Henry Gilbey
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This is why we come bass fishing in Ireland

Ten or fifteen minutes that can shape a fishing trip. I have been coming to Ireland for years now, but before each time I come here I get more excited than the last time. I love this country for so many reasons, but the most simple fact is that when it comes to certain species of fish they have got more and bigger than we do back home. I think of the shore fishing in Ireland as what it must have once been like in the UK. Sure, "our" fishing can be very good sometimes, but too many times now over here in Ireland I have seen a quick ten or fifteen minutes that leaves you shaking.............

I have to give Nick Roberts his dues here. He's one hell of a lure angler and he is one of the biggest lure freaks I have ever come across. He owns and runs the Bass Lures website and every time I fish with him I see him using and getting very, very excited about the gear he sources and sells, and over the last year or so he has been jumping about these Fiiish Black Minnows from France that I hear more and more bass angler raving about. I know the Cork bass lads absolutely smash fish on them for example. Would the same fish have been caught on another kind of jig head/paddletail combination ? Quite possibly, but we'll never actually know. I know these things work though !!

Anyway, the first bass Nick hooked yesterday was bang on 8lbs. He said he felt the fish smack his lure about five times before actually committing. Some fish, and after a few photos it swam off very strongly. Nick goes back to the same spot and almost immediately hooks another tidy bass. I go over with the net again (yes, increasingly these days I am carrying and using a trout-style rubber mesh landing net and I am starting to really like having it with me) and Nick quickly says that he thinks this is a better bass again. Holy cow !! The moment we see it turn on the surface and it's pretty obvious that this is one of those magical double figure bass that you just don't get too see that often. No pressure or anything Nick. My net might not be that big, but by letting the fish move over it head first I manage to successfully scoop it up and then weigh the creature right in the net. Nice and easy, and with subtracting the weight of the net I arrive at about 10 ½lbs for the fish. It was actually nearer the 11lb mark but I like to err on the conservative side, and at the end of the day who really cares ? It's the fish of a lifetime and Nick is absolutely over the moon with it. We are all buzzing like you would not believe. This is why we come to Ireland. Ten or fifteen minutes fishing that is going to provide memories that will last a lifetime. Honestly, it could not have happened to a nicer guy and in situations like these I just feel very, very lucky to be witness to it all............

About ten minutes later and Nick goes and hooks another bass, and straight away you can see that this is a bigger fish again - but the hook pulled. I know it's always the biggest fish that are lost, but the beauty was that both of us could compare the fight to the previous, successfully landed double figure bass. Nick fights his fish nice and hard and he was struggling to get this latest fish up. The two previous bass had hit the surface pretty quickly, but this beast was keeping down and really putting one of those heavy bends in the rod and taking a bit of line against a properly tight drag. But it was not to be and of course we were all left wondering how big it might have actually been. Around the same time both Nick Hart and Cian hooked bass on the fly that came off and the mind has to naturally boggle at how big these fish might have been as well. Nick was using a 10 weight fly rod and was left pretty speechless at how hard and heavily his bass hit him.

Ireland is beset with countless miles of the most perfect bass fishing coastline you could possibly imagine, but what a lot of potential visitors perhaps don't realise is that there are also numerous estuaries and lagoon systems that can and do throw up awesome bass fishing, and for big fish as well. I have not fished in Cork harbour or say Clonakilty for bass, but I hear enough to know how good it can be. Why do you think I come back to this part of southern Ireland again and again and so often base myself right on the edge of the magnificent Dungarvan Bay ? Those big fish were caught so close to where we always stay at one of the houses in the Gold Coast Golf Resort and there are a couple of seriously tidy bass marks almost right outside the place. It's fishing late this year, but you could spend a lifetime alone fishing the expanse of water in a place like Dungarvan Bay, or indeed the stunning Bannow estuary up in Wexford and of course around Tramore. Next time you are in Absolute Fishing in Tramore, have a look out of the huge windows. There are some serious monsters out there. Ask Cian about it. Nick Roberts was smoked by a bass when we had to tuck away from the weather the other day in a lagoon close to Seamus up on the "I so want to be there when the conditions are right and I will go back again and again" north Kerry coastline. I love being out on the coastline when it's fizzing up, but I also love how we can work the bays and estuaries and come up with fishing like that yesterday. Nick caught those fish, but it's down to Ger Carey and his kind help and scary levels of local knowledge that we were where we were and fishing how we did yesterday. I was meant to be having a lie in to 5.30am this morning, but with the excitement of yesterday I went and woke up just before 4am and therefore had some time to pen this blog post. Honestly, this magical country does it for me like you would not believe, and as much as I miss my family and can't wait to get back to them and my home, I am also already dreading having to leave Ireland on Friday morning...............

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