Wednesday, 14 December 2011

December bass - 10th & 11th December 2011

It has been a while since I last made a post on the blog. I was not doing that much fishing over the last month. I did have a few beach sessions but there was not much to report, just a few small codling as well as the odd coalfish and dogfish. However, with light NW winds forecast for last weekend it looked like possibly the last opportunity for some lure fishing before the end of the year.

Saturday 10th December
It was a calm cold frosty morning so I grabbed the lure rod and headed down to a West Waterford mark that I reckoned would have been relatively sheltered from the strong westerly/northwesterly winds earlier in the week. I arrived and looked down on the bay, it was indeed calm although the water was still somewhat murky, but still the water clarity was a lot better than it has been recently. I made my way to the eastern end of the bay and began casting a variety of hard and soft plastic lures into an area of relatively deep water but there was no interest. As the tide bagan to push in I worked my way westwards along the shore eventually arriving at a small shallow bay which was now becoming rapidly infilled by the tide.

This particular mark has been very productive for me from mid-tide to high-tide. I put on a Feed Shallow and began casting across a now submerged drop-off. I had about five or six casts before the lure was grabbed by a strong bass from just below the ledge merely 10 m out. It fought very strongly, stripped several meters of line before I tightened the drag. I eventually eased it into the shallows and onto the rocks. It was a stocky well fed 60 cm bass with a weight of 5.25 lbs.

I continued fishing with the Feed Shallow but their were no more bites, switched to some soft plastics but still there was no interest. I worked my way further westwards and eventually packed up just after dark. Still I was very happy to have got the one bass as it had been over a month since my last one.

Sunday 11th December
I planned to try an East Cork mark but when I got there the sea was much rougher than I expected and the water highly coloured. I reckoned it would be a waste of time unless I was fortunate enough to pass a lure right in front of a fishes nose so I decided to head back to the West Waterford mark I had fished the previous day.

By the time I drove there, climbed down to the shore and was ready to start fishing it was 2.40 pm so I only had about 2 1/2 hours of daylight. This time I started at the western end of the bay and worked my way eastwards. It was rather breezier compared to Saturday and the sea was a little rougher and slightly more coloured. After about an hour I arrived at the location where I had the bass the previous day. I put on the same Feed Shallow and began casting across the same ledge. After only three casts the lure was snatched by a powerful bass in almost the same location. It fought very strongly, thrashing about on the surface and made several dashes for freedom as it stripped line. I eventually coaxed it in but it was still thrashing about wildly before I grabbed it with the boga grip and lifted it onto the shore. It was a better bass, well fed with a length of 62 cm and a weight of 6.25 lbs.

The tide then pushed me back and I moved a little to the left before continuing to fish with the Feed Shallow across some shallow boulder strewn ground. I briefly connected with another fish. It felt to be a decent size bass but came off after about 10 seconds. There were no more bites after that. The wind strength was increasing and the sea becoming rougher so I packed up at dusk. Still another good day for December.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Lunch time bass - 7th November 2011

Monday was another lovely sunny day, too nice to be stuck indoors working at the computer. The urge to head out for a lure session got too great to resist so by Midday I decided to head out for a few hours - an extended Mediterraean style lunch break!!

I went to an East Cork rock mark that will almost always fish well if the conditions are calm and the water reasonably clear. However, when I arrived the sea was choppier and the water more coloured than I expected. I made my way on to a finger of rock and cast a large Slug Go into the surf. Large waves were breaking onto the rock so I moved further along the shore to a small bay that was more sheltered. I tried a range of soft plastics and a Tide Minnow but there was no interest. Pat, another regular at this mark, was fishing the opposite side.

I then made my way to the other side of the bay. There is a gulley here that has produced good size bass in the last hour and a half before high tide. Sure enough after about 15 minutes I had a strong bass take a giant Xlayer. I had been using weedless SPs but switched to an Xlayer with a 12g lead head to get lower in the water column as I reckoned there might be bass scouring the bottom of the gulley for crabs and the water was probably too cloudy for them to see shallow diving lures. The fish stayed deep most of the way in but when it broke the surface I could see that is was a decent size. It made several breaks for freedom, stripping some line, before I eventually eased it in close to my feet and lifted it out. It was a well fed 66 cm bass with a weight of just under 6.5 lbs.

I fished on for a little longer - then Pat had a mishap!!! I won't go into that, other than say his fishing was cut short and he went home rather damp!!!

I packed up shortly afterwards at about 3 pm and headed back to work. If only every lunch break was like that.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Another window of opportunity - 6th November 2011

Fishing over the last couple of weeks has been dire. The storms a few weeks ago left the beaches unfishable due to vast amounts of drifting seaweed. I headed out for about 5 bait sessions but had to abandon each after no more the three casts as huge clumps of seaweed accumulated on the line. One time I had not even had the chance to place the rod back on the rest before I could feel the drag of the weed. So with a favourable forecast for last weekend I was anticipating that finally I might be able to do some fishing. Saturday was a lovely calm sunny day but I reckoned I better do some gardening first. I headed to Youghal at 4.00 pm for an attempt at cod fishing. The tide was ebbing at this stage so not ideal but I knew of a mark that fished well last winter on a dropping tide so reckoned that was my best bet. Seaweed was still a problem and all I could manage over 3 hours were two small codling - a very poor result compared to this time last year.

Sunday was another great day, blue sky and little or no wind. I thought the conditions would be good for lure fishing and headed to a West Waterford mark that had been fishing well in August and early September. I wasn't sure if the water would be clear after all the stormy weather but as I made my way down the slope to the shore I could see that the water was crystal clear.

I started fishing a shallow bay that was now been filled by the tide. But there was no sign of any fish activity. I made my way eastwards, reached some deeper gulleys and fished into them using a variety of soft plastics and deeper diving lures but still nothing. I decided to work my way to the western end of the bay and headed back to where I started to collect my bag. I was just about to move on when I spotted a splash near where I first started. It was about 35 m out, but as it was very shallow ground I was going to have to use weedless soft plastics. It was too far to reach with the normal Slug-Gos and Xlayers but fortunately I had a couple of the extra large Slug Gos. After a few casts there was another splash but closer this time, about 20 m away from me. I continued fishing with the Slug Go then suddenly it was grabbed by a bass between some boulders in very shallow water only about 6 or 7 meters from the rock I was standing on. It gave a good fight, thrashing about on the surface and stripping some line before I coaxed it in through the rocks and on to a flat ledge. It was a 51 cm fish and weighed a little over 3 lbs. My first bass in about three and a half weeks!

That gave me some encouragement so I continued fishing in the same small bay. About 20 minutes later I moved about 20 m to the right and cast the same Slug Go towards a deeper gulley, after the lure hit the water I let it drop, gave it a few twitches as I began to retrieve, and instantly the lure was grabbed by another fish. This time it stayed deep as I worked it in and only broke the surface about 10 m out. It felt a much bigger fish and put up a stronger fight, especially when I got it in close and stripped several meters of line as it made one last surge for freedom, before I eased it on to the rocks. It was a fine chunky bass of 5.5 lbs and a length of 58 cm.

I fished on for a little longer but as the tide began to drop I decided to pack up. I was very happy with that session, it is just a shame that we didn't have some weather like that in September!!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Calm conditions at last - 19th October 2011

After nearly 6 weeks of blustery weather and rough conditions along the south coast we finally had some northwesterly winds which flattened out the surf and allowed the water to clear. I finished work at 4.30 pm and headed down to the coast. I got to the shore shortly after low tide. It was a nice mostly sunny afternoon but rather chilly and the sea at that location was the calmest I have seen it since June.

I started fishing with some soft plastics (Hazedong and Slug Go) and then switched to a Feed Shallow. Nothing was happening on the first mark so I began to work my way westwards along the shore. I reached an area with several barely submerged reefs with intervening deep gulleys. On the first cast diagonally across the gulleys a mullet-coloured Feed Shallow was grabbed by a strong bass about 30 m out. It stayed deep most of the way in and only broke the surface about 5 m out. It put up a good fight and stripped some line on several occasions. I eventually got it in close, surfed it over the reef in front of me on the crest of a small wave and eased it on to the rocks at my feet. It was a well fed plump 56 cm bass with a weight of 4.5 lbs.

A few casts later another bass snatched the Feed Shallow in much closer. This gave another strong fight, made a couple of darts for freedom as it stripped some line. I coaxed it across the same reef and on to the rocks. It was a 58 cm bass but was not as fat as the first with a weight of 4.25 lbs.

Shortly afterwards another bass struck the lure about 20 m out. It was a smaller fish but still put up a good struggle. I had it in very close, just at the edge of the reef but as I tried to surf it over the rocks the bass gave a strong head shake and shook the lure free. It looked like it was just hooked in the gill plate by a single barb on the lower triple of the Feed Shallow.

A few cast later there has a big splash behind the lure 5 or 6 m out as a good size bass attemped to strike the lure but it wasn't hooked. I had a few more casts with the Feed Shallow but there was no further interest so I switched to a Slug Go, followed by a Hazedong but I could not tempt the fish again.

I then spotted some activity on the surface about 30 m out so changed back to a Feed Shallow. First cast the lure was snatched by a bass. This again fought well although it was not as strong as the two earlier fish. I eased it in and on to the rocks. it was a 53 cm bass weighing about 3.5 lbs.

I continued fishing for a while into darkness but there were no further bites, not even pollock which normally are a pest on this stretch of coast at dusk on a rising tide, so I packed up at about 7.50 pm.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Feed Shallow strikes again - 13th October 2011

Today was warm and partly sunny, it seemed too nice a day to waste sitting in front of a computer. So I headed out at 2 pm. As it had been fairly calm for a few days I decided to try a mark that I have not be able to get on to since late August. In September-early October of 2009 this location produced some excellent bass sessions but with the windy weather of the last six weeks I reckoned it was not worth trying.

I got to the coast at about 3.15 pm just as a sea mist was beginning to roll in. It was not as calm as I was expecting, it would be relatively calm for about ten minuites and then the shore would hit by several large waves up to 2 m high . On one occasion I was hit by the full force of one of those and it came close to knocking me off my feet despite brancing myself with a firm footing.

I started off using soft plastics, first a Hazedong, then a Slug Go followed by an Xlayer but there was no interest. I switched to a Feed Shallow and on the second cast the lure was grabbed by a strong bass practically below my feed. It pulled strongly, stripped some line as it dived below a rock ridge and then was gone!!!

A couple of casts later I felt a brief tug on the lure but the fish was not hooked. A few casts later across the same area the Feed Shallow was struck by another bass. This one was securely hooked and after a short struggle I eased it on to the rocks. It was about 46 cm and weighed just over 2 lbs.

Shortly afterwards I had a second bass. This put up a better fight and was a little bigger at 50 cm.

I was pushed back by the tide after that and the frequency of the big waves increased making fishing difficult. I continued fishing until 5 pm but there was no more interest despite trying a variety of other hard and soft plastic lures.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A bunch of bass - 11th October 2011

I headed to a beach that I have not fished since mid-June. It had fished well earlier in the year but as I had concentrated on lure fishing over the summer I had not returned to fish there. I had also heard report that it was unfishable due to weed after recent stormy weather, but with the light westerly winds on Tuesday I reckoned the seaweed would have migrated down to the eastern end.

I planned to fish 2.5 hours either side of low tide and arrived at about 9.30 pm. There was a moderate surf illuminated by a full moon and just a weak cross-wind so the conditions looked good. I set two rods up, baited the first with crab and the second with razor, both on 4/0 pennel pulleys. I would normally prefer lug for this beach but I was too busy during the day to dig some. After about 15 minutes I had a bite on the rod with crab but it was just a dogfish.

Not long after I had a strong tug on the same rod. This was definitely a bass and fought strongly all the way in especially when I got it into the shallows. It was a good chunky fish of 52 cm and weighed 3.5 lbs.

About 20 minutes later I had a second bass. This was about the same length, but slimmer with a weight of just about 3 lbs.

Close to an hour after that, at about low tide, I had a very strong tug on the rod with the crab and the line went slack. I grabbed the rod and rapidly retrieved the slack and struck immediately I felt some resistance. This felt to be a powerful fish and it took me a few minutes to haul it in close. I could see a good size bass splashing about in the shallow surf before I eased it on to the sand. It was the best fish of the night, a well fed 67 cm bass with a weight of 6 lbs.

I quickly got some photos and as I released the fish it surged off with a powerful flick of its tail.

So far all fish had been taken on the crab so I switched to crab on the second rod. About 20 minutes after catching the 6 pounder I spotted a twitch on the first rod and noticed that the line had gone slack. This time the fish had run a long slackliner before I caught up with it. Then it put up a powerful fight and I was surprised that is was only a 57 cm bass with a weight of approximately 4 lbs.

A little later, after rebaiting and casting the first rod I realized that the line on the second rod had gone slack. I reeled in and eventually connected with a fish very close to the shore. This was a much smaller 42 cm bass.

I fished on for another couple of hours into the rising tide but the bites died off and I just had a small 22 cm flounder. I was surprised that it managed to get its mouth around a 4/0 hook.

I packed up shortly after that very pleased with the result especially as a few recent bait and lure sessions have been nothing to shout about.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Bass on bait - 9th October 2011

Bass have been illusive on lures for me over the last few weeks so I decided to have a bait session after dark. I headed to a beach that has produced bass on an ebbing tide in the past. I arrived on the shore at about 9.15 pm. There was a moderate surf and the beach was weed free. I set the first rod up and baited a 4/0 pennel pulley with crab. While I was setting up the second rod I noticed a twitch on the first. I picked it up and felt a gentle tug, struck and hooked into a reasonably strong fish. A few minutes later I hauled a 46 cm bass on to the sand. That was a good start so I was hopeful of a great session.

About 15-20 minutes later I spotted another knock on the same rod. This was not putting up much of a fight in comparison to the first fish. It was a 38 cm bass.

A little later I had a dogfish on the second rod followed shortly by another smaller dog on the first rod.

It then went dead for two hours over low tide. The fishing only began to pick up when the tide started to push in more strongly. First fish was an average shore-size coalfish followed by two more dogfish. The last dogfish was a big one and I was convinced it was a bass until I hauled it out of the surf and saw it twisting sideways on the sand. I decided to pack up after that.

The night had not lived up to my initial expectations but two bass, four dogfish and a coalfish is not the worst session I have ever had. All fish were taken on 4/0 pennel pulleys baited with fresh peeler crab.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

More pollock - 8th October 2011

With light westerly winds and mostly overcast the conditions looked good for lure fishing. I headed to the bay I fished last weekend hoping for a better result other than a bunch of pollock. I got to the shore about two hours after low tide. I tried a range of soft plastics and shallow diving lures but there was no interest. I worked my along the shore and got to two fingers of rock with deeper water between them. I started fishing on the western flank of the ridge with a Slug Go and on the second cast something grabbed the lure. It pulled strongly downwards but came off after a couple of minutes. It was most likely a pollock. A few casts later I had another strong bite which again  pulled strongly downwards but this time I worked it close and on to the rocks. It was a 3 lb pollock.

I moved a short distance to the east and fished between the rock fingers. After a few casts I had another smaller pollock again on a Slug Go. I had a few more casts and moved to the next ridge and fished across some shallower ground hoping for bass. Then I spotted a huge shoal of tiny fish in close to the side of the rock finger. Then some splashes on the surface as some predators smashed through the shoal. Bass I hoped!!! But after a few casts I hooked another small pollock.

I moved back westwards to the western side of the next small bay. I spotted some activity, lots of small bait fish leaping on the surface.  I cast out a Slug Go and as I retrived I could see several mackerel following, they were making grabs at the lure but failed to get hooked on the weedless hook. I switched to a small hard plastic lure and on the first cast hooked a mackerel, shortly followed by another.

I then tried a Feed Shallow in case a bass was lurking on the perimeter of the mackerel shoal. But had no success. I moved to the western end of the main bay. As I approached I could see a lot of activity on the surface that looked like more mackerel. When I got to the edge of the rocks I could seem a huge shoal of tiny fish. The water was black with them, I have never seen so many in my life. Dark area in water close to rocks on photo below is dense shoal of bait fish:

Then it dawned on me why there were no bass - they were most likely stuffed to gills with bait fish and not interested in feeding any more. I thought I many as well catch a few mackerel while I was there. I caught 4 in a few minutes. That along with the two I had earlier was enough for tomorrows dinner.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Nothing but pollock - 2nd October 2011

Last Sunday was calm misty day and looked like the last opportunity for lure fishing as more windy weather was forecast for the coming week. I got to a reliable rock mark at about 4.30 pm just as the tide was starting to push in. Normally I would make my way down to the eastern end of the bay but rocks on the foreshore were quite slippery due to the misty rain so I decided to stick to a good mark near the western end. As the tide was still quite low it provided a good opportunity to study the terrain before it became submerged. That was useful as I could see some of the structures where I had previously caught bass.

I commenced fishing into a narrow deep gulley to the right. The water was clear, there was a bit of turbulence and it was overcast so the conditions looked perfect. First cast I had a small pollock on a Hazedong from beneath the kelp on the gulley margin. Next cast I could feel another fish snatching at the lure but it was not hooked. Third cast I had another pollock, again on the Hazedong. The fish totally engulfed the lure.

I changed to a Slug Go and cast it to the left of the gulley, after a few casts the lure was grabbed by another pollock. This was a bigger fish of about 3 lbs.

As the tide was now filling the small bay to my left I turned my attention to bass. I cast a Slug Go across the shallow rocky ground and on about the fifth cast something made a lunge at the lure but was not hooked. I was convinced it was a bass and continued fishing across the same area but could not tempt it again. I switched back to a Hazedong and very slowly retrieved the lure. This time the fish grabbed the lure and was well hooked but it turned out to be a small pollock.

I was pushed back by the tide and onto a small rock platform. This stage of the tide has been the most productive for me in the past at this mark so I was very hopeful of getting a few bass but all I could managed were more pollock. Then a shoal of bait fish swam into the bay and were leaping out of the water. Several pollock leapt clear out of the water as they chased them. I was hopeful that there might be a bass in amongst them and switched to a Feed Shallow but all I got were more pollock.

As light began to go I changed back to a white Hazedong with silver glitter but again only the pollock were biting, the biggest was about 3.5 lbs. When the light was gone even the pollock stopped feeding.

So while the pollock kept me busy I was disappointed not to have had any bass, particularly as the conditions looked ideal and there were plenty of bait fish around. That may well be my last lure fishing session of the year as there does not appear to be any respite from the windy weather for the moment.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Some photos from last week

Painted ray - 27th September 2011

Largest codling of ten (just under 3 lbs) from the same session:

Friday, 30 September 2011

The cod are back! - 27th September 2011

My finger is slowly healing so by Tuesday I was ready to have a trial session. I headed to a local beach and fished the last hour of the ebb and first three hours of the rising tide. There was a good surf and it was weed free. It was the darkest night I have ever fished. A new moon coupled with a dense mist blocked out all light. I usually turn off my headlamp when wading out to cast but without the lamp I couldn't see a thing not even the white foam on the shore. So I had to keep the lamp on.

From the first cast I was into codling, I caught about 10, most were small around 1-1.5 lb, but the last fish was bigger with a weight of close to 3 lb. I also had a decent size Painted Ray (about 5-6 lbs), a 30 cm flounder, a coalfish and a dogfish, but no bass!!!! All fish were taken on crab on 4/0 pennel pulleys.

I will post up some photos later.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Out of action - 19th September 2011

As if the the recent bad weather was not enough to reduce my fishing time I somehow managed to inflict a deep gash across my forefinger with a brand new ultra sharp kitchen knife on Friday night. I probably needed stitches but the thought of facing a busy accident and emergency ward full of Friday night drunks was more than I could take. I stopped the bleeding by wrapping a huge wad of tissue around it. It is healing now but I reckon I will be lucky if I can get out by next weekend.

I had great plans for the weekend and bought 2 dozen crabs on Friday evening from my crab dealer. I was intending on having a beach session on Saturday, fishing from low tide at 3.00 pm up to high tide and then half way down the ebb. As northwesterly winds were forecast for Sunday I was planning a lure session at a mark that has fished well recently. If the water had been too coloured for successful lure fishing I was going to bait fish with crab. So much for well laid plans!!!!

Friday, 16 September 2011

A brief lull between the storms - 14th September 2011

After the battering of the south coast at the weekend by the tail end of Hurricane Katia, Wednesday was the first calm day in almost a week. I finished work early and headed to the coast and arrived about 4.00 pm. The tide had pushing in about halfway and the water was still quite coloured after all the windy weather. I fished a range of shallow diving and surface lures and soft plastics but there was no interest. I was pushed back by the tide and found a flat rock to stand on further back, changed to a Hazedong and cast it diagonal to the shore across a submerged gulley. On about the fourth or fifth cast just as the lure was dropping after hitting the water it was grabbed by a bass. It felt a reasonable fish and was fighting strongly but I was surprised when I got it ashore that it was only a 46 cm bass.

Shortly afterwards another fish lunged at the Hazedong, pulled on it but wasn’t hooked. I continued fishing across the same area but couldn’t interest it again.

I moved along the shore but there was no further bites. Even at dusk the pollock failed to show up, normally they become a nusiance at that time of the evening late on a rising tide. At the beginning of the month I was hoping that September was going to be a great month but halfway through I have only have five bass, four taken on soft plastics and one on bait. The weather is still unsettled with no sign of it calming down so it’s not looking good for lure fishing during the remainder of the month.

Back to bait - 10th September 2011

I made an attempt at lure fishing late last Saturday afternoon in an area I thought would be sheltered from the strong southwesterly wind. It was sheltered alright but the water was highly coloured. I fished for about an hour before giving up. I reckoned I would have better success bait fishing on a beach later that night.

I didn’t have an opportunity to dig lug and only had some razor in the freezer. I got to the mark just after dark. Although the beach faces to the southeast there was still a big surf. I was concerned that weed might be a problem; initially it was OK but got worse later on. It was quite a clear night and the beach was well illuminated by a large bright moon. There was a persistent very strong wind with some stronger gusts but my 6 oz grippers generally held despite the pounding surf.

The last time I bait fished was in mid June having lure fished since then so it took a while to get used to the heavy beachcasters. About an hour after setting up I spotted a knock on the rod tip. I picked up the rod and felt another tug, I struck and could feel the pull of a bass on the end. It was just a small fish of 41 cm.

I had a few slack line bites after that, but nothing was hooked. I did get a couple of dogfish. I thought the second one was something bigger but it turned out to be just a small dogfish along with about 8 lbs of kelp!!!

After that the weed was getting progressively worse so I packed up. Not a hugely successful session but at least I did get one small bass.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A few bass before the storm - 3rd September 2011

I headed to a West Waterford mark on Saturday afternoon and arrived just as the tide was beginning to push in. There was a strong westerly breeze. The weather forecast was not great but it turned out to be a nice sunny evening. The shore was sheltered but the wind was blowing up some large swells at the eastern end of the bay. I started fishing at this end as that tends to fish best early on the rise. The water was a little coloured but still clear enough for a bass to see the lure. However, despite firing out a range of lures there was no interest. There was also a large shoal of 2-3 cm long bait fish swimming adjacent to the rock platform I was standing on. That didn’t look too encouraging, if any bass had been around I am sure they would have been feeding on the little fish and scattered the shoal.

I moved a short distance to the west and began casting a weedless Slug-go into a deepish gulley between two rock outcrops. On about the third cast the lure was snatched by a strong fish. I was convinced it was a bass until I got it to the surface, surfed it over a ridge in front of me and saw the characteristic golden brown of a pollock. It was a decent size at 54 cm but not what I was after.

I had a few casts subparallel to the shore across some rough ground but there were no more bites. I then moved further west along the bay and reached an area of shallow ground between two rock platforms. This part of the bay was sheltered from the rougher sea and the water was still very clear. I tried a Slug-go first followed by a weedless giant Xlayer but there was no interest.

I switched to a Hazedong and on the first cast had a small pollock. A few casts later I had a strong fish but the drag was set too tight and the line snapped at the knot. I put on another Hazedong and began casting in the same direction. On the second cast I had another pollock. A short time later I had a much stronger bite about 30 m out. This fish was putting up a much tougher fight and when it broke the surface I could see the silvery glint of a bass. Several times it stripped a little line as it made breaks for freedom but after a few minutes I had it in and eased it on to the rocks. It was a 57 cm bass with a weight of about 4.5 lbs.

A few casts later I had another strong bite. This time the fished stripped some line and dived behind a rock and seconds later the line snapped!!! Needless to say I wasn’t happy!!! I put on another lure, a Slug-go this time, and lobbed it across the same area. The light was beginning to go at this stage. The tide pushed me back, I moved a few tens of meters to the east and found a flat rock to stand on. I clipped on another Hazedong and resumed fishing. After a few casts the lure was grabbed by another strong fish. I made no mistake this time, had the drag set right, and worked the fish in through the boulders in front of me. It was a 50 cm bass.

It was totally black at this stage, a dark night with no moon. I moved to the west and cast towards a gulley which was now fully submerged. After 5 or 6 casts the lure was struck by a very strong fish in quite close, no more than 5 m out. It thrashed about on the surface, stripped a little line before I could turn it and coax it into the shallows between some boulders on to the shore. This was the best fish of the night, a 60 cm bass weighing about 5 lbs.

I packed up shortly after that, so not a bad evening, 3 bass and 3 pollock. With the stormy weather forecast for the next day and most of the following week that might be the last lure session for a while.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Short session - 29th August 2011

Monday was a nice warm day. I was sitting in my office working but the urge to get out fishing grew too great to resist so I finished work early and headed out arriving on the shore at about 3.40 pm. I clipped on a Feed Shallow and began fishing. On about the fourth cast the lure was struck by a bass about 25 m out from just below a rock ledge. It gave a good fight although it wasn't a big fish, just 44 cm.

 A few minutes later I had a second from below the same ledge. This was a bit bigger with a length of 47 cm.

Although the weather forecast had predicted light northwesterly breeze the direction changed to WSW and the wind strengthened shortly after I arrived. Initially the sea was quite calm, with just some gentle swells but within 15 minutes the wind had blown up 1 m high waves. I was amazed how quickly it had changed, although I saw in the News later that evening that mini-tornados had been reported in Ballycotton. So there were some unusual weather conditions that afternoon.

The large waves surging in made fishing more difficult but shortly after getting the second bass I hooked another, but lost it close to the shore. However, a few casts later the Feed Shallow was grabbed by another bass. This one was coming in easy, at first I thought I lost it, but then felt it again. When I landed it I discovered that it was hooked in the eye, presumably why it was not putting up a struggle and just coming in with the lure. It was a 45 cm fish. Since a one eyed bass would probably not be a very efficient predator I thought it best to keep that for dinner.

I fished on for a little longer but the bass shoal had moved on so I packed up at about 5.30 pm and headed home for dinner.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A few East Cork bass - 28th August 2011

I arrived at an East Cork mark just after low tide early Sunday afternoon. There were moderate swells and the water was a little cloudy, although it cleared as the tide rose. I tried a range of hard and soft plastic lures but there was no interest. The last time I fished there a shoal of bass showed up a couple of hours into the rising tide so I stayed on hoping that they would arrive. Sure enough about two and a half hours after low tide I had the first bass on a Feed Shallow. It was a small, but very lively fish just under 40 cm.

The next cast another bass struck the Feed Shallow. This was a bit bigger at 46 cm.

I felt a few knocks on the lure after that but the fish were not hooked A few minutes later a third bass grabbed the Feed Shallow but it came off about half way in.

The bites died off after that. Two hours before high tide I made my way around to the other side of the bay. However, there was no sign of any fish activity and no interest in the range of lures I fired out.

Given the big tides and conditions I had been expecting a better session, especially as the previous time I fished there I had five bass up to 5 lb and lost three others on slacker tides. But at least I did get two bass to add to my annual total.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Greedy fat bass - 27th August 2011

I headed to a West Waterford mark on Saturday morning. There was a fairly strong northwesterly breeze blowing but the bay I was going to fish would be sheltered. It was partly sunny with a lot of broken cloud. So the conditions, along with the big tides, promised a good session.

I started fishing at the eastern end of the bay. It looked ideal with gently swells breaking on the rocks. I had a few casts into an area of fairly deepish water between some large rocks. After about 15 minutes I moved to the left and cast a Slug-go across a small bay. First cast the lure has grabbed by a strong heavy bass. It stayed deep as I gradually worked it in and only came close to the surface a few meters from the edge of the shore. It looked a big fish. It made a few darts for freedom before I surfed it on to the rocks on the crest of a breaking wave. It was the fattest bass I have ever caught!!! Its stomach was bulging and it weighed just over 7 lb, although its length was 66 cm so it was approximately 1.5 lb over-weight for its size.

I continued to cast across the small bay. Shortly afterwards I had a second bass on the Slug-go. Again it stayed deep and as I got it in close I could see another similar size bass following. At the edge of the rocks it dived which had me worried that the line might snap due to abrasion on the edge but I succeeded in raising the fish before any damage was done and eased it on to the rock platform. It was a smaller bass at 52 cm and had a more normal weight of about 3.5 lbs.

By this time the wind direction had changed and a strong breeze was blowing parallel to the shore. At one stage I saw a large bass swim up close to the ledge I was standing on. It was less than an arms length from me in about a meter of water. It wasn't following the lure, as that was still about 10 m out, just crusing the shore. I decided to stick to the same mark, but I could not tempt any more fish.

I moved westwards along the bay but the shore-parallel wind seemed to kill off any fish activity. By high tide I had made my way to the western end of the bay. I fished an Xlayer into a deep gulley and could see a large pollock checking it out. Next cast the pollock grabbed the lure but came off before I could land it. A few casts later the Xlayer was grabbed again, but further out, the fish dived and must have gone behind a rock. As it tried to bully it out the line snapped, presummably on the edge of the rock. I cut off the damaged line and tried again. This time an Xlayer was snatched by a fish right below my feet but the same thing happened, as it dived below the rocks the line snapped!!!!

Then the water around me erupted into a frenzy of leaping bait fish and feeding mackerel. I put on a silver toby and lobbed it into the shoal. One fish was instantly hooked but about 15 others crowded around trying to get at the lure. In the next few casts I caught another four. Mackerel do certainly provide an entertaining fish on a lure. I decided to pack up after that as the tide was now starting to drop.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sunday bass - 21st August 2011

On Sunday I decided to return to an area I fished for the first time a week ago. That previous session had been poor, with one small bass and a few pollock but the venue looked superb with lots of areas that one would expect to find bass moving in on a rising tide.

I got there at about 6.00 pm just as the tide was beginning to push in. It was a nice evening, partly sunny with broken clouds, a light southwesterly breeze and gentle swells breaking on the rocks. I started off on a rock platform fishing into an area of two intersecting gulley. I reckoned that the back wash from the tide would wash food back though the gulleys. I fished there for about 40 minutes but just had two pollock on Slug-gos and missed a few more.

I then moved to the other side of the platform and cast towards some shallow reefs. After a few casts I had a bad wind knot. I spent about 20 minutes trying to undo it but in the end gave up and had to cut a sizable amount of line off which left me with not a lot remaining on the reel.

I moved into a small bay that was rapidly infilling with the rising tide. Cast a Slug-go across some quite shallow ground. After maybe 8 or 9 casts the lure was grabbed by a very strong fish, there was a massive splash as it pounced on the lure. Then it turned and powered off out to sea like a locomotive, line was just peeling off the reef and I realized that within seconds it would have emptied the spool. I tightened the drag and the rod bent over as I tried to stop the fish, I turned it and was beginning to bring it back in. It was thrashing about on the surface and then the hook came out!!!!! I could see a bulge on the water surface as it surged back out to sea. It was a very big bass, easily specimen size.

In future I will bring a spare spool, I may have still lost the fish but if I had more line I could have played the fish differently and might have landed it. A little later I had another strong bite again on the Slug-go. The fish fought strongly but this time it was well hooked and after a few minutes I had it at my feet. It was a well fed 59 cm bass.

I stuck with the Slug-go and had a few more casts. Then I spotted a lot of activity further out, but no way did I have enough line left on the reel to even come close. I did have a spool of 20 lb amnesia in my bag so I loaded that on and resumed fishing. I worked my way out along a finger of rock to get nearer the splashes. Then got a good size pollock. Maybe it was pollock that were breaking the surface.

At that point I spotted a lot of splashes back where I had been fishing previously. Ran back as fast as possible across rough boulder strewn ground and started casting. Then a seal popped its head up right in front of me and stared at me for about ten minutes. That killed off all the fish activity. It remained quite even after the seal moved on. I moved a little further along the shore and had one more small pollock. It was dark at this stage so I began to work my way back. I stopped close to the spot where I had the previous bass for a few casts. On the first cast the Slug-go was struck by a bass very close in, no more than 4 meters from the shore. As it was so close and it shallow water it was easy enough to land. It was a 51 cm bass.

I stayed on a little longer but there was no more bites. It was a better session than I expected, the last time I fished there on full moon tide in very similar conditions I had just one small bass, this time on the neap tide, when the fishing is predicted to be slack, I had two good bass and lost a potential specimen.