The fish are around if you work for them....

The conditions have really changed, but still the bass fishing over here in south east Ireland has been unusually tough - not quite sure why, but it simply has not fired like I have seen it before. We have caught a fair few bass (plus insane numbers of pollack and also some wrasse) on hard and soft plastic lures. I even nailed my first ever wrasse on a little vertical jig.

Seeing the way that wrasse engulf soft plastics especially is very cool indeed. The MegaBass XLayer just smashes all kinds of fish in all kinds of conditions, and over all kinds of ground. Watching the different ways in which the French lads work them has been a real eye opener for the rest of us. Spending time with other bass fanatics from across the Channel is a blast.

But the real stories of these few days has been the bass that have been lost, including one particular fish yesterday evening that Yannick in particular will most likely never forget. We were smashing pollack like it was going out of fashion, mostly on the awesome little Bonito School 20g and 30g vertical jigs from the Ultimate Fishing guys. No really big pollack, but mad numbers around. Bruno also slayed them on XLayers. Yannick was reeling a small pollack in when a proper bass smashed into it and charged off. Now bear in mind that these French lads know all about big bass a load more than somebody like me, yet this fish was having none of it. Yannick held the bass for a second or two before it charged off for at least sixty yards. It then obviously spat the pollack out and left the poor Frenchman with just the remains you can see here. None of will ever know how big that bass was, and I guess we could speculate until the cows come home, but it was a serious monster. I have never seen a bass move off like that, and with such insane power. Gutted. Yannick was in a state of shock for a while - in all his years of bass fishing, he admitted that he had never, ever felt a fish like that.

I did see a couple of pollack taken off the surface yesterday morning on the Xorus Patchinko (a first for me), and another of the French lads was smashed to pieces by a decent bass on the Zenith Z-Claw. I really like watching the different ways they fish with their various surface lures, and if I am honest, they are doing it with a huge degree more finesse than I do.

We had a very cool couple of hours around low water today, fishing a completely new spot for me over here. It was kind of like the south east corner of Jersey on a far smaller scale - rivers of tide pouring between the rocks, creating the most incredible array of rips, back eddies, gullies, holes and other fish holding features. As we turned up, a mate of Patrick's was into yet another bass that smashed into his Patchinko (a truly great surface lure, interesting that the French lads really like white, silver and yellow), and Andy and I quickly nailed a couple of decent bass around the 5lb mark. Any fish off the surface is always very special, and in that tide they came up and literally launched into the lures and then raced off. I can't see how much more fun fishing can get. It went pretty quiet after that, but just those few moments have done it for me in a big way. We have one more day left to see what we can do - the wind is howling southerly at the moment, so tomorrow we are going to tuck away and fish somewhere that can chuck up some really tidy fish during autumn and winter. Tomorrow is always another day, and that's a huge part of the buzz. I have seen my dream house over here - just got to find a suitcase full of cash somewhere........