I am sitting here in my hotel room in Dublin reflecting on the weekend's Ireland Angling Show that took place on Saturday and Sunday, and my one overriding and admittedly not very imaginative word is "wow". That seriously was one impressive fishing show - by about 11am on the Saturday morning the place was that busy that you had to kind of pick your route to move around. I did a couple of talks and here's a big thank you from me to all of you who turned up and seemed to/pretended to listen, perhaps even enjoy it (?) and from what I could tell, not fall asleep too much at 40 odd minutes of me yapping to you about your awesome bass fishing.
It's also a big thank you from me to Mara Media (the organisers of the show) for having me along. It might well be classified as work for me, but to perfectly honest I just feel so lucky to be brought over to Ireland and be given the chance to meet so many different people and talk just so much about fishing in Ireland all weekend that I am feeling quite hoarse this morning. As you may well have gathered if you read this blog of mine, there is no other place on this quite wonderful planet that turns me on as much as Ireland and it's awesome fishing. Too many plans, too little time..........
I spoke to plenty of the retailers over the weekend and they all seemed to be over the moon with how the show was going from the point of view of people coming in and spending money. That is so good to hear and there was some seriously impressive stuff on sale at the show, including a lot of bass and lure fishing gear. Talk about needing some self-control !!
I finally got to meet the multi-World Champ Bob Nudd, indeed I felt like a bit of a fraud when he came up to me and introduced himself and said he had been watching my TV programmes over the years (poor bloke). Of course I knew who you were Bob and it was a pleasure to meet you. What a nice guy and when Bob goes pleasure fishing he tends to go sea fishing which I thought was pretty cool. I dread to think how much this bloke has gone and forgotten about competitive freshwater fishing in his lifetime.
Last night I had supper with the wonderful Mary Gavin-Hughes who if you don't know is a professional charter skipper out of Clew bay up in Mayo. Yes, I really want to go skate fishing with Mary, and yes, I want to go and lose myself amongst all those islands (365 of them) in Clew Bay and just fish my socks off. I found out that Mary has never been bass fishing before so I do think that it would be huge fun one day to try and get her down to the south coast when we are over and see if we can't get her into a fish or two. She is some lady and I love talking to her.
It was great to catch up with that dinghy fishing livewire that is Jim Clohessy from Cork. Now this guy knows his boat fishing around this part of Ireland and yes, like with Mary above, of course I want to head down and fish with Jim and see if I can't snaffle a couple of Cork bass. Jim does a lot of work for excellent Irish Angler magazine, so if you live in Ireland or head over there fishing, do make sure to pick a copy up and read his articles. Jim has a little bit of a thing for soft plastics !! Not that I do of course ?
I met and spoke loads with a few of the guys from the Irish Kayak Angling Club - it only started up fairly recently and already they have got 650 members !! Kinda blows my mind to be honest with you, and the fish that some of these guys are catching is just off the scale. I try and keep a little bit up to date with kayak fishing, but in reality I am way off what anglers like these are up to. John Griffin had his kayak there and it was pretty incredible to see, and especially some photos of the bass he has caught when fishing from it. And yes, we are going to see if we can come up with a plan to get me out and about with these guys to see how they do it and perhaps photograph a few magazine articles. Me on a kayak with my camera gear ? Well I'm game for it, so watch this space............
Ever heard of Yuki fishing rods ? Well I never had until I met the lads from Moonfleet Angling at the show. I was wiggling a bunch of different rods and chatting to the people who import them into the UK, and yes, there were some there that could I reckon be some pretty interesting lure rods for bass for not very much money at all. Give me some time and I will see if I can get hold of one to test and review, plus I saw a bunch of Yuki rods that I reckon could make serious shore pollack rods or even heavy duty bass lure rods, plus some stuff that might be a blast for light bait fishing for bass. I also saw a load more of those Major Craft lure rods which are some serious value for money.
I did see a very interesting pair of wading boots that I do believe might have serious applications for us in the bass fishing world, although in fact it was not so much the boots as the soles which were of most interest. I have come across this sole concept before over in Canada, but I do think that perhaps they are worth a look for tramping over rocks. More to come perhaps.
I saw Paul and Anne Harris who were up from their rather magical Dromagowlane House set-up down on the Beara peninsular. I love seeing these guys and I absolutely love their part of Ireland. I can not tell you how good the shore fishing is down there and it's so good to hear that they get so much repeat business, which has of course to mean two things - that it's a great place to stay (it is) and that the fishing is pretty cool (it is).
Great to see some of the north Kerry lads up for the weekend. What a nice bunch of guys and they were telling me of some pretty serious surf fishing for bass recently, with a few tidy fish landed. If they get the right conditions over the next few months they will be catching some awesome fish. Honestly, I don't want to move to Ireland at all.
There is not enough space here to go into all the good people I met and talked with, but if there is one thing that always strikes me when I come over to Ireland it's that we always read and hear about how much trouble the country is in financially (but aren't we all ?), yet you won't meet a happier, more smiley or more friendly bunch of people. I heard a wonderful story last night - an Irish person is saying that during the "good times" as they call the boom years that perhaps they should have been more careful and put more money aside for a rainy day, to which his or her mate said something along the lines of, "well if we'd done that then the good years wouldn't have been half as good would they ?". Absolute class if you ask me !! Anyway, I am away with my family for the rest of the week so I will get back to blogging from Monday 25th Feb. You all have a good week or so and I will catch up soon.