A season begins shortly

There is a deep satisfaction in acquiring knowledge of a place and the things that live there. You become familiar with the stones that lie along the inner estuary shore and the way they have been laid in patterns by forces, forces and actions that you can’t figure, forces over time that must have shaped those patterns whilst the world went, simply, by.

You become reluctant to walk on those stones to avoid disturbing them. You try to figure the time frame the slow movements.

bass fishing jim hendrick

Spring bass on the Wexford coast

You feel and understand the subtle nuances of a late September light, the stark hardness of a cool April north westerly blowing grey curtains of showers across lilac skies whilst departing overwintering geese V their way home. The sight of the first swallow when fishing for sea trout, the silence after the last tern has gone, the smell of summer rain on dry rocks and sea pinks refreshed like some bejewelled Italian ice-cream nodding their heads in a summer breeze. The song of the invisible skylark high in the sky.

Watching one legged oyster-catchers limping along a mirrored strand take off and land again and the little waders that run quickly in groups backwards and forwards in the shallow waters. Suddenly a curlew makes a startled warning cry, disturbed, as you walk back a late October estuary the sky already quickly darkening, a mist falling, you move faster now to be home.

All these things get under your skin into your person into to what you are over years – north winds, south winds, east winds, sunshine, frost, blue skies, rain, salt and sand. The shape, the colour and the sound of the sea, the waves that break on the shore into white bass water where you know it will happen, you can smell it!

All these things have built in me over many years, have shaped me too – from these countless repeated experiences and messages I have a sense of where I am – I am where I most want to be when fishing for bass.

And into this you have to add the fishing of course. What you know is what you know because it has been learned through tested instinct and long valid experience. You see the gulls struggle against a grey drizzly sky and you get the heavy rod, the ten, and your heart is racing because it’s happening and you can be in the middle of it and you move so quickly you hardly remember getting there and you almost run to the location to get a cast off. This is where I am happy, this is what I understand, have understood for a long time.

The fishing and the fishing and the fishing.  You wait for spring to come and you see the way the winter waves have bent the sand and the sandbars, the new entrances the new exits the different flow and where it was once safe is now dangerous or is now a new fish holding spot. Maybe this year the fish move differently into different places at different times, maybe not. Maybe this year its colder and the fish are later, maybe early!

The expectations, the anxiety, the anticipation builds around the arrival of a new season one more time.

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