combos for Wexford is chartreuse and grey ‘hollow fleye’ from Bob Popovics as featured in these photos from an article I made for a Dutch fly magazine in 2008. Tied sparse almost to transparency its often very very effective. especially when its hot and bright.
Some HOT lure recommendations that have worked consistently for me in bright conditions and have now at last found their way back into action for provocation purposes are
- Rapala skitter walk white
- Illex bonnie 95 bone or ayu
- Smith zipsea pop clear
- Lucky craft G-Splash
- Jackson Ra-pop
- Lucky craft sammy 95
Wednesday 10 July 2013
At which point in time did catching bass in summer sunshine become a problem? I very quickly raided raided a few photos above from prior 2007 and could demonstrate at least hundreds more of fish caught during mid afternoon sunshine crystal clear water and high temperatures. Its a question of adjusting your fishing.
Summer conditions are not an impairment to bass fishing. In fact if you want verification of that just look at the recent posts made here Summer Silver. The current challenging fishing is not weather related, for a change!
The sea bass is a sub-tropical species at the northern limits of its range in the British Isles. It is more common along the southern coasts of these islands and forms winter aggregations in the Celtic sea from which it disperses around the coast of Britain and Ireland as the water warms in spring and summer. Bass stocks are maintained by variable recruitments which also appear to be temperature related and probably regulated; a succession of good recruitments and improved growth contributing to a build-up of stocks to bring about a cyclical abundance.
All I can say is thank you. Your emails have given me the impetus to keep going. After 10 blanks this year already, and 8 blanks in total last year I was sure I had lost my mojo. I fish xxxxx, just up from the xxxxxx school at the xxxxx. Your fabulous photos have kept me going. Anyway, tonight I got down a little later than usual - 2130 (kids would not go to sleep in the heat!) I met up with a couple of kayakers and a pair of elder,serious bassers whom I meet quite often.
Encouraging words were meted out, but the story was still the same - No bass at all, at all. At this stage my confidence is quite low - (I even resorted to youtube Henry Gilbey to see if I was doing the basics of lure fishing correctly.) I set off and kept my mind clear. Everything tonight screamed bass, Full moon, spring tide an the way in, unbelievable heat (25C) and a gentle offshore breeze.
After 15 mins and about 150m covered retrieving my S-Four Mark 2 128, bang! a beauty of a take. I landed the beautiful bar of silver, with dark as you like topsides. A quick photo and a careful release back to fight another day. I kept going for another hour into near total darkness but to no avail - just satisfaction!
He measured 56cm - any idea what weight that may be?
I couldn't have done it without your words of encouragement.
Best of luck & thanks
Monday 8 July 2013
Sunday 7 July 2013
Friday 5 July 2013
Thursday 4 July 2013
Ger Doran is a young capable and dynamic angler. Not prone to bravado his gentle style and angling skills combine to also make him a brilliant saltwater guide. Much is expected of guides in these modern times. Some of that crazy expectation is often driven by misplaced and irrelevant demands by people, including other so called guides, who have misinterpreted what a guide is, what he or she does and how they should do it.
Ger carves his own path, slowly and with patience.
I believe its a brave move by Ger Doran to do what he has done. I have the utmost admiration for him for he has stepped off the cliff and into the world where he faces not only the angling challenges, but all its associations too, by himself and with the help of those around him he can do it. Its a tough task in many ways.
You may remember a recent post made HERE an article made By Rutte and Rolle in Wexford. This article has started to generate German interest in saltwater fishing in Ireland and in the Wexford area, not only in bass fishing but also in general saltwater fishing techniques. I received a call this morning from Tim in Germany to reserve a week in Wexford. Bass fishing and general fishing in Wexford for three people, nice work!
Because of their commitments its not an optimum tide for bass fishing for the group but Monday and Tuesday are reasonably good and I will guide the guys accordingly and then Ger will take over from Wednesday through Saturday.
And isn’t this what its about? Both Ger and I can work together without feeling (to a large extent) we are competing, each discipline facilitates the other and we can merge and remain supportive of each other under what I would consider very challenging and difficult circumstances. Of course on the coast this is more dynamic but there is no reason not to recognise the strength in collaboration and communication. But then again that’s not always obvious.
Ger has his own website at www.southeastanglingservices.com
Good luck Ger and well done.
Wednesday 3 July 2013
I’ve been biding my time a little and now that a ‘personal benchmark’ approaches I’m anticipating what might lie ahead. Mind games are always complicated things to play and I generally resolve them by just getting on with it. Its the waiting that causes the anxiety. The path taken to the end and the ensued result of course never really plays out as you have imagined and this is commonplace in bass fishing.
This is the first time in nearly five years that I can feel the coast has an opportunity to provide us with really good bass fishing, bass fishing perhaps like it used to be. Apart from the extended cold period during Spring which shredded the countryside there are lots of things in our favour. Very low rainfall during June, and indeed in the southeast its has been a very dry Spring, the lowest rainfall levels in perhaps six or seven years, extended periods of high pressure good light levels near or above average, increasing air and water temperatures even if they are still slightly behind the norm. Water quality is extremely good and remains clear on the coasts that I have visited.
I have always believed that the extremely wet and overcast spring and summers since 2007 and the environmental changes have had an impact on our bass fishing. This was whilst subconsciously avoiding the thoughts of something more sinister. This impact may have been cumulative and has forced the fishing to deteriorate over time. I have made note of this for e.g. HERE, HERE, HERE with plenty more observations made throughout this website.
So in fact all the meteorological reasons, excluding a colder than average spring, that I believe that have impacted negatively on the fish over the past few years, don’t really exist at this time.
On average I spend 80 days guiding on the coast and at least another 40 developing the fishing and workshopping so I have a close and intimate ‘relationship’ with the influences I’m working with, I experience it on a day in and day out level. Contrary to popular belief only 50% of this time is spent in Wexford so I do see a lot of and many different locations, timings, patterns and the interdependent relationships that you associate with bass fishing, these are part of my job, my life really. Much is currently in discussion as regards how far we are behind in relation to the norm. A month, six weeks…. I don’t know how much this behind time is but I do feel we are in a better position than we have been for a considerable number of seasons.
So on Friday night of the 5th two customers arrive from Chichester to fish with me for a week both on the fly & lure. This is the first real acid test. I have already completed a weeks guiding with Jean Yves where we fished Wexford, west and east Cork over the last spring tide co-efficient, more about that later. I’m effectively writing off June as the behind time and now the season begins in earnest like it should. I’m not talking here about isolated incidences of fish in specific marks – ALL systems should begin to operate to a least some extent and build nicely into July and beyond and be accessible to both lure and fly anglers from the shore.
With high pressure set to dominate from the 5th the influences will be from the North and East and fishing will be adjusted to fit those circumstances and as always its only ever a forecast and so things will change. But it continues to be positive, sunny and dry, this will help the latter parts of the season.
I wont hang around in Wexford this weekend to fish with my customers but will make a dash further west early on Saturday morning and return again on Monday evening – the excitement and the hope I feel for the possibilities for good fishing, combined with the never far away and lurking dread of disappointment, well I guess that’s what any pre test nerves are all about.
Bass fishing is always about you and the moment, and then again, there’s always acid test number two!
Forwarded to - The Irish Bass Policy Group (David McInerny, John Quinlan, Shane O Reilly, Mike Hennessy, Dr William Roche, Dr Nial O'Ma...