Defeated in the Emerald Isle

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Ireland’s Copper Coast between Tramore and Dungarvan is renowned for its quality bass fishing and stunning scenery. I had been looking forward to my visit to the area with Ashley Clarke, Colin Joy and my son James for many months and we all arrived confident of success.
A week later we left Ireland a little dejected for we had been well and truly beaten by the bass. After many hours of fishing and many casts we had only landed two bass both of which fell to Ashley’s rod on the first day of our stay.
Surf and great light
It is easy to trot out reasons for our lack of success, large amounts of suspended weed, crystal clear water, wrong wind direction, too much sunshine etc. Truth is the fish were proving fickle and extremely difficult to tempt.
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We received a great deal of help and advice from local anglers including the staff at Absolute Fishing who could not have been more helpful.
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Reflecting upon the week I believe we learned a great deal about bass and lure choice amongst this the importance of targeting the bass at the right time and the importance of learning the ground over which you fish.
One of the greatest obstacles to success is undoubtedly a lack of confidence an attribute that began to evaporate as the week drew to a close. The use of soft plastic lures is new to us and fishing them at ultra slow speeds a new concept. Casting out hard plastic lures and cranking them back is easy to do and is method that frequently works and therefore gives belief. Twitching a surface lure is also a method I have every confidence in as I have caught several off the top.
Whilst knowledgeable local anglers landed several quality bass it was obvious that the bass were not cooperating. Early morning before sunrise and after the sun had set were undoubtedly the key to success. That old adage right place right time springs to mind. Location is also vital and where to be at what tidal state.
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On one occasion we cast our lures from a promising mark with half a dozen local anglers. The mark was a good one but the fact that no one caught an illustration that it was not just we visitors who were struggling.
Fishing several very shallow rocky marks as the tide flooded it was amazing to witness big bass within a rod length of the shore. Stealth is certainly required to avoid spooking such fish a lesson that is lost on many sea anglers.
Fishing trips are great adventures and take us to wonderful locations where we meet many interesting people many of whom share this obsession.
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An observation I will make is that I fear that a degree of elitism is creeping into bass fishing with some anglers becoming totally obsessed with lures and their use. There would even appear to be divisions between plug fishers and the users of metal lures! Sea angling has traditionally been free of the snobbish element sometimes found within the old trout fisher’s world. It is after all about enjoyment.
Catching big bass is difficult enough with getting to tied up with the ethics of methods etc. It may be more enjoyable catching a 10lb bass on a lure but whether its superior to catching on bait is debatable.
The coastline we visited has a huge population of mullet and fish we glimpsed took the breath away and will require a follow up visit. James and I had two short sessions and succeeded first time with a brace of three-pound fish. We saw fish however of more than twice this weight. I am sure that there could be a great potential for sport with both golden grey’s and thin lips.
James Thomas

About piscator2

An all-round angler I fish for fun and enjoy sharing my experiences and adventures at the waters edge. Each week I write a column for the North Devon Journal and occasional articles for various publications.
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2 Responses to Defeated in the Emerald Isle

  1. Henry Gilbey says:

    Good to see you lads over there, not an easy week but all that I hope for on trips like these is that one gets to see a session that fires properly – because it’s breathtaking when it happens. I think that the one main thing that bass fishing in Ireland has taught me is to almost discard a lot of what I know or have learnt here at home and be very open to different locations and methods over there. Soft plastics are without doubt opening things up, and like you I am against any kind of elitism or other such rubbish in fishing – it’s too much fun for that sort of stuff. As I tend to say to people going over to Ireland, yes, the open coast can be awesome, but it’s often the kinds of locations we might not look at back here at home that go and produce the best bass fishing over in Ireland, and especially when the conditions are tough. Glad you saw some of the mullet, the potential for that fishing over there is just plain awesome. Good to catch up, shame you guys did not do that longish walk spot as it can fire in exactly the kinds of conditions we were getting, but next time perhaps………….

  2. Matt Jeffery says:

    great read Wayne

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