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).
Bait still works!
From the moans on my recent BLOG pages it will be obvious that so far this year my bass fishing has been severely limited. The relatively small amount that I have done has been a bit of a disaster. However, I'm nothing if not persistent and at last it has payed off. I'll tell the full story to show exactly what I mean:-
After the end of my winter/spring freshwater fishing period I started trying for bass in April and I determined to stick to freelining big baits at short range. These tactics have served me well with good sized bass in the past and I had a yen to catch some decent fish. It was looking like a mistake! I'd tried several short sessions at dawn but there was never anything doing. I was slightly reassured by the fact that my pals who were lure fishing were also having a bit of a thin time and the fish being caught were generally on the small side. It was not until a couple of weeks back that I even had a decent bite (two decent bites both missed). It was becoming a bit discouraging so I even had a dabble with a surface lure and caught a few smallish fish just to raise my spirits a bit.
Early this week I checked the tide tables and decided that it was about time to try another early morning bait trip. The evening before going I took a year-old frozen mackerel fillet (just the one - I'm thrifty) from the freezer and popped it into the old bucket in the boot of the car (it would be nicely thawed by the next morning). Before I went to bed I put out my chesties, waterproof jacket (it can be cool early on even in a heatwave), bait rod (the old faithful "Surespin"), a reel filled with 30lb braid, a metre or so trace of 20lb clear Amnesia and an 8/0 circle hook. I set the alarm for 03:30 and went to bed.
I drove in a leisurely fashion down to the coast as it's only too easy to run into a large animal in poor light, and experience shows that it doesn't do the creature or the car any good at all. There was plenty of 'wildlife' in evidence. In about twenty minutes I saw three roe deer, two foxes, a badger, a hare, a tawny owl and a few rabbits, very pleasant. I parked the car and nicked my big mackerel fillet twice through its thin end before setting off on my tramp along the rocks. When I arrived at my chosen mark I dumped the tackle bag well clear of the incoming tide and looked for a suitable boulder to sit on. I guess that the spring tide was already about a quarter of the way in and rising steadily when I made my first cast. There was a slight breeze but the sea was calm with just a bit of surface ruffle. I lobbed the bait a couple of metres out and leaving the bale arm open, lay the rod across my knees and holding a loop of line in my left hand I waited.
Thirty minutes or so passed without incident and although sunrise was still some time away it was now beginning to get quite light. "Was that a pluck?" I wasn't sure even though the braid transmits every tiny movement (I can sometimes feel seaweed flies bumping into the line). Anyway it certainly wasn't a bass run. Five minutes later there was a definite twitch and a few inches of line were taken by 'something'. Again no run developed but about ten metres to my left I noticed a swirl. At first I wasn't sure whether it was a submerged rock but then there was another swirl and a third one followed by a big silver flash. Clearly two or three bass were feeding in about half-a-metre of water close to the margin. I waited for another ten minutes but there was no bite and the swirls didn't come any closer so, assuming that the bait might have settled in an unsuitable spot, I reeled in and cast again towards where I'd seen the fish but a little further out so as not to disturb them. I drew the bait back a short distance, opened the bale arm and again I waited. Twitch, tug, tug, I let the line slip through my thumb and forefinger. Now it was going steadily and beginning to accelerate until the coils were streaming off at speed. I dropped the rod tip towards the running fish so as not to give a jerk on the line while I gently closed the bale arm. The line drew tight and as the rod began to curve round there was a mighty splash away to my right and the clutch buzzed sharply. At last I was in!
At once it was clear from the disturbance that it was a good bass and I played it carefully muttering to myself that I hoped it would stay on. It did and as I drew it closer and I could see the broad grey back and massive head in the clear water it was soon apparent that the circle hook had done its job and lodged in the region of the scissors. I was relieved that it was securely hooked and guided the fish away from the boulders to a gently sloping rocky ledge before sliding it into the shallow water. I measured the fish (70cm and very fat) and took a picture before unhooking it (safety first, I've had the odd one slip back before posing for its portrait) and then another 'selfie' shot - both pictures looked OK so I put the fish back in the water and nursed it for a minute or two until it shot away with a sweep of its tail. It made all my waiting worthwhile. Of course now I'm already hoping for a bigger one.
Still on the hook to avoid any accidental escape. What a cracker!
A fine, fat fish and not a bad selfie.
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