John Tobin from Tralee Bay Sea Angling Club reports on a great day out at Inch Strand where the bass were feeding hard…

After approximately eleven weeks of stiff easterly and north easterly winds the direction has changed and so has the fishing. Many of our early competitions have been hampered by the bitterly cold weather early in the year with results being well down on the usual. However, the change in conditions had us all quietly hoping that a corner had been turned and that the fish would be ready to feed.

Inch beach was the venue for our latest competition on Sunday 21 April from 2-6pm with a falling tide and a south westerly wind. We had a strong turnout with 18 anglers making the pilgrimage. Those who did make the trip were not disappointed. A heavy surf, overcast sky and stiff off-shore wind made the conditions ideal for Bass fishing. Lugworm and harbour Ragworm or maddies supplemented by frozen black lug were the main baits on the day.

Spirits were high as a report of Pa Egan on the high pegs had begun to plunder bass early with two in the first hour. David O’Sullivan had located the flounder and had four on the card in double quick time. Bass man Phil Ord was positively beaming with the happiness with the conditions and it wasn’t long before he had the first two on his card at 49 and 44cm. Daniel, Troy and Martin had all found the fish while junior anglers Adam and Christopher were landing flounder with ease. Considering the casting conditions were hard at the best of times even for the seniors the junior anglers did extremely well.

The winner and Bass king himself, Chris Nelms from waterville with one of his double shots
The winner and Bass king himself, Chris Nelms from waterville with one of his double shots

With the Halfway point in the match reached Chris Nelms was in real danger of running out of bait such was the extent of his bass catching prowess. Indeed, it became apparent that the winners would all be coming from pegs 17 upward. Pa Egan, Con O’Sullivan, David O’Sullivan and Chris Nelms were locked in battle for number one spot with all except David landing bass almost every cast. A final flourish of Bass and flounder brought the match to a close and some very tired anglers packed away their gear.

This is when the true facts of the fishing came to light , 47 bass had been landed (and all were returned) with double shots a regular occurrence. The bass were clearly very hungry on the day and a keen eye would have seen the crazy amount of shells washed up at the high water mark among them hundreds of cuttlefish bones. Truely this was Kerry fishing at its very best and the reason people come from far and wide to sample it.

Back at the pub David and Pa had the hard job of interpreting  the hand writing on the scorecards and totalling up the scores. In a tight run contest Con O’Sullivan took 3rd place with 7 bass and a flounder Pa Egan was second with 8 bass and a flounder but the winner by a clear margin was Chris Nelms with an astonishing 14 bass and once again a solitary flounder. It was an amazing days angling and one which Chris will remember for a very long time. The junior section was just as tough Eoin Foley capped an excellent performance with 3rd place close behind Adam Doyle in second but champ on the day was Christopher O’Sullivan who stole the show.

This was an outstanding competition and one that showed the good natured side of angling indeed special mention goes to Pa Ègan for donating some Lug to Chris Nelms in his time of need!! Congratulations to all who fished.

John Tobin
Tralee Bay Sea Angling Club

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Tralee Bay SAC  is a thriving community of enthusiastic anglers – young and old, experienced and newcomers – with new members joining all of the time. We have a busy schedule of shore and boat competitions and lots of social events planned throughout the year. Tralee Bay is a family friendly, welcoming club with a reputation for promoting angling and encouraging newcomers to the sport.

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Surf casting at Inch
Wading back through the surf after the cast