Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Sunbathing Irish bass.........

This morning was one of those sessions that you want to commit to memory and then recall at will to get you through the harder fishing times - it could not have been more perfect. Everywhere we looked we could see bass milling around on the surface, as if they were sunbathing, and close in to the shore were a load of big mullet. Trevor reckoned he saw mullet approaching 10lbs !! (why do serious mullet anglers keep ignoring Ireland and the millions of mullet ?)

The sea was flat calm, and all you could hear was us bunch of monkeys gibbering away in a complete state of over-excitement at the mass of bass that kept showing themselves on the surface - I have never seen anything like it before. The sea was like a millpond, but the bass were no pushover at all. We could see loads of them, but they were going to need catching......

The morning actually started off very cold for me - I tried to get around a rocky point, and then realised that if I went any further I was going to get cut off for a few hours, so I turned back to come at the mark a different way. Big mistake !! One wrong step and I was under, and the only thing that kept me afloat long enough to grab a rock was my waterproof Lowerpro camera bag that acts like a life jacket. Nice one Henry. It has to happen to me once a trip. I fished and photographed for the next few hours with a load of nice cold water to keep me company inside my chest waders. But it was worth it......

Trevor was first in with this stunning fish you can see above, taken right in tight to the shore. These bass are in incredible condition at the moment.

This is the lure that has been doing the damage over the last couple of days - I don't know how it happened, but as if my magic one appeared in my lure box this morning, and also and in Graham's !! This is the Tackle House Feed Shallow - it is perfect for the kind of ground we have been plugging over, because it covers plenty of terrain at a very shallow depth, and the bass love them to bits. You can get them here. I am loving learning all about a bunch of new lures, and it is even better when a fish or two throw themselves at you - I managed a nice one of about 6lbs at range this morning, in between taking a stack of photos in the awesome light. The bass hit my lure right on the start of the retrieve and really went hard. I think I might have yelped with the excitement of it all.

Here is Trevor with another fine fish taken around high water - this guy fishes seriously well and it is a pleasure to watch. The more ground you cover means the more fish you are going to cover, so all that extra leg-busting effort is always worth it. The more you put in, the more you get out, it is that kind of fishing.

Graham was going to come to the party sooner or later this morning (after the "singing" I heard about from late last night, enough said !!), and he did it in style with this stunner you can see being landed above, and then held carefully below. I gave him 8.5lbs for the fish, but in truth I reckon it was nearer the 9lb mark. There was never a question of killing a fish like this simply to know exactly what it weighed, that is not what we are about, and it went back strongly after the obligatory photo call. Graham really is a staggeringly good bass angler, and more often than not he is out on this incredible coastline all on his own because there are so few anglers fishing it. Mad, totally mad !! I have to move over there......

Part of me is gutted to be leaving Ireland, but the other part of me is also very excited to be heading over to north Wales for a couple of days. It is typical that the weather I am leaving behind is perfect for bassing, and I have a feeling that Graham and the Jersey lads are going to smash the fish big time over the next couple of days. But such a big part of my job is meeting new people and seeing new places, and I love it.

How civilised is this ? At the moment I am on the Stena Line ferry from Dun Laoghaire over to Holyhead, watching the end of the Open golf on the box, with free wireless internet on my laptop. A chance to update the blog, catch up on emails, and have a decent cup of coffee. Isn't technology great ?

It is also a chance for me to reflect on the last few days I have had in Ireland, and to begin editing the photos down and preparing various features for magazines. It continues to amaze me how relatively few sea fishermen travel over to Ireland to explore the coastline. It could not be easier to get here, the place is crawling with fish of all kinds, and I still have not heard of any better shore fishing for bass in Europe - west coast, east coast, south coast, take your pick, but the south east corner is something very special indeed. Graham and I are looking at some bass tides in September for me to come back over for a few days, and then we will try to sort out some cod tides for the winter - did you know that there is some fantastic cod fishing from the shore as well ? I love my bassing around home, but in all honesty it simply can not compare to what I keep seeing in Ireland. This is not a complaint, it is simply a fact.

Anyway, off to Wales and then back home late Tuesday - I hope to see some of you at the CLA Game Fair next weekend, when my demonstrations with Nick Hart will revolve a lot around fishing different kinds of lures for species like bass. Am I obsessed ? What do you think.......?

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