Saturday, December 19, 2020

My Season of 2020

 Early Season - 
No one needs me to point out at this stage that 2020 was a year like no other we've experienced with the arrival of COVID-19 to our shores and although way down the list of human priorities it did affect my fishing season, but not as much as for many others... Living just 10 mins from the coast and the multi species inshore lure and fly fishing I'm blessed to have on my doorstep, I was able to start fishing as soon as we went to the 5km allowance at the start of May. I did miss out on on the early Mullet run but was more than happy to target Bass when the all important weather conditions and tides lined up! Early season was slow but steadily picked up producing reasonable sized Bass pretty much when and were I would expect to find them 😉

Kayak - After the successes of the two previous full seasons spent afloat I invested in a second Kayak plus a trailer which allowed me to try out ideas for Guided Kayak Fishing. I first attended a day of one-to-one Sea Safety training with West Cork based which was most useful and confirmed I was on the right track in terms of Safety afloat. I also tested myself in rougher seas proving that stability is not a problem and that fish can still be caught in tougher conditions. From then on it was a case of making it work whenever the conditions allowed and it proved to be a great addition to the shore guiding as expected

One of a number  nice top water lure caught Bass on a  on a day when the sea was teeming with all forms of marine life

Guided shore fishing was both busy and successful in 2020 with 80% + of novice lure anglers catching their first lure caught Bass. We were plagued with dead flat conditions at times but everybody stepped up and the rewards followed. It was great to be out on the Coast with old and new faces alike sharing my passion on warm summer evenings under starry skies 

Bait fish - At times there were enormous quantities of sprat chased in by the ever agressive Mackerel shoals this Summer, more so than I've ever seen before on this coastline...

I was delighted to discover that the Surf Fishing had kicked back in again after an unexplained drought for the last few years. It seems to be either feast of famine with this style of fishing but great when its on!

Tuna - Something entirely new to me was a close up and personal encounter with multiple giant Blue Fin Tuna as witnessed from local skipper David Edward's "Silver Dawn" vessel based in Courtmacsherry that was selected to take part in the Marine Institute BFT tagging program. David kindly invited me out to see what it was all about and assist in September on a day that saw 4 Tuna in the 300 -400lb class successfully tagged and released with 5th larger fish lost as we were forced to bully it in the fast fading light. We also went out in December in search of Sharks and recorded an historic first December caught Irish Blue!

Autumn Bass fishing was generally good and solo Night Fishing during late season threw up some surprise Bass under a full moon conditions on a couple of occasions. 

A calm late Autumn between the storms allowed me to get afloat  and target hard fighting deep water Pollock on Fly & Lure through until the end of November. I also picked up Coalfish, Wrasse and Cod on the fly which more than kept things interesting 

So all in all, fishing wise and considering all of the travel restrictions, the 2020 Season turned out to to be a really good one for us and I can't wait to do it all again in 2021. Hope you can join me. 

Drop me an email to arrange your 2021 fishing adventure while there are still some prime tides available!

And finally, something new from me for 2021. Excited to announce that to support and enhance the Guided Fishing Service I will be offering personalised original drawings of your fine captures, more details to follow... 

Thanks as always to Louvine – Lure Fishing for Bass – Pirate Lures who supported us in 2020

Friday, November 29, 2019

My Season of 2019

Hard to know where to start with a 2019 summary as it really has been exceptional in so many ways. The highlights all come from a willingness to push myself into areas of Fishing outside those I’ve become accustomed to which has led to knowledge gains and some great action in many areas such as inshore Kayak fishing, deep water Pollock/Fly, some breakthroughs with Mullet/Fly, more Striper Fishing in the US including some new tactics such as live baiting and Night/Fly along with an introduction to False Albacore or Albies, a mini inshore Tuna species. I’ve further grown my understanding of my beloved Bass in the offshore arena both here in beautiful West Cork and in France with still masses more to learn and share I’m sure.  In fishing I firmly believe we are all still learning it’s just a matter of where on the learning curve you are and it’s up to you to decide where you want to be and how you might get there if you choose to go. I get no greater satisfaction from my fishing when learning, sharing the knowledge with other responsible Anglers and moving forward so 2019 was great in that regard.

Mullet - After a number of hit and miss years of fly fishing for Mullet and following some top tips from Richie Ryan of Eire Bass I got quite consistent with these slow growing but hard fighting enigmas! Landing them up to 5lbs on a 5wt fly rod with a 6lb tippet can put your heart in your mouth, they aren’t called the Irish Bonefish for nothing!

France – Regina and I returned to France for the 2nd year running via the awesome Pont Aven Ferry (More like a cruise liner) operated by Brittany Ferries for the overnight sailing from Cork to Roscoff, followed by a short drive through beautiful countryside to the seaside town of Morgat, Brittany. Apart from a relaxing week away I fitted in a couple of Bass fishing excursions the first from Morgat itself with Louvine crewmate Thomas Gestin who skillfully  operated the boat and located masses of eager Bass for surface lure and fly action on a stunning Bretagne Summer’s evening.

We both met up with another Louvine crew mate Sylvain Garcia of Lorient Passion Peche for an incredible session from his awesome Hi-Tec RIB targeting Bass by Fly and Lure that were chasing mass Sardine shoals in deep clear blue water . Regina and I both boated 15 Bass each, all of a good average size, with a significantly larger one for Regina towards the end to round off a highly memorable trip – highly recommended!

Cape Cod - I was fortunate to do a 4th trip to the famed shores of Cape Cod and the legendary Cape Cod Canal. Travelling over in October is not necessarily the best time of year for Striper Fishing and sadly the Striper population is in trouble anyway but it suits me to go when I do to fish Catch and Release as I do at home. This year I did plenty of Surf casting near to the house I rented and I also fished with my Cape Buddy and Canal legend Bull from Red Top Sporting Goods at the Canal many times as usual.

A live Eel from Canal Bait & Tackle along with some great advice accounted for this beauty.

I was able secure the services of local Expert, Captain and Guide Nick Kathmann aka
Fly Guy Fish Guides to chase his favourite quarry the Albies by boat for the first time which despite bad weather on the day was amazing and something I dearly hope to repeat. 

I also met Cam of Cape Cod Fly (Instagram @capecodfly) who kindly took me for a really interesting and productive Night/Fly session.

Surface Fishing is something I rightly or wrongly put away a number of years ago as the lure fishing became tougher around our coasts but there’s no greater thrill than having aggressive fish chase down and attack a surface lure, often making multiple attacks, before successfully hammering it with the power to wrench the rod out of your hands with one of us on the other end of a tight line and bent rod. This year I found new opportunities to get back into surface lure fishing with devastating effect.

Kayaks & Boats - This year I took my Perception Triumph 13 Sit on Top Kayak offshore for the first time after a couple of years intensively exploring and fishing the local estuaries from it. I quickly realised from a practical and safety point of view it would make a lot of sense to add one of the electric drive motor systems now available, so after some excellent guidance from the highly experienced and very helpful Darren at Darrens Kayaks in Durrus, West Cork I gave him the go ahead to install a Bixpy Drive System along with a Garmin Striker Plus 4CV Fish Finder which absolutely transformed my capability and safety offshore so the late summer was spent afloat well away from my normal shore side haunts mapping the sea bed with the Fish Finder and catching some decent Bass & Pollock in deep water on Lure and Fly (Thanks again Richie Ryan) which was an awesome experience and included a monster Bass lost at the boat (Kayak) but captured for posterity on the GoPro (See last kayak photo below), I expect to build on that area of my fishing possibly with guiding in 2020. With regards to boats I’ve wrongly tended to associate boats with heavy tackle and bait fishing but my experiences both here and abroad in France and the US have clearly illustrated to me that this definitely isn’t necessarily the case and it can be a natural extension of the shore game.

Guided Fishing – This year was busier than ever, I met some great people, most caught some nice fish and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. It has to be said that early season was tough due to the low temps we experienced and things didn't really start happening until early July which is very late indeed but that's Bass Fishing and we did get some good fishing from then on.. Looking forward to doing more of this also in 2020, we already have lots of trips lined up with more prime dates available drop me an email to arrange your adventure while there are still some prime tides available!



Thanks as always to LouvineLure Fishing for BassLure Geek  who supported and equipped us in 2019