The Irish Bass Festival was held from 21st to 23rd July. The event was very well attended with over 150 fish reported over the weekend! Read James Barry’s report below:
Hopes were high on the lead up to the festival weekend. The weather was steady (ish) and with a bit of surf running along the coast competitors were confident. The buzz among the anglers was great to see on Friday morning. The 5am start didn’t slow the intense bass chat which took place in the butterfly loft …. tides , wind direction, water clarity, lures. By 7am Friday morning nearly 80 bass anglers were out fishing!
Friday saw a great start to the festival within the first couple of hours it was clear there were some nice fish around and good numbers too. Tactics were simple, find the fish and in the favourable conditions you were on for some action.
The locals were learning some new tricks from the visiting U.K. “experts” and were getting into some great action while having what sounded like great craic ! …. what the festival is all about !? Reports began to come in of some nice catches coming at last light and through the night. The weather changed Saturday and saw the wind swing east, and it was like a switch! The fishing went quiet. There were some good fish picked up during darkness on Saturday however it was clear the fishing had tapered off from Fridays high and there was a notable drop in air temperature! However the anglers were more than up for the challenge and it didn’t stop Chris Williams and Jody Langley from registering two very nice 70cm fish. Richard Cake, Steve Payne and Mark Padfield long time veterans of the festival were getting among the fish and of course pulling some nicer fish, as they usually do!
The registering of bass caught over the weekend began on Sunday. Most anglers fishing to the deadline or catching up on sleep after fishing all through the night . One particular group in true Irish Bass Festival style fished from 9pm Saturday evening through to 11am Sunday morning! Slowly but surely the anglers began to trickle into us at the butterfly loft to register their fish.
The best three combined category is the section a lot of the seasoned bass anglers aim for and there were some great best 3 registered in with us this year! Paul Medd had a particularly impressive best three for a newbie to the area. Long time festival fishers Tom Lodge and Kenny Bodles also had notable catches along with Alan Houlihan from cork which kept it extremely tight in the category all of the above registering up and over 180cm combined which was looking good until a certain cork angler strolled in on Sunday to register his fish.
It was clear by the end of registration on Sunday (1400) that it was extremely tight at the top with cms separating the best fish. A digital measuring software was used, referenced off the ID tags confirmed the lengths of the registered fish. The measuring and validating of registered fish was done quickly and some very weary heads sipped on coffee and admired the amazing prizes on display form Art of Fishing.
Well over 150 fish were reported in to us over the weekend. The majority in the 55-65 size class and some good 70’s which is what the anglers were after….
The results were as follows:
1st & Best Visitor: 77cm Kristian Davies (Prize list: Apia Flow Hunt, Apia lure vest, lure bundle and the Irish Bass Festival Trophy.)
2nd: 75.5cm Richard Cake (Prize list: Apia Foojin R best bower, Apia lure vest and lure bundle)
3rd & Best Three Combined: 74.5cm, 71cm, 69cm : 214.5cm combined Ray Horgan (Prize list: Mikes Custom Rod, Selection of Apia Lures, Apia high end reel & Prowade XT waders )
Juvenile winner: (60cm) Ted Roche (prize list: Apia Rod and lure bundle)
Special thanks to Art of Fishing for putting together what really was some very special prices for this year’s event! Also special thanks to Wexford’s very own Prowade XT bass waders for offering up a pair of custom fit waders for the best three combined category and Mikes custom rods for a custom built needle rod.
We would like to thank everyone for the excellent turn out and the great atmosphere which was around the butterfly loft for the entire weekend. Thanks to everyone who made it a great weekend. Roll on 2018!