Ashley Hayden of An Irish Angler World tells us:

When a rising four meter tide combines with settled weather in October the resultant fishing experience can exceed expectations. Summer and winter merge on an autumn playing field, the sea appears alive, fish oblige, one meets and chats with interesting people, midday shirt sleeves eventually require topping up with jumpers, scarfs, and woolly hats as daylight turns to dusk, a damp chill envelopes, and a million stars look down from a frost bearing sky. To venture out on such a day is special, it’s why I go fishing.

A big thank you to Joe Carley of South East Bait Supplies for giving me a heads up on a productive location, meeting on a favoured lugworm patch we briefly talked fishing, Joe in a hurry to supply eager customers while I had six dozen black lug to dig before a fast making tide. Having excavated the required amount, energy levels were restored in the Strand Bar, Duncannon, liver and crispy bacon, fried onions, mash, gravy, and mixed veg washed down with a pint of stout, top quality fare and all for under fifteen euro, you can’t go wrong.

Bass fishing in Wexford
Bass fishing in Wexford

South county Wexford looked stunning, bathed in brilliant October sunshine. On arrival at my chosen mark a steady south west breeze created a lovely swell, clear blue and weed free, ozone filled the air as a single wave turned over and broke in a continuous creamy line stretching miles into the distance. A steep to beach with deep water close in, terns dipped, an odd sea trout jumped, shingle rattled as the heavy wave receded, bass had to be present and they were. Casting twin black lug baited paternosters forty meters into the gutter, having barely settled rod number one double knocked before slack lining, grabbing while running backwards in unison contact was made with a spirited two pound schoolie, beached and returned.

Three more followed up to high tide then as often happens along this strand a temporary lull ensued before proceedings kicked off again an hour into the drop. Relentless explains the next two hours, as dusk closed in bites became frantic and constant as schools of bass patrolled the shoreline. Short gaps of  inactivity being replaced every ten to fifteen minutes with a burst of rod thumps and slack liners. Fishing two rods, I cut back to one and still ended up landing 19 bass, admittedly schoolies in the 1.5 – 3.5 lb bracket, all lip hooked and returned bar one for the pot, good fun though and a positive future sign if nurtured and protected.

Ashley with a Wexford Scoolie
Ashley with a Wexford Schoolie

At 20.30 pm half way into the ebb I called it a night, what a perfect day it had been, one couldn’t have planned it better. On leaving I counted at least twelve headlamps betraying the presence of anglers along a three mile section of strand, here’s hoping that they were experiencing the same quality of fishing. Surf casting for autumn bass in Wexford on the open beaches when all key factors come together really shines, space and solitude abound, and the bass although on average not as big as their rough ground counterparts, do provide consistent sport with a six pounder or bigger always on the cards. As I write reports of codling  are filtering through, role on the next set of springs………

Scoolie at night
Shcoolie at night


Ashley Hayden,

An Irish Angler’s world


E-mail: [email protected]