Category Archives: Bass

Finding the Fish

After a disappointing exit from the Euros yesterday, the only thing for the post Bleu blues was to get out and chuck a few lures. The wind had been brisk all day, and the northerly element added a bit of a sting in the tail. In the hope that the wind would drop as darkness fell, I headed to an open-water mark to try for some bass.

The dreaded floating sea lettuce greeted me on arrival (aka floating green shite), and was present in abundance. I got into the rhythm of the old chuck a lure, enjoy 5 meters of clear water and then haul in a fist sized lump of goo for the remainder of the retrieve for a time. Eventually I moved east and tried some other nearby water (with the same result). It was time to wade out to some rocks – in the hope that the water beyond would be clearer – thankfully it was. The wind seemed to pick up to what felt like a force 4/5, and I cowered behind a boulder out of the line of its bite, using it to help me gain some extra distance on casting to the south east.

After a time and a smoke, and when the sun was properly down, I finally felt a rattle of a fish which immediately threw the lure. Cursing my luck, the same thing happened shortly after – but it was nice to know there were a few fish around. The wind finally started to drop and the first fish came, taken in close and around the 52cm mark.

Bass #1 @ 52cm

Bass #1 @ 52cm

With dropping wind and tide, I accessed some other rocks giving a better casting area, and 3 casts later had a subtle hit, followed by some ferocious line stripping. A good bass had been sitting just inside a finger of rock which ran in front of me and on taking the lure took off like a rocket to the left. Thankfully the drag was loose enough and I let her take line before she started to turn. She took another couple of runs on the way in, and just as the fish was landed the leader snapped an inch above the lure clip knot. A wave washed in and it has heart in the mouth moment but phew the fish was still ashore. I lifted her and carried to a safer spot and measured a nice 68cm fish, going 1cm better than my previous best of 2016.

Some blurry photos and a quick video later, she recovered in a calm water area and swam away strong.

Bass #2 @ 68cm

Bass #2 @ 68cm

I fished on for another 30 minutes and had one more schoolie, which took the lure when it had been left totally stationary for about 10 seconds. It was the smallest fish of the night but a nice way to wrap up the session.

Bass #3 @ 46cm

Bass #3 @ 46cm

The 68cm fish:

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Silver Scrappers

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Taking a break on an early season bassing session

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.

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Plenty of 1-2lb cod such as this lovely fish around Cork harbour

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.

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First bass of 2016, a lovely fish of just over 6.5lb at 67cm

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Well fed and in prime condition

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.

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Schoolie #1

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Schoolie #2

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.

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The Scrapper

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 🙂

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Roll on 2016!

First Lure Caught Silver

A buddy invited me out beach-casting yesterday evening so after picking up some lug and crab we ventured out to a mark for a 10pm start. When we arrived the surf was fairly flat so I quickly decided to give the lures a go, and waded over to some rocky outcrops at the side of the beach.

Within 3 casts I was into my first lure caught bass of the year, she put up a feisty battle before being landed, photograph’ed and released. So finally off the mark on lures this year – hopefully onwards and upwards from here on out… The bass was caught on a pearl Feed Shallow 155, it was my first time trying out the shallow diver and it certainly has a nice feel to it, it seems very similar to the Feed Shallow 128 version but with the bit of extra weight and distance it may give an edge at certain marks where the fish are holding that bit further out.

First Lure Caught Bass 2015: 56cm

First Lure Caught Bass 2015: 56cm

First Lure Caught Bass of 2015

First Lure Caught Bass of 2015

… Later in the night I switched to the beach-casting and found one more small schoolie of around 42cm.

Solitary Fish

I was in two minds about going out the door last night with a breezy enough westerly blowing, but with the kids in bed at around 9pm I finally gave myself a good mental kick-up-the-arse to get out the door.  With low tide at 1am it was off to a mark to fish the ebb tide, and a ‘supermoon’ the previous night meant a strong set of spring tides was in effect.

I started fishing half-way through the dropping tide and there was a very strong run of current, flying along in the same direction as the westerly breeze. For 45 minutes or so I fired out a few plugs up wind, but found it hard fishing them as they were flying back in the current – any retrieval which was going to get them sub-surface felt like too fast a retrieve in the darkness.

It just felt it wasn’t a night for the plugs so I put on a Slug-go and began casting upstream and allowing it to come back to me in the fast current, again though it was difficult to get any ‘feel’ on the lure or maintain any contact as it flew past me from right to left. I had been wanting to give a floated soft plastic rig a try again, a technique I knew had worked well for others at the mark. So the Slug-go (Alewife) went onto a 3-4 foot length of fluoro below the float rig. It’s probably hard to fully see in this picture the setup but should give some idea:

Floated SP Rig

Floated SP Rig

I began casting the floated Slug-go rig upstream and retrieving line slowly as it floated past me in the current, until it swung around past me each time – and then retrieving it back against the current with pauses every few metres. About ten minutes in I felt some subtle resistance while retrieving the rig against the current. What I initially thought was weed then felt a bit heavier and pulled a bit of line off the reel … yahoooooo fish on! The fish put up very little resistance – I had the drag very loose and there was a few small runs but until I landed the fish I really thought it was a small fish. Then I saw it was a much better fish than it had felt and it went to 67cm on the ruler – a new best fish of the year for me. Bass never cease to amaze me, sometimes it is the bigger fish that give the smallest fight.

67cm Bass

67cm Bass

The fish went back in the water very well and recovered much quicker than I had expected – it is usually so much easier unhooking a fish caught on a weedless soft plastic than on a plug.  I fished on for just another half hour, the wind dropped, and the current slowed down a lot and it just felt like the window had passed so I decided to pack it in.  Just the one fish but as ever I was happy out to have found one, and a new best of the season for me.

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Codology

A quick report from the last couple of days – finally the cod-on-lures monkey is off my back after landing some cod on soft plastics out west. I had tried lure fishing for cod a number of times in the past year on a friend’s boat in Cork harbour, but never could find them. We decided to take a charter trip out of Courtmacsherry, and fished a few reefs over the course of the day with both lures and bait. The lures took mackerel, cod and pollock with the bait also catching ling and conger.

Early enough into the day, after failing to find mackerel in any numbers, the skipper positioned us over a deep water reef to try for cod and pollock. I couldn’t resist trying the soft plastics, and threw out a white wave-worm with a jig head of around 40g. Ten or twenty minutes later I had a subtle enough take followed by what was the most powerful fish I’ve ever experienced; the rod hooped over and I loosened the drag after realising it had been left too tight, luckily the fish was still on and tearing line as it plummeted downwards, with head-bang type action every now and again. The fish took a number of these surging runs, and it was a few minutes before any headway was made – then the fish came up slowly but surely, and took more line a couple of times on the way up. The landing net came out and a beautiful cod of around 9-10lb came on board. I was over the moon to have found a cod on the softies and a quality fish to boot.

9-10lb Cod on white Waveworm

9-10lb Cod on white Waveworm

Over the rest of the day there was plenty more fish taken by everyone on board, and later in the day a couple of good pollock were talen on soft plastics, my best at 73cm and around 8-9lb.

Pollock 8-9lb

Pollock 8-9lb

The Old Head Lighthouse

The Old Head Lighthouse

Gull Attack..

Gull Attack..

Last night I then decided to fish a night mark for bass. The conditions looked very good on arrival with light winds, not too much weed and a bit of chop on the water. As darkness fell the chop on the water died away and it became fairly quiet – so ninja mode was called for. I started retrieving the lure slower and leaving longer pauses and eventually managed two fish with another two lost. Both fish which were landed took the lure when it was stationary, and were between 55 and 58cm or so.

Bass #1 ~56cm

Bass #1 ~56cm

Bass #2 ~58cm

Bass #2 ~58cm

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