I have done a bunch of different stuff within fishing, but I would put this guiding related work I am doing with John Quinlan over in Kerry right up there as one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved with. The chance to work with John and his wife Lynn in such an outrageously special part of the world and help anglers/clients with their fishing is beyond thrilling for me, seriously, and John and I have been bashing emails and phone calls back and forth to work out some trips for this year that coincided with good tides and different seasons to take advantage of a lot that Kerry has to offer - which is a hell of a lot..............
It goes without saying that when I say "guiding", I am of course working with one of the most experienced and competent bass guides around. John Quinlan knows his local waters frighteningly well, and with this joint venture I get to work with John at putting our anglers/clients onto various fish, helping out with various methods and techniques, and I will also shoot a bunch of photos of each trip so that everybody has a proper visual record of their time in Kerry - these are intense trips where we pack as much into every day as weather and conditions allow, and the emphasis of course is on catching fish, learning plenty, and simply having a load of fun. Here's some feedback from one of our clients last year which says far more than I can really :
"Henry, having just completed half of my journey home from a week with you and John, I find myself sitting on the ferry pondering what just happened over the past five days. Did I ever imagine that such a trip could be so much fun, give me so much satisfaction? I don't even remember what my expectations were before arriving at Thatch Cottage, were they even realistic I wonder. Whatever they were, they could not have come anywhere near close to what I have just experienced. Alas the real world for this weary but merry angler now kicks back in, but I cannot help but sit here full of mixed emotions, trying to pick through the highlights, the best fish, the best locations, the best laughs. But most importantly, what I have learnt. Your resolution to not take a rod and fill your boots with hard fighting fish which we clients heaped on you, together with the big fat cheshire cat grin you wore whilst we toiled with them is enough for anyone to see how much enjoyment you get out of the guiding business. What people won't see though, unless they take this trip of course, is the sheer hard work and constant effort you both put in (not to mention John's fabulous wife) to make this experience one to be both appreciated and well remembered. It was like having one's best mates besides us, all crowding for those fish, constantly working it out, sharing the joy and frustration together. But is the guiding really about the fish? How can it be? It has to be so much more. Yes the fish may be primary, but holy cow, what about that location, the challenges, the variety, the constant searching, and the satisfaction of taking willing participants beyond anything they have experienced before? So when the fish do come along in those hard to get to places it makes it worth it for all, not just the anglers and that could be felt in skip loads. I would urge any readers who are in two minds or not to take this trip to jump in with both feet and an open mind, however experienced or not they may be. Driving away from Thatch Cottage this afternoon with my car full of moist soaking kit was difficult to say the least, I could have stayed forever.....maybe I will after next years visit because I WILL be back. So save a date for me please". Crumbs, thank you.
I'll be honest with you here - I find it a tough to be entirely subjective about these trips and of course Ireland. If you hadn't guessed, I am in love with Ireland anyway (really?), and John and Lynn's Thatch Cottage Ireland setup just happens to be situated in what in my opinion is truly one of the most special places on earth. It's inspiring just being there, let alone fishing. Having photographed John's operation in the past and now co-guided etc. with him, I also know that as an angler and lure/bass fishing nut especially I would be doing whatever I could to do a trip like this. See? I can't be subjective when I so want to be on these trips anyway, almost regardless of the fact that it's a work thing for me. But heh, what's wrong with loving your work?
John and I have put various dates aside for 2015, so please do get in touch either with me here, or with John and Lynn here - for this blog post though, I wanted to tell you mainly about a spring bass fishing trip that revolves around arriving at Thatch Cottage Ireland on Wednesday 29th April, then fishing Thursday 30th, Friday 1st May, Saturday 2nd May and Sunday 3rd May - departing on Monday 4th May. These dates are designed around tides rather than weekends etc. Spring bass fishing in Kerry can be some pretty special stuff, revolving a lot around soft plastics, shallow water, perhaps a chance to sight-fish to bass which can concentrate in potentially serious numbers, and of course being spring it's a good excuse to nail some early season fish and banish those winter blues. If conditions are ok then there is also a chance to lure fish for sea trout in saltwater as well, plus early seasonish wrasse and pollack etc.
We have various other dates available, so if the idea of coming to Ireland and fishing with John and me appeals, please do get in touch (here and here) and we will sort it out. As well as the spring fishing, we have dates in August and October, again all coinciding with good tides. Check out a bunch of photos from our 2014 spring trip here, and our 2014 August trip here, and then imagine yourself in a place like that. Hope to see some of you in Ireland this year, and in the meantime, have a good weekend.