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Bass Fishing @ Wexford Southern Ireland - A Red Letter Day in Ireland

Discussion in 'All Time Best Topics' started by Dorado, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Dorado

    Dorado New Member

    Just a quicky, driven back from Ireland and knackered.
    Had a mega photoshoot- 15 bike features done in 3 days, which gave me 2 days to do nothing but drink beer, sleep - and waft a fly rod at those fish Jim Hendrick goes on about.

    I had a few marks lined up in the general area of Wexford, including one very dodgy one, which involved a long walk along a stony ridge at the end of which is a tide rip. I travelled light out here, in case I had to swim! I was up to my waist, and a bit higher, with the push of the tide trying to knock me off my feet, stripping bowl and rod only, with my camera and fly wallet hanging off the wader straps, on the inside of my waders, which I found had a small leak in them...now repaired! I didn't take my weigh net, because of the deep wading I didn't want the drag of the net in the water, this is a fierce rip.

    Fishing a small (2/0 tied to about 4"-5") green deceiver I was casting to the edge of the tide crease and letting it swing around in the current - fishing it like a downstream cast on a river so it would swing around and up, a deadly method that induces strikes. Intermediate Rio striper line.

    I had worked my way back along the ridge about 1/4 of its length, back towards shore as the tide covered it, when suddenly the line went bar tight, and started off sideways in the tide. I fed the line in the tray out and got onto the reel with a full bend in the #8 Helios, even the butt was bending! After a very dogged and slow fight, no rushing about from this fish, I got my fingers onto its jaw....what a fish. Certainly a lifetime best for me, but with no weighing device with me, I can only guesstimate. I didn't even manage to lift it all out of the water - it was too big, it was longer than I could reach up to clear the water!

    I wanted to get a picture, with rod tucked under my arm, stripping bowl around my waist, fish held in one hand, half out of the water, with the leader wrapped around my fingers...I tried to get the camera out from inside my waders with a very shaky hand, when suddenly the fish gave an almighty thrash...I couldn't hold it with just my thumb and finger in its mouth, I dropped it. The line snagged around my fingers and the leader just went ping with the sudden shock on it and then the fish lay there, motionless, while I came to and realised what had happened...I lunged at the fish to grab it just as it waved its tail, which took it out of reach. The fly fell out of its mouth and got taken away by the tide and I just stared in wonder as it slowly disappeared back into the rip.....wow!

    How heavy? I don't know for certain, way bigger than 10lbs though, the bit of the fish I got out of the water was heavier than that. 12lbs? 14lbs maybe....I have no idea...MONSTROUS, that is good enough for me. I wish I could have got a picture of some sort of it though - although it would have been a struggle. Laying it in the water maybe? I didn't get the chance to work that problem out...but I got the fish and the bit of it that I wanted and the video is still on a constant loop in my brain. It had a head like a football and a tail the size of a snow shovel. I know it probably seems bigger than it was, but I am still buzzing, 2 days later. It was Monday morning I caught it.

    Monday evening I went a bit further west to a large, sandy estuary. Well known to bass anglers. I intended to not fish the usual spot of the sandbar on the dropping tide. I was going to the rocks...but I had to go and have a look from the top of the slipway. Well, the birds told me all I needed to know. I wasn't going round to the rocky point after all! I grabbed the rod and my waders and headed for the rocky,weedy patches on the sand where there were millions of herring fry, brit we call it in Cornwall, rammed against the rocks and weed. The gullies in the rocks were like fish soup. I was stood with a foot either side of a gully, because it was too deep in it. There were bass swimming up underneath me to get the fry, and boiling in the just floating weed within a rod length. Birds diving all around, it was mayhem everywhere around me.
    I got 8 good bass, all on another green deceiver the same as I lost this morning. They were like peas in a pod, 3.5lbs (I had the net with me this time, just in case!) Except for two that nudged 5lbs.

    Tuesday morning, first light. Glorious sunrise, birds working the entire length of the sandbar with the sky on fire behind. Magnificent. I got down there PDQ (no, not Pegley Davies Quality, but Pretty Darn Quick!) I spent the entire morning casting into the receeding water with the birds going ballistic just out of wading and casting range...I didn't touch a fish all day, but there were plenty there, a big shoal of bass boiling on the surface every now and then and lunging at the brit again. It was worth it just for the sights and sounds of the excited gulls and the silver sprays of fleeing baitfish every now and again clearly visible, even at this range, besides, I had a red letter day yesterday, and a red sky morning this morning....I didn't need more fish. I had plenty to savour. Out of interest, there were three lads from Widnes fishing the tide down with crab, rolling it slowly along the bottom and walking with rod up.They caught nothing either, not even a flounder...which I thought was very strange, as this place throws up huge flounders (big enough to actually be worth going fishing for).

    Some pictures from my two days:
    I got the seal of approval from a local:

    A few of my flies that I use for bass fishing:


    My evening venue:

    Just a schoolie at 3.5lbs - they are all this stamp because the Irish look after their bass and have NO commercial take (haven't for 20 years) and restricted angler bag limit of 2 fish per 24 hours. Most people don't even take that because you can catch a hatful every tide, if you know where to go:

    A couple were better at just nudging 5lbs:

    The sight that greeted me on the beach the following morning after a night in the car on the slipway - everywhere was closed for a bed! I couldn't get a B&B for love nor money. Next time I am going for a week and renting a house:

    The birds working just out of wading and casting range:

    And the fly that did all the damage. Small, green deceiver tied on a 1/0 or 2/0 about 4" long, beside the baitfish it is imitating:

    I want to go back with the kayak, then those fish will never be out of casting range! They need the business over there too.
  2. Watersplatter

    Watersplatter New Member

    Re: A Red Letter Day in Ireland

    Great report but dont let Dan see it.

  3. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    Great stuff Simon. I love the last few pics, the sky looks stunning
  4. biscuitlad

    biscuitlad Guest

    Lovely pics, nice tales. Didn't you wish you'd had some long distance plugs with you? A tide minnow SLD or a Saltiga minnow would have got you out there in amongst them!
  5. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    A great read with some super pictures there Simon.

    As I've seen previuosly when we've fished together, you also tie a mean fly. I could do with a few to copy :whistle: :whistle:
  6. broony

    broony Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Great report. I was in that area myself at the start of the month but had 30 mph onshore winds and six foot swells to deal with. Still had a great time and looking forward to going back.

    How often do you go mate? And how much SWFFing do you do back home in England? Something I fancy one day.
  7. mattylamb

    mattylamb Rockling

    superp report and pics simon. shame you didnt get to photo the biggie but well done on catching it anyway, must have been some scrap on the fly rod.
  8. the artist

    the artist what a view , i think ill paint it or fish it

    Amazing , fantastic report and pics thanks for sharing that :happy:
  9. Dorado

    Dorado New Member

    Thanks chaps. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, in which case you have to find interest and enjoyment in the other aspects of the day...like the seal pup, and the noise of the birds and showering of silver as the baitfish skittered out of the water....and the lighting. Glorious and a wonderful couple of days.

    As regards the Saltiga etc...they were 150 yards out! I couldn't even cast a 3 oz weight that far! :no: The camera has probably compressed the perspective a bit.

    With regard to my SWFFing - a fair bit actually. I have managed to shed the devil off my back and only used the spinning rod about 3 times in the last couple of years....and a beachcaster only for lobbing a half mackerel into the suds for the turbot off the beach each April. I use the fly rod 90% of the time...it is a lovely way to blank :laugh: And a joyous way to catch a fish, when you can....thankfully I have found a few ths year, both pike and bass, and the odd small pollack, but only 2 mackerel all year and NO garfish at all, a couple of Scad (Horse Mackerel)..primarily it is bass I am after with the fly rod in the salt - going to have a go again for a flounder on fly though. If I can find a venue with clear water and a good head of flounder then it is not difficult. You just need to put a fly close enough to make it go for it. Bass or pike will travel 20 yards to take a fly/plug. Flounder probably 2 feet.

    Foxy - it was a big tug of war! This wasn't a dash merchant like the schoolies, it just put its head down and used the power in its shoulders to steadily steam off....a bit like holding onto a barrow full of beer running away down a slope. :laugh: A solid, steady, thumping strain rather than a fast dash for freedom. Side strain defeated it. I just kept swapping the rod over, first one side, then the other....if you can keep putting a fish off balance it will come in more easily.

    Hoping to get back next month. Will take the kayak and try a few of the fast tidal areas on the drift. If I can drift the Swellies in the Menai Straight happily, then the open water rips are no bother.
  10. spud

    spud New Member

    Great trip Simon and right up. Might be heading for the swells this weekend if your about :yes:
  11. mr lee

    mr lee Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Cracking pics and report there. Thanks for sharing. :cool:
  12. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

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