Sunday, 26 October 2014

Bass by Night

Before the recent windy weather, day time lure fishing for bass drew nothing but blanks. Surveying various marks and chucking a multitude of lures in different tides all resulted in the same end product. Time to ring the changes and a plan for a night time foray was hatched. Myself and a friend hit the rocks just before nightfall to help us gain our bearings. Already the temperature was down to single figures and dropping with a northerly wind flattening the sea ahead. With the first area provoking little response we scuttled over to another platform of rocks which were now submerged by water with the incoming tide. Clipping on our shallow diving lures the action started from the off. Rod buckling over, I was into the first fish of the evening which turned out to be a new personal best fish brushing 8lbs in weight.

The shear power of this fish was breath taking. Every time I thought she was tiring she sprinted off on another surging run. In prime condition, we admired her before slipping her back into the water. Such a good start to the evening, was this to be it or were there more Dicentrarchus labrax to come? Rob hasn't been fishing for long but has really taken to the sport this year. He caught some great trout in Ballinlough during the spring and ever since has been doing his best to latch onto a bass. All his efforts were about to pay off as the pair of us enjoyed some hectic sport over the next hour and a half.

Putting a very slow, steady retrieve into practise whilst keeping the rod tip up from the water, we hooked 12 fish in all. Sport was frantic as we brought 3 fish each to hand. 2 fish totally did me in by going around rocks and breaking my braid, taking with them my lures. We all hate losing lures but the presence of so many obliging fish more than made up for it. The rest of the fish landed were schoolies in the 2-4lb bracket.

The tides are beginning to build up again and the winds will hopefully die down a bit so hopefully day time sport will improve soon. The weather is still mild and the water temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius so we should see bass attacking our lures for another while yet.
Keeping an eye on the river, fish continued to ascend the weir in Bandon in big numbers. Its such a magnificent sight and many people took the chance to embrace one of nature's greatest events.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Salmon Leap for Joy

The rain has come at last and not a moment too soon for salmo salar. Gone is the sight of low, almost stagnant water to be replaced by a high, oxygen filled flow. In a nutshell, the season will be remembered for the lack of water rather than the lack of fish. The levels preceding the recent rain had a lot of people saying it was the lowest they had ever seen the river. Below is a photo illustrating just how low it was at one stage; a medium sized river reduced to nothing more than a mere trickle.

By night I fished the river Bandon for sea trout on the fly, returning fish up to a pound and half in weight. Algae made fishing almost impossible at times. The seasons end drawing closer was enough motivation for me to make the most of the final few nights.

As I mentioned in my previous post I had all but stopped fishing for salmon. But luckily a small, dirty flood during the 3rd week of September saw a few fish moving and I unfortunately lost 3 fish whilst spinning. I put this down to the water being so full of algae as the fish, although forthcoming, just couldn't see the lure properly. Next day the fresh water had run off and so had the suspended debris. At least one fish of about 6lbs still had a desire to attack my spinner. Playing her quick and taking a photo of her in the water ensured she swam off like a rocket.

Rising water on October 6th saw an increase of 6 feet in levels, releasing the resident salmon from their shackles. What a comfort it must be for them to at last be able to migrate as they please. Some fish were held up for so long in the same pools that gravel could be seen dug up out of frustration as if they were spawning. Alas, they are now free to hone in on their natal spawning gravels.

If you try to photograph salmon leaping over a weir/waterfall, a technique I find useful is to find the area where most fish are jumping. Next, use the automatic focus function on your lens to adjust it to this area. Then, revert to manual focus so that the lens does not readjust. Too often the lens looses focus whilst waiting for the next fish to jump. Turn the shutter speed up as far as the light allows. Adjusting ISO and exposure accordingly helps to mitigate against very dark photos. After you're happy that you have the appropriate settings in place, be patient and hopefully a few good photos will come your way!