Off to Ireland on Friday - "a little bit excited !!"

It is over a month ago that I went out shore fishing in a pair of shorts, indeed I landed at Heathrow around Sunday lunchtime and drove back home in a howling gale and torrential rain (why oh why was the word drought ever mentioned by the media ? Don't they know that the weather can hear us ?). Canada was as awesome as that awesome country always is - wide open spaces and a serious lack of people. Suits me down to the ground. I feel more qualified now to understand how the whole steelhead thing so gets to some anglers - I call them steelhead junkies, and the look in the eyes of the afflicted to me is similar to somebody who's been puffing on exotic herbs. Gone. Out there. In love with such a magnificent fish, and if there's a better excuse to go to the wilds of BC then I am not aware of it - except of course for the salmon fishing as well. And the halibut. How about some monster rainbow trout in the lakes ? Arctic char ? Dolly Varden ? What a place.......

On Friday I am taking my usual route up to Fishguard to catch my favourite ferry over to Rosslare in south east Ireland. When you fly a lot in cattle class like I do then the idea of a ferry journey where you can take all the gear you want, wander around without tripping over somebody's legs sprawled out in the aisle and actually get a bite to eat that doesn't taste like something the cat puked up is a serious thrill. I dig the StenaLine Europe ferry like you would not believe, plus of course I am always in a serious state of overexcitement at heading over to the country that floats my boat more than anywhere on earth. Did I mention that I was a little bit excited about heading over to Ireland for my first bass fishing photography trip of the year ? Here's hoping that the weather begins to behave a bit.

There are a few items of fishing gear that I am using on a kind of long-term test basis at the moment, including a spinning reel which I am beginning to think might be one of the best value for money bits of kit that I have come across for a while. I have fished with it a fair bit and I can't find a single think I don't like about it - more info in due course. All this stuff is going over with me. I also have a few "new to me" hard and soft lures that I am dying to try out on the Irish bass. We all have our go-to lures, but I do love trying out new stuff to see how it works for me in different locations and conditions, indeed that is a part of why lure fishing I guess floats my boat.

It might just be me and my slight fixation with technical clothing, but Canada once again reiterated to me just how important the stuff that you wear under your waders is if you are going to be walking, scrambling and climbing for your fishing. I grant you that the kinds of fishing where one sits still for hours or even days on end is not something that is going to benefit from this kind of stuff, but for me the right gear is vital. I wore my Under Armour ColdGear leggings and compression tops every single minute we were out on the river and it continues to amaze me how well these innocuous looking garments work for fishing (nope, a compression-type top on me ain't remotely pretty, and yes, my wife does giggle when I put it on to go out fishing). And when it's warmer I use the Under Armour HeatGear stuff. If you are going to be standing around in extremely cold water for long periods like the guys where in Canada then an extra pair of fleece leggings might be required (the rivers were absolutely freezing), but since I was for the most part moving around and taking photos, just a pair of the ColdGear leggings under my waders did the trick for me - and I can't think of a time this winter when I have worn more than that under my waders for lure fishing. Looks like simple stuff but somehow it just works so well. Anyway, the next time you hear from me I will be over in southern Ireland, and I'll try to keep the blog updated as much as possible............