Monday, 7 October 2013

A few recent sessions

I tried a few new marks and a few old reliable ones over the last few weeks but the quality of the fishing has remained as poor as it was over the summer.

21st September
I headed to a new mark in Co. Waterford to fish from low to high tide. It was a nice day with a light southwesterly breeze and strong spring tides. I arrived at the shore after a long trek across fields and down a steep slope. The area looked very promising, with a lot of small bays separated by rocky promontories. I was hopeful that this might produce a better result than I have had over recent months.

I initially worked my way west but there was not a hint of a bite and no sign of any fish activity on the surface. I then made my way back to where I started and moved onto a broad rock platform surrounded by lots of shallow gulleys. At about mid-tide my perseverance was rewarded. I was fishing a Delalande Picoleau at depth when it was snatched by a fish just two meters out from the edge of the rocks. It breached the surface; I could see it was a bass, not big but after all the recent blanks in the quest for bass the size didn't matter. It put up a good struggle as I worked it in towards the back of the gulley so I could lift it out. It was a 46 cm bass, quite slender and had several net marks indicating that netting of bass has been taking place!!! Which may partly account for the general lack of fish in this area.

Getting that fish gave me some encouragement and I was hopeful that more bass lurked in the numerous shallow gulleys. I fished on until high tide but failed to get another bite.

22nd September
I decided to try another bay in Co. Waterford which fished extremely well in September 2011, again planning to fish from low to high tide. The weather was a big contrast to the previous day. The countryside was enveloped in thick misty fog. Although I have driven there numerous times I missed a turning due to the fog and took a roundabout way to get to a parking space on the hillside above the cliffs. I set out on foot across the fields and down through the fog towards the shore. The clouds were very low, no more than 15 m above sea level and light levels very low, it was more like dusk than 2 pm!!! But I thought that would be good and would bring the fish closer to shore.

I worked my way from one end of the bay to the other, fishing into numerous gulley and small bays, off rock promontories but all I had was a single pollock of about 2.5 lbs and a solitary mackerel. I couldn't believe the fishing was so poor. Two years ago in late September this bay was teaming with life. In the deeper gulleys you could catch pollock on every cast, close to dusk pollock and bass were breaking the surface all over but this time it looked lifeless.

5th October
The tides were strong as there was a new moon. I planned fishing a stretch of coast in East Cork which I only fished a couple of times this year. However, when I got out of the car and had a look down at the shore it did not look too good. Although it was a nice sunny day there was a fairly strong southwesterly breeze which had blown up a moderate surf and the water looked highly coloured. So as an alternative I made my way to a more sheltered mark in Cork Harbour. I dislike fishing the harbour and much prefer to be on the open coast but with the conditions it seemed like the best option. I fished from low tide for the next 3.5 hours working my way along a stretch of shore with lots of gulleys and rock ridges. Another angler was fishing from small boat and was drifting 30-40 m out along the same stretch, so between us we had that area well covered but if there were any fish there they were not interested.

It was not looking good so I packed up and headed to a mark on the coast that is partially sheltered from southwesterly winds. I had some good fish there last year on big tides in the September/October period in the last two hours up to high tide. So I got there on what should be the optimum time. The sea was quite choppy but the water clarity was not too bad.

I was fishing for about 25 minutes when I saw the black outline of a fish coming after the lure, again I was using a Delalande Picoleau, and I felt a tug but the fish missed the hook, I slowed down the retrieve and the fish struck again. This time it was well hooked and initially dived with the lure before breaking the surface. I worked it in and eased it onto a rock ledge. It was a 45 cm bass.

Last year once the first bass appeared at this mark I always had a few more as well as a few missed bites presumably as a small shoal passed through. But this time that was the only fish. Although I did have another bite - a fish that stole the soft plastic off the lead head without been hooked.

6th October
Again the Sunday after a nice Saturday was grim with thick fog, light misty rain and a strong southwesterly breeze. I made my way to the same Waterford mark I fished on Sunday 22nd September as it would be sheltered. The conditions looked reasonable and the water clarity was good. A worked my along the bay with just one nibble from a fish that wasn't hooked. Finally just before packing up in an attempt to at least catch one fish I put on a yellow tailed jelly worm and lobbed it across a kelp lined ledge with a deep drop off. I reckoned there must be pollock lurking there. After a few casts I got a small pollock which didn't even weigh a pound. It was high tide at that stage so I packed up and made my way up the cliff before it got too dark after another very disappointing session.

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