Got to do more lure fishing for pollack from the shore

We’ve had a few bass here in Kerry, but to be honest it’s been pretty tough on them. We have the perfect tides and for a while the conditions were absolutely spot on, but for some reason they aren’t properly switched on at the moment. They did have a bit of red tide down here a while back which killed a load of sandeels especially, and on a couple of the marks that tend to really fire later in the year, the lack of baitfish is very noticeable. Saying all that though, there’s been a few bass to about 5lbs landed in some stunning surf conditions we had for a couple of mornings (so, so pleased to see this style of bass fishing!!), and then bass to about 5.5lbs landed on the numerous reef marks around here.

Joe is rather happy with his best ever shore bass, taken on the IMA/DUO Nabarone.

Joe is rather happy with his best ever shore bass, taken on the IMA/DUO Nabarone.

OK, so our clients want to catch bass, indeed who doesn’t? But show them a bit of pollack fishing on the same rods and reels and it’s just something else. I absolutely love lure fishing for pollack off the rocks and I have made myself a promise that next year I am going to come across to Ireland especially and get back to doing more of it again. It’s just bloody epic, and especially in an area like this where there’s virtually nobody out fishing and there’s a wonderfully abundant pollack population of a good average size that seem to love chowing lures!! Very cool to see that bright pink Fiiish Black Minnow working for the pollack, just as its designer told me they would. If the bass fishing ain’t firing then who wouldn’t want to get out on the rock ledges and smash these hard-scrapping, golden-flanked marvels of our cold Atlantic waters? Sure, the weather dictates where you can get to, but wow is there a lifetime’s worth of ground around here for whatever way the wind is blowing. Seriously, the more I get to know this part of Kerry, the more it is frying my brain just how much ground there is that is never, ever seeing other anglers.

We only got a very short time on this mark, but this 7lb+ pollack for Charles is some proper incentive to get back to what was perhaps the most awesome looking pollack ground I have ever seen. 

We only got a very short time on this mark, but this 7lb+ pollack for Charles is some proper incentive to get back to what was perhaps the most awesome looking pollack ground I have ever seen. 

The odd cynic here may well think that this is some sort of marketing speak from me because the bass fishing is a bit quiet just now, but it has been on my mind for sometime now that firstly I should be getting back to doing more of this pollack fishing myself, and secondly that John and I should perhaps be making more of a big deal about it. Sure, they ain’t “sexy” like bass are, and fishing for them of course doesn’t force us to chop and change methods etc. like we might for bass, but I defy anybody who likes a bit of light tackle lure fishing not to giggle when a 5lb+ pollack nails your lure and does its absolute crash-diving best to snag you up good and proper. I love living in Cornwall and we can get some decent bass fishing sometimes, but we simply don’t have a worthwhile shore based pollack fishery that you can approach with light tackle (the magnificent Isles of Scilly aside of course). A 5lb shore pollack doesn’t even raise an eyebrow here in Kerry and I wonder how many saltwater anglers realise how accessible much of this fishing is.

There’s pollack fishing like this in so many parts of Ireland and to be honest it increasingly amazes me how lure fishing is growing so much in the saltwater world, yet so few anglers have switched on to how easy it is to come on over to Ireland and find some of this pollack fishing for themselves. Sure, I’d love for some of these anglers to pay to come fishing with John and I, but in reality there are thousands upon thousands of rocky ledges that will throw up awesome pollack out here, but it blows my mind how few anglers are out and about actually doing it. I used to love my bait fishing, of course I did, but a light lure rod bent double is about as good as it gets to me and I have made myself a firm promise to spend more of my own Ireland fishing/photographing time next year on the pollack.

And as for the October weather here in Kerry!! An early forecast I saw was threatening the tail end of that hurricane coming in, but aside from a bit of swell that must have come from that, we have had some stunning weather out here. Lunch outside every day, no rain so far (ok, I know that’s the kiss of death), masses of warm sunshine, a great bunch of clients, and a bunch more turning up later today. John and I do all we can to put our people onto good shore fishing, but whatever happens we have a huge amount of fun in a truly special part of the world that to be honest I feel privileged to be spending more and more time in. Call me biased if you like, but this is how fishing is meant to be in my book, and whilst I don’t see my obsession with lure fishing for bass slowing down anytime soon, there’s plenty of other good stuff out there that is easily overlooked. My apologies for the lack of recent blog posts, but we are out and about all day long out here and spare time is not exactly easy to find.

Major Craft N-One NSS-902ML 9’ 10-30g lure rod review (around £225)

I don’t know what on earth they’ve done to this rod, but crumbs it’s one of the easiest to fish with lure rods I’ve come across - and I mean that as a huge compliment. If you are looking for an out and out powerhouse of a lure rod to spend all day hammering big lures into big seas, then this Major Craft N-One NSS-902ML 9’ 10-30g lure rod isn’t really for you. If though you are finding yourself increasingly adopting all manner of lure fishing techniques for our bass and need a rod that can fish nice and subtly but also cope with a bit of the rough stuff when needs be, then I have found a rod that should at least be on your shortlist, and whilst I would never call over £200 a “budget” priced lure rod, this N-One is one hell of a lot of serious rod for the dosh.

If you do one day end up owning this rod, I wonder if you will come to the same conclusion as me - that there is just no need to cast as hard as you can with this new Major Craft N-One lure rod, indeed to me it’s performing so sweetly when you back off a little and just let the rod do most of the work. Get your casting going nice and smoothly, load this bit of modern carbon up, and just let your lures fly - don’t lash into it, and I wonder if a smile then spreads right across your face? As I said, I don’t know what they’ve done to this rod, but there seems to be something going in the mid-section especially when you cast that just makes this the most ridiculously smooth and easy fishing rod.

A very, very exciting short casting video that I put together. Scorcese watch out!!

As seems to be the case with most of these Major Craft rods I am lucky to get to play with, the build quality seems to be good and the length of the handle is around that 30cms measurement that works really well for how I cast and fish. I can’t praise the slightly cheaper Skyroad 9’ lure rod enough (review here), and I was interested to put this N-One up against it and see if it was a similar kind of rod - which it isn’t I am pleased to say. Would I buy this N-One if I already owned the 9’ Skyroad? Nope, because you’ve already got one hell of a lure rod. Looking for a new 9’ lure rod though? Make sure you try and see this N-One. If the Skyroad is perhaps a fairly powerful through sort of action, this N-One is in my mind your regular-fast kind of rod (Regular Fast is indeed how Major Craft describe it). The N-One has got a tip on it - I don’t mean it’s remotely soft, rather it’s not some poker that kills your cast if you get things wrong - and it then blends into that amazing mid-section and down into a powerful butt. And of course it’s very light. To me it’s a step up from the already pretty damn amazing 9’ Skyroad.

A rod like the somewhat more expensive Major Craft 9’ Truzer (review here) is a machine, but it’s that fast you kinda need to be on the money with your casting to get the best out of it. This cheaper N-One is a different animal. I have lure fished a lot with this rod, indeed it was the only lure rod I used on my most recent trip to Ireland (see here) - over there we are constantly changing locations, lure and techniques, and although at first I wondered if this N-One could do with a slightly pokier tip for surface work, over time I forgot all about this and just had a blast fishing with it.

Please do not mistake my calling this 9’ 10-30g N-One “easy” for it being some floppy stick of a lure rod, because it couldn’t be further from this. It’s a different rod to the slightly cheaper Skyroad (as indeed it should be), but in all honesty I don’t think you could go wrong with either. Skimmers, SF125, Hound Glides, Black Minnows, Crazy Sandeels etc., they all seem to fish well with this N-One, but I happen to think that it then excels with the soft plastics that we might rig weedless and mostly weightless - senkos, DoLive sticks etc. Standing on a beach in the middle of the night and whacking white senkos out into a gentle surf is just something else on this N-One, and I can’t wait to see how the longer 9’6’’ 10-30g version might stack up when compared to this 9’ version. Without doubt one of the most easily likable 9’ lure rods I have ever fished with, and yet again I must take my hat off to Major Craft and then Nice Fish for getting a rod like this out there at what to me is a very sensible price. One class bit of kit that I will find very hard to let go of………

So if you want to buy one of these lure rods, where can you do so? Please believe me that I don’t earn any money by recommending places where you might buy fishing gear, rather I feel why the hell can’t I give you a few links and then you can make your own mind up what to do. The two places that I know either are or will be selling these 9’ N-One rods are Absolute Fishing over in Ireland, The Art of Fishing, and Chesil Bait’n’Tackle in Dorset.

I am off to Ireland first thing tomorrow for my last co-guiding trip of the year with John Quinlan of the rather special Thatch Cottage Fishing Lodge, and I can’t bloody wait. OK, so I don’t get to fish, but holy cow I am excited to be spending nearly a couple of weeks in Kerry in October. I know that one of John’s clients landed a 10lb plus bass the other day down there, but as always we will take the conditions we get and work on putting our clients on the best fishing possible. It’s some hectic stuff and as such my blog posts might be a little sporadic over the next couple of weeks, but I will do my best to keep you updated. Bring it frigging on…….

Sorry, but I’m too gutted to write a proper blog post today

My apologies, but after England’s humiliation at the hands of a vastly superior Australia on Saturday evening, I just don’t feel up to writing a proper blog post this morning. If you don’t follow rugby then you won’t understand, and if you follow rugby and happen to be from a country that can actually make it out of the pool stages of their own World Cup, then good on you and I hope you had a nice weekend. Anybody who follows the England rugby team had their dreams shattered on Saturday evening, and it bloody hurts. Twelve sodding years ago was the last time I felt consistently proud to follow an English rugby team, and I’ve had enough. Beach volleyball anybody? See you later in the week……

I've got no more rights over my local coastline than you do, and vice versa

I tend to work on the assumption that roughly 99% of people on this earth are pretty lazy when it comes to getting properly out and about, and it was with this in mind when I was speaking to a lad recently who was telling me that he is seeing more lure anglers around and about his local coastline than he used to. Now this bloke has forgotten more about bass fishing than I will ever know in a hundred lifetimes, but the simple fact is that more anglers are getting into lure fishing and are therefore going looking for fishing spots, and wow do we have so much info at our fingertips these days before even heading out there for a real life look - whilst of course we face the perennial problem of not exactly having an abundance of big bass swimming around for all of us to catch on a regular basis.

Dammit Henry, will you stop giving away bass marks on your blog........still never seen another angler here.

Dammit Henry, will you stop giving away bass marks on your blog........still never seen another angler here.

Anyway, my argument if you like to this bass fishing wizard was thank god that in my opinion there’s only about 1% of people who are really prepared to get out there and have a proper look around. Imagine if the other 99% suddenly took it upon themselves to walk many miles up and over a coastline looking for fishing spots? In my mind it’s the same as going to the beach with the family - most people will flock like sheep to the same and easy to get to spots, but if you are prepared to walk and explore, finding nice quiet areas of the coastline ain’t exactly hard. And yes, my girls are well used to walking up and down the coastline with rucksacks, surf boards etc.

But to be honest it’s the “ownership” thing of one’s local coastline that I will never understand. I am no different to any of you here in that I enjoy fishing with various friends, but I don’t want to be fishing bass marks that are crawling with anglers. I will do all I can to keep the spots I get to fish as “secret” as possible, whilst accepting that however secret I think a few spots might be, you can bet your bottom dollar that various anglers have been fishing them for years before I ever turned up. I live here in south east Cornwall and I love how we can go fishing and rarely come across other anglers, but just because I live here doesn’t then give me any more rights to my local coastline than you. I ain’t about to divulge the exact spots I fish, but there’s nothing stopping anybody using whatever resources they can come across to try and find bass fishing marks around here and then going out to fish them. Good luck I say, and why not? Nothing on earth gives me more right than you to fish my local coastline, but still I come back to 99% of people who can’t be arsed to do the hard yards……….

Right, that's quite enough. I know those pebbles. And that arse. Nice legs.

Right, that's quite enough. I know those pebbles. And that arse. Nice legs.

I am aware of a bunch of fairly localish anglers around me who are into lure fishing for bass, but still I rarely come across any of them. Now either this means I’m fishing the wrong spots, or else there’s actually plenty of coastline for the numbers of dedicated anglers who are really into this stuff. The same when we go over to Ireland. My friend John Quinlan who I do this co-guiding work with down in Kerry, well he’s been working as a professional fishing guide for years now, and he’s bloody good at it - think of the sheer numbers of clients who have passed through their Thatch Cottage doors (lots). Yet when I was over there in the middle of August, as per the year before we basically saw no other anglers out and about save for a couple of visitors that John knows anyway.

And it’s pretty much the same when we fish around the Dungarvan/Tramore/Copper Coast area on the south coast of Ireland. We cover a lot of miles and we are happy to walk as far as we need to try and find some fish, but for the talk I sometimes hear of more and more anglers now bass fishing the coastline over there, still we aren’t coming across them on most of the marks we might fish. Sure, we would expect to see anglers on some of the more well known bass fishing marks, but as where I live, it’s a big coastline with a lot of ground, and for all the lure anglers and for all the talk, I can’t help but wonder how many lure anglers really do put the hard yards in and get themselves properly out and about. Us anglers love to yap as it is, but how many anglers talk a good talk but then don’t actually get out there very much?

Oh come on, this is beyond a bloody joke now. That wave gives it all away. Sorry................

Oh come on, this is beyond a bloody joke now. That wave gives it all away. Sorry................

I hear the odd sad story of a bit of conflict between anglers who mistakenly believe that they essentially “own” their local coastline and visitors haven’t got the right to come and fish it, to which I say balls. We want to go fishing and we want to have the place to ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we have any special rights to what we might call our local coastline. I am not about to do so for any number of different reasons, but if I wanted to go and set up a bass guiding business say in Dungarvan, I am as within my rights to do so as an angler who might have lived there all their life. And if visiting anglers want to come and fish or indeed guide the coastline around where I live here in south east Cornwall, well I say good luck to them and I hope they enjoy it and find it as beautiful and peaceful as I do. Still you can’t get away from the fact that most people are bone idle and the thought of long walks, steep cliffs and no mobile or internet connection puts them off, to which I say yippee.

Bricking myself about the England v Australia game tomorrow night. Are we going out of our own World Cup?