Monday, 25 August 2014

Is There A Flood Around The Corner??

The days are slipping by as the dark nights are drawing in and the evenings are that bit cooler. Indeed autumn is beginning to set in and still the Bandon hasn't had an appreciable rise in what feels like the whole summer. Water levels have pretty much being at a low summer level since the start of June, except for a very short rise of a foot in mid July. 2013 was a real test for salmon anglers in West Cork but 2014 is turning out to be even tougher. Nevertheless, moaning will get you no where and if you want to catch you have to persevere. Its a time for stealth and using light gear if ever there was one and although takes are very few and far between, a trophy fish is still achievable. Last month, Dad released a whopper of a sea trout and this month he landed one of his biggest ever salmon on worm weighing in at an impressive 17lbs.

The fish was just off the tide and covered in long tailed sea lice. With September 30th fast approaching its going to be hard for us to better this poundage! Try as I might, I've landed 2 more fish on the worm also, which both went back to continue their trek to the headwaters. Both fish were in the 4-5lb bracket and swam off strongly.

On the nocturnal side of proceedings, sea trout have made a most welcome, and relieving, resurgence. For the last few years returning numbers have been quite low but not so this summer. My best night so far yielded 9 sea trout with many more lost and takes missed. Nothing huge, with a lot being of a small size and a couple going to the pound. Most of the bigger trout went through earlier on in the season but there is still the chance of the odd, bigger fresh salmo trutta. Sport seems to be coming in pulses of late with trout seemingly coming on the take all of a sudden and switching off just as fast. The usual flies are producing the goods and from now on darker flies will be coming into their own.

At this stage of the season a flood would be a blessing for fish and fishermen alike. Just look at the fish in the foreground of the photo I took at Galway Weir last weekend! If it does materialise there is nowhere I'd rather be than on the Bandon as fishing should be fantastic. It would also be nice to take the switch rod out again for a final whirl!!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Irish Bass Festival 2014

Another year, another hugely successful bass festival. This is the third successive year that the event has been held and 125 anglers turned out to pin their wits against the mighty bass. The sun was splitting the stones as per usual... for anyone planning a sun holiday to Ireland plan it around the bass festival as you will be guaranteed a scorcher!!

Due to these conditions, most of our efforts were put into fishing from dusk till dawn. Fishing unfamiliar ground at night time isn't the easiest but it sure is some buzz when you get the hit. On our first evening out, just as darkness was setting in I had my first fish of the festival off the surface on an IMA Salt Skimmer. Keeping an eye on the lure proved futile so I tried the "walking the dog" technique as best I could and it worked in seducing this fish.

Catch, photo, release and back she went into the waters of the Copper Coast. That's one of the greatest things about this competition, in that it encourages conservation at all times. A member of IFI was present over the weekend in the shop to discuss the National Bass Programme. All anglers on receipt of their ID card and ruler on registration morning were handed a scale sampling package also. This was to help collect data to provide scientific advice on how best to manage our precious stocks of bass. 
As the weekend progressed we all managed to land some beautiful fish. Besides a couple of follows and a lost fish, I landed one more small, but plump, bass which took a liking for a Daiwa Shoreline Shiner R50.

Interestingly enough, even though we all spent a lot of time fishing soft plastics, all our fish came to hard lures. Just one fish was hooked and lost on a soft plastic. Below are the 3 lures which worked for me over the weekend. The top lure is the IMA Sasuke 120 and it was the first time I had fished with one. First cast with it I had a fish follow it right in to my feet and bump it which gave me confidence right away. Its got a great action and even when you slow the retrieve right down over shallow ground it keeps slaloming from side to side. A nice little addition to the lure box!

Once again, hats off to Cian and James of Absolute Fishing for organising this event. Between swimming in after lures stuck on rocks in the darkness, rudely waking up a buddy trying to get some shut eye at dawn, dancing in McDonalds with chest waders after midnight, making some new friends and a few savage Waterford bass on the line, it really was another festival to remember.