It’s simple logic: if the Atlantic salmon is the king of freshwater fishes, then the bass is the prince of the saltwater kingdom, says angling expert and TV presenter Henry Gilbey
Plenty of sea fish grow bigger than the bass, but what other species in northern European waters inspires such passion, obsession and dedication?
It might be argued that bass fishing has never been more popular. Indeed, plenty of salmon anglers themselves are discovering that the tempestuous ocean boasts a fish that can hold its own against the king of the freshwater.
Anglers increasingly want to fish for bass, and much of the Irish coastline offers just about the most perfect bass habitat you could hope to find anywhere in Europe.
Any angler interested in bass has either fished in Ireland, is making plans to fish in Ireland, or spends far too much time dreaming about bass fishing in Ireland. It really can be that good.
When the bass fishing is firing, it would be fair to say that Ireland offers a world-class saltwater sport fishing experience. It could equally be argued that the island possesses the most perfect bass fishing coastline imaginable.
Best for bass
Bass, as a species, thrive in a multitude of different coastal environments, from shallow storm beaches bearing the brunt of an Atlantic storm, through to quiet estuaries and tidal lagoons that barely ripple.
The bass is perfectly adept at vacuuming up baits, launching into lures and deftly snatching a fly from just underneath the surface. And depending where in Ireland you choose to go, bass fishing is likely give you so many options that you’ll be left wanting more.
Most of Ireland’s bass fishing takes place on the extensive coastlines of Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Clare and up into Galway. The best bass fishing tends to take place in shallow areas, where there is lots of natural cover and food, and these counties are beset with large areas of perfect bass fishing terrains.
Under a racing winter sky
Aim to base yourself around places such as Waterford’s Copper Coast from Tramore to Dungarvan, Cork’s extensive coastline, Kerry’s Waterville and Tralee, Kilkee in Clare, and on into the southern part of Galway.
In some places, bass can be caught all year round. Kerry, famous for winter storm beach fishing, is a classic example. There’s better news: pitch up in West Cork, Kerry or Clare and you’re unlikely to meet another angler for miles. To stand under a racing winter sky as the waves tumble onto a deserted beach and catch bass after bass is about as good as fishing is ever going to get. It’s even better when you don’t have to share it.
Alone in the world and catching the perfect fish? It could be heaven with rod in hand. Be careful, though, because bass fishing in Ireland is highly addictive. There is no known cure other than coming back again and again.