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!!!