Tag Archives: bass

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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Hard Fishing

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.

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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..

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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.

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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..

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