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Rookie Bass Angler: August 2012

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One year on!

video


It has been one year since we first set off chasing Bass - Kerry was the destination and it wasn't long before we landed our first Silver Devil. From that moment on we were both hooked.

What we have learnt since then is mind blowing. Starting off with 10 foot spinning rod, large fixed spool reels and mono - thumping out anything we could get our hands on.

Now we have converted to the lure fishing and both set up with decent lure rods, smaller reels and powerful braids.

The lures have become a bit of an addiction for me, but I know I am not the only one out there with this problem!

I have met some fantastic people along the way, it is difficult to know where to start and end without forgetting someone. I guess it is fair to say that everyone I have met or talked to on Facebook or through my Blog has influenced my fishing in some way or another and I think it is fitting to say thanks. I wouldn't be half the angler I am without their advice, input and help.

It has been an amazing journey and I have certainly caught the Bass bug.

Stay tuned for more Bass antics and other fishing adventures.

Steve!

Against all odds on the Copper Coast

After meeting Kenny and Jonny at the Irish Bass Festival 2012 we decided to team-up and head for the Copper Coast / Wexford for another trip this year. After giving some consideration to the tides and moon phases the date was set.

Little did we know at this stage that the weather would kick up and provide us with a challenge. We knew the conditions would be tricky but we had all committed by this stage and going back wasn't an option - it was always going to be tough from the outset.

We geared-up, grabbed a very limited amount of sleep and set off.

On arrival we did the usual - call into Absolute Fishing to pick up Jonny's new rod, get a chat and a much needed coffee to lift the spirits and then set off to check out the coastline. Needless to say the reports were 100% correct. The swell was huge and the water clarity was milky but thankfully not dirty (yet!)

We fished hard the first day but as everyone knows, your expectation levels on the first day are always low due to the travel and tiredness. We all knew day two would be the big one.




First fish of the trip


We headed out for the first mark and fished it down the tide - no luck. The lads were impressed by the ground and it looked fishy but no takes. We went back to the drawing board and moved. I could see the water was milky but clean and weed free on arrival. It was looking promising. The tide was starting to push and there was more than enough life in the water. We took up our spots and began working the water. Third cast and the rod lurched over and I was attached to a nice hard fighting Bass - FISH ON!




It scrapped around tight at my feet while Jonny ran down the rock to help me land it. The fish was determined to run around every possible snag making it a very tense couple of minutes. The swell was making it tricky to land but after a few hairy moments, Jonny got the Boga grip into the mouth and the fish was safely unhooked.



(The first Bass of the trip - would there be more?)

It was looking like we were going to be into a good session - we fished hard the rest of the day. The lads had a few hits but no more hooks ups. Other than a pounding from some serious swells and conditions that was the only action to be had all day. A welcome one nonetheless. We left chuffed at landing a Bass in the conditions and the spirits were lifted.




After a few pictures the fish was returned safely to the water - a few kicks of the tail and away it bolted through the surf and back to the rocky reef from which it had nailed my lure.




The wind was now picking up and we knew our luck was about to run out fast! The swell picked up and the water turned from milky to just pure filth. Weed was ripped up and washed in while the sediment lifted and muddied up the water. Things were looking grim but we fished on the third day and pushed hard. A few rattles but no serious indications of any fish about.




At this stage it was looking like it was going to all down to the last day for Jonny and Kenny to get a fish but I have to hand it to the lads, their spirits never dampened and their determination is commendable - many an angler would have given up and written it off by this stage.



(Two very wet anglers contemplating the next move)

The call was made between us to pack up and leave the Copper Coast. We had talked to a few lads and everyone was getting it tough. Fishing on may have produced fish but this is where experience would kick in and sadly we lacked the knowledge. We decided to head to Wexford - where my knowledge is still limited but better than previous location.

We tucked away on a little rock mark as the light began to fall and fished into darkness. Jonny had one rise to the mighty Patchinko but it wasn't to be. Would the boys get a fish on their last day?

The weed was just silly on the shore .... was it going to be a complete wash out?





Triple Hook Ups!


We headed out to a mark which we all knew would be vaguely cleaner than the rest of the coast line but even then this was a gamble. 

Bright blue sky, strong breeze and a bit of colour in the water - it was looking good. 

Jonny fished down the stretch first with a Smoke/Pearl Senko. I watched him as the lure bounced down the current - FISH ON!

His new Graphiteleader Argento slammed over and the fish began to run with the current. A nice battle and his first fish of the trip was landed.



(Jonny's first Bass on Graphiteleader Argento)


Obviously Jonny was delighted with getting his first Bass on the new rod and landing a fish before we headed for home.




After it was returned the only question was, could we get Kenny his fish?

We fished on and about 10 minutes later when my lure (Smoke/Pearl Senko) stopped in the current - dead weight. I struck and the fish took off down tide of me. I backed up and chased it down the bank gaining back line and began to fight it towards me.




Kenny helped me land the fish weighing just over 4.5lbs.




Off it went and our thoughts now turned to Kenny - would he get his Bass?



This was it, Jonny and I stood hoping Kenny would bag the Bass which he had worked so hard for over the trip. Surely things would go our way for a change and we would all leave content.

As we were discussing the previous two fish we looked over to see Kenny's rod pulsing and then the shouts as he battled the fish in the rough water. As it got into the shallows, we both got a glimpse of the lure - a nice Chartreuse Senko was dangling out of the stunning silver devil at our feet. One swift move and the fish was on the Boga and unhooked.




The three of us stood there with huge grins on our faces. Not only had we all got lovely fish but it all happened in the space of half an hour! We couldn't believe it. All that work the past few days had paid off. 

The tiredness, damp clothes and anti-social hours all became a distant memory as we slipped Kenny's fish back into the water and watched it kick off into the water.




This was the first time we had fished together and I have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. To fish with like minded anglers is superb and especially ones who are as enthusiastic as these two. I will be very surprised if we do not make this an annual pilgrimage! 

We packed up, headed for home three very happy lads - many things had been learnt from the trip but perhaps the key point that we all took away from it was to persevere, fish hard and the rewards will come. Although you will get the dreaded yet inevitable blank, as anglers, we are always prepared for those days.

Watch this space - you may see more of the three of us soon enough out wetting a line.

Tight Lines

Monday, 13 August 2012

A weeks worth of lure fishing .....

Forecast was looking good, tides decent and a week of lure fishing - could I be any happier?

I packed up all my soft plastics, got the rods in the tubes and took the time to tie the leaders. I was hoping for a week of rod bending action and it lived up to expectations!

As we have no Bass, I had to target other species for some sport....... so here is what happened!


Wrasse




This has been a long awaited moment! I have been trying to target wrasse on soft plastics for quite some time now .... some of you I bet are sick of me asking questions and annoying them with 'what lure? tide? blah blah blah' - Finally I got some decent weather and a week to go and try for some of these sea pigs. 

Arrived at the mark. Bright blue sky and flat calm. The water was crystal clear - perhaps the conditions were too good? I started to work the kelp beds and rocky ledges at my feet.



It was not long before I had a few knocks and touches but no hook ups - yet!

I slowly twitched the lure up through the kelp and about 3 feet from the surface the wrasse darted out and smashed the lure! I could hardly believe it. After my brain recovered from shock I began to fight it from diving back into the kelp. The net was deployed at the fish safely landed for a few snaps before going back.



Thrilled doesn't even come close .... been waiting a long time for it and finally I have caught what is, I hope, the first of many.

Pollack


After getting my first pollack on soft plastics two weeks before the trip I had a renewed confidence in my fishing. Got out to the mark and the water was stirring and boiling and a nice cross current. I know there are big fish on this mark - a few years ago we hit a series of fish over 5lb so suspense and anticipation was in the air.

Dad was first to hit into one hard at his feet on a 4.5inch Sluggo



Then I hit a few one the smaller lures I was using for wrasse



It really surprises me how these little pollack scrap - I know they are good fighters but some of them feel like they have had a steroid injection! 



As always it is nice to watch them recover in a big pool before releasing them safely back into the water. 



Both of us had been followed up by pollack exceeding 7lb weight ... huge fish but no take. It was strange but they will be there fore next time - fingers crossed!

Sea Trout


As you may be aware from my previous posts we have been doing rather well this season at sea trout. This week was a level up again from previous months. The estuary had been hit with the 'Red Tide' a few weeks before and worries were that the bait fish and sandeels had all died or moved on. This was not the case!

The first morning down, we ventured out onto the sand and within half an hour the water was boiling with sprats, fry and sandeels - it was literally alive with feeding.

The mackerel was the primary predator hitting these shoals but if you could get down 'through' them, the trout were hoovering up also.



Small metals were the only lures working - despite my experiments in the past taking trout on all manner of shapes and sizes. This time they were preoccupied by one food source and only the closest imitation would do the job. Small herring, krill and sprat like bars.



The water was crystal clear and yet the trout followed the lures into our feet. They were so occupied on food that we seemed not to bother them.

The action shot!


As usual the average was somewhere between 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound. However I hooked and landed fish over the 1 lb and lost fish well over 2 lb - this just happens. I use barb-less singles so you win some, you loose some.


To give you and idea on the feeding and size of the trout that were lurking, check out this wounded bait fish that I found in the shallows.




It was lovely to watch them dart around and swim back to the channel after releasing.



Mackerel


Every few years we are lucky enough to get the mackerel coming into our estuary to feed on bait fish. Obviously we get them along the coast every summer but it is a treat when they come into the estuary to feed. The water boils and the fun on the fly and light lure gear is incredible. 

Again barb-less singles were used so I could release all of them safely without touching the fish itself. 


I decided to get experimental with the mackerel. I waited until I saw the boiling bait fish, flicked out a mini mag popper and began to twitch it across the top. 

Twitch, pop, splash - the rod tip rattled and I hooked a mackerel. Was fantastic to hit them on little surface lures. Most fun I have had for a long time from a mackerel of any size.




Other than that, little lures and casting jigs produced good results. Up to 30 mackerel each per session. By the end of the week we had well over 300 on the lure rods. All of them bar a couple went back in untouched and unharmed. 



At one point I waded into the water about thigh depth. The water was clear for a moment and then it went black. Dad was about 20 yards away and shouted over. I looked down to find I was in the middle of a bait ball. Sprats, fry the whole lot shoaled around my feet in a thick mass of shimmering silver. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap ..... It was like pins and needles. I could feel them getting agitated and then like jet fighters the mackerel came darting into the shoal. They came in so hard they couldn't turn to avoid me and I stood there getting hit by feeding mackerel. I couldn't believe what was happening at my feet. I lifted my lure out of the water and watched in amazement as the feeding frenzy continued at my feet - then as quickly as it started the shoal broke up and vanished. 

My dad stood in shock and I was baffled at what I had just witnessed. I may never be in the middle of another one but it is certainly a moment which I will never forget!


Smallest fish of the week




This little hungry boy grabbed the lure whilst jigged back in close to shore - the lure is only 40mm long!

A special mention / thanks to Monster Tackle


After having to return an item the other week I received the best customer service I have ever experienced. Prompt, polite and staggering how quickly the issue was resolved. Usually I do not promote or discuss the shops or businesses I use however I felt this required special attention. 



Sadly it all had to end sometime!


Like all fishing trips, it had to end sometime! 

On reflection I think it was undoubtedly the best week's fishing I have had in a long time - there were no monsters landed and despite hammering large numbers it was the style and experience of new techniques and just enjoying myself. No pressure and plenty of time to explore and experiment. 

Packing the gear this week for another trip to Wexford / Copper Coast at weekend .... Excited doesn't even come close. Weather looking a bit dodgy but I'm going with two sound lads (Jonny and Kenny) and I know it will be a great time.

Stay tuned.