Saturday 30 November 2013

The worth of recreational angling in Ireland and the UK


“The first sale value of ALL commercial landings into England [Sea Angling 2012 is ONLY about England] is only £164 million and that includes a wide range of species such as lobsters, cockles, monkfish, lemon sole, hake that are of no direct interest to recreational anglers. If from this list you include only the species of interest to both commercial fishing and anglers alike, you are left with commercial landings worth just £35 million at market in 2012.

So those fishery resources upon which the recreational angling sector across England are dependent, and which drive £2 billion worth of expenditure, are ONLY WORTH £35 million to commercial fishing! Yes, that’s right! First sale landings value – what the fishermen receive – is less than 2% of what sea anglers put into the economy.” –John Morgan UK Bass

For an extensive review of the UK Report jump to this link HERE



The Minister of State with Responsibility for Natural Resources, Fergus O’ Dowd T.D. today warmly welcomed the findings of a new national economic study which has revealed for the first time that angling and angling tourism in Ireland is generating a dividend in excess of €0.75 billion within the Irish economy every year.

The study, commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland, shows direct spending on angling in Ireland amounted to €555 million in 2012, with indirect spending worth an additional €200 million and totalling €755 million.  Recreational angling was also found to directly support 10,000 existing Irish jobs, many of which are located in the most peripheral and rural parts of the Irish countryside and along our coastline.

For an extensive review of the Irish Report jump to this link HERE

The report notes

  • There is evidence of a decline in recreational angling participation levels in recent years
  • Decline in participation attributed to a range of factors including:
  • Economic recession
  • Poor weather
  • Quality of fishing
  • Illegal practices


Thursday 28 November 2013

Interview with Jim Levison

Jim Levison has been photographing the outdoors for the past twenty years. For the last eleven years Jim has been guiding saltwater fly anglers off the fabled waters of Montauk Point, New York, in search of striped bass, blue fish and false albacore. Jim spends about one hundred days a year on his home waters in the Northeast constantly photographing new images for his stock portfolio.

Read the interview HERE at FlyDreamers

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Don’t just do something – stand there P.I


Here’s what I love about guiding, as in guiding as a sustainable responsible business

  • It is very difficult and at times very complex
  • It is hard, very hard – it really is, the hardest thing I’ve ever done
  • It very often has very little to do with fishing
  • During a guided day a person will, very often, chat about themselves, the time they have, the things they do, their lives and complexities, the people and the things they deal with on a day by day basis
  • Very often at the end of a guided day a person will tend to want to deal with some of those things differently
  • People in a guiding environment are very interesting
  • It very often has everything to do with fishing

After ten years of working as a bass fishing guide blogging and writing about some of those experiences I have developed a desire to move on from the love of trying to perfect the actual guiding process. This has, over the years, become a slight obsession, and after any number of experiences and a number of qualifications, indeed years of hard work, I have it where I want it, just about. I have it distilled!

Because I am ‘over’ trying to determine and dig out and create the best process of doing it and making it happen I surely know it enough now to forget about it, to stop thinking about it and yet still be able adapt and change it as is necessary, seek to reinvent it appropriately to circumstances– I’ve earned that. That is my reward and I am doing that. I am a good bass fishing guide.

I’ve spent enough time on trying to perceive clarity, to understand the meaning of what it is to bass fish in Ireland as a guide and the wider perception and often misconception of what bass guiding is about. This in itself means I no longer seek to try to understand the frequently expressed opinions and ‘definitions’, the ‘functions’ the ‘modern requirements’ of the bass angler. I know what these really are.

These opinions, wherever they exist, are done too often, done for the sake of supposedly encouraging valuable dialogue, but in reality are done for self serving debate and congratulatory ego snacks, even done for plain old look at me and what I can do.

‘A recent blog documenting the experience of one East London Tesco customer has gone viral this week, prompting the company’s chairman to give his first ever media interview in response.

The tumblr account was started two weeks ago and tells a story of store alarms going off through the night, empty shelves, cluttered aisles and absent staff – all illustrated with comically disastrous photos.

Normally a champion of social media customer service, Tesco reacted quickly and openly stated their in-store ops weren’t up to scratch. Richard Broadbent went so far as to tell The Sunday Times that, in a Digital age, having a good product is no longer enough:

“The company that provides the best relationship with the customer will win – not through product, but through the best experience.”

His sentiments are not unlike those expressed by Michael O’Leary in his recent customer service U-turn. A long-time proponent of product over service, he announced in September that Ryanair is making steps towards improving the user experience of their website.

The real difference arises in customer experience.’ – DMI

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Thank you

A quick thank you to Nancy, Josie, James, Seamus, Des, John, Willie, Myles, Shane, Kieran, Paul, and Maura too. Enjoyed the quick chats, it helped!

Monday 18 November 2013

Invite to present with Leave no Trace at the IFI AGM

Leave no trace - in guided saltwater fishing

I have been asked to present at the IFI AGM on Wednesday along with other members of Leave No Trace. My short time will be based around how I can and to some extent have already applied the principles to my own business and hopefully how I can carry those principles into a wider sphere of angling tourism as a leave no trace trainer.

“ served to remind us how fortunate we are in having such a valuable resource to enjoy, but we must also be aware that where we have opportunity we also have great responsibility”

Minister of state for the environment Fergus O’Dowd at The Clean Coast Photography awards last week.

Take them when you can

There has been a significantly likelihood of catching bass on the more southern coasts as of late. This likelihood is as ‘equal’, even if a little more timing is involved, as any time previous up to when the season began last April.

There is stability in the system somewhat and this may increase over the next ten days (wed is tough) as Ireland will sit in some high pressure. At least we can be a little optimistic if this happens but keep your weather eye on things all the way through this week. By paying a little attention to the daily indications and then the subsequent impact this may have on the the period from the 29th, you never know – don’t put away the gear just yet!

They are out there, not many, but some, and they are likely to stay for a while if it pans out!

Saturday 16 November 2013

And now for tomorrows forecast

Seasonal Forecasting – science or pure speculation?

Source – Met Eireann 15 November 2013

Over the past few weeks the media have carried many stories suggesting that the coming winter will be especially severe; that we should all buy in the snow-shoes, stock up on salt, and batten down the hatches.

With this being Science Week it’s a good time to ask – is there any science behind this talk, or is it all pure speculation? To answer that question, we have to look at how weather forecasts are made.

The old folklore-based weather predictions Bass fishing in Irelandwere based on the signs seen in nature. Today’s weather forecasts are no different in that everything starts with weather observations. These days the weather observations come from automated weather stations, from aircraft, from equipment hoisted high into the atmosphere by balloon, from weather radar and from satellite. We can now form a much more accurate picture of what the atmosphere is “doing” at any given time.

Our technology for gathering weather observations has improved immensely too, with high-speed communications enabling us to rapidly gather weather information from every country in Europe, and from across the Atlantic to the Americas. This information is fed into powerful computers that contain a mathematical “model” of the atmosphere in which we attempt to describe, mathematically, all that science has learned about the behaviour of the air around us.

Using this mathematical “model” we can calculate how all the weather elements (high pressure regions, low pressure regions, cold air, mild air, frontal systems) develop in time, and this forms the basis for the day-to-day weather forecasts. The more accurate our starting point, the better the forecasts will be; if we started with a perfect picture of the atmosphere, in theory we could have a perfect forecast.

However we can only ever know the starting point approximately; the atmosphere is too vast and too complex to allow us create that perfect picture. As we look further ahead Chaos Theory gradually takes over and the forecast diverges from reality. There is an absolute limit on how far we can forecast ahead with this method, and that limit is thought to be about ten days.

In attempting to look further ahead, we rely on our knowledge of what is happening in the oceans. The atmosphere and oceans are closely linked. The rain that falls over Ireland comes from water that evaporates from the oceans; the warmer the surface of the ocean, the more water evaporates and the heavier the rain will be when it eventually falls.

The oceans have warm and cold currents, just like the atmosphere. The difference is that change in the oceans happens much more slowly and, in some parts of the world, in a more predicable fashion. If we develop a good understanding of how the oceans will behave over the coming month and longer, we have some basis for inferring the weather patterns. Not the day-to-day detail of weather but the larger patterns as to whether it will be warm or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm.

This method has been used successfully in some regions, notably some countries bordering the Pacific and Indian oceans, to develop monthly and seasonal forecasts that are said to “have skill”, or to be correct often enough to be useful. However these oceans have some large and well-understood evolutions of water currents (such as the El Nino) which in turn affect the atmosphere. The Atlantic has no such large phenomena that change regularly; the changes that do occur are subtle and relatively small, and not easy to predict. The inferences that we can make about seasonal forecasts are therefore weak and result in forecasts with “low skill” – not correct often enough to be of great use.

So, scientifically, it is not possible to make any confident forecast of the coming winter. There is absolutely no reason to believe that it will be unusually severe, but no reason either to say it will be exceptionally mild. The “average” winter remains the most likely outcome.

So where do all the predictions of a severe winter come from? From people who do not understand the complexity of the problem, and who make simplistic assumptions. From people who specialise in speculation, not science. 

See more bass fishing weather details HERE

Saturday 9 November 2013

A documentary like no other

A relentless powerful experience of commercial fishing on the New Bedford fishery

Thursday 7 November 2013

Leave no trace, a place in saltwater guiding?

Leave no trace

bass fishing ireland

I have spent a long time learning how to catch fish, I have also invested time in trying to return them as effectively as possible, at times I know this is not always the case but its a part of the daily process of guiding to try to ensure good fish ‘returns’.

Currently I’m looking even further at how I might improve other aspects and impacts the business may be having in the coastal environment. I am trying to learn how best to minimise these impacts and indeed pass that knowledge on to other anglers who may be interested.

In a world subjected to ever increasing recreational pressure every little bit of work helps. I have always felt that no matter what else may be happening and who may be responsible I believe its important to try to do something better, to be seen to be trying, to have the ability to say this is what I am doing to help things - Visit Leave No Trace Ireland

Sunday 3 November 2013

A sense of reality really!

Tourist anglers may well have have certain preconceived notions and mental images of an angling destination before they ever visit. Expectations are one of the driving forces for the initial desire to visit any particular destination. If customer effort is high and those high expectations are met, high customer satisfaction is likely.

Adversely, an individual with high expectations who receives a low-value experience or an experience that doesn’t meet with his or her self perceived expectations as result of exaggerated media will likely report a low customer satisfaction, regardless of level of customer effort or indeed guide effort.

This high-value expectation, low-value product is known as the dissonance theory (Cardozo, 1965).

To reduce dissonance levels in visiting tourist anglers, it is important as a service provider to offer accurate realistic information to the visiting angling public so as to not create heightened expectations that are not likely to be met. This is often contrary information to that as portrayed by angling media.

‘It is important to remember that quality tourist bass fishing irelandexperiences result from businesses that know their product, their customers, and their employees’ (Hayes, 1997). As a bass fishing guide I would also add that it is necessary to include an intimate local and wider knowledge of the coastal environment and the influences of current conditions on the fishing.

An unrealistic expectation in relation to angling returns for a fish as capricious as bass needs to be discussed at length with any potential customer. Yes a good guide may know some honey pots, yes a good guide should recognise a confluence of circumstances that can lead to exceptional fishing or indeed the reverse, and yes a good guide should work hard to push every possible opportunity as it happens.

But in reality a very good guide will also recognise that honey pots need to be managed very very carefully and are often the exception to ‘day to day’ fishing, a customers individual skill can only be matched to specific environments, conditions and a singular limit of physical input. Plus, and contrary to popular belief, Ireland is not localised it has a vast coastline that operates differently at different times and giant bass do not readily surrender and crawl up your line at the mere sight of a soft plastic!

Being realistically aware of the true nature of the fish and the fishing, getting a measured sense of what ‘could happen’ if I try hard and work at it, a ‘I cant do any more’ frame of mind is a good honest approach. Instead of trying to deal with the associated disappointments of unrealistic hyper expectation and so often its associated companions, accelerated unearned learning and supposed ease of accomplishment through the latest bass tackle fads, a much simpler and wider approach will lead to a far greater sense of achievement and personal reward.

Besides isn’t there something so much more satisfying about simply being out there, imagining rather than expecting? 

Dana Scully: 'Purple Rain'?
Fox Mulder: Great album. Deeply flawed movie.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

bass fishing wexford

Its November already, October seems to have blown by in an early autumnal rush that I missed completely. Cedric from Switzerland was due on one of the tidal weeks but due to the obvious and early indications that it wasn’t going to work because of deteriorating weather we re-scheduled until next year.

In an already difficult fishery I wasn’t about to make things any worse and I know that the strategy that many of my customers and I discuss before booking is the risk of cancellation. With todays easy access to very good and accurate weather information its often very possible to make decisions a considerable number of days in advance.  Sometimes these decisions are never very easy however and a lot depends on the customers wishes and circumstances.

Imagine you and your fishing friend (John and Peter) have an annual holiday from work at the same time each year and you have both decided to come to Ireland for a weeks guided bass fishing on one of those weeks. You save hard, update the gear, the waders the boots, the jacket, you make a personal investment of time away from your family perhaps, you book your flights and your time off is planned. Done and dusted – all you have to do now is wait. The anticipation builds and builds, you’re going to Ireland bass fishing with a guide what could go wrong?

Then something like what you see below starts to happen,view_img you get a phone call from me about seven days before your arrival, even more if I can see it coming, and I try to manage your situation and the consequences as a result of a very poor weather forecast. Based on years of experiences there are any number of possible solutions and LOTS to talk about. But sometimes just sometimes you just know its not going to work, there’s no avoiding it and its obvious.

Which is better to do? Abandon the holiday on my advice, absorb the cost of the flights, take the few days of notice to make an alternative and spend the week at home somewhat disappointed OR come anyway into a world of pain, brown water, weed rain wind and no fish whilst wondering if this guided bass thing was really worth all that investment?

As an experienced fishing guide I have no hesitation and will tell you as straight as I possibly can, I will absorb the cost of not having you here in preference to the drudgery you will experience in these conditions. Even opportunities to learn become very very difficult under such circumstances. its difficult to concentrate, your heart is often elsewhere and you feel disappointed.

Bass fishing wexford

My hope is that such a decision will benefit both of us in the future. The impact of this bad news is different for different people. Cedric from above is self employed, single, and travels frequently. He was disappointed yes but also trusted me completely and is ready for July of 2014.  He plans to use the money he saved to invest in a new fly rod and some casting lessons over the winter.

I have learned to take this type of hit at least once in any season and it often gives me time to re-align and get some personal catching up completed.

Its very seldom that I do not see the original client back again the following year or at a different time. Sometimes we can win together, sometimes we can learn, but seldom will either of us lose.

Jim hendrick

A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim

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...