Battling Bass

I’m not long back from a terrific trip to Cobh, Co
Cork in

Ireland.The trip gave me some incredible general fishing, but what really stood out werethe amazing numbers of bass inside

Harbour and all alongthis southern Irish coast.

I’d teamed up with Mike Hennessey, Angling InformationManager with the Southwest Regional Fisheries Board and Kevin Murphy owner ofthe Bella Vista Hotel in
Cobh, also a verykeen bass angler.

We’d be fishing from small 17ft boats allowing us to gettight in off the shore to work surface popping plugs and diving plugs amongstthe weed and rocks right in amongst the surf in relatively shallow water wherethe bass tend to hunt

Most anglers choose a fixed spool spinning reel and longer9ft plus spinning rod for this type of fishing, but I opted for a short 7ft 4inprototype ABU baitcaster rod we’re working on matched to a REVO Inshoremultiplier reel loaded with 20lb Fireline braid. This a lightweight, verysporting outfit, but it also gives an accuracy advantage being one handed whencasting direct in to specific looking bass holding spots and especially whencasting towards and under man made structures such as jetties and piers wherebass often hunt. These shorter rods are also perfect when using the rod to“walk the dog”, a term used for inducing more action in to the lure on theretrieve by working the rod tip using the wrist.


I always fish a short length, about 6ft, of Fluoro Carbonline attached to the braid and use a small but strong snap link for attachingthe plug and to make changing plugs easy.

We all had fish pretty much straight away on surface poppingplugs and these were good fish between 4 and 5lbs in weight taken over roughground. But after catching a few fish it pays to move as bass are easilyspooked by noise and the boat.

We decided to move and fish the lures under the supports ofa nearby jetty and I had fish on the surface poppers straight away, but thenthe sun came out and the fish went deeper.

I changed over to an ABU Jointed Tormentor Firetiger plug, thoughstill a floating plug this dives on the retrieve to about 0.60m and has aseductive wiggle as it works through the water. I’d also went for this patternhas it has gold in the colouring and I’d noticed that there were good numbersof small juvenile pollack in the water and the likelihood was that the basswere feeding on these and this plug would best represent the a little pollack.

We were positioned about 30-metres out from the jettysupports with a slight tide running towards us from underneath the jetty. Iaimed the lure to drop right in at the side of the inner supports deepunderneath the jetty structure and then began a varied retrieve first slow, butwith occasional increases in speed to give some extra life to the lure.


Third cast the short baitcaster buckled over and the reelgave line as a bass hit the lure and turned back for the jetty supports. Itwent deep, came towards me, broke surface briefly, then crash dived againdragging yards of line off the reel. It then stayed deeper hugging the sea bedand working the rod hard. Slowly it tired and as it broke surface close to theboat I judged the fish between 5 and 6lbs. No need to weigh it, a quick photoand the fish was returned soaking me as its tail powered down through thesurface water.

Over the next couple of days we took fish after fish up to7lbs and all on surface or diving plugs. I took most of my fish on Tormentorsespecially the Firetiger and the Blue Mackerel, but also a couple of fish on traditionalsurface popping Chug Bugs.

These southern Irish waters are literally full of basscurrently averaging between 3 and 5lbs, but there’s also been a flurry ofspecimen sized 10lb plus fish recently and some of these monster fish are also beingtaken on plugs as more and more anglers switch to this highly productivemethod.

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