Ah that’s bass .....re­source is a shin­ing light

Bray People - - SPORT - with ASH­LEY HAY­DEN

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.

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