Shooting for Hunters

Following on the success of our HCAP video series, I decided to extract the shooting positions footage and present it in the form of a few separate videos. I hope that these can be found more easily and used by people interested in shooting in general. After all, shooting is an outdoors activity! So there you have it.

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Episode 43: Sinn Féin with Toiréasa Ferris

You probably look at the title of this podcast and wonder what is going on? So I feel like a little disclaimer is in order. It is far from my intention to be canvassing for one political party or another. Instead, I want outdoors enthusiasts to be aware of how their support for various political options might impact the activities they love.

I hope this will be the first of many podcasts in which I get to talk with representatives of different political parties and ask questions about issues that are of vital interest to outdoorsmen and women. In this episode we talk about the protection of the natural environment, tackling biodiversity loss and climate change, greenways and cycling infrastructure, farming, land access, overfishing, the role of NGOs and much more.

Finally, if you or someone you know is a member of a political party who would be happy to sit down with me for an hour and talk, please do not hesitate to contact me through one of the many channels available. I would love to continue the series and inform fellow outdoors-people about the views of different political parties and their representatives towards the issues important to us.

Episode 42: Irish Angling Adventures with James Raymond

This is another episode of the podcast dedicated to sea angling. Our guest is James Raymond, the man behind the website Irish Angling Adventures. I had a great time talking with James about all things sea angling. As a seasoned angler myself, I could quickly tell that James is a hardcore sea angler like many of my friends. Yes, he is one of those folks who spend silly amounts of time on the shore chasing fish with a rod and line. And at Tommy’s Outdoors we love them for that! During our conversation, we discuss the secrecy of fishing marks, angling etiquette, overfishing, sea angling safety, and many other angling related issues. James also shares with us stories from his fishing trip to the Norwegian island of Vega. It is a great episode for hardcore anglers by hardcore anglers. And once you are done listening to the podcast, don’t forget to check out the Instagram page @irish_angling_adventures where you can find many inspiring angling photos.

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.

Episode 41: Fish and Stay with Luke Aston

This episode of the podcast is especially close to my heart as our guest is my friend and seasoned charter skipper, Luke Aston. I have spent many hours at sea on a purpose-built, first-class sea angling boat, Clare Dragoon, skippered by Luke and operated by Carrigaholt Sea Angling Centre. If that sparks your interest then, just after listening to the podcast, you should visit Fish and Stay website, where you can book not only a sea fishing trip with Luke but also a whole holiday package that includes meals and accommodation. One thing is for sure when it comes to sea angling, it doesn’t get any better than this.

HCAP – Hunter Competence Assessment Program – Range Test

This is the second of a two-part video series where we discuss the HCAP exam. In this video, we deal with the Range Test portion of the exam. You will learn what to expect and how to prepare. We also show you correct shooting positions, demonstrated by a veteran army sniper, Aaron Turner, from the Wild Atlantic Game hunting service.

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Episode 40: Pleistocene Megafauna with Richard Doran Sherlock

This episode of the podcast is going to take you back in time to the Pleistocene epoch of the Quaternary period, an epoch often referred to as the Ice Age. Our guest is Richard Doran Sherlock who has a particular interest in Quaternary science and megafaunal collapse. Over the years Richard has worked in many capacities including research for rewilding projects and not-for-profit groups.

Since I also have a keen interest in natural history I was really glad when Richard accepted my invitation to the podcast. So, it is my pleasure to present to you an episode where we talk about Pleistocene megafauna and have a healthy discussion about what might have caused its extinction. We also touch briefly on rewilding, a topic to which we may devote an episode of its own.

Cover photo by Ciaran McNamee