The mothballs have been rolling about this blog for a long time now, but now with Summer starting to finally kick in, the mothballs in my head are beginning to clear away and it is high time to start fishing proper. Before the bass closed season, in early May, a friend and I landed a few nice bass and flounder while beach-casting in east Cork with lug-worm, and I also dabbled in some cod and harbour fishing over the winter and spring months with mixed success (aka s.f.a.). However this is the time of the year I love most – just as the bass closed season is coming to an end and you just know (or hope!) that the fish will be there in numbers from June 16th when the season opens again.
NOTE: the photo below is from late April! (it is currently closed season for bass angling).
The other thing which has been keeping me away from the fishing is the small matter of renovating a house that my partner and I purchased at the end of 2014. With a lot of pre-planning done, works finally began on the 1930’s house just a couple of weeks ago, and it will keep us on our toes until its completion at the end of the summer. Just this past week however, I escaped the madness and trekked over with my family to the utopian getaway of Inis Oirr, off the Galway / Clare coast.
Inis Oirr has always been kind to me on the fishing front, with hugely consistent pollock fishing on it’s south-eastern coast. This year however the fishing outings were scarce (just 3 sessions) and the conditions every single day bar one presented north-westerly, northerly or north-easterly breezes. Despite this we had lovely sunny days and we all managed to achieve lobster-like wind-burn. The fish were playing a schnakey game this year, although I am convinced it was a combination of cooler than normal water temperatures and the northerly based winds which kept the numbers low. Baitfish were present in some areas, but notably absent at the deeper marks.
I was given a gift of a fly rod over year ago, and only recently decided to finally start to learn the basic cast, and ultimately try some salt water fly fishing for pollock and eventually bass. It was on this recent trip to Inis Oirr that I first wet the fly line in the search of a first fly caught pollock. Being a total novice, casting the fly in cross-winds was a struggle and it was hard not to fall back on spinning with the soft plastics. I met up with a very generous and proficient swff angler (thanks again Peter!) who helped me with some casting pointers, and he was also extremely kind in gifting me a number of self-tied pollock flies. After a few patchy sessions of casting some loops I still have to find my first fly caught fish, but I intend to persist and I’m full sure it will come in it’s own good time.
It was of course the soft plastics which found the fish for me, but they were very scarce. In past years the island used to produce evening sessions where 10-15 pollock over a 2 hours was fairly common-place, with fish of 3-4lb and up to 5lb were encountered. This year I caught a total of 9 pollock in 3 sessions, with the largest at 3.5lb. Even so, it was hugely enjoyable as ever to be on such a special island and I found a couple of new marks to try on the next trip.
Now back in Cork, and with just 2 days to go until the bass season re-opens, it is all systems go and I am itching to get back out on the coast with just a few lures and an open stretch of shallow rocky shoreline. Roll on Tuesday!