Charter Boat Sea Angling

I was sitting at my desk working when my phone rang. It was a text message from my friend and charter boat skipper Luke, who was our guest on episode 41. He had some spaces free on an upcoming fishing trip and was checking if anyone was fancy to go.

Regular listeners of the podcast already know that for more than five years I went crazy for sea angling. It would be hard to recall all the trips I took and all the fish I caught. However, for the last few years, I have been involved in other outdoor pursuits and my fishing rods have been gathering dust. Needless to say, I was keen to get back on the horse, or rather, on the boat. After a three-year-long hiatus, I wanted to remind myself how great sea angling is off the south-west coast of Ireland.

A typical boat fishing day starts on the pier where the anglers load their tackle and the skipper gives a safety briefing. Usually, the first order of business of the day is to catch some bait fish. Although the use of artificial lures is common, no bait works better than a strip of freshly caught mackerel. Early in the year catching mackerel may be a little problematic, so it’s always a good idea to read catch reports and have some frozen mackerel with you, just in case.

Once enough bait is caught the skipper heads off for more open waters. The most typical target species are fish from the gadiformes order. That includes pollock, coalfish, haddock, ling, pouting and whiting as well as cod. Of course, that list of species is far from exhaustive and anglers often catch various species of wrasse, gurnard and other fish. Fishing for sharks and rays is also possible but they need to be specifically targeted to increase the odds of catching them.

It is worth noting, that unless you are skippering the boat yourself, it is the skipper who does most of the work to catch the fish. It is his job to put the anglers on the fish. On our trip, the weather, although sunny and beautiful, was not favourable for angling. Light wind and calm conditions caused the boat to drift slowly, keeping us from covering a lot of ground. This made getting onto the fish more difficult.

It didn’t really affect us much though, as we were in very capable hands. It was a pleasure to watch our master-skipper at work! Luke tried a few promising marks from his vast collection of fishing spots. We fished deep muddy grounds, slightly shallower reefs and shallow rough ground close to the shore. It was not surprising that some of them were quite productive. In the end, every angler on the boat caught a good number of fish that day.

If you interested in booking a day out with Luke, visit Fish and Stay website and check his facebook page for regular fishing reports.

Wolves and foxes

I want to add a few comments to a recently published blog post about fox hunting with hounds. The issue has to do with opposition to fox hunting. I hit on this briefly in that previous post because there is no way to talk about fox hunting without mentioning its opponents. I have had a few interactions online with folks who are wholeheartedly opposed to fox hunting and I have come to an interesting conclusion about their motivations.

I started it all by wondering aloud about how many opponents of fox hunting with hounds are also advocates for the re-introduction of wolves into the landscape. I was thinking that wolves inevitably kill foxes in the same way as hounds do. It is called intra-guild predation, or IGP. It is the killing of potential competitors within an ecosystem. IGP is a combination of competition and predation, i.e., both species rely on the same prey resources and one benefits from preying on the other. For example, the reintroduction of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the United States caused a significant drop in the coyote population through intra-guild predation.

Since foxes and coyotes are different I wanted to find out what the interaction between wolves and foxes really looks like. So, I spent several hours trying to find relevant articles and papers. Unfortunately, most of the materials I was able to find were related to ecosystems in the United States. There the IGP looked like this. The greater number of wolves drove down the population of coyotes, which released the pressure on foxes, whose population then went up [1]. Obviously, I am grossly oversimplifying. But, this seemed to challenge my original theory that the reintroduction of wolves into an ecosystem would drive down the fox population.

Then I found a paper in Nature magazine that described the European ecosystem. In Scandinavia, the lynx occupies the place between wolves and foxes. The dynamics between species were fairly similar with the exception that in places with no lynx, indeed, the presence of wolves caused a permanent decrease in the fox population [2]. So this article supported my initial thoughts.

I thought that people who oppose hunting with hounds have foxes’ welfare first and foremost on their minds. To my surprise, it turned out they are completely okay with a fox being killed by a lynx or a pack of wolves. They claim that this is natural, contrary to the “unnatural” killing by humans hunting with dogs. In my opinion, this reasoning is flawed in a couple of ways.

Firstly, a natural killing by wolves isn’t any less painful than an “unnatural” killing by dogs. A fox, which is just about to be torn apart alive, is not any more at peace with its fate because it’s a pack of wolves, rather than hounds, that does the killing.

Secondly, hunting by humans is as natural as hunting by wolves. We are a part of nature. Unless, of course, someone thinks that we were dropped here by aliens. Mainstream science tells us that first stone tools and butchering marks on animal bones were found as early as 2 million years ago [3]. Roughly the same time as the dating of the first fossil specimen of a modern fox, that was discovered in Hungary [4]. So, human hunters have been here as long as these other species!

In the end, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that wildlife welfare does not matter to some who oppose fox hunting. They are just interested in imposing their own moral and ethical choices on others. “I don’t give a damn about the foxes, I just don’t want those blokes to go hunting”. This attitude is not productive. If we want to implement effective policies to protect wildlife and its habitat, we need to throw away emotional arguments and personal dislikes. The only way to get positive results is by looking at the scientific data and working with all stakeholders like sportsmen, ecologists and farmers.

Fox Hunting with Hounds

Recently I have read a lot of articles, blogs and press releases about fox hunting with hounds. The vast majority was negative. They were pointing out the cruelty of the endeavour and the callousness of participants. There were even reports about protesters clashing with hunt supporters. Also in my own circle, fox hunting with hounds is often criticized by people who otherwise don’t have an issue with hunting in general. In fact, this type of hunting has its opponents in other parts of the world too. For example, American outdoorsman Steven Rinella in his book Meateater, which I reviewed in episode 2, tells his own story about hunting with hounds. He describes how his initial negative childhood experience was turned around in his thirties when he hunted with a professional houndsman.

The best way to form an opinion is to have a first-hand experience. Early this year, I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with a fellow outdoorsman, and our guest on episode 33, Aaron Turner. After finishing breakfast in his farmhouse, we headed for the hills where a few houndsmen and their dogs were in the middle of a hunt. We quickly took an elevated position on one of the fields and began glassing to locate the hunting pack. Initially, we spotted only two leading hounds, but after a short while the main pack of about 16 dogs emerged from the nearby forestry. Soon we could hear the dogs baying.

Baying is a loud sound made by a hound when it picks up a scent trail. It resembles something between barking and howling. It is meant to let other hounds in the pack know that a new trail has been picked up. I must admit that it was truly remarkable to observe those dogs hunting. They ran the surrounding hills like it was nothing! We could see them crossing the field a few meters away in one direction, and just a few minutes later we could see the entire pack again on the skyline on the hills a few miles away in the opposite direction. It was also amazing to see the phenomenal level of control a houndsman has over the pack. Once he started calling his dogs, they quickly dropped the trail, aborted the hunt, and began running towards him. My friend observed that often people who criticize hunting with hounds are unable to call their toy dog back from the park.

The hunt itself is quite random in nature. Hounds pick and lose scent trails many times during each hunt. Some dogs in the pack lose the trail and others pick it up. There is no guarantee however that they will pick up the same trail that the previous dogs lost. In addition, dogs can’t tell from the scent which way the animal went. As a result, they might hunt in the opposite direction and eventually lose the trail again. That is not a problem however, as catching or killing an animal is not really the purpose of the hunt. In reality, dogs are often fed before the hunt which makes them slower and consequently less likely to catch fast-moving critters like hares. What counts is the time spent outdoors with the dogs.

It is hard to avoid the impression that most of the critics of hunting with hounds either live in urban areas or just moved to the countryside from a city. This usually means that they are missing the connection with the land and the wildlife. They only kind of understand the circle of life. They do not farm and are oblivious to issues like the necessity of predator control. The sight of a dead aminal is alien to them as they were comfortably isolated from such things while going about their city lives. However, if a fox snatched their cat or small dog they’d be up in arms that someone should do something about it! Then, I suspect, they would be much more tolerant of lethal fox population control.

No furry animals were hurt during the hunt.

Ted Kelleher ‏ @ShopFirstAid

Tommy’s Outdoors podcast and blog talks and promotes all things outdoors. From cycling and running, to hunting and fishing. If it takes place in the outdoors we got it covered. Some of these activities involve prolonged hours spent in sometimes remote outdoor locations. Moreover, they often require handling of mechanical devices or sharp objects. With all these factors combined, the risk of injury is higher in certain groups of outdoor enthusiasts. That is especially true if we add to the mix adverse weather conditions and physical exhaustion.

For those reasons, knowledge of basic first aid procedures is important. Also, having adequate first aid equipment at hand can make the critical difference between serious problems and a lucky recovery. It is part of Tommy’s Outdoors mission to spread the knowledge about basic safety procedures not only among our subscribers but to anyone who happens to come across our website or podcast. You never know when a piece of information grabbed online might come in handy in a time of distress.

It is no secret that modern publishing platforms like blogs or podcasts are powered by the unflagging popularity of social media platforms. Tommy’s Outdoors podcast is no different and we spend many hours every week interacting online with our listeners, readers and supporters. During those interactions, especially on Twitter, my attention was drawn to Ted Kelleher’s first aid shop. Ted came across as a calm, supportive and knowledgeable individual. I immediately noticed that the message that Ted has for his followers is very much aligned with the aforementioned part of Tommy’s Outdoors mission.

The content presented by Ted’s first aid shop ticks all the boxes in this regard. By following Shop FirstAid social media channels and by browsing his excellent online shop, outdoor enthusiasts can choose from a variety of safety-related gear. But that’s not all! Ted complements his offering with a collection of educational articles. From them we can learn, not only what first aid gear we might need in any given situation, but also how to use it. His blog talks about the prevention and treatment of simple injuries like cuts or sunburns. But, Ted also educates us about more complex and serious issues like Lyme disease or jellyfish stings. You will not find this anywhere else!

And so, if you are an outdoorsy type, who likes to venture a little further off the beaten track, please remember that Ted Kelleher’s Shop First Aid has you covered. Visit this great online resource to educate yourself about common problems and to understand what gear you might need. It goes without saying that once you have chosen the required equipment you can conveniently purchase it at Ted’s online shop. And once you’ve got yourself equipped for all eventualities, head back to Tommy’s Outdoors for more inspiration for your next outdoor adventure. See you in the outdoors!

First Aid Matters in the Great Irish Outdoors

This is a guest blog post by Catherine Kelleher



We are delighted to guest post about the importance of First Aid on “Tommy’s Outdoors”

Here in Ireland many of us enjoy outdoor activities from walking, hiking or biking to camping to adventure sports.

There is so much that our beautiful countryside here in Ireland offers. Getting away from it all is only a short drive away for most of us.

However many outdoor lovers do not consider being prepared in advance for an accident or an injury that could very easily occur whilst enjoying outdoor pursuits?

Us humans nowadays have busy lives – so much to do and so little time, so we don’t always prepare the way we should when it comes to factoring in first aid as a precaution in outdoor pursuits.

Whilst first aid is not a glamorous consideration it is an important one.

Accidents simply happen in life from minor to serious and in split seconds.

There is no point in adopting the attitude that “it won’t happen to me”.

Injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways in the great outdoors, and in split seconds.

Slip and fall/trip accidents are commonplace leading to injury ranging from minor to severe (fractures and broken bones and head injuries).

  • Muscle strains
  • Ankle sprains
  • Bad cuts and scrapes
  • Bad cuts-bleeding
  • Bad sunburn in the summer
  • or Hypothermia in the winter

Remember in the Irish Outdoors:

  • You are not exactly near a doctor or a hospital!
  • You may have no phone signal!
  • help can take a while to arrive

Prevention & Preparedness Matters
Planning properly for your outdoor adventures can minimize risks that are always involved with any outdoor activity. Although you can never really be 100-percent prepared for every potential situation that could happen, you can greatly reduce the risk of minor injuries turning into serious ones by having a first aid kit to help you treat an injury or sickness until help arrives or until you can get back to civilisation.

Aside from dealing with cuts, scrapes, blisters, muscle sprains and other minor injuries, a first aid kit helps to help keep an injuries stable until medical help becomes available.

First aid products help by preventing a situation getting worse until you can get proper medical assistance.

When medical assistance isn’t available, it’s especially important to know how to treat an injury. One simple blog post cannot teach you all of this but check this resource out online and download the PDF: because it’s a wealth of information

Wilderness and Remote First Aid – American Red Cross

How We Can Help
On our Website at Shop First Aid Products, we offer a variety of First Aid Kits and a wide variety of First Aid Products.

We have been operating in the first aid and hygiene sector in Ireland for over 20 years as a wholly owned and run Irish Company.

At https://shopfirstaidproducts.com you can purchase a variety of first aid kits. Incentives for shopping online with us include: No VAT on online orders, and free delivery when you spend €80 or more.

If you have any questions we can be reached on 026-42512

Happy New Year and Some Housekeeping Items

The new year has started and all the fuss and distractions of the Christmas holidays are behind us. In this short blog, I would like to address a few housekeeping items as we enter 2019. Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the excellent episode of the podcast, Forestry and Native Woodlands with Ciaran Nugent. The episode was published right after Christmas, so I’m afraid that many of you might have missed it. It should be appealing, not only for people interested in forestry and its history in Ireland, but also for those interested in shaping forestry policy for the future. I also think that hikers and hunters would benefit from giving it a listen, as it will help them to better understand the landscape they interact with.

We are going to continue to publish the podcast every other Wednesday even though I heard from a few of you, that the episodes are being published too often. That is a little surprising to me as I would ultimately like to settle into a weekly schedule. So, I’d be grateful if you would provide your thoughts on this in the comments below. For now, I am planning to publish no less than 30 episodes of the podcast this year. That, of course, means that I will be switching to a weekly schedule a few times, just like I did last year.

There are also a few other things that I am planning for this year. In the coming weeks, Tommy’s Outdoors website will undergo a refresh. The extent of it will depend on many factors, but the goal will be to improve the consistency of the look and feel. It also looks like it’s time to give the Tommy’s Outdoors logo a little facelift. My graphic designer will be delighted to hear that! Finally, I am planning to put together the very first Tommy’s Outdoors Live podcast. The final form and shape of that event is still very much a work in progress, but if you have any suggestions, or perhaps are interested in being in the audience, please leave a comment.

I wish you a great new year and many unforgettable moments in the outdoors.

Tommy’s Outdoors end of year summary

The year is coming to an end, so it is a good time for a quick review. Even though Tommy’s Outdoors podcast online presence reaches back to late 2016, this is the first year that I did it right.

In 2018 I launched Tommy’s Outdoors website and Tommy’s Outdoors YouTube channel. I established a regular schedule for publishing podcast episodes and blog posts. I discussed a wide variety of topics ranging from hunting and angling to the benefits of the outdoors for mental health, from cycling and running to flying drones and horseback riding, from marine conservation to the development of native woodlands, and the list goes on and on.

I am especially thankful for all of my regular listeners and readers who engage with Tommy’s Outdoors content. Your voice is being heard and your feedback is invaluable in developing the Tommy’s Outdoors brand. Please keep your comments coming!

In the coming year I will continue to work tirelessly to bring you the best information and discussions about any and all outdoors related topics. I would like to thank all of you for suggesting guests for future episodes. Rest assured that I will do my best to get them on the podcast.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
See you in the outdoors!