Ah that’s bass .....resource is a shining light
FEBRUARY AND March are quiet months in the sea angling calendar, as most fish have moved offshore on their spawning migration. The lull in activity allows the angler time to take stock, reflect on the past season’s sport, and consider options for the new.
Trade shows help to fill these barren months showcasing new tackle and equipment, presenting ideas for holidays, and most importantly allowing the enthusiast to just talk fishing. Hooked Live 2011, in its second year at City West, brought together a fine selection of trade exhibitors and angling celebrities over Saturday and Sunday, February 26 and 27. One such person I was glad to meet at the show was Wexford town-based bass angling guide Jim Hendrick.
Jim, now entering his eighth season in business, has pioneered lure and latterly fly fishing for Atlantic bass within Ireland. His company, South East Angling Ireland, has championed sport fishing for bass in County Wexford, and placed Ireland firmly on the list of world class sea angling destinations.
Sea angling tourism is worth €30 million to the Irish economy of which bass angling represents a significant portion. S.E.A.I. has attracted bass fishers from eleven countries to Wexford, ranging from the U.S.A. to New Zealand with a host of European countries in between.
These people travel, spend their money, catch bass in wonderful coastal locations from Rosslare to Hook Head, take home their memories and photographs, and subsequently encourage their friends to travel to Ireland.
What a fantastic sustainable way to utilise a scarce resource in these straitened times. Twenty years ago bass were nearly wiped out from our inshore waters by overfishing. Today due to far-seeing legislation the species is making a comeback which is benefiting tourism and the indigenous tackle trade, creating many tourism-related jobs and providing a social outlet for thousands of people.
The incoming Government will most definitely be under pressure to re-open the commercial bass fishery; they should use common sense and continue to refuse such a move.
Today Ireland's inshore bass resource is a shining silver light that draws people form around the globe to fish and spend money in places such as Kilmuckridge, Kilmore Quay, Fethard and Duncannon. Long may it continue….
Ashley Hayden with a lure caught Wexford bass.