Tackle and Tactics
"What am I doing wrong??"
Since I began doing this website I have had thousands of emails from other anglers. Many of them were extremely interesting and stimulated fascinating exchanges of ideas. However, perhaps the commonest message is along the lines of "I read all the books and really liked the idea of using lures for sea angling. I've now been spinning for a couple of years and all I've managed to land is a couple of schoolies. What am I doing wrong?"
Usually the senders of these pleas were using decent rods and reels. Often they had spent quite a bit equipping themselves with plugs, poppers, shads, spoons and wedges - all, apparently, to no avail.
Now it is always difficult to give a sensible answer to these questions but looking back over my replies they tend to follow a pattern. Assuming that there is no glaring problem (such as using lures with no hooks or fishing in the local duck pond) I generally try to bolster the confidence of the person involved. Then I list an appropriate set of what I can only call the ten (there could be more) commandments of bass fishing. I've decided that it could be useful to summarise these in a list for anyone who might be interested. Of course, no one can catch fish if they are not there and everyone has blanks from time to time - so don't despair if things seem a bit slow. Consistant results only come with practice and experience and there's only one way to achieve them.
(1) Thou shalt get permission from thy better half before going fishing (this won't catch you any more bass but it might allow you to wangle a few more trips).
(2) Thou shalt NOT ignore SHALLOW WATER (as little as half-a-metre or less)
(3) Thou shalt seek out ROCKY, WEEDY & MIXED GROUND.
(4) Thou shalt use shallow diving buoyant plugs (Rapala J11F or similar) and poppers (Duel Magnet Slider or similar) in snaggy spots and thus try to avoid the trauma of losing fifty quids worth of lures on your first trip.
(5) Thou shalt NOT use stupid (too heavy or too light) line for spinning (nylon of 8-10lb BS or braid of 15-30lb BS are quite suitable)
(6) Thou shalt not use huge swivels or useless clips for attaching lures (the smallest links you can get (20-40 lb BS) are more than adequate.
(7) Thou shalt try and fish THE TAKING TIMES (first and last light - even if it means getting up at three o'clock in the morning or earlier in mid-summer).
(8) Thou shalt fish MOVING WATER (strong tidal flows or rough seas - white water is often a good sign).
(9) Thou shalt always sharpen and test the points on thy hooks.
(10) Thou shalt always check thy knots before fishing.
Now I know that this is a bit of a joke but believe me it's all good advice. The key tips to follow if you are seeking bass are are numbers 2,3,7 and 8. Of course there will often be fish to catch in the middle of the day, or in twenty feet of water, or over a sandy bottom or when it is glassy calm but to get you started stick to the ten commandments and you won't go far wrong. Also just remember to keep your eyes peeled for signs of feeding fish and that the first fish is always the hardest.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ten Commandments.
Turbulent water running off a ledge.
The old faithful.