Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
A bit early for bass?
While I was away visiting my family in Brazil my pal Bill continued fishing for bass here in Dorset. Of course, mid-winter isn't usually the best time for lure fishing but Bill's persistent and doesn't let one or two blanks put him off. By the time we returned, in late February, I was surprised to discover that not only had my pal been fishing but he had also been catching. Bill's favourite lures are the Slug-Gills which he devised and makes himself and the 'Evo Stix' version of his lures now manufactured by 'Redgill'. Most of his (many) bass are caught on these lures in all parts of the season and he kept flogging away with them through the cold months. In February his stamina payed off and he began to catch bass. By the time I was back in Wareham and able to join him for an hour on the shore he'd already landed eight bass including a couple of really nice fish in the five to six pound class. Well deserved!
Of course when you go fishing you invariably see wildlife and other clues as to where there might be fish. On one of his mid-February sessions Bill had found masses of Coelopa pupae ('casters') on the shore and there was even a dense slick of maggots in the sea. Needless to say the mullet had also found these choice morsels but Bill ignored them and stuck to his bassing. As a matter of interest I'd always known that seaweed fly maggots were present in weed middens throughout the year but, as a rule, the mullet and bass are not about (or are not inclined) to feed on them in the cold water. Clearly this year was a bit different.
Anyway, on my return, it was a few days before I managed to sort everything out and prepare for a fishing trip. My first session was when I joined Bill for an hour or so one evening, just as the light was failing. It was almost high water when we arrived and we opted to fish close to where we parked the car. Bill was using his trusty Slug-Gill and I put on a good sized, unweighted Slandra. The sea was pretty flat and only slightly coloured - it seemed perfect. For fifteen minutes or so we cast and retrieved our lures with no sign of anything then I had a furtive pluck which I failed to hook although it was obviously a fish. Encouraged we pressed on but there was no further action for a while. It was easy fishing and there seemed to be no weed in the water so I decided to switch lures from the weedless soft plastic to a J11 buoyant Rapala (they are still as effective as anything if the bass are about). It was five or ten minutes later that I suddenly felt the rod kick and found myself playing (well reeling in anyway) a very small bass. My first of the year. We didn't catch any more but each of us missed a couple of bites, presumably from tiddlers like the one I had caught. All in all I thought it was a good way to start the season, at least it was a fish - and let's face it the bass can only get bigger!
Pupae of Coelopa frigida both mullet and bass will gobble these.
An early season slick of maggots - mullet caviare.
One of Bill's February bass caught on an Evo Stix.
... and a bigger one!
My first bass of the year. Small ones typically nip the tail end of the lure.
Just a tiddler but you can see I was pleased. Thanks for the picture Bill!
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