Would you believe it ? After the dire summer we have had in the UK, and we then go and get perhaps the flattest, clearest, least lively and sunniest two days I have seen so far for the end of my Ireland trip. Awesome for photos, lovely to fish in, but hardly the best for serious bass fishing. You can't win with us anglers - when it's terrible we want it better, and when it's flat and warm we want some movement !! As we walked back to the car after yesterday morning's last session, I tell you, south east Ireland has never looked so pretty. Deserted, hazy calm and always calling me back. Above is a photo of some misty conditions we had just after first light - stunning for photos.
Here is Patrick Gallagher with a fine bass from earlier in the week, taken from a stunning part of the Irish coastline that again seems to receive no serious fishing pressure at all. Patrick is a fantastic guy and has got bass fishing seriously bad - he is a pleasure to fish with, as is his good friend Cian. Thanks again guys, what a fantastic few days. Graham Hill is a true gentleman. The greatest thing about working in fishing is getting to meet so many awesome people in such interesting parts of the world, and I feel truly privileged to know people like this.
The guys are starting to do serious damage with modern soft-plastic lures like this Megabass XLayer you can see above, fished on an articulated jig head. Set ups like this work really well when you can enticingly bounce and flutter then along estuary bottoms and big sand patches, or even up and over a mass of weed covered boulders. These particular lures can be really hard to get hold of, but they are really nailing some big bass over in Ireland at the moment. I know that Mick sells them right here. The French bass anglers are heavily into using soft-plastics, and I would imagine that we will be getting our heads around them properly in due course. They slay big time when conditions are right.
As you might have guessed, I rather like photographing bass !! I could spend far more time around these magnificent fish than I already do, and at the moment my heart is telling me to move over to south east Ireland and simply immerse myself in the finest shore fishing for bass that I know of. What a place. I took my mate Andy Bignell over with me this time, and I think he has come back a changed man - I know he is struggling to come to terms with the place, and I can't wait to get him back out there. We had some up and down fishing, but the times when it was firing were simply off the scale.
Don't do this at home, part 3 : this is what it takes sometimes to access the best bits of coastline. Andy Bignell is using a rope here purely because the ground is a bit slippery and steep, and wading boots do not offer the best grip on wet grass and loose rocks. The photo makes it look more extreme than it really is, for the other day I got down here just fine without a rope, and I am not into taking unnecessary risks for my fishing. Well, not too many......
I finally got home at about 4am this morning - all was going too well. The Stena Line ferry crossing from Rosslare back to Fishguard was perfect as always, and we pulled into Swansea services to get a bite to eat at about 7pm. Andy noticed smoke coming from my engine as we drove in and I stopped the car straight away. Luckily Andy trained as a mechanic many years ago, and straight away he noticed that my fan belt had gone - if I had been on my own, I would have thrashed the car to within an inch of its life, I know nothing about them at all, and like an idiot I had forgotten to renew my old AA membership. I had promised my eldest daughter that I would be back today for her 4th birthday, and I was not about to let a broken down car get in the way. Eventually an AA tow truck got us back to Plymouth just before 4am (yes, it cost a fortune to join on the spot and get a tow home, but it was worth every single penny), and I stumbled into bed and was woken by my two very excited daughters at 7am. As I said the other day, nothing beats getting home to the family and seeing those smiles on their faces. I could not do what I do without my wife holding the fort back at home, she is an awesome woman.