Soft plastics were widely available and anglers tucked in , experimenting with weedless , weightless, weighted and all the other tuning options that are now part of the world of soft plastics, not least which lure to rig?
The Xslayer and jighead combination was an epiphany for many anglers and big catches were made.
Cork Harbour and the estuaries of West Cork produced excellent catches at one time or another and over 20 bass a session of mixed sizes to 8lb and occasionally bigger were possible in the right place at the right time as they say.
Soft plastics also turned on the bigger fish with our top three of the season to 12lb all taking these versatile lures even though we actually spent more time using hard plastics , this only highlights their attributes even more so.The latex lure below, from the Maria stable took the top two fish with an Xslayer ayu completing the hatrick for us.
Cork again easily provided most of the specimen fish, on the annual specimen fish list ,caught in Ireland during another season , only adding to my confusion as to why Kerry and Wexford seem to have the bigger reputations when it comes to bass fishing on the Emerald Isle ??
Anyway the facts will keep speaking for themselves , and another one of those facts is that using natural bait is still the best way to target the big mammas , with a fish of over 14 lbs falling for crab, and other large specimens falling for mackeral ,razorfish and sandeel.
I enjoy baitfishing and have always seen it as a skill in itself , sometimes in difficult conditions its the only way to target bass effectively . For a lot of anglers nowadays though it's lure or bust and goodluck to them.
A few bass were about before the beginning of the closed season on May 15th. Some years are better than others in this regard and i've had zero to 30+ at this stage of the season on lures in the past. Cold spring weather hampering the arrival inshore of our bass stock in my experience.
Back to 2010, after the closed season finished on June15th the fishing was excellent for about six weeks, the hungry bass attacked everything with abandon until their appetites had been sated and weight had been put back on. The fishing then slowed as fish were more likely just to follow lures and were easily spooked, in short you had to work harder and plenty of stealth was required.
Once the sandeels settled on the inshore sand banks to breed at the end of September, the fish became more active and big numbers were again possible to acheive.
There was hardly any mackeral inshore this season and i think this may of had a positive effect on the catches as bass didn't have this easy-picking option as readily available to them. I'd still rather see the mackeral around in numbers but it appears we may be suffering from the warming of our seas , shifting this cool water loving species further North en masse.
October and November were disappointing compared to their normally high standards. The weather was either strong onshore winds making the water too cloudy to lure or float fish effectively, or it was freezing weather coming from the North East flattening and cooling the inshore waters , catches in Cork dropped of rapidly and finding fish was a lot more difficult than usual.
This time of year the stock seemed to move East into Waterford and Wexford where a few good catches were made by anglers in the know late season.
Wrecks off East Cork were visited by shoals of bass at the start of December but no boat anglers were around to fish for them.
They were congregated in numbers in preperation for moving off to their winter grounds......some searching around with a fast boat at this time of year could bring big dividends in the future, but thats another story as they say............................