The summer of 2013 the pattern of (7’s) and some hope!

I smelt the smoke from a chimney for the first time in ages this evening, it got me thinking.

If you had been bass lure fishing from the shore on a regular basis between the years 2000 and 2006 you will have had the experiences to measure and compare those years to the period say between 2007 and 2013 inc.

When David Byrne from IFI first fished with me one morning very early in the millennium I cast an ABU krill three times on 15lb test mono and on the fourth cast I landed a six pound bass, this was not exceptional the fish were simply there – in all of the systems most of the time, right up to the middle of 2007! If you hadn’t fished that early period and lets say you started bass fishing in 2007/2008 you still had a wonderful time over the next few years, the fact is its a remarkable comparison to the previous seven years for anybody who can make it.

I’ve have always held the belief and have had the on ‘the ground experience’, to a large extent, that the weather impact since 2007 including two remarkable winters have had a cumulative impact on the bass fishery. The same point of where we are today is shared on many aspects of the coast by many people, hidden routines and patterns are not obvious to us.

Its not about night time fishing – always expect to catch more bass at night, or slack tide fishing – sometimes fish behave differently and we attribute this to a further cracking of code in the excitement of discovery, or fishing in tight channels when the tide is out, or boat fishing or fishing with soft plastics – these things are always more productive – the fish are not onshore as a general protected population should be, its simple really!

I’m sharing similar experiences with many anglers who fish on the same coast as I do. But speaking to a colleague today who has told me that he has witnessed vast shoals of bass feeding on fry ‘offshore’ all summer fills me with a high degree of hope.

We have a remarkable fish that we don’t fully understand’, one that I feel can adjust to patterns in ways we aren’t even aware of. I think they can ‘shut down’ for extended periods and simply wait and whilst the opportunity presents itself they feed, sleep and have sex! Perhaps this remarkable summer has given them an opportunity to ‘bulk’ up on fatty rich food an opportunity that perhaps hasn’t existed for them for quite a while, maybe as much as four or five seasons, why would you run inshore if there was easy pickings offshore and you felt hungry, had done for a while? –  I’d like to see a scale sample from a series of fish from next year and look to see the growth patterns!

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From Met Eireann – The summer of 2013 and (7’s)

Mean air temperatures were above average everywhere ranging from 14.4°C at Malin Head to 16.3°C at Shannon Airport. Carlow (Oak Park) had the warmest summer conditions (compared to normal) with a mean temperature of 16.1°C, +1.2°C above its average and its warmest since 2007 (6 years). A small number of stations in the West Southwest and Midlands reported their warmest summer in 10 to 18 years, while most remaining stations had their warmest since 2006/2007. Overall, all three months predominantly were above average except for some parts of the Northwest and West which had below average temperatures in June and August. July had the warmest conditions (compared to average), with differences of +2.5°C or more in parts and with nine stations reporting heat wave (5 consecutive days with maximum temperature over 25°C degrees) conditions from the 7th to the 13th. Many stations reported it as their warmest July on record. All available seasonal highest maximum temperatures were recorded in July with the season’s highest maximum (available so far) was 31.0°C recorded at Dooks, Co. Kerry (climate station) on the 19th, its highest July and summer maximum since 2006 (7 years). Fermoy (Moore Park) recorded a highest maximum of 28.9°C on July 10th, its highest for summer since 1989 (24 years). Most other stations across the country reported their summer maxima as their highest in seven to 18 years. Summer lowest minimum temperatures were all recorded in June, with Mountdillon reporting lowest temperature of 2.8°C on June 5th.  

Rainfall was below average at all stations except for a few isolated stations in the South and Southwest. The lowest rainfall total and percentage of Long-Term Average (LTA) was at Johnstown Castle, with 130.5 mm and 57%?of its LTA, its driest summer since 2000 (13 years).The low summer values at the site were partially attributed to drought conditions (15 consecutive days or more with 0.2 mm rainfall or less) experienced at the station between the 4th and 20th of July. The highest summer rainfall total was at Valentia Observatory with 317.2 mm and 103% of its LTA,  reporting nearly 50% more than its average in June and its wettest June since 2007 (6 years). The majority of stations had their driest summer in seven years. The highest daily fall of summer (wettest day) from data available so far was 62.5 mm at Ballincurrig (Peafield), Co. Cork on July 24th/25th, its highest summer rainfall since 2005 (8 years). 

Sunshine totals were all above average everywhere, with percentage of LTA values ranging from 101% at Valentia Observatory to 120% at Cork Airport. June and July reported sunny conditions everywhere with dull conditions dominating in August. Cork Airport reported the highest summer sunshine hours with 603.1 hours, 265 hours recorded in July, the highest amount of sunshine ever recorded for any given month since the station opened in 1962 (51 years). Knock Airport reported 475.2 hours of sunshine, its sunniest summer in 16 years.  The sunniest days this summer were mostly recorded at the beginning of June with Cork Airport measuring the sunniest day (from available data) on June 4th and 7th with 15.8 hours. Belmullet shared the second highest summer daily sunshine amount with Knock Airport with 15.7 hours, Belmullet’s highest since the summer of 1995 (18 years). 

The maximum sea surface temperature of 20.0°C recorded at the M4 and M5 on July 17th and 26th, respectively, were the highest ever recorded in Irish waters.

The Poulter Index is a method of rating the summer weather (June to August), using a formula based on mean temperature, rainfall and sunshine for selected stations, i.e. the higher the index, the ‘better’ the summer weather.

This year the index was above average and it is considered to be the best summer since 2006 (7 years).

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The fish will be back in late September / October to some extent in greater numbers than they have been (not difficult) (1 > 0) and all will be forgotten by November – until 2014!

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