Since my last post here (the boat trip mentioned in that post yielded nothing in the way of fish) I ventured out just three times, with very little to show for it. The first outing was a pollock fishing session on Inis Oirr (I was there for a short stay around St. Patrick’s weekend), I was delighted that day to get off the mark for 2014 with a single pollock – hardly a phenomenal return for the 4 hours fishing put in, but a very welcome fish all the same.
In the past 48 hours I attempted to catch bass on lures at night at an estuary mark (nothing showed and the only thing we got was numb hands), and the following day went into Cork harbour on a friend’s boat to see if we could get an edge by using some chum and fishing with bait. Chum, for those who don’t know, is a delightful cocktail of fish carcasses, guts, fish oil, oat bran and whatever smelly fishy stuff you can get your hands on. Ideally you would use a heavy duty blender to chop up the fish carcasses into little bits, but in our case we had a chopping board and a good chopping knife. A fish monger in the old English Market were good enough to provide us with two buckets of fish carcasses.
I spent the best part of half an hour hacking at hake, mauling monkfish, chopping cod and dismembering dabs to get pieces small enough for the chum. This was followed by adding half a bottle of cod liver oil, a kilo of bran and some other fishy juices to the mixing bowl. Then it was up to Cuan (using the landing net handle as a spoon) to mix it all up. The lovely concoction then goes into an onion sack, which is closed, and tied onto the anchor rope a few metres above the anchor itself.
The theory is that if positioned correctly with the boat, the chum / scented bran will slowly release from the bag under the water and tempt fish in towards the boat, making it easier to catch one..
We proceeded to the first mark, known as harbour rock, and anchored up. There was light enough winds on the day, but still a fair bit of chop at the mark, and we decided to use the chum later on at a different spot where it might be a bit more settled. We were fishing with crab and squid baits and in the first hour only a velvet swimming crab and a couple of baby starfish showed any interest.
We moved on, to the turbot bank mark, and dropped anchor again, this time attaching the chum bag to the anchor rope before dropping anchor. What followed was 2-3 hours of nothing much happening, except for the occasional sea sickness, and as the light failed some whiting showing up on small baited feathers. Whilst not exactly the most productive or enjoyable day, maybe it was worth it for the experimentation, and it reminded us yet again how much there is yet to learn about fishing the harbour. So much of it seems like trial and error, but hopefully sometime soon the lessons learned from all the blanks and poor sessions will pay off.
So back to the present, I have some renewed optimism and motivation after reading reports of bass taken locally on lures in the past two days, so have decided to have another lash in a pre-dawn session tomorrow morning. My luck has to turn soon..