After the elation of catching my first fish in Kerry, I had a new-found spring in my step and confidence in my ability to catch fish. So I made my way back down to Rossbeigh to see if I couldn’t hook me up some more fish…
I decided to fish the tide for 3 hours up and down for 2 to maximise my time on the mark in optimal conditions, whilst hopefully learning as much as I could… getting set up I made the first fundamental error, I hadn’t accommodated for where the high tide was going to reach and even worse… I had completely underestimated the pace at which the tide was going to come in. After casting my rod out and sitting down with an apple pie and a coffee, I was quickly pushed up the beach by the incoming waves. The next hour or so had me picking up all my gear and shifting ever further up the beach. Certainly didn’t need the camping chair that I had brought with me.
After realising the mistake I had made, I set up camp in the rocks, where I had fished from before. This didn’t provide as much comfort as my chair, but at least it stopped me getting washed away with the incoming tide (which is always a plus).
After finally being able to return to my breakfast, I sat and watched my rod tip very tentatively for the next hour or so… it was all very quiet. Again, here was another trap I kept falling into, not changing baits often enough. When dealing with such vast environments, it pays to keep changing your baits to keep a strong scent in the water otherwise you are relying on pure luck for a fish to happen across your washed out bait.
So after hooking up some fresh sand eel and casting out, I looked out at the waves in dismay as the incoming tide wasn’t just bringing with it the prospect of fish, but the reality of loose weed and tons of it at that. Keeping my rod tip high to minimise the contact my line would have with these clumps of doom, as always… I fished on.
This is when my rod tip started to pull, was that a bite, the wind, or worse still, weed on the line? There was only one way to find out, that was to reel in and see what surprise Mother Nature had for me. As I drew the line in closer I could see a monumental clump of weed caught up. With my line and reel struggling to cope with the sheer size and weight of it, I was forced to jump down into the water to try and coax this beast to shore. It was at this point the tension was too great and my mainline snapped… thinking quickly on my feet I ran after the loose line, so as not to leave yards and yards of line and more to the point a baited hook floating around the sea. I feel that as anglers we have a huge responsibility in taking care of the environments we fish within, if we don’t look after them now there comes a point when we can no longer enjoy them, and even sadder still, the next generation will never get a chance to experience them in the same way.
Effing and blinding, I began to wrap the line slowly but surely around my hand and haul this mammoth weed ashore. The day wasn’t exactly going to plan, first pushed off the beach by the tide and now attempting to haul masses of line and weed out of the waves. I was pretty annoyed to say the least, when all of a sudden there was a monumental tug on the line. I had thought it was the waves playing a really not-very-fun-game of tug-of-war until there was the distinct tugging of a fish’s head thrashing. Frantically pulling, wrapping and then pulling some more, I managed to get the weed to the edge of the shore. It was then I could see a pair of little black eyes staring back at me. I instinctively reached straight into the sea and grabbed the fish out of the water and brought it ashore, I wasn’t going to lose this one after all of the effort to bring it in.
I pulled the hook out of its mouth, held it up for the obligatory photo and set it on its way…
With the sun racing beyond the horizon and the prospect of trying to tie on a new shock leader to my now much shorter mainline, I decided to call it a day and end on a high note. One of the wonderful things about just starting to sea fish means that when I do actually catch something, it’s generally a new species and therefore a personal best. I am still learning each and every time I go out at the moment, which is a great feeling. Nothing beats the satisfaction of progress and the warmth that it provides.