Met and saw so many people in Dublin

What a great weekend at the Hooked Live show just outside of Dublin, and of course made a whole lot better by England beating France in the Six Nations on Saturday afternoon - the fact that I watched the match in the bar with not one but two French guys was just a little bit satisfying to say the least !! Not that I rubbed the defeat in or anything. The thing I love about these fishing shows is getting to see plenty of people I know, and also meeting anglers from all over Ireland. The amount of interest in bass fishing especially was without doubt greater than last year, and I was pretty much blown away at the first Hooked Live show. Where is this all going ? Who knows, but the more forward-thinking bass anglers out on the coast and in the shops spending money on gear the better - Ireland has the chance to remain the mecca for bass anglers, and I can only hope that their new government recognises the importance to the economy. Am I obsessed with Ireland ? Yes, 100%, and with good reason. In my opinion Ireland offers the best all round shore fishing in northern Europe, and I can't get enough of the place.........

Anyway, I had supper on Friday night with Paul and Anne Harris who had driven up from the magical Beara peninsular to take a stand at the show. I have stayed there a few times for photography and filming purposes, and we were hatching various plans for some return trips. I can't tell you how special this part of West Cork is, and the amount of fish their many customers catch is off the chart. There are also any number of new shore marks to still be discovered in this very under-fished and under-explored part of Ireland - check here for one of the best fishing B&Bs in Ireland, and when you go and stay, Paul goes out of his way to put his customers on the best local fishing. His advice and guidance comes free, and we all know how invaluable good local advice is.

I saw a lot of Kevin and Christine Brain from KB Fishing in Waterville on the stunning Ring of Kerry. As with the Beara peninsular, I have been lucky enough to have fished, filmed and photographed in Kerry a few times, and I am itching to return. Kevin is really getting into his kayak fishing for bass especially, and I still can't believe how much he can go out bass fishing during the winter months and still see no other anglers !! If he gets the right conditions over the next few weeks then I know he'll catch a serious amount of bass. Kevin has a shop in Waterville, and he also does a lot of shore guiding. Check his website out here. Too much to do, and too little time.........

I met a thoroughly nice French pike fanatic and chef called Pascal Brissaud who owns and runs the most incredible looking Kilmore Quay Club on the banks of Upper Lough Erne in Count Fermanagh in northern Ireland. Some of the pike they catch in this area are just massive, and Pascal told me he has taken them to over 40lbs in the past !! The Kilmore Quay Club looks like one hell of a place to stay. Check it out here. I can't remember if I mentioned the rugby score to him.......?

It was great to get a chance to talk further with the French charter skipper Max Couque who has a boat up in Galway (check here) - some of the fishing they get for pollack, tope, rays and spurdog sounds magical, and he was telling me a little about the Aran Islands that are not far from where is based. I have a thing for islands, and I am trying to formulate various plans to go and visit some of them. Max took the rugby defeat pretty well considering.......

On Sunday I met the most wonderful couple from Galway who run a professional local tour /walking company on the west coast of Ireland - check out the website here. John is big time into his fishing as well. I have never been above the Clare coastline before, and in time I really want to start discovering more of the west and north west coasts of Ireland. I did a few talks and demonstrations at the show, but really the most enjoyable part for me is having the opportunity to meet so many different anglers from all over the place. A lifetime is not enough time for the amount of fishing and exploring I still want to do in Ireland...........