Continued silence

Good Morning Jim. Half An Hour After You Left P……. And Me On The Beach I Go Very Angry And Obssed ( I Still Am ) Just As We Were Leaving Our Parking , In A Complete Darkness , We Met A 4*4 Pick Up Packed With People Followed By An Other Vehicule Pulling A Boat ( How Can They Launche A Boat In That Spot ? ) If That Was The………Gang ( I Feel The Adrenaline Pomping As I Write ) I Don’t Understand The Fisheries Or Locals Don’t Get Ride Of The Problem ! In Corsica They Wouldn’t Be At It More Than 24 H ! Will I Have To Erase The Problem Myself ? At The Moment I Am Going Fishing , Will See Later . M….

These are the words of a visiting bass angler to Wexford via text to me last evening. As you can imagine he’s a little pissed off. He called me a few moments ago and vented, understandably, his considerable frustration as he further explained what he saw. He’s traveled a long way and spent a lot of money for an Irish bass angling experience. I still get many calls from people asking for guiding, and even though I don’t guide anymore, I always advise them of conditions and the indications of fish on the coast both good and bad. Just like the old days! This week was a good opportunity for these two anglers to travel from France. Good tides and good conditions.

Whilst Ireland remains the ‘darling’ of bass angling promotion, there often seems no sense to any limit in either number or size of fish promoted, there is an associated risk attached to such activity in that it indirectly attracts some negative aspects of bass angling. Without any sense of planning, co-ordination vision or management foresight regarding conservation, as with most of our natural heritage in this country, there is continued thoughtless and selfless promotion of what we cant wont or don’t want to protect. Its not an infinite resource.

There are many inevitable impact consequences to these two mismanaged components- ‘over-promotion’ without ‘any protection’ –  which are resulting in a steadfast deterioration of heritage.

This ‘dark side’ of course is never featured at any time by any person otherwise engaged in utilising the resource to their benefit and self promotion. Strangely this is coupled to the foolish notion and belief that somehow the creation of a wider awareness regarding the size and number of the fish available aligned to the tackle industry will somehow magically make the undesirable aspects go away without having ever to mention the true challenge. Bass angling consumerism will NOT lead to bass conservation, nor does it lead credibility. When was the last time you saw a major lure manufacturer express any opinion in relation to conservation? This issue is further complicated by the underlying, unspoken, naive and poorly imagined concept that any ‘discussion’ about ‘illegal activity’ will surely impact negatively on our precious angling tourism industry. Dragging it into the light might, god forbid, open another kettle of senko worms.

Worse still is the continued utilisation of the bass angling resource without any measured restraint whilst remaining absolved of any sense of responsibility in terms of activity.

Of course when the bass fishing is gone where will the proselytising have gotten us?

There is a duty of care, responsibility and management on any person in respect of the fish and the bass angling environment coupled to situations within which they find themselves either as an angler, a guided angler, a guide or an angling journalist. This is particularly applicable when applied to a vulnerable and easily exploited species like bass.

The fish continue to be exploited in increasingly reckless ways.

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