In praise of the sea wolf


ANGLING NOTES:JOHN Quinlan is passionate about his bass angling. As chairman of Irish Bass Group (IBG), he is to the forefront in bass angling and provides a guiding service from his home in Waterville, Co Kerry. At the recent Irish Specimen Fish Committee awards day, Quinlan delivered an enthralling speech on the protection and promotion of this magnificent species.

“I wonder how many of you know this, but in Ireland we have something truly unique. We have a marine fish that is reserved solely for recreational anglers. Anglers in the UK and Europe can only dream of such a situation.

“In spite of 21 years of bass protection, we have never felt secure enough to build the type of industry that this unique opportunity should justify. The reasons for this are simple. Until recently the bass protection laws were renewed on an annual basis and even when the legislation became permanent, it was still under threat. We need to build on this opportunity before it is too late.

“Bass fulfil a vital role in inshore biodiversity. There is a strong interdependence between bass and birds like terns and gannets. On many occasions I have watched flocks of terns grabbing sand eels from the surface driven there by the hungry bass. This food is vital to feed their young.

“Spectacles like this are a privilege to see. Many people fail to notice this and even those who spend most of our time by the sea miss much of what happens under the water and along the shore. But there is a real and discernible value in knowing that it happens.

“There are still magic days to be had bass fishing. I expect to catch bass regularly and while the average size may not be as big as it was 40 years ago there is still hope for the future.

“I believe that anglers have a right to be involved in the management of our bass stocks. We have looked after them very well over the last 21 years and earned the right to be involved in any decisions about how they should be managed in the future. If we are to be successful we need to be taken more seriously by our Government.

“The IBG works with Inland Fisheries Ireland and Fáilte Ireland to bring more anglers to Ireland. We need a new focus on how we look at tourism angling. This has been lacking for far too long. I would like more people to understand that there is a value to having abundant and healthy fish stocks in Ireland.

“The French call bass ‘loupe de mer’ or ‘the wolf of the sea’. These beautiful fish have hunted in our waters for centuries and I hope they continue to do so for many years to come.” (

Howth lifeboat station is holding a boat jumble sale at Howth Yacht Club this Saturday from 10.30am until 1.30pm. Bring along boat gear, fishing gear, books, dinghies, wet suits, sails, etc. Tables cost €20 with 25 per cent of sales donated to RNLI. Or, you can donate your goodies to the Bosun’s Locker.

The RNLI Sea Safety Team will also be on hand to assess lifejacket safety. Contact Barbara Sargent (01-8325392) or Rose Michael (087-255 2726).

As the fly fishing season gets under way, Angling Notes intends to publish a fly pattern each month suitable for lakes and rivers.

The Dry Duckfly (above) is a pattern less favoured these days as buzzers and wet patterns have become more popular. The body of the fly sits just under the surface and the pearl rib gives it that lifelike look of minute air pockets as if coming to the surface to take off.

For those who like the dry fly this is a good imitation and has proved useful on Corrib and Mask. The duckfly hatch lasts a couple of weeks and can be found before the olives start. To purchase this pattern, contact Jimmy Tyrrell at 086-8451257 or