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!

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’