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Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI

from www.probassfisher.com
To all fly fishers everywhere - welcome to saltwater fly fishing in
south east Ireland

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Contents
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 1- General Fly Choice 5
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P2 - The instinct of the decision 6
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P3 - Where is my fly? 7
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P4 - Choosing a fly 8
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P5 - Fly casting for saltwater 10
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P6 - Choosing the right fly lines 12
Bass Fishing on The Fly - P7 Mind, body, equipment. 13
Bass Fishing on the Fly - P8 - Species, when, and where. 18
Bass Fishing on the Fly - P9 - Doing it and Improving 24
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P10 - Where should I fish? 32
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P11 - When should I fish? 34
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P12 - Influences Tidal Flow 34
Bass fly fishing Ireland - P13 - Where are the fish? 37
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 14 - Tactics for bigger bass 38
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 15 - Conditions and bigger bass 39
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 16 - Where are bigger bass 39
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 17 - Flies for bigger bass 39
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 18 - Influences on bigger bass 39
Bass Fly Fishing Ireland - Part 19 -Tackling up for bass - Fly
Fis... 39
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 20 - Five fundamentals for bigger
bass 41
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 21 - Ten Knots 41
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 22 - The Set Up 42
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 23 - The BTDG. 43

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Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 24 - Leaders 44
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 25 - Location Strategy 46
Bass Fly Fishing Ireland - Part 26 - Little casts for bigger fish 46
Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 27 - Running down the line 49

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Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 1- General Fly
Choice
Monday, March 31, 2008
Choosing Flies

What fly should I choose for saltwater fly-fishing in Ireland? Its not and easy question to
answer in one sentence, and I guess its probably not possible. Saltwater fly selection can
be as simple or as complex as you make it. You have so many choices and so much
information that it can often become terribly confusing. You can buy flies at tackle shops,
on the Internet, or indeed learn to tie your own often to no particular avail.

I am asked all the time what the best fly to fish with, when making fly selction choices
bear in mind the species you are pursuing. Saltwater fly patterns are relatively few in
number in comparison to the huge number of flies used in freshwater so that makes
things a little simpler. Saltwater flies are somewhat restricted in their scope - mainly
baitfish and crustacean patterns, yes there are smaller bugs like slaters and hoppers and
things so ‘matching the hatch’ is an option for the creative tier. The obvious answer is ‘....
Something that looks like a small fish!’, but we all know its not that simple and there are
many factors other than a small ‘fishy’ looking fly that also need to be examined before
making the decision to tie on a fly. Size, type, colour, and target species - when and what
do I choose?

I have caught several species on one pattern, I have caught bass on bonefish patterns, I
have caught mullet on seatrout patterns, and I have caught flounders on rainbow
patterns! What does this tell us about saltwater flies, or indeed about saltwater fish?
Given the predatory instinct of the fish and the tactics of the careful and strategic angler
the WHAT type of fly becomes less important (but not entirely so) and rather the HOW
the WHEN and the WHERE becomes much more relevant and important.

So the following are flies I would recommend for the beginner in Irish saltwater fly-fishing

Deceivers – White and white and chartreuse, olive and brown and tan – size 2 – 2/0

Clousers – White and white and blue, pink and white and olive size 2 – 2/0

Others – Charlies in tan and brown, Fredes, Minkies, Gotchas in black and white and pink
and white, oh and some surface Poppers/Gliders/ Gurglers.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 5


Next Month ()- the instinct of the decision A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 11:37AM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - P2 - The instinct of the


decision
Friday, April 04, 2008

There are times when you open your fly box and reach for a fly to tie on; and you have
instinctively made the right decision. The fly fishes well, it casts well under the conditions
and ultimately produces a result for you. This quick decision-making is done without any
long gazing into the fly box and trying to decide on colour or size or type but rather
extends from the confidence of experience that is now second nature to you and your
fishing.

You have spent your time on the water under many different conditions chasing many
species. Some days are good and some days are bad - depending on your expectations
of course. In terms of getting fish on a hook the reasons for not catching fish are equally
as important as the reasons for your successes. Doing the same thing incessantly to no
real end with no real result is soul destroying. While we don't need to operate like
scientists, some analysis as to the reasons of success or failure is important.

This analysis if you want to call it that, fine tunes us and focuses our attention on many
factors. Wind direction, temperature, light conditions, tide, moon, time of year and fish
behaviour etc and in this case the fly choice. We cannot wait for all of these factors to be
in their optimal positions or 'best levels' and then decide to go fishing - it simply wouldnt
happen, but we can learn the influences of each element and hence make valid angling
decisions.
So when does the Type become more important rather than the Where or the How? My
'go to' BASS fly is a white and chartreuse deceiver pattern on a size 1/0 hook. Nothing
very revolutionary there, but it could also be a white and chartreuse clouser minnow.
Already there's an option. Two very important flies - two decisions, and then more when
you add colour and more when you add hook size!
I have already said my 'goto' fly is a white and chatreuse deceiver - but it is only my
choice on unfamiliar ground. When fishing a new area for the first time this is my choice.

6 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


If i catch fish on this fly at a venue (never more than 3) then I may change to a different
pattern. If the subsequent pattern doesn't provide results under a similar time frame, in
the same conditions then i will change again, and again. This may result in you been able
to determine an optimum fly for a particular set of circumstances.
If you cast any fly and you catch some fish then its one of those days - if you cast only a
particular pattern that catches fish (where others havent or in greater numbers or in an
accelerated time frame) then its time to sit up and take notice. Visiting the venue on other
occasions under similar circumstances may well confirm this for you. Now your 'goto' fly
for your new favourite venue might be a cockroach or a black deceiver. Depending on the
circumstances!
So you arrive at your fishing you open your box and out comes your singular choice from
a range of patterns - you have caught a lot of fish in your last two visits using this fly and
you confidence is high - then something changes - you dont catch any fish - you try
changing a little bit but no luck!

Next month () - where is my fly? A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 09:56AM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - P3 - Where is my fly?


Sunday, April 13, 2008
Flyfishing in cold, early springtime saltwater or late winter time can be very difficult and
even downright disssapointing for the fisherman. Its my belief that of all the fishing
conditions that exist (except maybe cloudy and weedy water) saltwater fly fisherman
dislike cold water the most. I have witnessed a lot of fisherman become so frustrated over
these early and late periods (Spring and late Winter) that it makes them stop fishing
during these parts of the season completely. From December through to late April is often
avoided by many saltwater flyfishers and in fact its not until the warmer months of May or
June that many will begin their fishing at all. I can understand this and there have been
several points in time when I felt this way too but through some perserverance and with a
little hard work there are some good tactics that can greatly increase your chances,
difficult as it is!

There are other apects to this early and late season fishing that are beneficial too -as you
make and complete your early or later sessions, you also get back into or stay 'in the
groove' much earlier and longer than your warm water friends! Sometimes over a lazy
and slow winter, picking up and starting that fishing momentum can become a difficult
thing! A bit like the spring or late winter fish who are sluggish, probably somewhat slow
moving and generally finding things a little bit difficult - shake off those 'comfortable'
feelings and get out there....during this time you will undoubtedy hit some 'weather
windows'. This might be a few hours of exceptional conditions that suddenly bring fish on
and you have success out of the blue - mark it down as something to watch out for in the
future. Its something to amaze your friends with. 'You mean you caught fish in the middle
of February you hear them ask' - 'its not possible' they say. You know it may not be very
frequent but it is very possible. The reason - you are actively engaged and in tune with
your fishing and the conditions.

Fishing in the 'off season' always seems to be better when the water temperature is
steadily falling as in early Winter and not rising as in early Spring. This often means that
weather fronts are becoming a little more unsstable and it’s not often bright and sunny for
a number of consecutive days.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 7


Bass will start to move inshore in the Spring and there are two reasons why I think they
are moving inshore. One reason is to find the warmer water, the second, is to find food,
as the chain kicks into life. Food sources have probably diminished over the long winter
and forage has been greatly reduced due to lack of sunlight and cooler temperatures at
sea. It may be one of the reasons that during 'weather windows' fish move out of and
then back to their winter haunts.

I look for shallower water, and I definetly start looking for water clarity.

Its difficult to know exactly what is the most common food source for fish are at this time
of year. Crabs, shrimp little sandeels are probables. Throughout the wintertime when
water temperature is cooler, I suspect predators are on the deeper bottom offshore and
most of the food sources have already been greatly reduced. During early spring I tend to
use smaller flies that are trying to imitate shrimps and small sandeels that I see along the
shoreline. Be aware that the type of bass strike or take you will experience will tend to be
more reactionary and slower rather than the sheer massive hunger or hunter strike that
you will experience during mid and late summer.

To get the fly to fish it means fast intermediate or sinking lines with clouser minnow types
fished on or near the bottom - inched along or fished strip and stop.

The retrieve and the fly line will put your fly in the right fishing position. So where is my
fly? At this time of the year it needs to be very close to the bottom! There are two fishing
actions to make. One is the long strip you make with your line hand to move and pull the
bait through the water. This is the initial 'triggering' method helping to grab the fishes
attention. The second action is the stop or pause. This will allow the clouser to 'drop' to
the bottom. So the fish has seen the fly swim and drop, maybe once or twice. It is during
this 'fly activity time' that a bass will make the initial decision to take the fly, more often
than not on the drop or pause. Pausing for 8 - 10 seconds is a good idea - even more,
and sometimes Inching the fly along the bottom after the drop can result in very delicate
pick ups by fish - be ready.

Remember fish are very lethargic and don’t swim around using lots of energy in cold
water.

Tactics to use in terms of the retrieve and helping to put your fly in the right place.
• make longer slower strips with less time on the pause or stop
• make shorter strips with more time on the pause or stop
• increase the time of the bottom 'inching'
• add some stopping and starting to the bottom 'inching'
• slow down - A LOT!
Next month (May) - Help - what type of fly? A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 10:28AM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - P4 - Choosing a fly


Thursday, May 29, 2008
Although I have been saltwater fly fishing for a good few years now I guess I’m still in my
infancy when compared to many other people. I have also realised my personal fishing
tends to be very much limited to the beginning and end of the seasons. In between times

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I’m guiding for customers and I generally don’t like to fish when guiding unless asked.
Because of my limited time, which must be similar to many other peoples, I like to make
the most of any opportunities that I may have. It still surprises me to get a fish on the fly
and I always try to go fishing as best prepared as I possibly can. This to some extent
eliminates the factor of luck, but I believe you make your own luck in many things and fly
fishing is no different.

During preparation I inevitably need to make choices regarding equipment etc. One of the
things I have started doing lately is travelling only with my jacket, waders, line tray, rod
and reel, two spare spools plus some tippet material. And that’s it! My jacket holds two fly
boxes, the tippet material and the spare spools. Of course I’m tempted to bring another
fly box but where do I put it – in a bag? Then I’ll put more stuff in the bag that I don’t
need. But what flies do I put in my fly box? How do I make my decisions?

Size Does Matter.


Size is a very important factor when choosing from your selection. Early spring time and
summer I tend to choose smaller, skinnier flies whilst later in the year and towards
autumn my choice is towards bigger fatter flies. Be sure that what you see out of the
water in a fly is replicated when the fly is in the water. Many materials have different
qualities whilst under water!

Shape and silhouette.


If you are seeing sandeels in the water then i would suggest that you fish with a sandeel
type pattern - long and skinny. If you see baitfish then choose a broader denser pattern.
Often a change within a pattern type ie changing a deciever for a different deceiver from
a different tier or material may result in more takes. This seems to be related to the
material type of the fly and its better representation of the bait present in the water. How
is the natural behaving?

Imitating natural motion.


If you are witnessing lots of surface smash takes from bass then it might pay to fish on
the surface with a popper or gurgler. If baitfish are visible and moving slowly in tight
shoals then fish slowly with a deceiver pattern on a dead drift. Again softer materials
fished slowly are often all that is needed. If fish are beyond visible range a clouser pattern
might be succesful in reaching those that are closer to the bottom.

What colour is the sun?


Whilst color may not be considered by many to be a huge factor in fly choice there are
some hard and fast rules - colours closer to the surface are more important than colours
in deeper water due to light absoprtion and reflection. Choose a colour that is closest to

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 9


the natural baitfish present if possible - grey/white - brown/tan/olive - pink -
black/grey/white and a good general colour for bass is chartreuse and white or just plain
white.

My two boxes are divided into quarters - reading the quarters from top to bottom and left
to right the following applies

Bass Box 1
Quarter one - small clousers of the colours above and some with larger dumbells - size 4-
1
Quarter two - larger clousers of the colours above - size 1 - 3/0
Quarter three - half and half patterns of the colours above size 1- 2/0
Quarter four - various clousers of different sizes and material

Bass Box 2
Quarter one - small deceivers of the colours above size 4 - 1
Quarter two - larger deceivers of the colours above size 1- 4/0
Quarter three - eel and crab patterns of various sizes and colours
Quarter four - surface patterns - poppers and gurglers size 1 - 4/0

Next month (June) - how far should I cast? A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 03:10PM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - P5 - Fly casting for


saltwater
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
This is not a ‘how to post’. In other words I’m not going to tell you how to fly-cast for
saltwater. There are plenty of other people who are more prepared to do that. What I
would like to try to get across to you goes something like this….

‘…On a good day I can cast ‘x’ number of yards, on a bad day I struggle to hit ‘z’ yards.’

Where ‘x’ is a lot and ‘z’ is not that many!

Rudy Van Duinjhoven in Wexford


Sometimes your preparation for a fishing session is meticulous to the point of obsession.
It makes you feel good, and in control. You have prepared well, with a nice range of flies,
lines, tippet, gear and you have done some planning around weather wind and tides.
You’re focused, and on the drive down you feel calm and look forward to some hours of
saltwater fly-fishing, the anticipation builds nicely as it’s your first time out in 10 days. It

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couldn’t be better.

Then somewhere between the third and tenth cast of your fishing you decide you want to
go home. The cast is dumping and crashing, tailing loops are of phenomenal quality and
distance well....at its worst you want to turn the rod into a javelin aimed at the vile heart of
the cruel sea, go stomping and muttering back to the car, kick the rabbit you saw on the
way down the path, and at the top of lane stop the car and bite and punch the steering
wheel whilst growling like a mad dog. The following words perversely go through your
mind 'With good casting technique you can place the fly where you want it, effortlessly
and with precision and grace,...' they dont do anything to improve your mood.

The loneliness of the long distance fly caster (or not) as the case may be!

If you are already a capable caster in terms of both distance and presentation, in most
saltwater conditions, then you can usually weather these storms and pour some oil on the
issues. But if you are new to the sea or indeed flycasting then its more of a problem.
Without the experience or indeed a number of 'negative casting' experiences how can we
learn to deal with the above? Or more importantly can we recognise the early signs of a
bad day and find a middle ground, not X or Z but Y perhaps?

I think the important thing to remember is that it happens to everyone, and it happens
less often than you might think. When it happens to me I tend to stop fishing very quickly.
And for a while, I sit and watch someone else casting or simply watch the birds go by. I
know that I probably wont cast to 'x' this time out but when I try again I make short
accurate casts with small flies - if it works out then fine, I might make the move to further
and bigger but only slowly, and sometimes I have to retreat! This is where 'y' exists - I am
flyfishing within my limits and still enjoying it.

Rather than persisting with the agony of a poor casting day it pays to take time out and to
think about turning it around. You can do this by using many techniques but my favourite
is to start again after a while and push little by little until you move from casting mode to
fishing mode and once again you begin to think and feel this might be ok - there might be
a fish behind that rock over there - pull through the cast, stop, yes, not perfect but
ok......coming around now.....was that a follow?

some tips to use when things are not working out from a casting point of view
• Only put the amount of line you want to cast in your line tray
• dont put the biggest fly in the box on first
• dont try to cast to the horizon with your first casts
• if you are using heavy sinking lines or big flies - open you loops and slow down
• try to determine where and how the fish are feeding
• if they are blitzing on baitfish then presentation or distance wont be a problem
• if they are visible then they must be reasonably close - but wary!
• at night fish are very close - very!
• a current can often carry your fly to the fish!
• overlining your rod by one can often bring back that 'feeling'
• take you time and relax
Next month (July) - choosing the right fly lines A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 03:39PM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 11


Bass fly fishing Ireland - P6 - Choosing the right
fly lines
Sunday, July 06, 2008
To be successful when targeting early season bass or sea trout or indeed throughout the
variable summer season in Ireland then your presentation or depth of fishing is going to
be key. Slow steady retrieves are often the norm while fishing as close to the bottom as
possible. At the early times of year bass are still somewhat lethargic and still in their
energy conserving mode. Their noses are down as they root through muddy estuary
bottoms in search of small marine worms and other tiny invertebrates. Here is where a
variety of sinking and intermediate lines or sink tips will greatly add to your success not
only in the early part of the season but throughout the summer as well!

Many fly fishers however don't carry the right equipment, in this case lines, to get the job
done. As we grow in the sport the majority of us have spent our time or money
accumulating a wide assortment of flies that we have to choose from. Deceivers,
clousers, poppers, half and half’s, on and on and on they goin so many different
colours…we've already discussed this in part 5 and 4.

If you're like some fly fishers I know you probably have so many flies that you can't find
room in your box to carry them all. You probably also carry many flies that have never
been cast into the water at all. These are the flies we label for that "just in case scenario",
or "I like it so much i dont want to fish with it".

With the new season now getting underway I think it is time for many of us to change our
way of thinking or the approach that we take. We need to start to measure how effective
our time spent fly fishing at sea actually is. Do you keep a mental note of any of your
success? Or do you just move along casting and casting, putting in another bad day
where you say the fish weren't there or they weren't hungry or the sky was too blue ?

Or does this sound familiar? The fly fisher next to you is catching fish and you are not.
You cast just about every fly in your box but each one yields the same result, nothing. Or
how about this, you move from a spot and another fisher comes along steps in and
catches a fish on the very first cast.

I think all of us can honestly say that at least one of these scenarios has happened to
each one of us sometime in our fly fishing adventures. I know they have to me and it can
be rather frustration especially if the angler repeats the catch. Dont worry though, there
arent that many saltwater flyfishers for this to become a normal occurrence!

So what is the answer? What should go through your head when you are not producing
fish and you know that you should be? One of the big keys to your success in saltwater
fly-fishing is going to rest with your presentation at different depths. You will need to look
at two components of your presentation that are important. One is the retrieve that you
are using and the other is putting the fly in the right place. In other words putting the fly
where the fish are. Which of these is more important? Well, I think it is safe to say that
putting the fly where the fish are should be your first and most important consideration. If
you have the correct retrieve but there are no fish anywhere near your fly then good luck,
because you are going to need it.

12 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


I would recommend the following lines as essentials for the Irish saltwater flyfisher to
cover all presentations at many depths.

Rio Outbound - #9F


Rio Outbound - #9I
Rio Outbound - #9S (rate as needed)
Rio Aqualux Striper Bass line -(Recommended)

or
Scientific Anglers saltwater mastery series fast and slow sinking lines plus a floater

Plus

Jim Teeny - Ts-350sw


Jim Teeny - Ts-450sw
Jim Teeny - Xd- 300

Alternativley and often more simple and cost effective

Custom built shooting heads or sink tips

Next month (September) - where should I fish? A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 03:16PM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing on The Fly - P7 Mind, body,


equipment.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Saltwater fly-fishing fundamentals

Part one – Mind and body.

One early morning last summer I decided not to go fishing because I felt the weather had
deteriorated sufficiently overnight to prevent me from catching fish. I was on a few days
off and had a gap between customers so I wasn’t compelled to go fishing. I lay listening
to the wind pushing things around in circles in the yard and then I rolled over in my warm
bed and promptly went back to sleep. When I woke I knew instinctively I had made a
mistake, the ‘bad’ weather had blown through quickly and as I stood in the warm
sunshine the inevitable mind games began. ‘I wonder what I missed this morning?’ ‘I bet

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 13


there was big fish passing through today!’ My mind having taken the easy option by
staying in bed was now paying me back. Success in saltwater fly-fishing doesn’t come
easily; it takes work, determination, observation and skill.

So what do I mean by ‘Work’? Lets assume you’ve made the correct tackle choices at
this stage. A large arbor reel, a #8 or a #9 rod and a floating or an intermediate line, and
a box full of flies and some tippet material all with a saltwater specification. This is where
the work begins. Having the right equipment wont necessarily catch you fish. Neither will
reading about casting get you casting effectively. Go to an instructor or guide and take
some lessons. Then do some practice-practice and more practice. Work at your casting
form over grass and then over water. Start with small ambitions and then work up slowly.
Never try to fish and practice at the same time it doesn’t help.

It can take a bit of time to achieve the casting form necessary for effective saltwater fly-
fishing, especially as it’s a little bit more demanding than some of the freshwater norms.
Don’t be misled by some of the things that you will hear. It’s often said that double
hauling is essential for saltwater fly-fishing. Not always true. It’s often said that big flies
are impossible to cast. Not true. It’s often said that shooting heads are required for long
casts. Not true. Its often said if you can’t cast far you won’t catch fish. And so it goes on
and on. This is where you need to be determined in body. Listen to your casting
instructor. Learn from him where you are good in your casting and where you need to
improve. If you have a good quality balanced fly-fishing outfit, some good instruction and
determination then you can achieve the fundamentals required. Overlining the rod,
punching your cast, shooting heads, forcing a double haul all and more are often not very
neccessary.

Late into October last year I got a phone call from a friend in Paris. He had a spur of the
moment wish to go fishing in Ireland and was coming across, rain hail or snow. I was
spurred by his enthusiasm and made the necessary arrangements for his short two-day
stay. Tackle, a soft bed, some fish and wine were all he wanted he said. Tides were good
but a cold front from the North West was passing over the country, I got out the thermals
even though the water was still quite warm. So Nicolas arrived in a flurry. We were fishing
the next morning. In the cold wet and dark, the last days of October.

We had dim light from overcast skies, temperatures were down to 6 or 7 degrees and
when the wind howled it often went above force five. We fished for two hours non-stop in
difficult conditions with sinking lines and we had no fish. We took a short break and with
the accustomed determination of experience we continued to fish. We both knew that a
sudden decrease in the turbulence of the surf or a change in the currents agitated by the
wind, or a rapid change in the barometric pressure can all make things happen very
quickly on tough weather days. Many fishermen would have checked that morning’s
weather forecast and stayed at home. I remembered the last time I made a similar
decision. And then suddenly the clouds thinned, the sun shone weakly for about twenty
minutes, the front was passing through and we had a fish each. We had been fishing
determinedly for three and a half hours.

You need to be determined in many ways I think. Determined to do things differently,


determined to find new destinations, determined to improve your casting, determined to
experience new and tough weather conditions, determined to learn from other sources
and people, determined to analyse your fishing a bit more. Most of all you must be
determined to enjoy the challenges that this fantastic sport can throw at you.

14 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Through your hard work, solid determination new found dimensions of observation and
skill you will become a consummate fly fisher. By honing your observation habits you will
by default increase your angling skill. The world of the saltwater fly-fisher is hugely
affected by environmental influences that are in fact very close to the angler. Its often a
very ‘environmentally intimate’ experience and your mind must be open to these
experiences. Observation should be practised almost to the point of obsession, and a
never-ending catalogue of events noted mentally. Not wishing to sound too pedantic but
observation often begins days before you go fishing, recent weather patterns, tidal states,
venues where you have had recent success, times and phases of the moon. The time of
day. The colour of your socks. Observation coupled to a little analysis forces us to move
in a different angling direction. This often produces a better or worse result; we must
remember the good results and why they happen.

Never stop watching and observing nature. Terns, currents, slacks, surface features, and
regularly look at and in the water. Spend all the time you can and observe the waters
surface. You’ll be amazed at what you will see; even fish relatively deep can be
observed. If fishing slows or stops then you must move or stop. Take a short rest and
change tactics or move slightly. Remember its all good for mind and body! Inevitably
once you have the common factors working you will catch fish.

What happens after you have caught your fish? Well in the U.S. Catch & Release has
been practiced since the late 30’s. Lee Wulff said in 1938, "a game fish is much too
valuable to be caught once." He was an engaging, aggressive, abrasive and tireless
advocate of catch and release. And, he was right. He was the first to encourage sport
fishermen to start thinking about the protection of the species they were catching by
forcing them to realise the taking of too many adult fish causes a serious imbalance.

This is the reason for catch and release. It is more commonly accepted as the ethic of fly-
fishing but all anglers should practice catch and release. Good catch and release policies
ensure the survival of properly released fish. Proper handling of fish is really important. In
the photograph an angler cradles the fish for a quick picture and then is placed into the
water, not thrown back. Released fish are available for other anglers to enjoy. I’m not
saying that you can’t keep some of your catch. But you don’t have to keep the legal limit.
If you don’t intend on keeping your fish use a barbless hook or pinch down the barbs with
pliers. This allows a quicker release and less stress on the fish. Proper catching and

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 15


realising of fish extends your angling skill and knowledge.
Part two – the equipment

Function, application, cost and rewards

Saltwater fly-fishing is one of the fastest growing areas of current angling techniques.
Inevitably accompanied by the growth in interest in the sport is a diversity of equipment
that beggar’s belief, and of course the equipment can range in price from a hundred
euros to thousands for many items. Many people look at the idea, like it and are then put
off by these and other ‘barriers’ often associated with fly-fishing. Unfortunately saltwater
fly-fishing is not as simple as taking a rod and reel to the nearest stretch of coastline,
casting and then waiting for a fish to bite. It’s about using proper casting techniques,
tactical fishing, choosing and using the right equipment and understanding the function
and application of each element.

I hear and see the following statement quite often- ‘I bought a saltwater fly fishing rod,
reel and two lines for 100.00 euros, I got a really great deal and I’m going to go fishing
with it tomorrow’. What generally happens is after the first attempt the gear ends up in the
back of the garden shed. Mine was there for a while, somewhere between the golf clubs
and the garden rake, except I had spent a little bit more than 100.00 euros. Before you
buy any equipment I urge you to read and understand as much as you can about the
functions of the various pieces of equipment. There is a lot of information to digest but
when you have done so you can pay an informed visit to any tackle shop and make
valuable personal decisions regarding your purchases.

If you don’t have the time to invest in all of this information at least pay a visit to a shop
that knows the equipment they are selling is good and it functions correctly. If you know
the owners are also fly fishermen ask them what equipment they use and why. Basic rod
and reel set-ups are the best for novice fishers and beginners. Usually, high-end rods
and reels made of top quality material are only suitable for advanced fly fishers, so
beginners should learn the sport with less expensive equipment. Novice fishers should
mainly look to improve technique through casting lessons and should start with basic
gear. Remember with correct casting form it is possible to lay out thirty yards of fly line
with very inexpensive rods. With improved casting form and tuition the fly fisherman will
realise the limits of his equipment. Only after you have gone through this process should
you search for better equipment.

Determining where you will be using your equipment the majority of the time will help you

16 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


decide on the appropriate set up and its application to your fishing. Will it be that small
estuary over the hill and not too far from home, will you be standing on a local beach with
big breaking waves as you throw large flies into a head wind, or maybe you want to travel
to Florida or some other destination for hungry toothy fish.
Inextricably linked to the function of each fly-fishing element is its application. In other
words don’t expect to fish in strong head winds at sea with light trout fishing equipment.
Understanding the function of each element will lead you to make correct decisions
regarding its application

In general, a rod with a small weight number will cast a shorter distance and require
lighter flies. If this is going to be your only rod, I would recommend picking a rod weight
that represents the largest, heaviest fly you plan to fish with, a bigger rod can also cast a
small fly. In general a 7 to 8 weight rod is capable of casting up to 100 feet with pretty
heavy and large flies. They are typically 9’-0” to 9’-8” in length and are best suited to
fishing large estuaries and on open beaches during calmer spells of weather.

The 9-12 weight rods are designed to cast wet towels when wrapped around the family
dog, and they can also throw some huge flies up to and over 120 feet if you are inclined
to do so. Double handers can reach lengths of up to 14 feet and are typically used for
large flies and distance casting. I will cover the benefits of double-handed rods in the next
issue. For general saltwater fishing in Ireland I would recommend a number nine-rod.
Regarding the action of rods; medium action rods often flex in the upper third of the rod
and are most common for the beginning angler or those looking for medium length cast.
These rods are an excellent all around choice to fit most saltwater fishing situations. They
are comfortable to fish with over long periods of time. The faster action rods allow anglers
to cast tighter loops (back cast and forward cast) that increase line speed and distance.
The higher line speed also makes these rods very capable of casting in heavy winds but
they also need a very good casting form and technique

If at all possible before you invest in a rod, determine if you can test cast it. I've picked up
some amazing looking rods, cast them and known right from the start I preferred its less
expensive counterpart. Again it goes back to your ability to understand the function of the
equipment and its application. You’re carefully garnered knowledge will help you make an
informed decision and by the way don’t be afraid to ask some question about what comes
with the rod and reel. Is there an unconditional guarantee? How about a rod tube or
sleeve? Little details like these often have a way of emerging later during your valuable
fishing time. My experience is that many of the cheaper rods don't come with these items
some of which are very valuable in the long-term. Walking home one dark night I arrived
at the car to find the cap at the bottom of the tube had fallen off – two pieces of my rod
had disappeared also!

Price might not be such an issue with fly-fishing if all you had to buy was the rod, but
that's often not the case. You need a reel, fly line and backing. If this is your first foray
into the world of fly fishing then you are also likely to be buy a whole lot of other fly fishing
equipment such as, tippet, fly boxes, vests, flies, etc. So where should you spend the
bulk of your hard earned cash? The rod wins, hands down. The rod is the most critical
piece to the puzzle. Besides skill (which you learn through practice and instruction) the
rod has more to do with your ability to make quality presentations to eager fish than any
other element in the system. Remember what I said earlier, a less expensive rod is
capable of making quality casts, but often the quality in build is not consistent and they
can be much harder to learn or improve your casting ability on. But making the best cast
to the biggest fish in the strongest wind may not be enough.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 17


Many saltwater fly fishers make large investments in reels, rods, and flies. There is a
tendency to overlook a very important factor, fly lines. Anglers tend to resort to two basic
lines-the workhorse intermediate and a floater. When you are searching for better
equipment it will pay to invest more resources in fly lines and their applications. Rather
than ploughing your money into a new shiny go faster or slower reel, rather than
collecting boxes of flies that might fill a research, lab, buy a range of fly lines. Floater-yes,
intermediate-yes, get a slow sinker or a sink tip line and a fast sinker too.

When we look at an expanse of water that we know fish are present in, putting the fly
where the fish are is going to depend on in part the fly line that you have selected. Many
fly fishers, and rightly so, will choose a WF intermediate line as their workhorse line and
they fish this line throughout the season. For Irish waters this is the recommended choice
but it shouldn't stop here. You should begin to compile as many different types of lines as
part of your arsenal as you progress through this sport. Too many fly fishers concentrate
too much on the different flies and not enough on the lines. By wisely applying the
function and presentation of these lines to your fishing I will guarantee you will catch
more fish.

In descending order the following rate of investment applies. First tuition, then you’re rod,
then lines, and then you’re reel.

The rewards are priceless. A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 08:11AM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing on the Fly - P8 - Species, when,


and where.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Saltwater fly-fishing fundamentals

Part three – the species and the possibilities

For most people who are not saltwater fly fishers, along with a considerable percentage
of those who are, often seem to think that saltwater fly fishing is limited to wading or
being poled in a spectacularly white, extremely powerful speed boat over shallow tropical
flats in search of tarpon, bonefish or permit. Admittedly, this may be the best-publicised
aspect of the sport and the three species above are regarded as the "holy grail” of
saltwater fly-fishing. Here in Ireland it’s a little different and while it may often be less
glamorous it is by no means and may indeed be, more difficult than

18 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


the warmer water fishing.

Bass were, at one time, abundant along most of Ireland’s coastline. Due largely to over
fishing by inshore gill-netters and the continued illegal practice, today they are more
restricted in distribution but still occur in some areas and especially difficult to access
natural shoreline areas. Sea trout have also suffered but are now beginning to recover
somewhat. Mullet are present in large shoals – often seen mooching around estuaries
and backwaters. So what are we saying then? Well sea bass are somewhat abundant
and are the prime target for the saltwater fly fisher, even sea trout and mullet can be
caught if one knows where and when to fish, but what other challenges can a saltwater
fly fisher face in Ireland. Apart from these three species what else is there?

As we have discussed in previous issues, under the right conditions, all of the species
above can be caught using the same fly outfit: an 8- or 9-weight rod and a reel with a
smooth drag and a capacity of at least 75 to 100 yards of 20-pound backing, in addition
to a weight-forward fly line. Depending upon the conditions and the type of fish, a floating
or sinking line may be employed. The best all-around line choice for experienced anglers
is probably an intermediate (slow sinking) line, but beginners may want to stick with
floating lines until they hone their casting skills.

Any number of flies work well on these fish; deceivers, minnows, poppers, flatwing and
baitfish patterns are often employed. One of the best all-around patterns is the deceiver;
is successful all over the world for many species. Trout often show a preference for
baitfish flies; adding Mylar or crystal hair to one's offering and using body material dyed
yellow, orange, and even red can make a difference. Mullet have a preference for maggot
or bread imitation flies and are often caught in the most unexpected circumstances.

I believe most of the effort expended by Irish fly fishers along the coastline could be
directed at other fishes and other alternative fly fishing methods. In a bid to expand and
further understand our potential quarry four of the possible ‘unexploited’ and dare I say it
somewhat ‘unexplored’ fly rod targets are wrasse, garfish, pollack and flounder.
Regarding techniques other fly-fishing methods might include the use of the double-
handed rod and distance overhead or spey casting methods. The options are limitless
and surely present true frontier fishing for us all.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 19


One doesn't have to spend $400-$500 a day for a tropical saltwater guide to experience
fly fishing for some tropical bone crushing predator — many of the spots where sea trout,
flounder, garfish, and pollack can be caught around Ireland are accessible from shore
and can provide their own reward often greater than landing a large GT on a #10 outfit
while labouring over the fish in 100 degrees for hours. These rewards may often come in
the form of new personalised techniques, guile and watercraft not yet available to the
ordinary fisher. One of the techniques I would like to mention is the use of longer double-
handed rods between the length of 11’-0” and 12’-0”

The conventional single hand overhead caster will depend on the single or double haul to
achieve maximum line speed; the effort of constant casting is spread across both arms
as well as the shoulders. Irrespective of your casting efficiency, during a long session it
can become very tiring, especially when using the heavier weight rods. Some people
never really adjust to the proximity of big flies whizzing past their heads at considerable
speed whilst fishing with nine-foot rods and hence a lot of would be saltwater fishermen
pack in early. Lets talk about the double-hander or two-handed light saltwater switch rod.

The two-handed overhead cast does not rely on the haul to achieve line speed; rather it
depends on the rods power dynamics to utilize line weight and profile as a means to
increase casting distance. This powerful casting technique has definite advantages. The
most obvious advantages are the substantial distances that can be achieved with very
little expended energy on the part of the caster. With a balanced line system, a moderate
caster can easily achieve massive distances with a minimum of effort. With a moderate
amount of practice, 90 to 110 ft. casts can easily be achieved with only one false cast.

The two-handed caster does not depend on just the wrists and forearms to work the line,
as would a single hander. Rather, the work needed to accomplish the two-handed
overhead cast is efficiently distributed throughout the casters entire upper body. When
constant extreme distance presentations are required, this advantage can definitely
create an easier, more relaxed day on the water. Your arms and shoulders will not be
beaten up by the double haul. Your long distance casts can become more consistent,
and they will be accurate. Back or face wind can be penetrated very effectively with a
shooting head system, especially when throwing heavy, wind resistant flies. More time
can be spent with your fly in the water rather then in the air!

There is also an element of safety here- two-handers allow you to avoid deep wading or
creeping out to the end of dangerous and exposed rocky promontories. While working in
big surf the longer rod will hold your line above the breaking waves during the retrieve.
The ability of these rods to carry very large flies vast distances cannot be
underestimated. It really has to be seen to be believed and here too lies a vast hunting
ground for the surf fly fisherman. And remember these switch rods although long are

20 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


available in all the lighter line ranges from #7 through to #9. All and all, whether you fish
estuaries, surf, or fast moving waters, this is an incredibly effective caster and fishing
friendly system to add to your fly-fishing techniques.

So what have we covered in these posts, we recognise there is a lot work, determination
and observation required to increase and maintain your fly-fishing skills. It is necessary to
be in tune with nature, to have confidence in casting and presentation and to posses a
well balanced and effective fly-fishing outfit. Training in fly casting and fishing is more
necessary than having a very expensive fishing reel. There are many species waiting to
be caught effectively and efficiently with new techniques and flies and methods. But most
of all I feel what we have to learn is what lies ahead of us.

Can any of us fly fishers’ say with confidence yes – I can catch many species on the fly in
Irish Saltwater with no problems, I don’t think so. And therein lies the challenge. Its new,
its undiscovered, there are no experts – only you, as you forge the new ground and limits
of you own and ever improving saltwater fly fishing techniques, ranges and species.

If you haven't started to attempt to catch these ‘new’ fish on fly tackle, you're missing a lot
of fun — give it a try!

Saltwater fly-fishing fundamentals

Part four – When and Where

1. Fly-fishing in the sea is difficult and can be hard work.


2. Confidence, but not over confidence is essential.
3. Always try to keep things simple
4. Success, when it happens, is a moment to be proud of and is extremely hard to beat.

My wife suspects I’m having an affair! I often go out fishing for three or four hours, with
little or no visible stacks and boxes of gear – no long rods, umbrellas, beach lights,
jackets, heavy boots or smelly stuff in pink boxes from California. When I come home her
suspicions are often compounded, I am clean, I don’t smell badly I am still wearing the
‘good’ clothes I went out in and most of all, the singular most damning piece of evidence
(apart from the lack of fish that is) is the often euphoric state of mind in which I return.
Singing and humming vacantly to myself as I go about the domestic routine, I am often
visibly and inwardly engaged in the somewhat ‘other worldly’ and mysteriously
compulsive world of fly-fishing. My wife can often be seen standing at the living room
door watching me dubiously, go about various chores in a happy go lucky sort of way.
This of course creates doubt in her mind as to how I can be contented with a tin of Mr
Sheen in my hand. It will bode all saltwater fly fishermen well to remember that -

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 21


1. The continuation of the existing marriage/relationship into the foreseeable future is not
dependant on successful saltwater fly-fishing.
2. Regular confirmation with your partner/spouse of the benefits to your person through
saltwater fly-fishing is essential.
3. It is essential to continue this development of the new improved you and it is
intrinsically linked to the new pastime of saltwater fly-fishing.
4. You will need a strong ally to persist in this long and difficult challenge, someone who
will listen attentively to boring fishing stories etc
5. Confirmation for tomorrow evening between 7:00 and 10:00 is ok for next session.

Over the next few pages I would like to recount my experiences of saltwater fly-fishing to
date and to share some of those experiences with you. I want to try and make saltwater
fly-fishing easier for you, based on what has happened to me, right or wrong. Right now if
you are reading this you are probably on your Christmas holidays or are just about to
begin them. It’s probably fairly miserable outside, the days are short, you go to work in
darkness and you come home in darkness. The last of the flounder are running down the
estuary and there are no cod to be caught. The end of January is a long way of and the
distant summer seems like an eternity away. Take these few pages and use them to cast
your mind back six months to the summer of 2003. Remember those days, it got light at
3:30 and was warm at 4:30; there was a distinct possibility of sunburn at 5:30 in the
morning! Remember those early mornings? You had three hours of fishing done before
you started work. What? You mean you don’t?

Lets come to terms with this one first. There are times during the day (or night) when it is
easier to catch fish. These two times are generally considered to be – early morning time,
before sun up, and late evening time, just after sun down. I have found that successful
saltwater fly-fishing has an incredible amount to do with confidence. On the long and
twisty road to success, one of the first steps is to ensure that you have determined the
best fishing time for your fishing efforts. Recommendation number one is to buy a cheap
and noisy alarm clock. Recommendation number two is to buy a copy of the local tide
tables and learn how to read them or learn how to calculate the next few day’s tides and
times available from http://www.ireland.com. If you find calculating the tides and their
times six months ahead of your Christmas dinner a bit daunting, then it might be
worthwhile joining a local sea angling club or talking to someone who sea fishes
regularly. They will gladly entertain you over some Christmas cheer about the vagaries of
spring and neap tides, heights and times and stages of the moon. Recommendation
number three is to determine the dates when rising tides coincide with a rising sun (not
exactly of course) or, when rising tides coincide with a setting sun. Three
recommendations in the last paragraph – total cost 5 euros!

No need to be foolish here, you can’t continue to fish every early morning tide and expect
to remain human in an office or other work environment! Fish the tides that fall correctly
on Friday Saturday or Sunday mornings and at least you can play catch up during the
day! And then a few days later you can fish the corresponding evening tides. For
example, if you fish a 4:30 tide early on Friday morning you can fish a 7:30 evening tide
on Monday. You have now determined the best tides and the best times for you to put
yourself in position. The question is where do you put yourself? On the road to success it
is important to know where exactly you are going and, as we have seen when we will get
there.

I’m going to ask you to spend some more money now. Recommendation number four is
to buy an ordnance survey map, a compass, and a car. You may already have a

22 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


compass and a map; if you don’t own a car they can (with some persuasion), be obtained
from Fathers, Mothers, wives, partners, sisters and brothers, even close friends. Go out
and buy a copy of the Irish Times as well, the weather page is fantastic. Go home and
clear the kitchen table and spread the map out, place the compass on the map and let it
settle. Look at all that blue stuff around the coast – that’s where you are going to fish and
isn’t there an awful lot of it? What I want you to look for is

1. The mouth of estuaries.


2. Rocky headlands.
3. Points of land that stick into the sea.
4. Long stretches of beach that suddenly stop.
5. Deep patches of water that lie close to shore.
6. Where rivers flow into the sea.

Circle these places on the map – these are all possible fish holding areas. Pick some that
are relatively close together but offer different types of topography and concentrate on
those. Open your tide tables look for the next low tide, and then when the time is right
pop the children in the car and tell your wife/partner that you are taking the smallies on a
picnic/treasure hunt, hence the map and compass. Remember you will often be travelling
to these places early in the morning so a long distance journey is not recommended.
Look at the map in the weather section of the newspaper and note the wind direction
When you arrive at low tide look for deep pools, rocky patches and reefs, holes and
gullies, imagine when the tide is rising where does the water flow and how does it flow
around and within the area. Are there any ambush sites where predatory fish will be lying
in wait? Is it possible to access these areas as the tide is rising and are these areas a
safe place to fish? Note what way the wind is blowing and how is this going to affect your
casting ability/range/accuracy. Keep visiting the areas with the children or for long
romantic walks with your loved one and as the year moves closer to summer, activity in
the water should increase, baitfish should appear, sea trout, Bass and mullet will show
themselves on or above the surface. Keep constant notes of wind direction, temperature,
tides, phases of the moon, natural activity. These notes will, over time become your bible.

Of the areas that you have chosen perhaps two or three will have most if not all of the
following

1. A strong geographical feature – like rocks, headland, or river mouth etc.


2. Will have displayed high levels of natural activity – bird life, and fish life.
3. Is prone to tidal currents like slacks and fast eddies
4. Is easy to access and safe to fish
5. Is fishable in different wind directions.

This is where you are going to fish. Let these three places be your own private hunting
grounds, get to know them like your back garden. Begin to feel comfortable there in all
conditions and begin to anticipate the effects of the combinations of wind, tide, and
temperature on the environment and the wildlife that inhabits the area. You have now
determined the best tides, the best times, and the best places to fish. There is always the
opportunity with time spent at the water either fishing or simply observing to add to that
vast database that is necessary for success. For instance, you will learn that a sudden
drop in temperature (by two degrees or more) or a sudden change in wind direction, or a
slight combination and change of these factors will turn fish off and make them harder to
catch. Weather will also play havoc with your casting and mood, I am not saying that you
shouldn’t go fishing, but on the road to success -sometimes its better to say no to going

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 23


fishing rather than simply going and getting a bad result. We will deal with this later.

All of this so far is leading me to say that fly-fishing in the sea in Ireland is not a
straightforward task. If you want to catch fish from the sea on the fly you are going to
have to find them, you are going to have to understand why, that the next time you came
back the fish weren’t there. But instead of being afraid or daunted at the task we will
continue to break it down it smaller more manageable pieces. Everything that you have
read on the previous pages is also applicable to most fishing scenarios. The next few
pages are dedicated to the more technical aspects of fly-fishing and the pitfalls you can
encounter along the way. It’s a long time since I made a recommendation so here comes
one Recommendation number five if you are interested in fly-fishing in the sea, find
someone else who is already reasonably competent at it and go fishing with them and
talk the hind legs off them. These experienced saltwater fly-fishermen have learned how
to combine the ‘natural’ parts with the ‘technological’ parts and are well down the road to
success. A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 10:03AM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing on the Fly - P9 - Doing it and


Improving
Monday, August 25, 2008

Saltwater fly-fishing fundamentals

Part five – Doing it somewhat!

We have already covered various topics such as when and where, including the best
times, tides and places to fish near. Part two dealt with some of the pitfalls likely to be
met along the way to success, and I made some general suggestions regarding
equipment, gear, training and flies. In this post I hope to clarify some of the more
technical elements of fly-fishing equipment, mainly the fly lines, the fly rod and the flies
which you will be fishing with. Fly fishing technique, or the ability to properly cast a fly and
put it where you want it, is the heart of fly-fishing. Without the ability to cast well and
confidently, all the rest - such as your gear, your clothing, your flies - is rather useless.
Ultimately, the ability to properly cast a fly while fly-fishing will make or break any fly-

24 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


fishing outing. Choosing the right equipment and a proper instructor will help you in all of
this. Please remember that this is not an expert’s opinion – but one based on years of
very hard work.

It was over a period of many months that I had made my choices regarding tackle
purchase, based on reviews and expert opinions, budget and angling requirements
including training, and the technical arena of line and rod type. My choice of rod was the
Shimano XTR biocraft range a SW#10, the reel was an Airflo T7 again a #10 suitable for
use in the sea, and line was an Airflo saltwater weight forward #10 floating. I have
subsequently heard more opinions regarding all of these pieces of equipment that I
simply don’t worry whether I had made the right decisions or not. They all still work and
they have caught me some superb fish over the last number of years including many Big
Bass. I can fish confidently with these pieces of equipment even if they are a little heavy!

One of the biggest issues that the saltwater fly-fisherman will have to deal with is wind.
Generally speaking, no matter where we go along the Irish coastline there will inevitably
be some breeze blowing. This will range from the ‘moderate to fresh’ to ‘light and
variable’, and it may be no harm to visit the met eireann site to understand these
definitions. A lot of weather information can be had at many websites which can prove
very useful to the angler. Looking back now over April and early May of 2002, (during this
time I expected to catch a Bass on every cast) I realise that I was subconsciously looking
for areas sheltered from the worst of the wind or worse still, even when the wind was light
I would position myself to favour my cast. Doing this cut down hugely my chances of ever
catching a fish. The equipment I had purchased was more than capable of throwing lines
good distances with big flies in most wind conditions, the problem was, that I wasn’t.
Andrew Ryan at the Clonanav fly fishing centre confirmed this to me when, after the
second cast with my equipment he cast all the fly line from the reel into a head wind of
force 4; At least I had done something right! Andrew was quick to point out to me that
casting a #8 or #7 in the same conditions was entirely possible – provided the technique
was correct!

Regarding lines and rods and things – It is, in my opinion, important for the would be
saltwater fly angler to understand the basics of the ‘science’ involved in fly lines and rods!
Now I don’t mean you should put on your white lab coat, carry a clipboard and wear an
absurdly coloured tie, but study and understand the principles and mechanics behind
some of the terms like – AFTMA, weight forward, shooting heads, tapers, running line,
belly etc. This is recommendation number eight; get a copy of a good book on the
principles of fly-fishing! This should cover the basics of fly lines and rods, knots, leaders,
and some casting techniques. It doesn’t have to be an encyclopaedia but should contain
enough information for you to ‘visualise’ some of the principles. You may remember from
part one that I suggested the purchase of a number 9 or even 10-rod, line and reel, some
of you might be saying this is over kill, but what I wanted to do was match the equipment
to the requirements. Lets just quickly look at the requirements again

1. You want to catch fish in the sea using fly fishing techniques
2. You will more often than not be casting into a strong head wind.
3. If your target is Bass then the flies you will be using will be quite big, some very big;
you will need to cast them safely and efficiently!
4. There will often be rocks, seaweed and other obstructions where you fish.
5. On occasion waves and current will wash your line into these and you may need to
exert some force to free your line.
6. You need to subdue your quarry as quickly as possible to prevent lactic acid build up

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 25


and undue stress to ensure a positive catch and release.
7. Sometimes you may have to ‘bully’ your quarry through weed or rocks.
8. If you are targeting Bass and Pollack in deep water you might need some butt power .

I don’t want to make the Irish coastline sound as hospitable as the surface of Mars, but it
is a pretty demanding environment. It is perfectly capable of smashing your equipment
and your emotions quite easily in a short space of time, we don’t want that to happen.
Dare I say it but here is recommendation number nine; what you need initially from a line
is good quality, one that’s not too expensive, has a short head and a weight forward
profile and lasts well in saltwater. I would suggest that you start with a floating line then
as you become more proficient purchase a clear intermediate line. Some fly lines are
better than others, of that there is no doubt, but initially the right type rather than
manufacturer is paramount. To a novice the difference between a Hardy line and an Airflo
line is not really going to be detectable for some time, except in price that is! Remember
you will need about 75 to 100 yards of braid to back up your reel and attach to your fly
line; this is readily available and quite inexpensive.

The same principle applies to rods and reels the more expensive the rod or reel the more
technically adept the equipment. Please remember - expensive equipment does not
always automatically translate into long casts, and long casts do not always translate into
more fish! I think you can work it out for yourself. You need a rod that does the job by
throwing these lines and your flies where you want them to go as far as you want them to
go, as safely as possible. Length and type (fast med) however, should be seriously
considered before making your purchase. Saltwater fly-fishing does unfortunately require
casting and re-casting, sometimes made while standing in chest deep water. So,
recommendation number ten is; a minimum of a nine-foot rod is needed to be effective
out there. Some individuals have gone to 10-foot or longer rods, but they can be hard on
the wrist to cast, especially in the heavier weights of nine or ten, and they will tire you out
much quicker than a nine-footer. The rod needs to be saltwater resilient, anything that is
exposed to saltwater will, with time corrode and rust if not attended to. Please pay
particular attention to the reel seat and the rings. A quick rinse in warm water and then a
rub with a rag sprayed lightly with WD40 will add years to your equipment.

While rods and lines are very important, do not overlook your reel when considering
saltwater fly-fishing. Recommendation number eleven is; spool capacity and
rust/corrosion resilience are some of the main things to look for in a saltwater fly reel, (if
you find a saltwater proof reel please let me know, I do know of one!) also extremely
important is a durable, and smooth drag system. Big Bass and particularly Pollack are
known for their long, fast initial runs and you don’t want your reel to seize or simply fall
apart in the middle of one. Unlike trout fishing, where you can set the drag to nearly
nothing and palm the spool, you will have to rely on the drag from time to time to slow

26 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


bigger Bass or Pollack especially in currents. The reel holding your lines needs to be of a
large arbour type (they also look sexier than the traditional type) to help take the memory
out of your line and it also needs some capacity for backing - that’s the brightly coloured
line you put on your reel before your fly line, you do get to see and feel it from time to
time! So what’s next? We’ve looked at lines, rods and reels I guess that only leaves flies
leaders and tippets, simple!!

So, flies are big? Small? Blue? White? Or that fancy one - chartreuse and white?
Deceivers? Clousers? Poppers? Bangers? Flatwings and hollows? What’s going on
here? Day, night, evening, dusk, and dawn. Hold it together now, we’ve come this far,
remember always try and make it simple, break it down into easy parts. If you remember
from part one, a long time ago I know, we decided that when we are beginning the best
times to go fishing were early morning or late evening; well this has an effect on the
colour of fly you should use at this time also. The following I will add as recommendation
number 12; a list to help you make your decisions regarding colours, remember this is a
very broad list and is matched to your early morning and late evening trips

1. Before the sun rises over the horizon use a white fly with some yellow like a deceiver.
2. When the sun is just above the horizon and it looks like becoming a bright day then
switch to an all white fly again using a deceiver pattern.
3. When the sun is rising to just above the horizon and it looks like becoming a dull day
then switch to a darker fly with some patterns in it. A possible change to a clouser or a
darker more patterned deceiver of brown or olive.
4. If the day looks like its becoming broken with sunny spells then switch to a coloured fly
like blue and white or olive and white or even red and orange again a clouser pattern.
5. During evening time before sundown go back to your white and yellow deceiver.
6. At night a black or darker fly works, so do white and chartreuse flies!

Now I know you have become a naturalist over the last few months, especially with
respect to the wildlife at your chosen fishing grounds. If you have local knowledge
regarding baitfish like sand eel or gobies or young pollack and their patterns then use this
to your advantage and experiment with chosen flies and fly colours. I like to use a
particular colour that works for me. Two years ago I collected two Rapala J13’s off one of
the local beaches after a storm. Both were pretty battered but both had a distinctive
colouring – like that of a goldfish. I asked around and found out that local boatmen use
this pattern all the time; it’s their number one choice. I subsequently use very frequently a
fly that contains red, orange and yellow, particularly during daytime hours and it works
very well. I still get blank days of course!

Regarding the type of fly when you are starting out, two or three flies come to mind,
deceivers clouser minnows and surf candy. If you can, purchase 4 deceivers - two
chartreuse and white and two white, then add 4 clouser minnows – two blue and white
and two of olive and white. Finally get a mixed bunch of surf candy. This should set you
back no more than 30 euros and it is enough spend for you to get started.
Recommendation number 13; use this first set almost as a write off – an experiment if you
like, don’t worry what happens to these first flies. Get used to casting the different types,
feel the difference between the deceiver and the minnow. Drop them, attached to your
leader of course, in the water in front of you. Watch how they behave when moving in a
current or in slack water. Do they sink or hang, do they look natural and can you invoke
some ‘life’ into them. Cast them into and across the wind – get used to how they feel
when wet and dry on the cast. What do they look like at the end of a session? In part six
we will discuss some methods I found of how best to fish these flies.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 27


For some reason tapered leaders and tippets and co-polymers and fluorocarbons and all
of these things still cause huge sense of confusion. I’m not really sure why but they do! At
the end of my fly line I have a braided loop attachment. To this I attach about 5 feet of
18kg BS clear Rio alloy mono and then to this I attach about 3 feet of hard mono of 7kg
BS, to this I then attach a tippet of flourocarbon then a fly using a rapala knot. I join the
two lines using the surgeons knot. And that is about that as regards your equipment
requirements to get you fishing in saltwater. Recommendation number 14; if you already
have some fresh water fly fishing gear it is possible to use this in the sea. You may need
to maintain your equipment more often and you might be restricted to certain less
demanding species and localities but you will be already skilled in fishing with the lighter
lines and rods so have a go this spring and summer!

Saltwater fly-fishing fundamentals

Part six – Improving on doing it somewhat!

I remember driving home from what would be one of my last sessions of the season. It
was a calm, dull cold and overcast November Saturday. Already the days were getting
dark at 4:30 and blue-grey smoke from fires lit in country houses hung low in the sky
across fields of stubble. Geese had replaced terns on the estuary and the constant
sounds of a thousand waders filled the air. As I drove home I saw some forgotten carved
pumpkins lying tossed in gardens, their crooked smiles testament to the season passed. I
noticed air temperatures (a constant hobby of mine) had dropped by more than seven or
eight degrees and I told myself that maybe the warm sea might hold the fish into
December. I was finding it very difficult to let go. I managed one more long session at the
end of November on the fly – I had no fish – it was inevitably coming to an end!

And now it’s nearly beginning again! What does this year hold in store…. who really
knows with fishing! Before we move on to some words about flies and things I just want to
mention the importance of recording data that’s relevant to your fishing. Its March now
and heading towards the start of the sea trout season. What I want you to consider doing
is laying out on some paper or in a notebook from you local stationers, or indeed on a
computer, a sheet that would look something like the one below.

I have this sheet laid out in Microsoft excel and it’s done in a way that I happen to like.
You can add or subtract the columns and amend it as you see fit. It simply records the
day, the date, the atmospheric pressure, maximum temperature, minimum temperature,
sunshine hours, tides and so on, all the way across to the part on fishing activity. Start
recording data into the sheet on a daily basis whether you go fishing or not. When you
are fishing you can record the details of flies/lines used and fish catch. When you are not
fishing you should still record data, and overtime you will achieve an almost intimate
closeness with the weather and tides. If you hear information from friends who have gone
fishing, put it in here too! Recommendation number 15 - I really can’t emphasise enough
the benefits of this exercise. It is definitely another tool to help you succeed, now and in
the future. If you require the spreadsheet in Excel please feel free to e-mail me at
sportfishing@eircom.net for a free copy.

What I am asking you to try and achieve is an ever-increasing awareness of elemental


factors and the more than probable effects they will have on your fishing. When you build
data into the sheet over a season or indeed a number of seasons you can then perform
some extraction analysis and build patterns that occur on the occasions when you have

28 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


and haven’t caught fish.

The second and I promise this is the last of the homework that I would recommend for
number 16 is to get the detail of your local tides and condense the information into
something like the sheet below. I know some of you are thinking –‘...is this a bit of
overkill...?’, ‘I think Jim mentioned this before…’ I realise you probably have spent a lot of
time in ‘set up’ mode and this is more of the same but I personally think the benefits for
the beginner and even for the seasoned angler who has never done anything like this
before can be enormous. It will greatly help your decision making process and guide you
down the path to further success.

Start to mentally couple the weather and the tide in your mind and before you go fishing
you will almost certainly get that primeval feeling of what to expect from your best angling
marks. Subconsciously you will begin to make decisions about when and where to fish
and even when not to fish. Then slowly begin to establish natural patterns and rhythms
that represent success and when you notice them falling into place a few days before you
know are the best tidal times, the anticipation of waiting to go fishing can be incredibly
exciting.

So it’s Wednesday and its June 15th 2007. You know from your tidal guides it’s going to
be a good morning tide on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th, the weather has been
excellent with high pressure hanging over Ireland for the last 6 days, winds speeds are
low, and air temperatures are constant at around 17/18 degrees. It looks like its not going
to change either. The anticipation should start to build, a bit like a pressure cooker! You
go home from work on Wednesday and get your rod, waders, reel, line and flies, clippers,
forceps, ready. Now I know you have them ready since April but you get them ready
again anyway, you make a few false casts in the back garden and get tangled in next
doors telephone cable! Thursday the weather is good, you begin to want to go on Friday
morning but you know you cant. You’ve told the relevant person/s where you are going at
least twenty times and at what time and then finally we get to it.

You arrive at your venue at 4:15am put on your gear at ramming speed and charge to the
spot, you make several casts (false and other) over your hotspots in a lather of sweat and
shakes while you remember you forgot your sunglasses. Suddenly you spot some
explosive surface activity twenty yards to your left, well within your casting range– I never
really know who is responsible for the next guaranteed sequence of events but it
happens - you pull too much line from the reel causing an overrun, when you are
repairing this your favourite clouser gets the taste of freedom, likes it, and decides it
wants to hide in a bed of bladder wrack and set-up permanent residence there,
meanwhile your loose fly line winds its way around your ankles and as you bend over to

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 29


sort it, whilst stepping on your leader, your fly box slips out of your jacket into the water,
you watch it bobbing away when you spot a passing Bass veering slowly out of its path
on its way to this mornings favoured hunting spot, which now looks like a boiling
cauldron. Then and only then you see the other angler. A little bit away, he’s staring at
you biting the inside of his lip, he has stopped reeling his surface lure, rod still pointing at
the horizon he’s completely motionless, frozen in time, in fact he hasn’t moved since he
saw your frantic arrival and first cast. You straighten up and wave and wish you were
dead! He smiles (you think) and thankfully keeps his thoughts to himself, shakes his
head, looks for his lure, locates it, and gives it a sharp pull, splashing it across the
surface three feet from the hot spot and…. Then you cry!!!

Anyway I was going to tell you a few things about how I fish with the deceivers, clousers
and other flies, well, recommendation number 17 is, slowly works for me. I learned this
the hard way – a bit like the guy above. Take your time, get your gear on, if you have to
walk a bit and you are using neoprene waders and temperatures are up then carry them
in a rucksack, put your rod together, put your reel on but don’t pull the line through the
rings yet and check that you have everything again. Lock the car. Put the keys away
safely. Walk towards your venue. You know those little pairs of binoculars that you can
buy quite cheaply? If you can, get yourself a pair. Recommendation number 18 is to
study the venue from a distance before walking up to it. Are there birds about feeding in
the area, can you see what they are feeding on, is there any surface activity, breaking
shoals of fry, what state is the tide at, (which you should already know,) does it look like
there is weed in the water? Sometimes what you are expecting may not actually happen.
You arrive, put on your waders and walk into the water.

Think again. I cant say how surprising this might seem but if you can cast 20 yards make
your first cast is made 15 yards from the shoreline away from your chosen spot in such a
way as to cause a minimum of disturbance. Then let the fly work its way to the correct
place by using the tide and natural flow of water. Watch your shadow and sky profile.
Remember during the previous few hours fish will have spent the time in darkness, they
will often still feel secure in the pale early morning light and will lie very close to shore.

Move slowly closer to the shoreline, quietly, working your fly further and further out
nearer any hotpots that you know are there. Cover as much ground as possible. It is here
I still have a lot to learn; by a lot I mean a huge amount. But I will tell you what I like to do.
Using a floating line and a leader of about 9 feet. If the tide and flow is moving from right

30 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


to left and I know where the ‘hotspot’ is, rock or other underwater obstruction, then I make
a cast uptide in such a way and at a distance that I know by the time the fly is carried
down towards the ‘hotspot’ without retrieving and with some mending the fly that it will
start to lift and swim in the tide. It is then that I will often make a sharp short pull and stop
on the fly line, maybe a foot or so to cause the fly to streamline and then open enticingly
and then turn and drift back. Let it drift back more slowly than the tide include a few ‘short
tugs’ and then repeat with a pull of about two feet and so on. Impart random life into your
fly and separate it from other ‘non natural objects’ etc. This method has worked well for
me using both the deceivers and the clousers. Retrieve rates and movements are best
determined on the day I’m afraid. I think from my own experience, fly selection and
fishing method is still where I need to spend most time learning.

If you ever have the opportunity to watch Bass or other predators like mackerel chasing
baitfish at close quarters then do so. I had such an opportunity to watch mackerel chase
sprat up a long narrow yet deep inlet this summer. They were rapidly followed by Bass
mopping up on stunned sprat and not really bothering to work for their supper. It was the
action of baitfish hit, and then missed by mackerel that interested me most; their action
was very similar to one that I could impart in my deceivers. A slow moving twitching and
turning baitfish that moves randomly and enticingly in the tide. Alternatively fishing with
an intermediate line and a sparse closer minnow with similar methods allows you to fish
deeper and closer to the bottom. The unique nature of the upside-down swimming action
of the closer allows this with minimal tackle loss.

But my real favourites are the surface lures, the poppers and crease flies. When I started
trying to cast these at first, all my old mistakes came flooding back. I was flaying about
like a mad thing! Because they look so big, mentally, I was trying to cast the fly like a
spinner, but of course the original principles I had learned held through and eventually I
managed to get it somewhat right. One morning early in May and purely by accident I
used one of these flies. I had tried every other fly in the box and I had had no hits. I knew
there was fish moving through on a regular basis and a local angler had landed and
returned four on spinning baits. So I sat down, growled to myself and tied on one of these
big guys, I knew they floated and I had on a floating line, so I tied on a shorter leader (six
feet) and I slowly walked straight into the middle of a complex rocky reef structure and
made a goodish enough cast. I applied the same thinking as the ‘traditional’ plugs and
things I use, and pulled the lure through the surface water, splashing and spitting the fly
and then stopping and waiting. I counted to ten and then repeated the sharp pull when
wham, it was smashed into by a very nice fish of about 5lbs. Such is the ferocity of a
Bass when hitting these lures that a strike is unnecessary. When you experience these
surface attacks it remains with you forever and it does nothing but to further increase the
deep obsession, excitement and sheer enjoyment that is bass fly-fishing.

Since the summer of 2003 I have guided a lot of people from all around the world along
the Wexford coast. I have some brilliant photographs of various clients and their well-
deserved fish but this year, if I have the opportunity, I am definitely making a conscious
effort to photograph the faces and reactions of people as they experience that first
surface lure Bass hook up. From a slightly raised eyebrow to simply falling over in the
rush of excitement, I have witnessed many and I hope to continue to witness many more
A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 09:38PM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 31


Bass fly fishing Ireland - P10 - Where should I
fish?
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Here we are a third of the way through the SWFF section already. Looking back over the
previous six sections I can see where some posts need to be re-written and indeed more
information added. That will be done in time, at the moment I want to keep moving
forward at the rate of one posting a month. That will mean by next Spring we should be
up to post number 14 or 15.

SWFF - Part 1 of 21 General Fly Choices

SWFF – Part 2 of 21 – The instinct of the decision

SWFF – Part 3 of 21 – Where is my fly

SWFF- Part 4 of 21 – Choosing a fly

SWFF – Part 5 of 21 – Fly-casting for saltwater

SWFF – Part 6 of 21 – Choosing the right fly lines

SWFF – Part 7 of 21 – Where should I Fish

Where should I fish?

In the articles section of this blog you can find detailed descriptions of how you can
attempt saltwater fly fishing both on the The Rocky Shore and within and around
estuaries Estuaries. Perhaps you can use these quick links to access the articles at a
later time,

Looking at all that water around the coast its a big place – this is where you are going to
flyfish and isn’t it a pretty big place? What I want you to look for and indentify are places
like

The mouth of estuaries.


Rocky headlands.
Points of land that stick into the sea.
Long stretches of beach that suddenly stop.

32 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Deep patches of water that lie close to shore.
Where rivers flow into the sea.

Circle these places on your map – these are all possible fish holding areas. Pick some
that are relatively close together but offer different types of topography and concentrate
on those. Open your tide tables look for the next low tide, and then when the time is right
pop the children in the car and tell your wife/partner that you are taking the smallies on a
picnic/treasure hunt, hence the map and compass. Remember you will often be travelling
to these places early in the morning so a long distance journey is not recommended.
Look at the maps in the weather section of the newspaper and note the wind direction.
When you arrive at low tide look for deep pools, rocky patches and reefs, holes and
gullies, water colour, try to imagine when the tide is rising where does the water flow and
how does it flow around and within the area. Are there any ambush sites where predatory
fish will be lying in wait? Is it possible to access these areas as the tide is rising and are
these areas a safe place to fish? Note what way the wind is blowing and how is this going
to affect your casting ability/range/accuracy. Keep visiting the areas with the children or
for long romantic walks with your loved one and as the year moves closer to summer,
activity in the water should increase, baitfish should appear, sea trout, bass and mullet
will show themselves on or above the surface. Keep constant notes of wind direction,
temperature, tides, phases of the moon, natural activity. These notes will, over time
become your fishing reference

Of the areas that you have chosen perhaps two or three will have most if not all of the
following

A strong geographical feature – like rocks, headland, or river mouth etc.


Will have displayed high levels of natural activity – bird life, and fish life.
Is prone to tidal currents like slacks and fast eddies
Is easy to access and safe to fish
Is fishable in different wind directions.

This is where you are going to fish. Let these three places be your own private hunting
grounds, get to know them like your back garden. Begin to feel comfortable there in all
conditions and begin to anticipate the effects of the combinations of wind, tide, and
temperature on your fishing environment and the wildlife that inhabits the area. There is
always the opportunity with time spent at the water either fishing or simply observing to
add to that vast database that is necessary for success. For instance, you will learn that a
sudden drop in temperature (by two degrees or more) or a sudden change in wind
direction, or a slight combination and change of these factors will turn fish off for a while
and make them harder to catch. Weather will also play havoc with your casting and
mood, its difficult to get motivated at times but no one else can make you pick up that rod
and get out there!

Next Month (October) - When should I fish? A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 07:08PM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 33


Bass fly fishing Ireland - P11 - When should I
fish?
Friday, October 31, 2008
When is often a more important question than where if you are fly fishing for bass on the
south coast. Not only must we be cognisant of season, but also time of day, time of tide,
time of moon phase and even ‘time of weather’. Within these parameters there are also
the questions of when should I use a particular line or a particular fly? When should I
begin to make my first casts, when will the fish be here? So many whens !

There is no doubt we should fish as often and whenever possible, if only life was that
simple! And of course if the activity of fishing is more important to you than actually trying
to quantify your catch rate or success then when is a considerably smaller priority. Some
of us just like to get out there and spend some time fishing full stop.

For those of us who take things with a view of continuous improvement then when plays
a more important role. Below are some simple rules for people beginning to bass fish on
the fly in Ireland

Ask when for season -


Season is April to December - with key times of June to October
Ask when for time of day -
A good time is during a change of light from dark to bright or bright to dark (dawn and
dusk)
Ask when for state of tide -
Spring tides produce more fish than neap Tides
Ask when within tidal run -
Some locations fish best at the beginning of the tidal phase other at the fall of tidal
phases - always look for water movement and motion.
Ask when during different phases of weather -
Bass are susceptible to changes in weather conditions, temperature, barometric
pressure, wind direction. GET IN TUNE WITH THE WEATHER
Ask when do you change your fishing tactic, colour of fly, type of line.....
Never stay doing the same thing in the same place - keep on the move, observing,
learning, changing and adapting and most of all enjoying the freedom that flyfishing
creates

Next Month (December) - Seven over looked tactics A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 09:34AM (UTC)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - P12 - Influences Tidal


Flow
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Tidal flow and fish position relations

34 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


There is a significant relationship between tidal flow or states and the positions that fish
take up during that flow. Not only do they take up different positions but they do so at
different times in different locations often within very localised areas.

This is especially true for bass and learning these relationships is one of the major keys
to success for the fly and lure angler. One of the first of these tidal influences that the
bass fisherman learns is that fom the shore neap tides are often not as productive as
spring tides - simple. You can follow that with something like full moon tides are not as
productive as new moon tides, equally as simple, and reducing tides over a moon are
often better for bigger fish. Before you synchronise your watch and go fishing to the latest
fashionable tables rest assured you dont need to now much more than the above. What
can bring you much more success than any 'galactical optimisation software' is learning
and understanding fish behaviour in the phases of a tide over a location within any lunar
cycle. In the diagram above we are at a hypothetical rocky point at low tide. Water is
indicated blue, sand yellow and rocks are a darker colour

To your left the diagram indicates the same location much later in the cycle of tidal
development. Tidal streams are in full flow and currents, eddies and back washes are all
in action. Fish are to be caught here too.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 35


Below is the tidal data for Rosslare during July 2009. Spring and neap tides are indicated
and the early spring tide is clearly visible as been somewhat less active than the later
spring tide of the month. The locations indicated in this example will fish differenty on
each day over the spring tide cycle and indeed differently within the same month.
The diagram of the full tidal flow above would look similar on both spring tides but in fact
the water flow, strength and volume would be completely different.

Reading the p

revious posts HERE regarding tidal flows could help you determine when to fish your
favourite location. With the third and fourth hours of any tide coinciding with maximum
activity, bear in mind each location has its own patterns and its own reasons for fish to be
in its vicinity. Food, shelter, breeding, resting some locations provide them all others just
one or two. If you would like to discuss these or any of the other similar posts below or
indeed the many other aspects of bass fishing in detail then why not try one of my
courses - HERE or HERE or maybe even try a one day guided fishing trip. A little bit of
fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 01:21PM (UTC)

36 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Bass fly fishing Ireland - P13 - Where are the
fish?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lure fishing for bass in the sea whilst difficult at times, and fly fishing too with its greater
challenges should not to be viewed as impossible tasks. They do however require some
particular skills. Casting yes, presentation yes, patience yes, but the essence of this post
is based around the knowledge of 'where the fish are'.
If you spend some time with succesful fishermen and you happen to have found one of
them who will talk sensibly about his experiences over time, you will quickly learn that
they have several unique abilities. One of them is that they instinctively seem to know
where the fish are, or rather they know where the fish are going to be! The 'where' is not
specifically like what we have mentioned before HERE but rather the 'where' along many
miles of coastline (be it estuaries, current, rocky headlands, open beach) at any particular
point in time during the day. This of course doesnt mean that ALL the fish gather in one
location that is privy to only a few people, but it does mean that at certain times under
certain conditions, you are more likely to catch fish at location X rather than Z.

Lets go back to our 'virtual' rocky point - its 5 in the morning (June) and the wind is
blowing easterly with a rising tide. This means that three major influences are sourced
from a singular direction - the rising sun will shine from the anglers right hand side, the
wind will blow from the anglers right hand side and the current will be flowing from the

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 37


right hand side. This little scenario presents a particular set of circumstances to the bass
angler -

1. At this time of day the sun is low on the horizon for some time. When currents flow,
fish tend to point into the direction of current and in this case when they point into
the current they will also be pointing into the sun. They will experience lots of light in
the water in the direction they are facing for the first few hours over dawn. Their field
of vision is bright.
2. Wind blowing in the same direction as current flow tends to 'flatten' the water and if
atmospheric pressure is dropping both the volume and speed of the moving water
may increase significantly as a result of this.
3. Depending on the strength of the wind and whether the angler is casting lures or
flies his mainline will be affected by both wind and current. As a consequence so will
the presentations he makes to the fish with the fly or lure. A lure moving in a head
on collision with a predator does not induce many takes!
During the periods of dawn and dusk contrast should play a significant role in your lure
and fly colour choice. With fish staring into the sun against a lighter bckground a darker
lure or fly will appear more visible. Bass tending to hunt mid or low water in these
conditions may need to change position more frequently to view prey from different
angles to make determinations. Having to change and jostle for position will expose them
to the strengthening current, this current as I have mentioned may be stronger because
of lower atmospheric pressure and wind force and hence the fish may not spend as much
time as they would hunting in this local as they are expending energy. In other words this
simply may not be the place to fish today! Fish holding lies are often volatile and based
on subtle external influences that can change from hour to hour and day to day!

Appearing to have what can seem like the fishing powers of a Jedi Knight is based over
years of experiences coupled to a high level of sensitivity towards many of these
influences.

Next - Making the best of the circumstances

A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim


Posted by Jim at 10:07AM (UTC)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 14 - Tactics for


bigger bass
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Promotional Brochures & Catalogs fly fishing for bass
A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 11:50AM (UTC)

38 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 15 - Conditions and
bigger bass
Friday, March 20, 2009
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Brochures & Catalogs angling in ireland wexford
ireland A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 01:51PM (UTC)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 16 - Where are


bigger bass
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Promotional Brochures & Catalogs saltwater fly fishin
fly fishing A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 12:05PM (UTC)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 17 - Flies for bigger


bass
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Brochures & Catalogs saltwater flies saltwater fly
fishin A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 11:49AM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 18 - Influences on


bigger bass
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Brochures & Catalogs saltwater fly fishin A little bit of
fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 11:17AM (+01:00)

Bass Fly Fishing Ireland - Part 19 -Tackling up for


bass - Fly Fis...
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
7Below is list of material suitable or needed for fly fishing bass in Ireland, please find that
the following items are all very suitable, budget, recommended and even top of the
range.

Fly Reels

Loop Evotec CLW8

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 39


Okuma Airframe 7/9
Danica Traditional 6/9
Ross Evolution
Danielsson Lw6-9
_____________________________________________________

Fly Rods from #7 - #9 – occasionally #10 in late Autumn occassionaly


Vision 3 zone sws €155.00
Lefty Kreh TiCrX €185.00
Scierra BW2 €275.00
Redington CPXsw
Sage Xi2
_____________________________________________________

Fly Lines #7- #9 – occasionally #10 in late Autumn


Floating and Intermediate
Rio Aqualux striper
Rio Outbound Inter and Rio outbound short for estuary wading/surf fishing
Teeny TS XD
Scientific anglers mastery series
_____________________________________________________

Suggested Leader material -

Rio Flouroflex
Frog hair deep blue
Varivas

Frog hair deep blue


Rio saltwater tapered leaders

Rio Bonefish/permit tapered leaders


____________________________________________________
Backing

Dacron backing 75-100ms 12-15 kgs


Flies – Deceivers/clousers/poppers/sliders – white/white& chartreuse/
Olive/white – grey/lavende/blue/white – from 3cms – 20cms
Stripping Basket

____________________________________________________ A little bit of fishing in your


day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 01:50PM (+01:00)

40 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 20 - Five
fundamentals for bigger bass
Saturday, June 27, 2009
A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 10:17PM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 21 - Ten Knots


Saturday, January 23, 2010
Please find some diagrams of useful knots you can use during your fly and lure fishing -
simply clicking on each picture should create a larger printable version in your browser.
.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 41


A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 11:08AM (UTC)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 22 - The Set Up


Thursday, April 01, 2010

With spring fast approaching lots of people ask me what is my basic set up for bass fly
fishing in Wexford. What do I bring and what do I fish with? The following is a list of my
basic personal Fly Fishing Bass Setup - Please click on the links for more details and
diagrams/animations

The Basics

The Reel - Danielsson L5W 6/9


The Rod - Redington CPX #8
The Line - Rio Aqualux Striped Bass Line at this time of year plus a Rio Outbound

42 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


WF8I/S

The Detail

20 pound Dacron backing in a high-viz colour like chartreuse or orange


2 wraps around the barrel of the spool, attached to the spool with a 6-turn Uni Knot
Bimini twist on the line end of the backing with a doubled over closing knot to provide
double loops
I will cast with a #8 line on a light windy day and an #9 line on a strong windy day, but I
will cast both on the #8 weight Redington CPX at this time of year
I will whip a loop with fly tying thread on the backing end of the fly line, sealed with
superglue or Zap A Gap
I will place another whipped loop in the leader end of the fly line
Tapered leaders hand-tied with Rio Saltwater Hard Mono
I will tie a Perfection loop in the fly line end of my leader
The Leader is built and tapered with blood knots, (alternative reverse allbrights if using
droppers) starting with 40 lb Rio Hard Mono, going to 33 lb, then 22 lb, then 15 lb
Tippet section of leader is 18 lb Rio Fluoroflex plus. Its diameter is smaller than than that
of the mono.
The go-to fly on a typical day would be a chartreuse and white Lefty Kreh deceiver about
2.5 inches long tied with a Non-Slip Mono Loop.

The Gear

One small Caribee or Simms bum bag containing ALL of the following
Two small C+F fly boxes one containg deceivers, the other containing clousers
One Fishpond nippers
One Stream works forceps
Spare braided loops and super glue
Ten pre built leaders 9 - 10 feet
Spare tippet material
One spare spool loaded with alternate fly line
One pair of Smith Sunglasses – Tan or yellow - NEVER leave without them
Small tube of sun factor
One Olympus MJU
One stripping basket
Under / Wader Wear all the following are breathable

Hellyhansen base layer - warm for this time of year


Patagonia insulator pants (maybe) and fleece
Vision Extreme Waders and Jacket
Vision felt/stud boots A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 01:11PM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 23 - The BTDG.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 43


This is a fly tied for me by Andy Elliott – the BTDG or the bucktail deceiver gurgler.

The original gurgler as invented and tied by Jack Gartside must rank as one of the
greatest surface fly ties of all time. Falling between a popper and a slider its easy to cast
and when on the water it can perform all sorts of tricks - slides/squirts/splash. A slow
retrieve will of course generate a wake when in calm water, whilst a short pull will create
a spit and a splash much like frightened baitfish. At the end of your retrieve the gurgler
will lift easily off the water, often easier than poppers do, that sometimes grip and ‘burst’
free if not managed properly, and during the cast you will find the gurgler easy to put out
there, where the fish are.

Now take Bob Popovics buck tail deceiver. Seen put into action HERE and HERE and it
rapidly becomes a favourite fly of many people. Tied skinny to get down deeper and with
more material to ride higher in the tide. The BTD is tied by using shorter and successively
more compacted layers of buck tail it achieves a wonderful profile – it has almost endless
possibilities and when tied on spec with a tier like Andy the results are often incredible.

Combining the gurgler with the BTD results in a very, very effective fly indeed. The fish
eye view is a solid and wide baitfish profile. The bucktail fibres breathe in and out on
retrieving and stopping and the gurgler ‘prow’ allows you to create a lot of splash and
wake and searching interesting noise. Highly recommended these flies are available
HERE A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 08:11PM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 24 - Leaders


Sunday, June 06, 2010

44 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Building my saltwater leaders

Material used for #8 lines

Rio Hard Alloy Mono – 33lbs


Rio Hard Alloy Mono – 22lbs
Rio Fluoroflex – 12lbs or <= as required Tying in a Leader with a dropper –

Take the spool of Fluoroflex and strip off the length that is needed for your tippet plus a
return length for the dropper approximately 32 inches. Bend the Fluoroflex at the division
of 8 inches and 24 inches. Form a bent loop. Take the Rio Hard Alloy material of 22lbs
and reverse Allbright the mono leader to the tippet – and cut the Fluoroflex at 24 inches
or your required length from the spool. Strip 2.5 feet of the Rio 22lb spool – Bend the
mono to form a loop. Take the Rio Hard Alloy material at 33lbs and reverse Allbright the
22 lbs leader to the stiffer section of 33lbs mono – and cut the 33lbs section at five feet.
Tie in a perfection loop at the end of the leader.

Seatrout leader - with dropper

Reversed allbright and


Non slip loop knot
Perfection loop

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 45


Notes A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 05:52PM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 25 - Location


Strategy
Saturday, August 28, 2010

What is location development? Over the next range of posts I hope to be able to continue
the series by linking various bass fishing location types, how, when and why they fish, to
the various influences we have briefly touched on like weather and tides. Part one will
deal with location strategy. A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 06:59PM (+01:00)

Bass Fly Fishing Ireland - Part 26 - Little casts for


bigger fish
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

46 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Thirty seven years later I’m still fishing at the location. Now I do it a bit differently and with
a little more experience. There’s still so much to learn though. I’m here looking for a low
tide fish on the fly, a favourite time of mine, and now all this time later the fly is my
favoured method. The timing is critical like most things in bass fishing and this is no
different. It’s just a little too early yet, I can see plenty of oar weed folding and bending in
the gentle waves, stalks and blades, and so I sit and wait a while. My gear is already
rigged – a six inch white deceiver pattern, seven feet of tapered Rio fluorocarbon leader –
4’-0” – 35lbs, 2’-0” of 25lbs, 1’-0” of 15lbs – then the tippet – the fly is tied on with a Lefty
Kreh loop knot. I’m loading my Redington CPS #7 with a #8 Rio aqualux fly line, I want to
load the rod as quickly as I can (even with the long head) the line sits on my Danielsson.

It’s easy to make mistakes when fishing at low water and I

believe that fly fishers tend to make two simple ones. They cast too far and they cast too
frequently. In these early stages of ‘the lift’ I believe it’s possible to catch fish that haven’t
moved far between tides, they simply lie in the weed and wait, and then as soon as
conditions change they move to hunt. Keeping the cast short, gaining immediate contact
and control of the fly whilst keeping it in the water longer is essential. Remember a line
like the aqualux will have sunk only about 12-16 inches in ten seconds – it’s a long time
to show a fish something to eat. Stopping the fly’s forward motion and leaving it
suspended without losing control for as long as possible can pull fish from under your
feet.

What am I looking for in these instances? I’m looking for a south westerly breeze that has
suddenly picked up strength after a calm period of some hours, 36 or more. It’s during a
spring tidal sequence and I’m here at low tide – time of day is NOT important. I’d take a
bit of cloud cover too. I’m at the rocky shore with fingers and gullies – sometimes I have
the opportunity to fish from a slight height without revealing my profile. I’m a right hander
so a south west wind will travel from my right hand side; it’s always an issue on the
Wexford coast. I’ m waiting for the white water to begin breaking over the earliest part of
the shoreline revealed by the low tide. The oar weed is covered, I start to fish.

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 47


I keep my cast to less than forty feet and sometimes even shorter. I have the head of the
aqualux in the basket with maybe five feet of running line that’s all! I’m not making long
drifts, more casting and then small slow strips with LOTS of stops. As waves run up the V
of a gully, I’ll try to cast just as the wave is forming outside landing the line and the fly as
the wave passes up the gully and then returns, as it returns I’ll try to hold the fly or let it
back drift with the flow of water around the end points left and right of the gulley – head
facing up the gulley, lifting some of the line off the water and then replacing it as the wave
receeds. Retrieve slowly and stop.

In this posting HERE using this method I took some very nice fish – missed fish YES, it is
inevitable that there may be some bow or slack in the line and often times you won’t feel
a take. The good thing is you will SEE the take. Fish in these instances are not moving
quickly or

even very far but rather drift up take the fly and turn to settle back.
Many times I don’t see the fish move at all but rather see the fly disappear – the lights go
out. Any slack and its often missed, again! The fish will often seem to hang at the point of
the opposite side of the V or gulley of the direction of the approaching wave.

For example you’re facing south and seawards – a gulley exists to your right and the
waves are approaching from a south westerly direction – the waves are breaking over the
right hand side of the V and crashing up to fill the void to the end point and then
returning. Make your short casts to the right of the middle of the V just as the wave is
running up, too early and it will get carried past. Water moving up the V will slow and the
water depth at your fly may decrease as the next wave forms, as water returns down the
gulley depth increases and complex currents are formed carrying opportunities for food

48 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


and ambush. Incoming and outgoing waves meet. Getting your fly to behave properly just
at this moment left of centre of the V and less than twenty feet off shore will catch you
some very nice fish indeed.

Give the fish the fly. You only have ninety minutes to do so! A little bit of fishing in your
day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 09:33PM (+01:00)

Bass fly fishing Ireland - Part 27 - Running down


the line
Friday, October 29, 2010
Imagine breaking white water, turbulence, waves wind and seaw

eed, slippery rocks and sometimes driving rain sea mist and spray. You’re a right handed
caster and the wind is blowing from the south west – force four touching five, you’re on a
southerly facing shore! Interesting times for the saltwater fly fisher! Go back to this post
here – little casts for bigger fish.

You can even visit this post from early 2008 - fly fishing the rocky shore.

The presentations described in this post are made from rocky platforms that allowed me
to be slightly above the fish, I can see them and the fly and no doubt at times, the fish can
see me. I’m not casting very far. Sometimes it’s more difficult than this, but at difficult
times opportunities exist beyond the norm. In shallower water with breaking waves where
you don’t have the opportunity to cast into deeper gullies from a height you might need to
take a step into the cauldron.
Great care must be taken by the angler in these circumstances – especially as he will
often find himself fishing alone under these conditions. One of the key elements of this
type of fishing and one often forgotten about (beyond been able to cast and stay safe in
these circumstances) is line management. No cast can be made safely with the right
hand in these circumstances whilst facing the sea, the Belgian will get it out there but
there is the subsequent loss in distance, were looking for a little more this time.

So we learn to cast backwards into the rough sea. First I strip of the line onto the ground,

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 49


the head drops down first, running line on top, stretched a little against the drag. Then I
pull it all back into the basket running line first. I use a mangrove hip shooter which is
deep and sits low to my left side. I can take out the line spikes in the bottom that are taller
and more flexible and hold the running line higher in the basket; this allows the line to
drop to the bottom around the stiffer shorter spikes. Sometimes this works, sometimes it
doesn’t. Casting backwards with the line basket on your left hip, the windward side, and
unfortunately the ‘wave’ward side too does present its own issues. This can be
problematic for a number of reasons.

One thing the hip shooter does it forces me to remain shallow.

Line tray to the left and windward side whilst casting backwards.

The hip shooter is buoyant and will rise and fall in waves pivoting at your waist belt
Sometimes a coil of line will loop between you and the side of the basket under the belt
support; it needs to be dealt with
Waves will spill the line out of the shooter
Running line needs to travel out of the shooter close to and across your body and
clothing during the backward cast
When you turn to engage the cast and control the fly the hip shooter is now on the lee
side of your body – often creating a more difficult swirling ‘close to’ breeze that whips the
running line out of the shooter

You’ve made the cast turned and engaged the fly you strip, strip and then you get a
tangle.

You’re fishing and the tangle is not too bad, you can see the head twenty feet away –
waves are breaking down on the line and there’s weed close to shore.
Decisions regarding your action should be based around the time you can afford to
release the tangle without getting the line, the leader and the fly already at sea into more
trouble which you will have to then deal with.

If you are fishing with a floating line you may have more time
If you are fishing with an intermediate you will have less time
If you are fishing with sinking lines its probably very little time anyway

Decisions regarding time spent untangling running line mid retrieve should be made
regarding depth of water, distance between running line tangle and the head, the extent
of the tangle and the difficulty of the conditions. There is a possibility of increasing time
spent untangling by using the wind to retrieve the fly and line and keep it out of trouble
until the tangle is sorted.
This frequent line management under these conditions is a skill in itself that takes a long
time and a lot of patience to learn – but keeping you fishing and the fly in the water longer
will inevitably lead to more fish.

Some things to consider

50 Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI


Try not keep more running line in the basket than is necessary
Never travel from place to place in tough conditions over rocks with line in the basket
Finer running line is more liable to tangle than a more robust running line
NEVER take your eye off the sea when you are dealing with a tangle
Sometimes a tangle is a tangle – disengage and stop fishing to get it out
At times a ‘survival cast’ of simply lifting the entire line off and out of the water back onto
the shore is needed
Try to get fish onto the reel in these conditions rather than ‘hand lining’ the fish – this can
lead to trouble for both of you
There’s a lot of challenges going on in these conditions that force you to remain focused
– never lose sight that your safety is priority A little bit of fishing in your day - Jim
Posted by Jim at 08:51AM (+01:00)

Bass Fishing Wexford - On the fly PI 51


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