Back in 2010 as a relatively new convert to the sport of yakfishing I was lucky enough to visit Ireland and here is the report .
Prior to the trip I had joined http://kayak-angling-ireland.org/forum/index.php and asked if anybody knew of a kayak guide. Dave Tilley replied that he was doing some guiding so I booked him for a days fishing.
Dave is a active member on that forum and runs a bait supply business in Dublin supplying live rag worm,peeler crabs and sand eels to the local tackle stores and also sells wildernes systems yaks.
The primary target for the trip was sea bass .This fish looks like a slightly longer version of a mulloway and acts very much like a tailor.
Dave picked me from my hotel in Dublin at 4.30 am and we headed about an hours drive south along the coast towards Arklow.
We arrived at a car park overlooking a beach and after a short carry we had the two Wilderness System Ride 135 and 140 yaks on the shingle and sand beach .
The East Coast of Ireland is very sheltered in most conditions and we launched through a whole 30cm of break. The conditions were ideal no swell overcast and about 17c and light winds.
Tackle for the day was 4000 series threadlines on 10 ft rods with braid lines and a short 40lb fluro carbon leader.
The lure of choice was a type of surface hard body called a contact feed shallow 128.
We paddled 400m along the beach towards a rocky headland which had a number of small coves with shingle beaches and very shallow water .
Dave instructed me to cast the lure right into the small shore break on the beach in a cove and retrieve in a moderately fast straight manner .
Second cast and I was on !The fish took the lure very close to shore and proceded to fight like a similar sized tailer.After a short fight I got it up to the yak and it was about 50cm .Unfortunately I dropped the fish before I could lift it into the yak as I was pussy footing around with no net and Dave had mentioned a number of spikes and gill rakers.
Stoked to have got onto a fish so soon as Bass numbers have been very low in recent years and Dave and the other guys over there have been working hard to get the stock numbers back up.
Over the next couple of hours Dave picked up two more fish as we continued to work our way along the rocky coast.
The main bait fish which we saw a number of schools of among the kelp is sand eels of varying sizes.
We were joined at one point by a curious seal and Dave said he had seen an otter there once before but I was not so lucky.
Dave decided we should shift to the next spot looking for better water clarity so we packed the car again and moved further down the coast passing through a couple of very picturesque towns with nice little stone harbours and stopping to drop off bait at a couple of stores.
The next spot reached down a steep gravel road next to a headland looked fantastic with gin clear water about 1-2m deep over weed beds and rocks.
Had only been paddling for about two minutes when we spotted the first of several bass patrolling the edges of the weed.
Dave soon hooked up and then before he landed it I was on !
I finally got my first bass in the yak although it was only a little fella of about 40cm.
We had paddled up to a rock shelf coming out from the headland and there was a 10m gap between it and another 20m long section of rock with what would become as we fished a fairley strong tidal flow.
At this point we found a large number of actively feeding fish in the swirling water around the island I hooked and dropped a further three bass on the surface lure before switching to a large red storm eel soft plastic lure on which I landed a better fish.
Dave pointed out to me that the bass have a very soft mouth and require a softer approach than the Australian trevally heading for the reef style of fishing!
We ended the day with Dave having 5 fish caught and released and myself two.
Dave caught another 15 bass later in the week and is on 87 bass for the month!
The fishing here really demonstrated the advantages of Yak fishing as the shore fishermen are getting very few bass in comparison as the bass’s perfered habitat was in shallow water around rocky headlands that the shore guys have little access to and with a couple of the best spots having private property overlooking them.
We drove back to Dublin through some more beautiful villages and winding narrow roads to end a very enjoyable day.