Sunday, 24 November 2013

Bass Still Chasing!!

It's late November and one notices a sharp transition into winter, with frost in evidence most nights. In contrast, sea temperatures have held up well and bass are still being caught on lures along our coast line. To be honest, I thought my last cast for a bass this year was back in October. However, a weekend of sport a buddy enjoyed up on the Copper Coast in Waterford recently spurred me on to give it another shot on one of my favourite marks in West Cork.

While bass hug the shore all year long, numbers are lower in the winter months and they are much less willing to give chase to a lure. This is mostly down to water temperature, with the magic measurement for lure anglers thought to be 10 degrees Celsius. At present, the temperature is between 11.5 and 12 meaning there is still time for a chuck and chance! The forecast for this week is for cloudy skies and less frost which will hopefully prolong the window of opportunity.

Not wasting any time, I decided to give last Monday evening a go as high tide was just approaching twilight. I spent a long time walking the rocks looking for some action in the water as there was very little swell. Luckily though, the swell was stronger the day before and the water was well fizzed up. With high tide nearing, water was beginning to rush in around some rocks at a distance and was now covering gullies which were high and dry earlier on. It was now or never, so on went my favourite shallow diving lure, the IMA Komomo SF-125. Within a few casts a fish hurtled towards it, revealing its presence by slashing the top of the water. 'Here we go', I hoped and 5 minutes later I struck silver! This lure is just the bomb... the lure doesn't find the bass, the bass find the lure!!

Rather than putting up a photo, I decided to upload a short video that I took of the release.

While on the topic of releasing bass, I recently received scale sample results from the IFI National Bass Programme. A scale sample was sent from a 69cm bass I caught during the Irish Bass Festival and it turns out the fish was 13 years old and was a fast grower. This underlines the fact that bass are extremely slow growers and the utmost of respect should be shown to these magnificent fish.

On the river front, spawning has now commenced on the Bandon. For the last couple of weeks trout have been busy on the redds in some of the tributaries. Due to the trout being mostly small down here, redds have proved hard to spot but here are a couple. When trying to find them the best areas to look are the edges and tails of pools. A patch of gravel lighter in colour should be evident, with a depression in the middle and a mound of stones at the tail of the redd.

Last Friday I spotted the first 2 salmon redds on the main river, no doubt spurred on by the frosty conditions. Thankfully these are a little easier to spot!

I also managed to capture a couple more snaps of wildlife on the river. The first couple are of an otter that was really gorging itself on small trout, taking no less than 6 in half an hour! Finally, the little egret, whose numbers have exploded in recent years along our rivers and coast lines.

As a parting note, we have had some great news on the salmon farming front in Ireland. The European Commission is to re-open its investigation into the negative effects of salmon farming on wild salmon. To read more on the issue, click here. News on this subject had been scarce for a while, so this is a very welcome advancement in the right direction.