Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A break from the wind and rain

It has been a poor year for fishing hence my lack of updates. I did very little fishing over the Summer and Autumn and was hoping for a good cod season. However, the 2015 is proving to be my worst cod season since I started fishing. In early November before all the wet weather I did fish a favourite cod mark in the Youghal area. I fished from low to high tide without a single bite, normally at that time of year I would expect to get a minimum of 10 cod.

There was almost incessant rain for over a month following that session.  As a result there has been a torrent of fresh water flowing down the Blackwater which has most likely flushed the few cod that were about well out into Youghal Bay.

With the strong winds/gales and rain I didn't fancy a beach session until last Sunday when the winds finally eased and the skies cleared, coinciding with a change to cooler fresher conditions. I decided on a beach mark which is well away from a river/estuary and one which which commonly produces cod at this time of the year.

I got to the beach just at dusk about 2.5 hours before low tide, checked it for weed. It seems clean apart from a few clumps of kelp attached to bounders strewn high on the gravel at the back of the beach. With fresh peeler crab been extremely scarce this winter I just had some razor and frozen crab, although I brought a fork with me so I could dig a few lug at low tide.

I set up two rods, one with a two hook flapper with 2/0 circle hooks baited with razor, the second with a three hook flapper with size 1 and 2 hooks with razor and crab. I don't normally use such small hooks but it has been so long since I caught a fish that I was determined to catch something, size didn't matter.

It was a nice night, a bright half moon illuminated the beach with a moderate southwesterly wind which was not too cold.

About half an hour after casting out I had a a strong tug on the two hook flapper, as I retrieved it was fighting strongly then surged in with the surf so I had to rapidly reel in the slack. It was behaving more like a bass than a cod and sure enough after a few minutes I could see the glint of silver in the moonlight as I landed a plump 3.25 lb bass on the beach.

About half an hour later I had another good knock this time on the other rod. Again it gave a good fight and I has very happy to see a second bass, slightly smaller at 3 lbs. It had taken the middle hook which was baited with a small frozen crab.

Close to low tide there was another strong knock on the first rod. I was convinced I had a third bass until I landed an angry seagull on the beach. It had got a leg and wing tangled in my line, but I managed to free it without too much damage and it flew off after giving a loud angry sounding squak.

I had hoped some cod might show up with the rising tide but my baits remained untouched. The only other fish was a good size coalfish about 2.5 hours into the rising tide.

The lack of cod suggests that they have probably moved well out of the bay and I would not be too hopeful of them making a return for a late run in the New Year. I packed up shortly before high tide, happy enough with the night's fishing after a long period of blanks.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

First Bass of the year - March 2015

I was off to a slow start with the bass fishing this year. As I was very busy with work I did no fishing at all apart from a short session in early January. The cold weather was not too enticing either. Having cleared the work backlog I had some free time coinciding with the big tides a few weeks ago so made my way to a beach that usually produces bass at this time of the year close to high tide given the right conditions. I arrived about three hours into the rising tide but found that the northerly wind had totally flattened the surf, there was hardly a ripple on the sea. That, combined with bright sunny day and hardly a cloud in the sky, did not seem too promising for bass fishing. So I started off with small hook (size 2) three hook flappers baited with freshly dug lug to target flounder.

After about half an hour I noticed a large splash out about 50 m. Then a few minues later a fish arched out of the water. Could it be a bass or sea trout I wondered. It was unlikely to be mullet as the water still felt very cold. I changed over to my usual 4/0 pennel pulley rigs and cast one rod out to roughly where I had seen the fish activity and cast the second in the direction of a submerged depression which would be a likely bass foraging spot.

Maybe 20 minutes later there was a sharp knock on the first rod, I grabbed it, struck as a fish burst on to the surface. It put up a good struggle as it thrashed about on the surface before I glided it into the shallows and on to the beach. It was my first bass of the year, not big, about 2.5 lbs, so I was delighted particularly as I had not been too hopeful at the start of the session.

About half and hour later there was a strong tug on the other rod, the one that was targeting the gulley. Again the fish broke the surface as I began to retrieve. This looked a bigger fish and was certainly putting up a stronger fight, pulling strongly to the right as I tried to land it on the beach. It was indeed a bigger bass, a well fed stocky fish just under 5 lbs.

I continued on fishing for another hour and a half but the bass had moved on. I did have one strong tug but the fish wasn't hooked. But after that it got quiet so I packed up just after high tide.