Niall from Baitdigger’s Blog reports:

09/08/12: The days seem to be moving faster and I would guess I am now into the final few weeks before the last cast. I do not for the life of me know how I managed to accumulate so much junk and how many boxes are needed. I have found fishing gear I never knew I had and do not remember buying. unloved tools are having the cobwebs blown from them in their first sight of daylight in years.

Pollack were my intended target but as usual I put in a few other rods just in case.  Three hours before high water and no tinsel tossers which always points to a lack of mackerel. I still have not decided whether this is a good or bad thing, no mackerel equals no mess but also no fresh bait? I remembered that the local club was having its International week of competitions and it reminded me that the mackerel were very scarce at the same time last year.

The water had a green cast to it that was making it look slightly murky so I walked further than normal around the headland to see if it was any different but it was no clearer.  I could barely believe the audacity of the first pollack that took the sandeel slug.  The intention was right but I think his eyes were bigger than his belly.

Moving back to the marks that have held more pollack and wrasse I was distracted by a pair of gannets working well of shore.  Even they were struggling to locate the mackerel.  As I worked along the rocks there was absolutely no pollack to be found. I do not know if they have taken a hammering in the competitions this week or if they have simply moved off as they have done so many times this year already. I was getting lots of hits from what I think were small wrasse, aggressive snatches which left the last two inches of the sandeel slug shredded.

Giving up on the pollack for a while as I know in the past they have gone off the feed for around an hour over high water I drove a few miles to a bass mark that was out-of-the-way even for here.  It is quite a walk from the road but accessible by four-wheel drive.  The rutted track and bushes down each side showed no sign of any recent activity.

I know some of you will say you know the mark from the picture but it isn’t any secret and if you recognise it you have been there already and I am showing you nothing new!

Looking at the quality of the water I clipped on a lucky craft gunfish for two reasons, firstly the water was still carrying quite a lot of suspended weed but mainly for no reason other than I really enjoy watching and working this lure. It casts well, rattles loudly and creates a lot of disturbance on the surface.  I like to make it walk the dog the pause for a while before a few short jerks and back to walk the dog.

Working along the rocks I was just wondering how I would land a fish if I found one as I had decided against my waders in favour of my ‘Merrell’ runners with the inserts. Even though I now walk fairly straight after around sixteen months of physio my ankle still swells massively and gives me grief after a long walk in the waders.

I didnt have time to dwell on the up and coming wet feet.  Some bait fish jumped as I popped the lure and I though it was the lure that had spooked them, I killed the action and the lure was snatched from the surface, the line tightening instantly. It felt like a reasonable fish, at last the bass drought over and there was no hesitation getting into ankle-deep water to land the fish.

I don’t carry scales in my bag, to be honest if I had any room I would take some sandwiches instead, I skipped breakfast and was starting to get hungry.  I am not a hundred percent sure if the measurement of a bass should be from nose to the inner V of the tail or nose to the longest point.  If it is the latter it was just under sixty centimetres on an old knitting tape measure.  Not a massive fish but one that I will be content with should it be the last I catch from Irish waters this year. Once I had done a few photos I let the fish rest in a rock-pool that was still being splashed by the waves and very quickly it had recovered enough to be put back where it swam off very strongly.

I carried on for around an hour but as the tide dropped it was leaving huge shelves of rock which at the best of times were only covered by a few inches of water and were near impossible to fish over.

Now I do not usually go into a pub while I am out fishing but by now I was starving so I stopped in O’Donoghues in Fanore for a quick bite and a pint of Guinness, always the pleasure-pain thing where you take the first few sips of the pint and know that you can only have the one.  It was only when I sat down to an excellent cod and chips that I noticed that not only were there a large number of wet footprints that followed me across the quarry tile floor but my brief encounter and releasing of the bass had left me with a large damp stain around the area of my groin, I just hope no-one else noticed!

Compliments of: Neil

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