Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


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Peas in a pod?

I was talking to my pal Alan Vaughan on the phone the other day and he mentioned the possibility that bass may sometimes shoal up in same sex groups. Of course it doesn't matter much to the angler whether the fish on the end of his line is a male or a female bass. However, male fish are usually smaller than females and certainly they don't achieve the same ultimate size, so there is a possibility that fish may gather into schools which are not only the same sex but also of similar size.

Now I expect every one has, at times caught a succession of bass which were like peas in a pod. I had an example just the other day. I was having and evening's fishing with my pals Ben and Phil. First I missed a fish then I had a tiddler of a pound or so, then Phil had one the same, then he had another just a touch heavier. We all missed afew bites which were almost certainly small fish like the ones we caught. Now these fish were small enough to be distinctive and they were caught from a spot where bigger fish are often taken. It seemed clear that on the evening in question only very small fish were present in the area. The bites were often ten or fifteen minutes apart and we were spread over a hundred metres or so of shoreline so it was not just a matter of casting into a single shoal of tiddlers.

Of course it's often said that big bass go about in small groups and the very term 'schoolie' suggests that the little ones hang together in big shoals. Clearly this is not the whole story because it is not unusual to catch fish of very different sizes on successive casts. Presumably, when there is a big supply of food (small fish, woodlice, maggots etc.) shoals of fish which are different sizes gather to make hay while the sun shines. We know so little about bass behaviour that it would be very interesting to hear of other angler's experiences regarding same size or same sex shoals and it might even give us a clue how to catch more or larger fish.

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


Ben and Phil - hard at it.'

A very small bass.

This one took my plug fiercely and fought hard for its size.'

Close up.

Just as attractive as its big brothers and sisters (but not quite as welcome).'