Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is it sod’s law that what might well have been the biggest bass of this Ireland guiding trip smashed a surface lure on the very first cast of the morning?

OK, so it’s always the biggest fish that isn’t actually caught, but both John and I watched open-mouthed as this donkey of a bass bow-waved behind one of our client’s surface lures and then smashed into it the other morning - and because fishing is fishing and it likes to give us a kick from time to time, it was this lad’s very first cast of the morning and the sodding bass didn’t hook up. Sod’s law? Holy cow I’d have like to have seen that fish, because whilst the best bass one of our clients landed on this trip was a fantastic 73cms long, John and I are still wondering just how big that donkey was that didn’t connect - I can still see it now coming up behind that small Patchinko…………...


I am driving home today after a couple of back to back co-guiding trips out here in Kerry. I did have the opportunity to not need to wake up at 4am this morning, but failed - far too much fishing stuff to think about! I do fancy my chances though of having to crawl into the back of my (epic) Berlingo for a bit of a kip sometime in the wee small hours on that long drive back from Fishguard to Cornwall, but I am absolutely bloody buzzing to get out bass fishing myself as soon as possible - and to see my family of course! I count myself very lucky to be doing this guiding work, but fishing guides don’t fish with their clients (and personally I would not pay a “guide” who did) - I need to go fishing!

We haven’t found numbers of bass over these two trips, but a lot of the bass our clients have caught have been quality fish, as per this cracker nailed by Chris above. We’d have loved some swell here in Kerry, but it’s generally been pretty flat, and of course that does shut down some options - there is so much ground out there though that there’s usually a more than viable option to chase bass. The more time I spend in this part of Ireland working with John Quinlan, the more I fall in love with it. The fact that we have to try and sell these co-guiding spaces aside, this part of Kerry truly is something very special indeed - as with anywhere it’s extra magical when the fishing is really firing, but it’s way, way more than that. If you see another angler out and about it’s a shock, and whilst John knows his local patch incredibly well, he would be the first to admit that there are several lifetimes of further fishing opportunities out here that are waiting to be explored.

Without doubt the most successful lure of this trip has been the OSP DoLive Stick, indeed it can feel a little repetitive asking our clients to clip one on again, but the simple fact is that these soft plastics work. Yep, I am sure that there are other soft plastics that can be rigged weedless and weightless that might work as well as the DoLive Stick, but if there are then I haven’t found them yet - and believe me, I have tried, and I have a box full of lures that didn’t work as well for me (the cheaper Deps Deathadder 6’’ is growing and growing on me, got some high hopes for it). I do tend to fish the DoLive Stick with a twitch, twitch, pause kind of retrieve (as per the video below), but to be perfectly honest the lure seems to work just as well on a very simple straight retrieve where it swims just below the surface with this outrageous little slalom sort of an action that bass seem unable to refuse. Whatever the case, I can’t be without these lures, and I imagine that a few more of our clients are feeling the same.

Similar feelings as well for the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel when we go pollack fishing - it’s almost a joke how readily those fish latch onto this lure. I take my hat off to Matt at Fiiish for designing what I believe might well be just about the most lethal pollack lure ever invented, and whilst over the right sort of ground the Crazy Sandeel can be deadly for bass as well, it just makes me giggle to show a client how to use it for pollack, and then see them absolutely nailed when a fish smashes the lure on the drop. What size we use depends on where we are fishing, but I am pretty sure the one we use the most is the 150mm body and the 30g head - bearing in mind that we sometimes go out on the boat and fish over fairly shallow ground. Anyway, have a good weekend and see you next week. Homeward bound…………..

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