On our second to last day over in Ireland, we wake up to a fairly hard frost and a biting north wind. Not ideal, but as we are fishing over the top of the tide at the first spot, we could literally feel as the wind started to swing around to the south and freshen up. Things were looking good. Jump in the cars, head further down the Copper Coast, grab a quick bacon roll and a cup of coffee, and then head back out to fish the ebbing tide on one of the most impressive looking bits of coastline I have ever seen for bass fishing. Talk about excited.......
You know the kind of conditions that give you so much confidence of connecting with fish that you joke about flinging all your gear in the tide if a fish is not caught ? It was like that. We were fishing the build up to a load of proper wind coming in, but we were out on the coast as it began to come in, and we were on a mark that just screamed fish. Talk about life and "fizz" on the water, but we were there before it coloured up or broke up too much weed. By a combination of skill and a bit of luck on the part of the Irish lads Nick and I were fishing with, we were on the spot at the perfect time. Lively sea conditions from the south, great colour, no weed, time to fish hard. Big time confidence, and ain't that just about the most important thing in fishing ? I genuinely thought that any of us could connect with a fish on any of the casts that we made.
Talk about a short window of perfect opportunity - as we fished on, the sea conditions became more and more lively, and Paul landed this fish of around 6lbs on a lure that I need not even mention by now (G ?!!). Sometimes you only get a short window when the actual fishing conditions are close to being perfect, and the four of us all hooked a number of fish that came off at various stages of the fight - and more often than not when it came to trying to land them in the increasingly rougher sea state. I am convinced that bass are hitting lures in these lively conditions purely on a snap decision kind of instinct thing, and that they don't get much time to make that split-second decision before smashing the lure - and I believe that this often leads to bad hook holds and fish coming off. And no, it's nothing to do with using barbless hooks in case any doubters are wondering. I distinctly remember one fish I had on of around the 6lb mark - as I tried to bring it to hand, plain as day I saw one hook of one treble barely hanging on to the bottom lip of the fish. Of course it came out. It's fishing after all, and this awesome sport is full of variables that we are never going to come close to understanding. But we all came off that particular mark literally bouncing with adrenaline. About as exciting as fishing gets in my opinion.
Lures and lure colour. Another whole set of questions and variables that can never be fully understood. The four of us were all using different lures of different colourations, yet we all hooked and/or landed bass. Paul had his fish on his first chuck with a new colour MegaBass Zonk 120 Gataride (there, I said it, but I know you had guessed the lure already), Nick had his on the sinking 120mm Jackson Athlete (what a lure for windy, lively conditions) that had a holographic silver/pink colour like the (killer) Maria Chase BW I so like, Cian took his fish on the MegaBass X140SW in the sandeel type colour, and mine came on a bright orange/gold 140mm Duo Tide Minnow SLD-S - I had almost forgotten how deadly those sinking Tide Minnow lures are for the conditions we were faced with. Where's the pattern in that lot then ? Go figure !! It's fishing, and I love the fact that for all our technology we throw at the sport, we ain't ever really going to come close to figuring it all out. By mid-afternoon that stunning Copper Coast was blown out with a near-southerly gale, but those few hours of perfection will live with me for a long, long time.