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.