Of course it can happen here in the UK, and the great thing about fishing is that nobody really knows when that fish of a lifetime might go and jump on your lure, bait or fly - but Ireland seems to have this habit of chucking up more good bass from the shore than most other places I am personally aware of. There's no getting away from our trip being a bit of a tough one with predominantly east winds, rafts of green weed all over the place and big temperature fluctuations which I guess must cause havoc with fish behaviour, but if there one thing we do on these trips to Ireland though is work it hard, and sometimes it pays off........
Our last day dawned bright and clear. The first spot we went to in Dungarvan Bay was pretty much weeded out, so we upped sticks and moved to an open coast location that can sometimes work in bright, calm conditions. Sure enough Steve soon had a good swirl on a surface lure and I saw a number of bass moving around - could we get them to commit though? Swines!! We gave it bit of time on the ebb before heading back into Dungarvan, grabbing a hot roll and a coffee, and making sure we were back in the bay for about two hours before low water.
Now we have smashed bass at this spot before, although a couple of small fish to Steve and some very hesitant bites for me was hardly "normal" if there is such a thing. The breeze is just starting to freshen a little from the south and we headed back to the house we were renting at the Gold Coast Golf Resort to pack a bit of gear up, grab some much needed coffee, and formulate a plan of attack for the flooding tide.
I suggested a very out of the way location out on the coast that can throw up some big fish. It's a bit of a yomp across fields and down the cliffs, but that is bass fishing in a nutshell if you ask me - anglers who don't like taking some decent exercise need not apply, and I love this side of it. Getting back to the house at whatever times we do and crawling into bed absolutely exhausted is what these trips away are about, even if it can be a struggle to stay fully focused for the drive home. So we walk all the way down to this awesome looking spot and find it pretty much weeded out. Great!! Do we stay and see if it might clear or do we scramble back to the car and move to another spot?
An hour or so of fishing and waiting and it's pretty obvious that we can't get our lures through the weed and it's not getting any easier. Let's move. One long, hot and sweaty walk back and I've got a plan to move on down the coast to see if we can find better water - which we do, although there's still a fair bit of weed in close where we need our lures to be working. Sod it, we need another plan.
Steve makes the call to head to a spot that he reckons should be properly clear of weed, so we strap the rods to the Vac-Rac, jump in the car, and move again. This is the last roll of the dice - last spot of the trip as I have to try and get at least a few hours kip before heading for the ferry early the next morning and driving back to Cornwall. Neither of us are feeling exactly fresh as a daisy, although another move and bottle of water later and we are ready to have another go.
There is a little ripple on the water and mercifully it looks free of weed. I must assume that all this recent warm weather has caused some serious weed growth, and with predominantly lightish winds it is causing a bit of havoc inshore. But we were ok here, and Steve clips on one of these pearly coloured Tackle House Feed Shallows and puts a cast in while I start to wade out to a bit of reef. I turn round to see how he's doing and I see him bent into a fish, and it's pretty obvious from the way the rod is bending that it's no schoolie.
So I run/wade/slip back to dry land, dump my rod, break out the camera gear and start firing away. By pure chance we have the last drop of weakish sunshine lighting things up, and when that (very lightly hooked) bass pops up in the tiny little waves, it's beaming smiles all round. Steve weighs the fish at around the 9lb mark, I rattle off some grip and grins, and both of us can't help talking about how Ireland can and so often does do its glorious thing for those anglers who are lucky enough to fish its waters.
We have both been coming to Ireland for years now, and the two of us hooked up last year and worked out that we had lure fishing for bass and the Dungarvan/Copper Coast/Tramore area in common, hence these trips we have been doing together. I know Steve will be a little embarrassed by me saying so, but he's a thoroughly nice bloke with a great sense of humour (essential for these trips), and holy cow can the lad catch bass!! I reckon I am an ok at best angler, but one thing I strive to do is learn from other anglers - why on earth not learn from the people you fish with? Never will I understand anglers who do not ask questions. Well let's just say that I've learnt a whack load more on this Ireland trip, including the fact that it often gets shallower after it gets deeper (don't ask), and that electric fences, foreheads and any sympathy from your mates just don't mix together!! Well done Steve, cracking fish to end on, and I look forward to fishing together again soon. Come on, you can admit it now you're back home - did you push me headfirst into that electric fence, or did I really commando roll that badly?