Tantalisingly close........

It's November, it's northern Europe, and the weather is all over the place - as one can expect of course. Before first light yesterday morning and it was about as flat as a sea can get, with not a cloud in the sky until perhaps mid-afternoon. Stunning. As much as it looked pretty good, what I have to remember is the weather that the guys had over here just before I arrived on Monday evening, and as such there was a lot of colour in the water. It's now early afternoon on Wednesday and the wind has kicked up stink and properly blown the coast out, so from now on it's either do some cod fishing or otherwise get up the estuaries and try for the bass on bait and lures.

The lads did have a few smallish bass on lures first thing on Tuesday, including Cian above with this fat fish he took on the bullet-like DUO Tide Minnow 90S - a lure which I have not really come across myself, but the guys have done well on over here. We then moved around a bit to try and take advantage of the different tide states but came across mostly coloured water and some pretty tough conditions. One place in particular that we were all buzzing about fishing was blown out as well, and on that wind direction we did not expect it at all. I have seen a lot of good fish come out of this place, but when you take a punt like I have and come over at this time of year then you have to be realistic and take what weather and conditions you get.

I did get a hell of a shock this morning. We were tucking away out of the worsening conditions, and where we were looked pretty good. I was using the awesome IMA/DUO Nabarone 125S (the sinking one) - this lure cuts through the wind like it's on speed, seriously, this thing is fast becoming a go-to lure for me when the conditions are tough. It flies, plain and simple, and it eats up the yards and lets me cover plenty of ground. The conditions were rough but very fishable. I heard the tail-slap before I actually saw bass, but this thing literally turned on my lure in the standing wave that was dumping on the beach. Now my own theory is that the fish almost had no choice but to pull out of hitting my lure because if it had, it would have got dumped on the beach by the wave. Can fish know that ? Honestly, it was that close to the shoreline, and it was actually the sound of the fish's tail slapping the water as it pulled out of the kill that got my head snapping around.

Now it's always the biggest fish that are lost is it not ? But in my defence, I did not actually lose the fish, indeed I never even pricked it, and I saw it plain as day in that wave. I am not going to put a size on the bass, but it got me that riled up that I spoke complete gibberish on the walkie-talkie to James after it happened. Or did not happen as the case was. All I can say is that it was a very serious fish. The kind of fish that would make any amount of rough weather worthwhile. OK, so it's tough going here at the moment with the weather, but to know that fish like that are around and are in a feeding mode certainly keeps the excitement levels up.

One thing I am getting the chance to do is to put different bits and pieces of gear through their paces. Nothing beats tough conditions to quickly learn what floats my boat - and what does not. Plenty more to come on that front, but now it's back out fishing. Time to tuck away and find some shelter, but this is Ireland of course, and at this time of year there is always the chance of a serious fish. Like that one I saw this morning...........