Ireland 2018 – Part Two

Well, you can see from the above picture that on his last full day of fishing UJ did finally lose his lure caught bass virginity…. and it really was getting near the last knockings when it happened!

The day started so dramatically different to any of the previous one’s we’d had all week – hardly a breath of wind and the seas had completely flattened off so first up we decided on a spot of pollack fishing for a couple of hours. The fish duly obliged with bends in rod aplenty! Nothing big but good sport nonetheless. Next up was a stunning bass spot John wanted us to fish where he knew there would still be a decent surf running given it’s location – it would have been totally unfishable earlier in the week. First cast for Nobby and ‘bang’ – fish on! We thought we might be in to a shoal but not another sniff…. strange how it can be at times.

With nothing more happening at this mark it was getting to the time in the tide where John wanted us back fishing the reef I’d caught at the day before. Back in the wagon and soon enough our lines were in the water. Nobby and I were fishing the DoLive Stick but UJ had switched to the new Gary Yamamoto Swim Senko in white. He was fishing between Nobby and myself when all of a sudden his rod looped over and a few expletives filled the air followed by a “you beauty”…. UJ had at last got his bass!!!! It wasn’t the biggest bass you’ll ever see but it was the most hard earned and well deserved bass I think I’ve ever seen experienced and we were just off the scale chuffed too bits for him….

It really was the fish that made our week when I look back on it – Nobby and myself have been lucky enough to catch a few in our time but to see someone who is new to the trade catch their first lure caught bass and work so damn hard to get it, in such a stunning  place… well, it really was the highlight of the week and we could only do one thing after that to celebrate…

Day six and UJ didn’t need to take off until after lunch so with his bass virginity lost the day before it gave him the opportunity of a further half day fishing. There was a better swell and surf running so we were off to a mark we’d looked at earlier in the week which had been unfishable. Today it looked good and after starting on the far side of the bay we worked our way to almost the middle of the bay where there appeared to be a gulley running behind a sand bar – it created a nice bit of movement with water running against the incoming surf. On went the Line Thru Sandeel  working it through the current and second cast ‘bang’ fish on!

Unhook, release, cast again and the next fish hits. By now Nobby and UJ are also into fish with UJ picking up a small sea trout and then his second ever lure caught bass…

Meanwhile, whilst we were obviously into a decent shoal of fish John is trying to get some scale samples and tags into the fish – I think at one point there were three fish hooked up and one on the beach!

These fish weren’t monsters but with the tough conditions we’d endured earlier in the week it was very welcome to get into a run of a few fish on the light gear… they certainly scrap better in the surf with the more oxygenated water giving them a bit of a turbo boost. The fish moved on though and so did we to rocks the other end of the bay where Nobby and I  picked up a couple more bass including one off the top on the Patchinko 125. UJ picked up a pollack as well so he’d had a three species final morning –  a nice way to finish you’re first foray into lure fishing I’d say and more than merited for the effort he’d put in all week.

After lunch at Thatched Cottage we bid UJ farewell and headed out again, fairly local thsi time, with a few more schoolies found over reef ground before an executive decision to declare early for a well earned pint. It had been a twenty bass day in total which was decent given the cold November winds, we’d certainly have taken that after the conditions at the start of the week.

Our penultimate day was once again different – things had flattened off again with much less surf running but given the success at the spot the previous day John couldn’t ignore it and we went back to see if the fish were still around. By now we had been joined in Ballinskelligs by Malcomn and Ian who had made their way down from the Dingle area. The fish were still there but not in the same numbers with half a dozen between us I think, here’s Ian with one…

The afternoon saw us back over a bit of reef where Nobby picked up one on the ever reliable DoLive before we headed back to the surf as the tide flooded – despite looking fishy, and one missed take, neither of us hooked up. The final mark for the day saw us fishing into the dark over shallow reef but aside from a couple of small pollack that was it – the bass certainly weren’t playing ball so it was time for a pint and John’s fish and chip supper!

Our final day was now upon us and the conditions could not have been more different to those when we rocked up a week earlier – it really was benign in the bay with hardly a ripple on the surface. We tried a couple of marks but there was nothing happening so it was off to a spot again we’d been too earlier in the week which had a better chance of some current in the water with the option to fish from the beach or from some rock groins. I stayed on the beach in the surf and picked up four schoolies while John took Nobby off the rocks where he nailed a few pollack on surf lures… spot the fish in this picture!

We were nearly done for the week but one last throw of the dice back in Ballinskelligs Bay as the tide flooded yielded a small bass each for Nobby and myself – both on DoLive Sticks – and that was as good a place as any to finish on as the sun headed for the horizon…

This was my fourth trip to Ballinskelligs and Thatched Cottage and as I said at the very beginning of the ‘Ireland 2018 – Part One‘ post it’s been a fantastic week. Tough at times, especially to begin with, but lots of smiles, banter and laughter along the way in a quite stunning part of the world. Big thanks to Malcomn, Ian, UJ and of course Nobby for your splendid company and enjoying the craic, but I’ll reserve my biggest thanks for John and Lynn….. yes, it’s the fishing that draws us back year on year but hats off to you both for the huge efforts you put in to make it happen for us anglers day in day out, often without a sign of a break – it doesn’t go unnoticed by many of us and is hugely appreciated.

Keep that spirit of Ballinskelligs Bay riding high my friends…. it’s a very special place and thing you have going there.

Until next time…

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