Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Getting one's backside handed to oneself on a plate

Pollack fishing from the rocks in an area that sees so little sport fishing pressure it's incredible - if you start connecting with decent fish it's one of those times in our waters when we simply don't have the upper hand. Proper pollack, deepish water, a lovely extending ledge that the fish love but we don't love because they go straight for it, and of course a species of fish that to me is just a huge amount of fun to have a go for. Perhaps shore fishing for pollack in parts of the world where there are plenty should be renamed "getting one's backside handed to one on a plate"..............

We saw some good bass on an awesome looking mark, but would they take the clients' lures? Swine fish. John made the call to head back towards Waterville and stop off along the way to see if a particular cove and stunning set of rocks might produce a few bits and pieces. I say stunning set of rocks, but in truth there is so much coastline around here that sets the heart aflutter it's any wonder how any angler can keep their eyes on the road. Nope, I don't work for Tourism Ireland, and nope, it's not one great big conspiracy theory - I love the wilder places, I love shore fishing, and I love this country and how the fishing can sometimes be.

OK, so we're not talking about GTs here, I grant you that, but big pollack are a pretty serious proposition when you've got so much working against you to get them in - but then that's fishing it is not? You work at it and sometimes things do go for you like this roughly 6lb pollack that Blair smashed on the blue-back Fiiish Black Minnow (120mm body, 25g head). To see the ridiculously awesome Major Craft Skyroad 8'6'' 10-30g (bass) rod bent into a fish like this in a bit of depth was rather interesting, but this lad can fish seriously well and the rod did just fine. He gave the fish the gears and he managed to stop this pollack reaching the ledge.

A couple of the other guys were not so lucky, and they did absolutely nothing wrong. On Another day Willie might have landed some pollack of who knows what size. I wound his drag up solid and spoke about how he had no choice but to abuse anything he hooked and give no quarter at all - which he did, and he did it very well. That Lamya Thief 9' Slash 10-35g rod is a great bit of kit, and Willie put some serious hurt on a couple of serious looking fish, only for the sods to use the angle and do him on the ledge. I wish I could have shown you some photos of the rods bent into these fish, but when you are working with clients and there are fish being hooked and sometimes lost, you just can't. Things get hectic.

John and I carry radios so that we can keep in touch if we aren't close together with the clients, and while this pollack fishing mayhem was going on, I got the call - bass. Chad had landed a bass around 4lbs, they'd seen some more, and we should probably get ourselves up and over the rocks to some more stunning looking rocks just along the coast. Now I don't do conspiracy theories, but sometimes I am convinced that a few mates of mine do actually conspire together to fry my brain via lures and lure colours. Chad took the bass on the most stunning coloured IMA Sasuke 120 that you could ever see, and they saw a few more swimming around and he had a far larger fish come in but turn away from the lure right at the last second. Not for one second did I entertain the thought of nudging Chad into the drink and acquiring that rather good looking Sasuke. Is it acceptable to push clients in?

To be fair the bass fishing has been up and down. Everybody has caught them, we've seen a few better fish cruising around, and I really hope that our four clients have had a fun trip. John and his wife are serious pros at this guiding and looking after people business, and I must say that I feel rather proud to be working with them on these trips that we do together. Helping put people onto fish is a deeply satisfying thing to do, and along the way if I can also help with fishing skills and knowledge then I sleep well at night - which one tends to do when you're up at 3.30am every morning. Ireland is the backdrop to what John and I are doing together, and the more I get to know this part of the south west, the more I am falling for it in a major way.

What absolutely blows my mind is the lack of other shore anglers we are seeing, as in not one single one - and we have moved around a lot as well. Sure, the fishing has not been on fire, but add up what's been caught and it's some pretty good sport in a part of the world that can leave one speechless at times it's so breathtaking - so what does the lack of anglers say about fishing? For the life of me I have never understood why the powers that be in Ireland don't work on promoting the fact that they've got a vast, stunning, under-fished coastline that can sometimes produce some world class sport fishing.

If I was being paid by Tourism Ireland, believe me, I would be promoting how special it is to be able to fish far from the beaten track where you feel that other people simply don't go - or is this desire to fish the wilder areas just me? Bass, pollack, wrasse, mullet, rays, huss, tope etc. - I don't really care at the end of the day. Give me the chance of a few decent fish with a lack of crowds and I don't really see how fishing can get much better. This Thatch Cottage Ireland setup sits right in the middle of an earthly heaven and I am having to pinch myself that I am able to come over, help other anglers with their fishing, spend time in such a special place with some great people, and then at the end of the day be able to call it my work. People such as John and I accepted long ago that we were never going to make our millions doing what we do, but is life really all about money when you've got a sport like fishing to spend your life around? My apologies for the lack of blog posts, but this guiding thing doesn't leave much spare time in the day, and we've got more clients inbound. More to come.

Henry Gilbey7 Comments