After what was a fairly dismal return in bass fishing last year, the old fishing confidence took a bit of a battering, and I was very slow to start with lures this year. Productive fishing seemed more likely through boat trips, so I went out on my friend’s Alaska 500 in Cork harbour and beyond over the past few months. We found the usual suspects including cod, ling, pollock, whiting, mackerel, gurnard amongst others. Nothing massive was caught, but it has been nice to get decent action off the boat for a change from all the fruitless hours spent on the shore in search of bass last season.
I started trying for bass on lures again 4 weeks ago, with just 3 sessions so far this year. The conditions in the past few weeks especially have seemed very promising with warmer air and sea temperatures starting to take hold, and good water clarity on the open coast in many places. I have been waiting for the past 2 weeks for the right conditions (high water coming into darkness) at a favourite night time mark, and finally got out last night with a buddy. We were greeted with a gentle chop and swell on the clear water, with cloudy skies overhead. Out went a Feed Shallow in sardine colour and on just the second cast, I had a nice hit at distance and it was fish on! A small bit of line was stripped on the retrieve, but it was hard to tell what stamp of a fish was on – until she came close in and I saw a nice bulky fish head-banging at the surface. With the help of my buddy we beached the fish and I was delighted to find her hitting the 67cm mark, matching the best fish I’ve had before at this mark about 2 years before.
My buddy, fired out a Feed Shallow 90 in mullet colour, and minutes later had a nice lively schoolie of around 2.5lb. There was obviously a few fish around and we fished the same spot for another hour or so, with my buddy landing one more schoolie, and some time after another schoolie for myself.
With the tide starting to drop, we moved on a little to where some slightly deeper water was accessible and took up different sides of a rocky outcrop. My friend was into another bass of 2-3lb shortly after, and then things went quiet for some time. I switched over to soft plastics and had just one hit after a while but the fish dropped the lure.
With the midnight hour approaching I waded over to another area and fished out into open water where the light swell was running in over shallow rocks and forming small crashing waves – 2 or 3 casts later with a white Feed Shallow and it was fish on again, but this time she threw the hook after a couple of runs and had me cursing and blinding. I fished on and 10 minutes later had another bass, this time putting up the best fight of the night with 5 or 6 good runs on the way in with me encouraging her with a few Yeehoooo’s :). The fish was tearing off to the right, close to a shallow rocky outcrop full of braid breaking barnacles but thankfully turned back and was safely landed. It was smaller than my first of the session, coming in at 56cm, but easily the best scrapper of the night.
We packed it in at that point, knowing there were still some fish about, but more than happy at having landed 6 fish and opened the account for 2016. All fish swam away strongly when released 🙂