Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fishing not casting

I first started catching bass on metal, most notably the choice was either the Abu Krill or Abu Toby. The reel I used was a DAM Quick 440N and it was loaded with 12 or 14lbs BS mono. I learned quickly to terminate the line with both a link swivel and a normal swivel. Things improved dramatically when my father bought me a 10’-0” Berkley Buccaneer spinning rod. This longer lighter rod replaced a solid glass rod my grandfather had given me earlier, the Berkley was pale blue in colour and had complex wrappings at the butt, with black foam handles, I loved its oversized rings. It changed my bass fishing life at the time and I fished with it for many years.
On a summer strawberry pickers salary, I learned to be careful and clever with the gear I had. There were days with many fish, days with few and lots of days with none. With the Berkley I would also use simple light terminal tackle, paternosters and ragworm or crab, rolling and watch leads. But spinning the Krill and Toby were always for me what I enjoyed most. I had two types of fish to catch the easy ones based in and around Wexford harbour and the difficult ones based south on the coast at Kilmore and Rosslare. Difficult because it involved a 15-mile cycle, twice!
Over lots of time I developed different skills with each of the lures. They fished differently of course and I felt I could catch fish on most occasions with what I had learned. Any of that arrogance of competency was destroyed early one morning in the company of Clive Gammon at a reef near Rosslare as I stuck a Krill in a rock on the first cast, the least said the better!
I fished then with the attitude that the fish were always in front of me and it was up to me to catch them. I believed they were there swimming, hunting, waiting. If I was fishing and not catching it was because I wasn’t good enough or the fish didn’t want what I was using or they saw it too frequently or whatever.
I still fish like this today, I believe they are there. But now I believe that in many situations rightly or wrongly of course, that if I’m fishing and not catching that I must ‘fish’ less and spend more time waiting before I cast again. In some instances I’m impacting  the fish if I continue to simply cast.
So I stop casting and I start fishing…

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Can we catch big bass consistently?

Is this a question we should be interested in?

Is it really that important that we pursue bigger fish?

Remember too in a healthy protected population of fish we could all be catching more and bigger fish – simple!

There’s a considerable angling challenge of course in pursuing bigger fish in a very much reduced population, which often leads us to conclude that once we catch one we have become better anglers. This is fine if we believe we have become a better angler than we have previously been because of the experience and focused effort but not so good if we think this has made us ‘better’, in some ways, than other anglers.

An angler spends forty hours a week for four weeks fishing for bass. He catches one fish greater than ten pounds each week. Without knowing the detail of his considerable effort we would consider him a master bass angler who has caught four specimen fish in a month! Perhaps we should read – after 160 hours of fishing he has caught four specimen fish.

Time on the water is one simple factor that will inevitably yield bigger fish to already capable and experienced anglers. The more time you are willing to invest the more likely it becomes that you will encounter bigger fish.

Some anglers who are prepared to spend a lot of time in pursuit of bigger fish will invest in specific locations with specific techniques, say eight hours a day lifting and dropping plastics in a current for five days to catch a ten pounder. We already know, and often too easily, that this is a deadly technique, so another capable angler spends two 20 hour weekends on the same technique and catches a ten pounder.

One angler catches a ten pounder after a week of fishing one angler after a weekend. It’s a question of perspective. But it is always related to personal effort and learning and technique and time on the water.

It’s probably inevitable that if we spend a lot of time at something we should also get better at it. This may not always be the case, but if we build on our experiences which have helped us to improve then it will be similar with bass fishing. The more time we spend and invest the better we become, if we are learning! To that extent we probably are catching two ten pounders in forty hours of effort. Or one fish in twenty hours of effort and so on.

We can get increasingly consistent with time effort and understanding. Our frequencey of capturing bigger fish will increase. What you do with this ‘learned consistency’ is for you to decide, you’ve earned it, you’ve done the time.

I once showed a very nice man how to cast a lure rod, how to control a surface lure, how to give the fish the bait. It took two hours. On the next tide he caught and landed an eleven-pound bass after twenty minutes of effort. He was happy beyond belief.

Within one year he was catching bass on the lure regularly

I once showed a very nice man how to cast a fly line, how to control a big streamer, how to give the fish the fly. It took two years. During the third year he caught and landed a ten-pound bass after eighteen months of effort. He was happy beyond belief.

Within three years he was catching bass on the fly regularly.

Both are now (if we were to think of it in such a way) on a one big fish every 50 hours and declining time routine ! – that’s if, of course, they stop and are bothered, which is doubtful, to count and weigh and measure that is!

Friday, January 01, 2016

New commercial and recreational fishing restrictions for Bass in 2016–and indicated sources of data.

Please find some collated notes from various sources re bass fishing both recreational and commercial



Throughout 2015 the European Commission has been working with member states and their scientific advisors on a range of measures to reduce bass fishing mortality. However, stocks are continuing to decline and further measures have been put in place to protect bass.

In 2016 additional restrictions are to be implemented on both commercial and recreational fishermen, and those restrictions will be published in the new TACs and Quotas Regulation in early January 2016. Until the new regulation is published the existing measures in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/104 will continue to remain in force.

When the regulation has been published the MMO will issue a variation to all fishing vessel licence holders setting out the measures, which include:

For commercial fisheries:
  • a continued closure throughout 2016 to all commercial bass fishing in ICES Areas VIIb, VIIc, VIIj, VIIk and outside the UK 12nm in areas VIIa and VIIg;
  • From 1st January to 30th June 2016 a prohibition on commercial vessels fishing for bass in ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh except for:
    • Demersal trawls and seines which are permitted a 1% bass by-catch; and
    • Hooks and lines and fixed gill nets which are permitted 1,300kg per vessel in January, April, May and June (NB: this does not include drift net fisheries). The fishery is closed in February and March.
  • from 1st July to 31st December 2016 monthly catch limits apply to all vessels in ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh
    • 1,300kg per vessel per month for hooks and lines and fixed gill nets (NB: this does not include drift net fisheries)
    • 1,000kg per vessel per month for all other gears

The catch limits apply to a single vessel and cannot be transferred between vessels or between one month and another.

For recreational fisheries

In ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh

  • from 1st January to 30th June 2016 catch and release only permitted
  • from 1st July to 31st December 2016 one bass per fisherman per day

In ICES areas VIIj and VIIk

  • from 1st January to 31st December 2016 one bass per fisherman per day

Recreational fisheries include fishing from the shore.

Reproduced here courtesy of - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-commercial-and-recreational-fishing-restrictions-for-bass-in-2016


BASS and Angling Trust Statement

Organisations representing Britain’s 800,000 sea anglers have reacted furiously to the news that EU Fisheries Ministers, including the UK’s George Eustice, have caved into pressure from commercial fishing interests and granted exemptions to the highly damaging bass gill net fishery. This sector, described by Eustice as ‘low impact’ is actually responsible for by far the greatest over-fishing of threatened bass stocks in the UK. It will now only be closed for two months of the year rather than six as was planned in the proposed European moratorium on commercial bass fishing during the spawning period. For the UK alone, this represents an increase in gill net landings of 131 tonnes compared with the scientists’ recommendation of a maximum of 541 tonnes of landings in 2016 for the entire Northern bass stock. Furthermore the gill net monthly catch limit per vessel has been raised from 1.0 to 1.3 tonnes, making a nonsense of claims to be conserving bass stocks in line with the evidence and best scientific advice.

At the same time, the £200 million recreational bass sector will see a zero bag limit in the first 6 months and in the second half of the year the bag limit for anglers will be reduced from three fish a day to just one. Whilst anglers were pleased to have retained catch and release fishing for bass during the first half of the year, they claim that the overall package has unfairly targeted the one activity that is most sustainable and creates the greatest economic benefit, in favour of allowing what is virtually ‘business as usual’ for the netters. Prior to this week’s Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels to consider the Commission’s proposals, both the Angling Trust and the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS) lobbied George Eustice to retain Catch and Release angling from January to June, to remove the gill nets and make bass a hook and line fishery only.

The only UK commercial sectors that look like seeing any significant reduction in catches are the trawlers and seiners which account for only 15% of all UK bass landing, whereas gill netting is responsible for over half of total UK bass catches each year and so should be the major target of these restrictions.

The figures recommended by the scientists at ICES in order to rebuild European bass stocks were for an 80% reduction in landings in 2015 and a 90% reduction in 2016 down to 541 tonnes in total. By watering down the Commission’s proposals, through an increase in the monthly vessel catch limits for both line fishing and gill netting and restricting their closure period to just February and March, the impact is now likely to deliver a little more than a 20% reduction in mortalities. By contrast anglers will be expected to return every bass they catch from January to June and then see their bag limit for the remaining six months slashed by 66%.

Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter said:

“This is nothing more than a conservation con trick by politicians who have ignored the science and capitulated to commercial pressure from the very sector that has caused the decline of bass stocks in the first place. Anglers are supposed to feel grateful for being allowed to return our bass to the sea during the first half of 2016, whilst for four months of that period gill netters will actually see their catch limits increased. And how gill netting, which is responsible for more than half of all commercial UK bass landings and catches two and a half times more than any other method, can be labelled ‘low impact’ simply beggars belief.

For George Eustice to describe what has been agreed as ‘a good result’ for bass whilst at the same time claiming on TV that his local netsmen will be virtually unaffected by ‘this generous exemption’ is downright disingenuous and deeply insulting to Britain’s anglers and anyone else who cares about sustainable fish stocks.”

Nigel Horsman of BASS added:

“Once again, our politicians have ignored the scientific advice, ignored the economic facts, thought only about the short term and given in to the bullying tactics of the commercial fishing sector, shafting the future bass fishing prospects of hundreds of thousands of sea anglers in the process. The rapid decline in bass stocks will continue under this deal, giving a real risk that the whole bass fishery for everyone will have to be shut in the next year or two, just as we warned the Minister directly last week. A major plank in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy was to take politically motivated, short term dealing out of fishery management and replace it with long term decision making based on ecological, economic and social evidence. Our politicians have just driven a coach and horses through their own new rules, proving again, that they are not to be trusted with anything to do with fishery management. Sea anglers are justifiably furious with this outcome for not only threatening their future sport, but also for the blatant disregard for any fairness or justice in allocating these “fishing opportunities” between anglers and commercial fishermen. This is a shameful result.”

Long standing bass campaigner and Angling Trust Ambassador Malcolm Gilbert said:

“The recreational sea angling sector has been well and truly screwed over by the politicians. This year, we have had a bag limit of 3 bass. In 2016, whereas, gill netters can now fish during four of the first six months and retain/land up to 1300 kilos in each of those months, recreational anglers have a zero bag limit. For the second half of the year, again whilst gill netters can retain/land 1300 kilos each month, recreational sea anglers are subject to a one bass bag limit. [Defra must have told the Minister that in 2014 only 111 vessels out of 1,331 in the UK managed to catch 1000 kilos of bass in a month, so the vast majority were unaffected by such a limit, yet the Minister has seen fit to increase the limit to 1300 kilos for gill netters, effectively dismissing the scientific advice with similar contempt with which he has treated the recreational sea angling community.

This debacle is not only grossly unfair to recreational sea anglers but even more importantly, the bass resource itself is going to be subjected to far higher levels of fishing mortality than the scientists recommend. In the long term it is a catastrophic outcome for all of us who crave restoration of bass stocks with truly sustainable long term exploitation.”

The Angling Trust will now be briefing MPs on the consequences of these latest decisions on bass and is hoping to see a debate in the Commons in order to hold the minister to account for this failure to deliver meaningful conservation measures and some of the extraordinary claims that he has made in defence of unsustainable fishing methods.

Reproduced here courtesy of - http://www.saveourseabass.org/en/fishing-ministers-accused-of-shameful-conservation-con-trick-over-bass-stocks/



Concerning fishing opportunities for sea bass 2016

A very comprehensive link to recent data Reproduced here courtesy of http://www.eaa-europe.org/topics/sea-bass/measures-2016.html

  eaa picture bass.jpg


Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Bass fishing wexford

‘I wonder sometimes that maybe as a result of my new found stability perhaps the words above or indeed similar thoughts are written too easily, without significance and perhaps they are not that important now. Are they too casually constructed in the new found comfort of a more stable and ‘normal’ lifestyle? Jim has come to his senses!

Do not be fooled into thinking that those ten years were not valid, not worthwhile, a meaningless exercise in fishing futility because believe me, no matter how I feel right now there is no ‘time’ and no ‘where’ I would rather be other than arriving to my home of a summer evening with my customers having spent a rewarding day attempting to catch bass on the Wexford coast’