Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page


Having mentioned countdown plugs in part 8 brings us to the subject of casting distance. Most shore caught bass are close in. This is one of the oldest bits of sea fishing lore and has been repeated in fishing books and magazines since the year dot. Unlike much of the myth and legend associated with angling authors it is more or less true. Certainly it is easy, when bait fishing, to cast too far. However, there will be times when the fish are showing well beyond the range of conventional lures. What can you do about it?

Even with braided lines, which are gossamer thin, it is difficult to cast most buoyant lures more than thirty or forty metres. Of course, if the wind is at your back (offshore) you may be able to flick a balsa plug into the air and let it sail out to sea. There is also the possibility of using helpful tides or currents to drift a 'floater' out to the fish. These conditions are the exception rather than the rule. More likely the fish will be showing sixty metres out, the wind will be in your face and the current will be flowing in the wrong direction.

It is possible to attach an uptrace weight of some kind in front of almost any lure. This is a fairly clumsy solution to the problem but can be useful. Advantages of adding a ball or barrel lead (or a weighted float) ahead of your lure include the fact that it will not easily snag the bottom and secondly it will tend to pick up bits of drifting debris before they hang up on the lure itself. On the debit side this approach is clumsy, needs careful casting technique and the lure may often fold back onto the line during the cast.

The ideal then is to have all the casting weight incorporated in the lure. Metal lures such as wedges, pirks and slim spoons are the ultimate long casting devices but they nearly all require a fast retrieve to avoid snags if the water is shallow. Fast winding is not always compatible with catching fish. There are a number of alternatives to the traditional hunk of metal. My personal favourite is a rubber eel (Redgill, Delta, etc.) with a barrel 'lead' shoved up its behind. Even with a substantial amount of weight inside it one of these soft, wiggly lures has enough water resistance to be retrieved very slowly without sinking too deep in the water. Rubber lures are often deadly bass attractors.

More recently 'Bass Bullets' were introduced into Britain. These are essentially spindle shaped bits of wood with a metal core. They cast like rockets (or bullets) and because of the profile of the lure they rise up towards the surface even on a slow retrieve. Bass bullets are armed with one treble at the back end - not the ideal position for hooking side swiping fish - but they do catch bass. When you have to cast into the teeth of a gale, the water is shallow and the bottom is rough, it is handy to have one or two of these in your bag.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Spinning from the shore.


Plug casting.

A strong onshore wind can make casting difficult.  Chest waders may help to reach the fish.

A bass taken on a weighted Redgill.

The fish were a fair way out but near the surface.

Weighted Redgill.

The lead is visible through the translucent body of the lure.

Nigel took this nice bass on a Bass Bullet.

The fish took at dawn, hence the poor light and grainy picture.

Bass Bullet.

Although the lure is heavy the body contours make it fish near the surface.