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.