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Rookie Bass Angler: July 2012

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pollack on soft plastics .... Hard work finally paid off!

My first Pollack on a soft plastic.....

I have been trying for some time now to catch myself a Pollack on soft plastics ..... I know most of you are probably thinking 'why hasn't he already?' Well lets just say the Atlantic has thrown me some rather impressive curve balls over the past month or so! The fierce swells and the appearance of the Red Tide (see earlier post) has made fishing difficult enough. 

My fishing partner for the evening was my Granda, who introduced me to sea fishing when I was little. Wrasse and Pollack on the float gear was my staple for years until I got the lure bug.

The conditions were looking good. There was a swell and stir in the water but it was nice and not too dirty. When we arrived at the mark the terns had just stopped hammering the water, which gave me some confidence - there was feeding about! 

I rigged up with a 4.5 inch Pink Sluggo on a Texas rig, flicked it out and slowly began to retrieve. As I was lifting it out of the water I got smashed by a fish of around 2lb weight right at my feet. The reel took a quick scream and the rod jolted but the fish was off. It has just grabbed the tail and dived. 

I fished on with a renewed enthusiasm. 

No more bites on the pink - I switched to a 5 inch White Senko, added a little more weight to handle the swell and threw it out a good distance beyond a large rock which I could see under the water.

I twitched it back in, giving it a flick every now and then.


As the lure dropped back down I got the unmistakable crash dive of a Pollack. The fish tore line off the reel as it headed for the bottom. At this point all I could do was hold on and keep the rod high to avoid the snags. After a few minutes of heart stopping head shaking and diving I began to make some head way bringing the fish up to cleaner ground. 

A few adjustments to the drag and the fish was soon clear of the bottom and coming in nicely. The next task was getting it landed  . . . The swell was rough and getting the fish up onto the ledge I was on was looking tricky. Using the wash of the waves I got the fish up and land locked into a pool. The Boga style grip closed on its bottom jaw and the fish was mine.

(My first Pollack on Soft Plastic)

It was by no means a monster but I was absolutely delighted ..... Finally I had got a break from the weather and conditions played in my favor.

The Gear:

Rod - Graphiteleader Argento RV 6-28g
Reel - Daiwa TDX 3012
Line - Sunline Super PE 20lb
Leader - Suneline Siglon 20lb
Lure - 5 inch White Senko with 3/0 Owner Weedless with Hitch-hiker

This has certainly boosted my confidence in this method of fishing. Of course I know it works, I have read and watched others land fish to this method but I think we would all agree that until you have tried and succeeded using a particular method then we all doubt it a little. 

I hope this is the start of many fish to be taken on this method!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Irish Bass Festival 2012

Irish Bass Festival 2012

Where do I begin? First off a great thanks to Cian and James at Absolute Fishing for organizing the event. Great idea and it ran like clock work. There was such a buzz about the shop every time you were in and of course the usual top service and banter. 

Obviously the various sponsors need thanked as well for backing the lads.

We had been waiting to get our hands on the new Graphite Leader Argento RV 8 foot 6 lure rods ..... They are awesome! Lovely finish and they cast lures for miles with little to no effort. Stick on a Daiwa Shoreline Shiner or Patchinko and they fly out into the distance. 

The conditions .......

To put it mildly the conditions were poor. It is not often that I complain about bright blue sky and sunshine but on this occasion I did. Flat calm seas and no life in the water made the fishing tough around Wexford direction. This seemed to be a common theme among most anglers who fished this part of the coast. However Danny Meagher, Pat, Crevan and the lads seemed to hit into some fish due to some precise running around and keeping on the go. 

Waterford seemed to be fairing a little better but on the whole low light seemed to be producing the best chance of a fish. I was to find this out on the last night!

The fish ..... 

Despite it being slow and tricky we did manage to intercept a few Bass over the duration but the windows of activity seemed small. 

First Bass on the new Argento RV rods ..... It was great to get the first pull on these new rods. A dream to fish with and for the money they are sublime. Nice action and they transfer the power quickly when fighting silver!

First experience with the Patchinko - SMASH!

We had been fished this mark for about an hour and I had bumped one Bass and my dad had landed a 2 lb Pollack but things were slow and the light was dropping fast. Time was running out. The weed had began to blow inshore and sub surface was no longer an option. I hunted in the box and pulled out the famous Lemon backed Patch, stuck it on and fired it out. Slowly began to walk it back towards me. 

Click, click, click, click - Whoosh! The Bass came up like a rocket and hammered the lure on the top before running like a train down into the water. If I am honest it took me a second to even register what had just happened. After a nice little scrap I landed the fish around 4lb weight. It was a great feeling a) to hit my first surface lure Bass and b) to register a fish for on the competition ruler. 

The fishing buddies.

I couldn't go to Wexford without catching up with my mate Jay La Roche http://wexfordbass.blogspot.co.uk/

We fished a few sessions together but things were tough but we kept on going. As always it was a pleasure and good banter. Lets just hope we have better luck next time. 

We met some other lads when we were out and about. Thomas, Kenny and Jonny were sound lads and we shared many fishing stories and had a crack together at a mark just as the light dropped. I will be very surprised if in the future you do not see our ugly mugs out together fishing .... watch this space. 

Also met Cliff, who turned out to be good mates with another angling buddy of mine. Some impressive fish caught by him over the competition and some nice secret lures used also. 

Seamus Enright and Aiden from Kerry were great lads, friendly and hope to stay in touch with them in the future. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tralee-lure-angling/391344080920937

A day to remember......

After some arrangements in the bar on Sunday night, Monday was looking like a special day. We set off to meet some lads to fish the Copper Coast. This would be my first time venturing this far over and completely into the unknown. Conditions looked awesome and there was enthusiasm in the air. 

It was a long days fishing with some of us producing fish up to the 5 to 6 lb mark ..... On a mix of hard and soft lures .... I got one take on a white wave worm but it didn't hook up. 

Lets just say these lads know this coast like the back of their hand ..... An experience which I shall not forget and one which I am eternally grateful to have had.

Maybe (if I am lucky) this will be done again.

The last day ....

We had arranged to meet Crevan on the mark around 9am. We set off early to have an explore. Withing the first three casts I hooked and lost a Bass of around 5lb. I was gutted. Was this my last chance and I had blown it? We met up with Crevan and began to work our way along the mark. 

Out hammered the Patchinko again and I stood in awe as I watched the Bass come up and splash behind Crevan's lure. Three chases in one retrieve ......Wow. The place was certainly showing promising signs. Splash after splash and no hook ups. It was looking like one of those days ..... 

I got fed up with this tormenting and stuck on a Feed Shallow - just as it came passed over the little wave ..... the Rod lurched and I had a nice little schoolie on. Landed and photographed (picture still to come....) We fished on with the spirits lifted. We hadn't blanked!

Dad opened the box and the IMA Salt Skimmer was produced. This was the last change of the day then it was home time. Cast out (these things hammer out on the rods) twitch, twich .... BANG! Fish on! 

Another first surface caught Bass of the trip. My dad was delighted as it ran and dived about. 

After it was returned safely (like all the other fish of the trip) we decided to call it a day and headed to the car. Lures, gear and Bass were discussed for about an hour before we split and headed for home. 

What is next?

I think and I hope that this will become an annual event. We met loads of great guys, chatted about lures, gear and of course Bass for hours on end. Granted the fishing for us was slow but it was a fantastic event and one which everybody who took part and organised should be proud of. 

I have already started to plan my next trip down. When that will be remains to be seen but stay tuned - who knows what is next.....

Tight Lines


Monday, 16 July 2012

Red Tide Strikes Again

So I had packed my bags and set off for some serious sea fishing planned in Donegal ...... which ended up a complete failure.

Except for one moment. My dad set off to fish the river and returned with this fine beauty of a Salmon. Around 11lb weight .... stunner.

Lovely to see fish like this about.

The first day I took a stroll down the estuary to find a scum had formed across the beach, all worm casts had been destroyed and several dead crabs rotting on the shore. This wasn't looking good. I knew in the back of my head what the signs pointed to but I didn't want to jump to conclusions.

Several years ago the same signs appeared and the cause was an algal bloom known as the 'red tide' had swept in from the Atlantic causing massive inshore damage to small marine life.

It was back!

I was gutted but I decided to go ahead and fish to see what was about. . .

Day 1 - Estuary produced one small Sea Trout on a metal bar which I had turned back to front to add a better action.

Day 2 - Estuary produced one more small Sea Trout to fly.

The one thing I had noticed was the algal bloom and scum had provided fantastic feeding grounds for Mullet. The marks covered the beach.

Day 3 - Estuary with fly rod for Mullet. A few showed up but the North winds cooled the water and the fish dropped out to the main channel.

Day 4 - Set off to some good rock marks I know hold decent Pollack and Wrasse. The water looked alive with swell and current, in fact I would say perfect! Not a bite. The bloom has reportedly killed a lot of bait fish and perhaps the Pollack have dropped out to sea to find new feeding? Maybe I am using this as an excuse but it seemed to me and others I have talked to that it has really upset the marine balance in the area.

Day 5 - Blank!!!

Day 6 - Decided to head inland to try for Pike and Perch. Pike kept their heads down all day. No bites. A few small Perch saved the day. Lovely little fish.

Caught on what seems to be my most successful freshwater predator lure .....

To summarize my trip ...... It was hard work and very depressing to see so much of the wildlife and sea life wiped out. I just hope it bounces back. The North winds made lake fishing tricky but that is fishing. You have to deal with the rough and the smooth.

Getting packed up now for the Irish Bass Festival. Can not wait to get out with some new and old friends and try out my new toy, the Graphite Leader Argento RV

Updates to follow.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Wales 2012

It has been a while since I last put up a blog post as I was away in Wales staying with my good friend Matt Powell for two weeks.

Firstly if you haven't already checked out his page at - www.fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

What a nice guy he is and over the two weeks we shared some highs and lows . . . .

Lets start off with the highs .....

The coastline around Pembrokeshire is truly stunning. High, rugged cliffs drop down to sand, gravel and large rock formations creating the ideal ground for Bass to hunt. There is a fantastic network of coastal paths which allow you to roam and wander for miles seeking out those hidden spots where you just know nobody has ever fished. Once you get down and the water is boiling and fizzing nicely you feel the anticipation instantly.

I was shocked and somewhat amused by the fact that Gold as a lure colour works wonders over there .... I am used to candy and red bellied lures in the South of Ireland and even for my fishing on the West coast but I had to adapt and take the advice of Matt who knows the coast, lures and techniques which work with him.

My first Welsh Bass

We were standing at the edge of a gravely cove where the rocks run in a ridge formation allowing the swell to rage over them, creating an impressive stir in the water. I cast out and worked the water methodically and then .... Whack! Fish on! It wasn't a massive fish but it was my first Welsh Bass. It scrapped hard in the swell and after some careful and somewhat optimistic landing tactics we got the Bass into a rock pool and safely unhooked. After a firm handshake and a huge grin on my face the fish was safely released.

We fished on and landed another school Bass before calling the evening to an end.

The two weeks were peppered with bad stormy weather and what can only be described as cold spells. The water temperatures did not fall in our favour either BUT that is fishing . . . . You can travel 10 minutes down the road or hundreds of miles across the world and you always face the same challenge - the weather.

We chose our battles wisely and made the most of the breaks in the weather producing more school Bass but the fight from these little boys was impressive!

We found that we mostly hit school Bass but perhaps the bigger Bass just hadn't arrived in yet.

Single hooks on lures .....?

I had hooked up my Tackle House Feed Shallow Sardine Red Belly lure with Decoy 1/0 Pluggin' singles before I left. I love the lure and the hook size, the action is great BUT I lost the biggest fish of the trip on them. I am not saying the hooks are the reason but it does make you wonder at times. I hooked a Bass of around 5 to 6lb one day in close at my feet and it was a hellish fight. After getting it under control ... somehow I got it up to the surface and then the head shaking began and yes it got off! I felt sick but you win some you lose some.

A spot of night fishing in the surf.

We set off on our usual hike over the coastal path to our remote little bay which had produced some fish the previous days. The light was dropping and the surf was gently rolling in. I put on my brand new IMA Komomo 2 and Matt a Duo lure .... Two casts later I had a little school Bass on the gravel at my feet. It was a cracker fight in the surf.

The thing I think we both enjoyed was the chance to experiment and take the time to try new lures, techniques and for me I did a lot more work on Soft Plastics however,though I did not catch any fish on them, Matt did. We had been fishing up some gullies with the tide flooding in through the weed and sandy patches as I watched Matt's Century rod bend over .... the trusty Sluggo strikes again!

Everyone I met was friendly, welcoming and just generally nice people - Would I go back to Wales? Yes, most certainly and especially now I have made a good friend out of it.

Like I said at the beginning, check out the site. Not only is he a Bass guide but also has an intimate knowledge of foraging and his food skills are sublime.

Who knows .... it may not be too long before I am back.

One last thanks to Matt Powell for a) putting up with me for two weeks and b) taking me and guiding me around the coast. It was an a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one which I won't forget.