Back off to Ireland in a week

Next Saturday I am heading back over to Ireland for five days of fishing and photography - there is no getting away from the fact that we are gambling with the weather and conditions at this time of year, but I am prepared to take these sort of risks when the rewards can sometimes be fantastic. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And if the weather conspires against us banging bass out on the lures, then we will tuck away and fish bait, or otherwise go and fish for cod.

I went over to south east Ireland at around the same time last year, and this is what I mean by nothing ventured, nothing gained - Tom on the left landed this incredibly well conditioned 11lb bass on his first ever cast in the Emerald Isle. You can go fishing anywhere on this earth and get messed up with the weather, so in truth I don't see it as much of a gamble to be heading over in winter. If only more bass anglers actually began to realise that the biggest bass tend to come out of Irish inshore waters during the colder months. Just ask south east locals like Patrick and Cian about the numbers of big fish they have taken from say October onwards, or ask Kevin over in Kerry about the bait fishing after Christmas and into late spring. Winter fishing for big bass is still some kind of unknown thing, so you could do worse than to contact Patrick Gallagher and ask about some guided winter fishing. Check here to get hold of him.

What amazed me last winter when I was over there for a few days was how brutally cold it was - we had northerly winds for four straight days, and although we had to wear a hell of a lot of clothing to be able to fish properly, it was perfect for me and my cameras. Plus we nailed plenty of bass as well. I am notoriously wary of long-range forecasts, as indeed I think we all are these days, but the weather guys do say that the winds are going to swing around from these relentless south and south westerly gales and that it's going to get much colder. We shall see what happens........I can't wait to get back over there, my most favourite place on this earth.

If you are still mourning the fact that Black Sabbath have not had the once mighty Ozzy Osbourne in their ranks for ages and ages now (hell, he was fired from the band when I was only six years old !!), then you seriously need to check out the new album from Sweden's quite frankly awesome Count Raven. These monsters of Sabbath-inspired doom/heavy metal are back with "Mammons War" and you can see what I am on about by listening to one of the tracks here. If this does not give all Sabbath fans something to smile about then turn me over in my grave and rip my headphones from my cold hands. I am not going to try and describe how classic this new album is. Anybody with any interest in classic heavy metal with strong doom influences should just buy this one as matter of honour.

Much as I love living in Plymouth, there is no getting away from the fact that we don't exactly get a lot of decent metal bands down here playing gigs. But the next few days are a time to rejoice and sing praises to the one who resides "down there" - at the White Rabbit in Plymouth they have got the symphonic black metal band Abigail Williams on Saturday night (plus support), and on Monday night they have got the truly mighty Insomnium (plus support, Swallow the Sun are headlining). I will be there. Rock and roll.........