Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Fishing Medley

A couple of weeks back my dad came down to Cork for a visit, and to cash in on a birthday ‘voucher’ of going on a bass fishing trip with yours truly. We did the same last year, but on that occasion it was with a ‘professional’ guide in a boat in Cork harbour. Things did not go to plan on the previous year’s outing, partly due to the guide – he had neglected to tie a fresh leader onto a rod given to my dad, and when he caught a bass on his first cast, the leader snapped at the knot just before the fish was landed… sickening – and in my opinion it was totally avoidable if a fresh leader had been tied prior to the session. As it happened, that was the only fish caught on that day – making it a whole lot worse (and no apology was given by the guide)..

OK, rant over, this time I was hoping that my dad would catch (and land) his first bass at a mark which has produced a few fish for me this year close to the top of the tide. We arrived about half an hour before high tide, and were greeted by lovely conditions – a nice bit of chop on the water stirring things up and a moderate on-shore breeze. We both had Feed Shallow lures ready and clambered down to the mark. First cast out, here we go… *bang* fish on for my dad, and then *bang* another fish on for myself. I could see by the hoop in my dad’s rod it looked like a decent fish.. I quickly landed my fish, a smallish schoolie of around 40-45cm, released it, and scooted over to where my dad was. In the meantime he had been drenched by a big wave which arrived just as he was landing the fish. It looked like a 5lb+ fish, and measured out at around 58cm – a brilliant bass for a first ever caught and landed.

Dad's First Bass

Dad’s First Bass

The adrenaline was pumping then, as I headed back to my perch and cast out. Over to my left I watched my dad do the same. Just a few seconds later, and whack, another fish hit my dad’s lure… I went back and assisted in landing and unhooking the fish, this time a smaller one at around 52cm. Two bass on his first two casts!

Over the following hour, my dad hooked another few bass but lost them on the retrieve, and things were quiet for me as I couldn’t find any. When he decided to call it a day and sit back and relax, I figured I’d give the lucky spot a try and fished from the same rock. Some 15 minutes later, just as we were going to pack it in, another fish struck when close in. A couple of runs and a nice 6lb+ bass was landed, which went to 64cm on the ruler.

64cm: Best this year.. so far

64cm: Best this year.. so far

Since that outing I have been out on a couple of other sessions, one in my friend Cuan’s boat in Cork harbour. Cuan was skippering the beautiful 18 foot larch boat, which was built by none other than his dad. During its week long stay in the Cork harbour area the boat caught a few eyes I’m sure.

Pre-launch

Pre-launch

IMG_6120

Ahoy

Skipper on the lookout

Skipper on the lookout

We were hoping to catch a bass on the day, or a decent pollock / cod at depth in the channel. The mackerel were in abundance however, and we just couldn’t find a way past them. We pretty much tried everything, but the mackerel were hitting everything at all depths. At one stage, Cuan put a hook through the back of a mackerel, and let the live bait swim back down to try entice any monsters lurking.. some minutes later a take was felt and Cuan retrieved.. what came back up was a bigger mackerel who had hooked himself on the same rig, with the other mackerel gone 🙂

Leaving Aghada

Leaving Aghada

Tipping a Soft Plastic

Tipping a Soft Plastic

Macky Lunch

Macky Lunch

What the heck is this...

What the heck is this…

The following day I brought a friend to a harbour mark to stock up on some mackerel for the fridge. Within a few casts we were into the fish, which at times were no more than 2 or 3 metres from the breaking water on the beach. It was close to full tide, and the mackerel were in a total feeding frenzy, driving the terrified sprat up onto the beaches. This has been the case all over Cork harbour for the past week or two. It has been quite some time since I have seen so many mackerel stuffed into the harbour. We fished for an hour, before realising we probably had more than enough mackerel to bring home – 20 minutes of fish cleaning later gave us a tally of 37 fish.. one great thing about mackerel is most people love them, so on the way home many of these were presented to other friends and neighbours who happily shared the spoils.

Fishing the Harbour

Fishing the Harbour

Mack Attack

Mack Attack

Since that mackerel mayhem, I have gone on two more sessions targeting the old bassy fellas. On the first of these trips, I fished two different marks with lures in darkness with Cuan, but we could not find a single fish between us 😦 On the second occasion (which was last night) I caught a single bass of 52cm which gave a great account of itself before being landed. One more fish was lost on the retrieve and that was it for the night.

The sole fish of the Night

Single fish of the night

I had hoped for a couple more as conditions were nice, but as the tide went into the last hour of the drop everything went quiet. The mullet moved in and kept me on my toes, often deciding to splash at the surface right beside me, or swimming into my legs once or twice, almost causing a brown trouser moment..

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Fishing The Ebb..

I have not had much success fishing ebb tides in the past, and generally decide not to venture out when the kids-are-in-bed window of opportunity arises most evenings if the tide is dropping. This is very limiting however as you’re only going to have flooding tides half the time in the evenings, so last night I decided to give a mark I rarely fish another try (I was told it fishes well on last few hours of a dropping tide).

When I arrived there was a very fast moving ebb current, a light south westerly, and not much weed to talk about – conditions which seemed promising.. During the first hour I occasionally heard fish breaking the surface with that flapping / splashing sound as they likely fed on baitfish close to the top, but I couldn’t tempt them with a Slug-go or Feed Shallow lure. Sometimes they sounded very close, maybe only 10m away but in the rapidly fading light I couldn’t even make out the wake of where they had breached. There was a new moon on the night, the actual exact moment of new moon in fact was during the fishing session at circa 10pm, so the tide was moving fast, and as time passed it became darker and darker..

Then at around 10.30pm the first fish decided to take a lure, it fought well but I could tell it was a smallish fish, on landing the fish it looked to be around 2lb’ish. I managed to lose my Lure Forum ruler recently so couldn’t get a measurement, but it was probably around the 45cm mark. A quick photo was taken and the fish was released.

The fish took a Feed Shallow in white (or pearl rainbow?) which has easily been my most productive bass lure of the season so far (but this is always going to happen when it is the lure you fish with most..). The lure itself has been through the wars a bit, having lost an eye and the 3 original trebles are bent all over the shop – but as long as the points are sharpened before a session it is still doing the business.. (time to replace the hooks with singles I think..).

Things went quiet then for about 20 minutes, so I decided to venture to another spot about 200 yards away. Not long after whilst fishing the lure back slowly, with lots of pauses on the retrieve, another fish struck the lure. This felt like a much better fish, and took a number of surges and runs, stripping line off the reel. At times the runs were towards where I stood, so lots of slack line was reeled in the try to maintain contact. After some further small runs when close in, I switched on my headlamp to land the fish and saw a nice chunky fish of between 5 and 6 lb looking back at me. Again, I couldn’t take a measurement, but I’d guess it was between 55-60cm.

What followed was another 3 fish in the next 15 minutes, all around the 3-4lb mark. One of these fish threw the hook just before being landed.. Things went very quiet then and as it was getting late and I had a decent spin back to the house I packed it in.

Here are a couple of photos / video of some of the silver fellas:

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