I have created a simple online gallery of selected photos from my bass trip over to Ireland a couple of weeks ago - click here or access it over on the right hand side of the main page, along with the Montana, Argentina and other bass photo galleries. We had a fantastic few days in south east Ireland with three lads who came over from Jersey and I am still feeding off the memories at the moment - especially with this rubbish weather we have got at the moment !! What a place.
I have been reading a bit of rubbish recently about the handling of the bass we catch. Fishing is what it is. A well hooked fish that has been played hard and therefore comes in "green" can be worked for my cameras with no harm done if they are properly looked after - keep them close to the water or a rock pool, don't keep them out for any length of time, and of course do not return them until they are kicking hard. My whole working life revolves around trying to make fishing look good, and I am not about to harm fish to do so. There are too many "experts" out there who have no idea what I do or how I go about doing it.
I play fish hard so that I can get them in "green" and return them properly - I do not believe that any good is done to a fish by messing around and playing it too gently. Make that rod bend properly and horse the fish in. A "green" fish is a healthy fish.
So to that end I bought a really useful couple of tools over in the US recently, specifically for my bass fishing. You can see in the photo above that a lip-grabbing device is being to safely hold the fish in the water for unhooking. We all know how spiky bass are, and it is no good trying to wrestle with them and then drop them when they get you in the hand. This device is called a Berkley TEC Pistol Trigger Grip (see here), and I believe that they are available in the UK. If you can't get hold of them, ring up Pure Fishing (0845 0500091) and ask where you can get one. This little tool sits in a neat holster on a belt around your waist, and I never go bassing without it now - no more getting spiked, no more dropping bass, simply "grab" the bottom lip with the Pistol Trigger Grip and get the hooks out. Safer for you, safer for the fish.
I also got hold of a decent pair of pliers for getting hooks out and for crushing the barbs on all the treble hooks on my lures - and no, I have not lost any bass because of it, but they are so much easier to unhook. The pliers I got were the Berkley TEC 6 inch Power Pliers (see here), and again, I believe you can get them in the UK. They also cut braid and mono very easily. No lure angler should head out without some kind of unhooking aid.
Note the lethal lure that has just been taken out of the fish's mouth - the Tackle House Feed Shallow, check here for them. Plenty of anglers I know are raving about this shallow diving killer. Patrick has also emailed me from Ireland to say that the 6 inch Slug-Go lures are working really well for him on the bass - he tells me that on a few times the fish have refused the hard lures, but have then grabbed the Slug-Go immediately. I gather that he is really liking the Arkansas Shiner and the Bubblegum Pink colours. Check here for where you can get hold of these lures. More to add to my collection......
Here is Graham about to return around 9lbs of bass from the other day. Note as always that he is wearing a decent pair of breathable chest waders - to me these are the first thing that any bass angler should put on his shopping list. Plus a good pair of walking legs as well !! The more you walk for this kind of bassing, the more you catch. Now if only the wind would die here I could actually get out of my office and go and smash a few more bass myself. My ever expanding lure collection keeps grinning at me in the corner......