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).
More bass and lost bass.
Following the productive bass session that my pal Martyn and I had last week we couldn't resist another go. This time, a couple of days later, instead of fishing the evening we went just after first light. Of course there's never any guarantee that the fish will still be about and sure enough it was different. This time there was less drifting weed in the water and it was almost flat calm. When we started fishing we were, not surprisingly, each using the lures which had been successful on the previous session. This time it was Martyn who was straight into fish and it wasn't long before he'd landed a couple of modest bass while I hadn't had a sniff. Since there was no need to avoid weed I switched to a shallow diving plug and there was an immediate improvement. One bass after another flung itself at the plug as I slowly made my way along the beach looking for concentrations of feeding fish. It was soon obvious where to fish because the bass were driving shoals of sprats up onto the shingle and the gulls were gathering to eat the little stranded fish.
Before long I'd landed nine bass, all between one ond three pounds but good fun on the spinning gear. At this point Martyn had walked along to where I was fishing and said that since his initial success he hadn't caught any more. Shortly afterwards I hooked and landed another small fish and at this point I decided to have a change. The rationale behind changing my lure was that (a) It was calm and windless and (b) I hadn't used a surface lure for ages. I rummaged in the bag and found a 10cm Yo Zuri slider which I clipped on in place of the shallow diving plug. First cast there was a small explosion of water as a bass grabbed the lure very close to the water's edge. Fantastic! It brought back all the excitement of surface fishing and when I caught a second fish shortly afterwards it was reinforced. The next (and my last) bite of the session was a larger bass but after taking some line it came unstuck - isn't that always the way with fishing?
A few days later I had a call from another pal Bill Fagg: he said he was going to do a spot of spinning from the rocks so I arranged to meet him in the car park. We arrived simultaneously and both of our rods were armed with soft plastics - Bill's a weighted Slug-Gill and mine a larger unweighted Slandra. We trudged along having the odd cast into likely spots but it was pretty windy and choppy so most areas were on the murky side. Eventually we came to a broad ledge where the water was clearer and a lively surf was rolling across the flat rocks. It was some time since I'd fished this particular ledge and it was clear that my unweighted, wriggly plastic wasn't going to be castable against the wind. Again I opened the bag and the first thing to catch my eye in the lure box was the slider I'd been using a few days earlier. I recalled successful sessions of previous years under the same sort of conditions so on went the surface lure again. I should say at this point that the particular lure was armed with heavy 4x trebles for it's previous incarnation as a lure for tropical powerhouses such as jacks. Now this may have nothing to do with the subsequent events but to be honest I can't be sure.
I hadn't been fishing for more than a few minutes when I found myself playing a small bass; after a short time it came off. I muttered the usual expletive and began to cast again. It wasn't long before I was in again and I called to Bill who was standing a few metres from me that I had a fish. Blow me down, within a few seconds the fish came off again, this time it was close enough for me to see that it was again just a couple of pounds. Bill was still using his leaded softbait but I could see that he was thinking about a change. It was probably five or ten minutes before my lure was taken again. This time it was monstered and unlike its predecessors this fish raced out to sea with the clutch screaming. Again I called to my pal and he stopped fishing to come an assist and/or take a few pictures. This fish was clearly of a different magnitude to anything else we'd seen for a while. Three times I turned it and three times it set off on another twenty metre run - amazing stuff! Now I was winning and I was blessing the fact that I had the strong hooks on my lure. Bill stood close by as I gradually worked the fish closer in the foaming surf. The bass was only a couple of rod lengths away now but still pretty lively. It thrashed wildly on the surface, near enough for me to see that it was a beauty - and came off! I was gutted. It's pretty unusual for a bass to escape after being played for so long and I had been fairly confident that I would land it but that's fishing. In short order I hooked and this time landed two schoolies neither of which would come off the lure without the use of pliers - ironic eh?
After a few more casts we left the ledge and fished our way along for another few hundred metres but there was nothing doing so we returned to the site of our success and I had one more missed bite and landed the smallest bass of the session on my popper. Bill's lure (he did change) had only produced one small bass. It's fairly unusual for me to catch more than my pal and I think it was simply a matter of the right lure at the right time. Pity about that big fish though.
A bass from the shingle on my shallow diving plug.
....and another one.
The sprats left high and dry after a bass attack.
Bill's solitary bass from the surf after a change of lures.
I'm in again on the slider.
Small bass and trebles can be a tricky combination to unhook.
The old slider that did the damage - note the stout hooks.
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