I like to think that I am of a kind of decentish standard when it comes to being an angler. I love to learn, I catch a few fish and I enjoy trying to figure stuff out/problem solve. The more years I spend fishing though, the more I realise there is a level that I am simply never going to get to - but because I work in fishing and I get to spend time around all kinds of anglers all around the world, from time to time I run across anglers who are at this unique level, and wow it's fascinating to see these people in action and to get the opportunity to delve into their heads................
As you can well imagine it's some tough fishing out here in Ireland. The fact that we have been through six bad summers in a row and I come here just as we get what has to be the longest spell of almost ridiculous weather for an aeon is what it is - sod's law !! I always bring loads of bottles of water over when I am fishing, but we've had to buy a load more because it's so hot. I am used to drinking as much water as I can say on the remote Seychelles flats, but bass fishing in Ireland and the risk of dehydration ? Come on !!
Anyway, by bashing various heads together we are coming up with plans of attack, and as tough as it is, a few fish are coming in - but the most cunning of plans are without doubt coming from the mind of Ger Carey, and without wanting to embarrass the bloke, he is one of those rare anglers I meet who is up on that level that I'm never going to get to. Sure, he fishes a hell of a lot, but many anglers fish a hell of a lot yet never seem to be a "natural" at it. Well Ger is a born angler just as Jonny Wilkinson is a born fly half.
We're out on a beach last night (see photo above - good eh ??!!) that is next to one of my favourite bass marks I have ever been lucky to have fished. Ger comes on over and says that it might be worth me shuffling my feet in the sand now and then. Why ? Because it dislodges more sandeels and the bass home in on them and then hopefully our lures. So there I am, shuffling my feet in the dark, and sandeels are going loopy all around me and bass are caught. Now I would not have even been on the beach in the first place, let alone shuffling in the pitch black. Nope, I would have been on the rocks where I have smashed plenty of fish before, but Ger knows this spot rather better than me..............
My experience of lure fishing at night is limited at best, but another piece of advice I was kindly given was to wait four or five seconds after my lure (IMA Komomo II in that colour that so many anglers love at night) hits the water so that the bass can better home in on it. OK, so when you stop and think about this it makes perfect sense, but did I think about doing it ? No, and I don't think it would have crossed my mind to do this. But I will be doing so now.
I watch the way Ger approaches the water he is about to fish, and to be honest it tends to be somewhat stealthier than me. He is fishing a hell of a lot of shallow broken ground out here and of course the bass are sometimes lying up very close in. I have never sight-fished to bass back home, although I am sure there must be the chance to sometimes, but out here on some of the marks you can often see bass moving around and it's one hell of a thrill.
Conditions might well be horribly tough, but there's a stack of fish around and I would think it's going to be carnage around here when it goes and switches on with a change in the weather. I do of course hope that I will be on one of my Irish trips when it does go loopy, but I do know one thing - the amount I learn about bass fishing from an angler like Ger is just staggering, and while it doesn't suddenly mean that I am about to ascend to the level I was talking about, I know that I am fishing better say than I was at this time last year - although I will be perfectly honest and admit to you that last night I fished about as badly as I think I am capable of !! I was almost willing the massive bull in the field we walked back through to charge me as a means of punishing me for fishing like an eeejut.
One thing that I will be doing when I get back home is tracking down a few smaller surface lures for those times when a quieter approach on top can produce a fish or two. My "default" surface lure if you like is the IMA Salt Skimmer, but Ger nailed a nice fish yesterday morning on the even smaller and somewhat quieter IMA Pugachev's Cobra - he was working it slowly with more of a sliding action rather than walking it and he had two bass trying to smash the lure at the same time before this one engulfed it. I had a go with Cian's little MegaBass Dog-X Speedslide I think it's called and I shall be tracking one of them down for starters. Anyway, best go whack a load more sunscreen on, pack plenty of water in my camera rucksack and continue with this awesome learning journey that I am on - but then we all are as anglers and it's pretty outstanding is it not ?