The most frustrating thing was..........

.....that for a bass fishing trip to southern Ireland you almost could not have asked for better weather conditions. OK, so we had a couple of days when the wind howled a bit from the north west, but that's an easy direction to tuck away from around the Copper Coast area - otherwise the actual wind directions, strengths and sea states were very, very tidy indeed. You know what it's like when you go away fishing somewhere - all you can do is to book decent tides at a decent time of year and then hope the weather plays ball as much as possible. Well we had that in spades last week - with a big but though.

Remember those very strong winds we had fairly recently ? Not really June weather I know, indeed I am fast wondering if we are ever going to get anything remotely close to a summer, but I had not quite realised how horrendous those winds were over in southern Ireland, and how much they affected the water. The coastline clears pretty quickly after a "normal" blow, and the beauty around areas like Tramore and Dungarvan is that you can tuck away from strong winds and still be in with a shout at some insane bass fishing, but I would say what happened recently was pretty freaky. Almost a perfect combination of factors if you need to make bass fishing somewhat frustrating !! Very, very strong winds for June from exactly the wrong direction proceeded to rip a huge amount of (new growth ?) weed up and dump it all over the shoreline in quantities that I can't ever remember seeing, plus areas like Dungarvan Bay as well were for the most part coloured up and full of weed as well. Summer ?

We caught a few bass when we found some clearish water that was not full of weed - whether it was that infernal green weed that somehow is drawn to any kind of hook like a magnet, or simply coloured water full of any kind of smashed up bits of weed that made even fishing a single hook, "weedless" soft plastic virtually impossible at times. Yes, I am sure that some anglers are going to sit back and think I'd have done this and I'd have fished so and so methods, but please take it from me that we were no more than unlucky. We fished hard and we moved around on the hunt for clear water - and I don't just mean clear as in good clarity. I mean clear as in not full of weed that makes fishing impossible at times.

So what can you do ? Not much really. Suck it in, take in on the chest and keep at it, because if there is one bass fishing place that can chuck up a decent fish almost at any time it's Ireland. You just never know. From memory I think I have been to southern Ireland at least the last two years straight after the close season and had very good trips with fish all over the place. No two years are ever the same though and I just got unlucky with how the water was. Talk about freak weather conditions. There are bass around though, and it's going to clean up fast as the tides take the weed away. I bet you when I'm back in a few weeks that the coastline will look as if nothing had ever happened. I stand to be corrected of course, but my hunch is that parts of Ireland are going to go nuts on the bass when conditions get back to normal. I reckon the inaugural Irish Bass Festival at the back end of July is going to be a very interesting and hugely fun few days. When I was over last week I stayed at the Grand Hotel in Tramore which I know is going to be full of bass anglers during the festival and there will also be the prize giving bash there on the Sunday night. Talk about a hotel in just the right place !! Go and see the lads at Absolute Fishing for some help and advice on the local coastline, because there is some very serious bass fishing indeed very close to the hotel. I hope to see a bunch of you at the Grand Hotel on the Sunday evening.

To be honest last week's trip was a little bit of a different one for me as regards what I was trying to get out of it. It wasn't the more regular fishing/photography jaunt that I mostly do over there. I don't want to go into the reasons why at the moment, but for a few days of the trip I did something very different to what I usually do. I was not sure how it would go, but I absolutely loved it - and I learnt masses and masses about some ideas I have with regards to bass fishing and the future. We shall see, and watch this space as they say, but those few days have really made me sit up and think about the whole bass fishing "thing" in a bit of a different way..................