Sometimes the bass fishing in Ireland is so good that I keep looking around the rocks and beaches to check that there really aren't thousands of other anglers out and about enjoying it. When their fishing for bass fires I would have no hesitation in classing it as world class sport fishery, indeed if you gave me but one more day to fish in my life then I would choose lure fishing for bass in Ireland. Simple really. But we all know that from time to time fishing is going to give you a good old fashioned kicking, and that's what I got this week. The last few years in southern Ireland have seen close to mad bass fishing before their close season, and although the fishing had been firing a while back with that warmer weather we all had, I have to conclude that this long spell of abnormally cold weather has had a serious effect on it all. On the flip side though it's going to fire sometime soon, and I dread to think how many fish are going to pour inshore. One again though it drives home to me how the "art" of weather forecasting continues to me to seem like a best guess "science" - and of course that no year is ever remotely the same as the last when it comes to the weather. Thermal Buffs and hats in May ?
For all the local knowledge that I am lucky enough to be able to tap into, and indeed for all that I have learnt and continue to learn about the coastline, when you don't live in an area and therefore have to book fishing/photography trips away, you can do no more than go on the right tides at the right time of year and simply cross fingers that the weather and conditions behave a bit. It's no different to booking a trip to the remote Seychelles or the wilds of British Columbia. When it all comes together I continue to be amazed at what Ireland has to offer the saltwater angler, but that's just it. You live for those times when it does all come together and fires like I know Ireland can. And when the fishing is tough then all it does is make me want to head back over there even more, and because I know how good it can be.
Sometimes I think that anglers might read this blog or perhaps my articles in Sea Angler and come to the conclusion that I am on the secret payroll of the Irish tourist board - yes, I rave about Ireland, and yes, I love the country and its fishing with a passion bordering on a serious obsession, but at the end of the day I can't help loving what I do and the places I am lucky enough to experience (not forgetting the people that I get to meet, fish with, work around, and in some cases get to call my friends). If I can translate this across to other anglers then I feel that I am doing my job and giving something back to the sport that so drives us all. I don't have to go to Ireland. I choose to because I want to. I need to for my own well-being and for my work. I live for my fishing/photography time in Ireland and if my passion for the place in any way rubs off on you then I hope you will one day get to experience some fishing that blows your mind and leaves you're a gibbering wreck that wants for nothing more than to get back over as soon as possible.
Over time I will put some information up here about some of the different bits of gear I/we used on the trip and indeed for my own fishing back home. Some of the stuff I am coming across these days makes me wonder how on earth it's possible to get better gear for the money. A few rods and reels lately have left a big impression on me and I just love the fact that it is more than feasible to lay one's hands on "proper" gear for lure fishing for sensible money - and the fact that this "proper" gear really is out and out "proper" lure fishing tackle surely has to have a positive impact on the increasing numbers of anglers who are finding their way into the joys of chucking lures. Expensive shiny gear is just great, but at the end of the day we need to see gear at all kinds of prices. But do you know what almost broke me the most on this trip ? I like to think that I am pretty much "up" on some of the different lure colours that can and do work, but then the Irish lads I know start showing me some of the colours that have been working well for them and it leaves me weak at the knees !! Should I feel good that I perhaps don't have as bad a problem as I thought I might, or should I be berating myself for not having some of those colours myself ? At least I can talk myself into believing that I don't have a serious problem with lure fishing tackle. The power of positive thinking - or is that the power of being able to con oneself ?