Catching bass on lures – Where did I go wrong?

Catching bass on lures – Where did I go wrong?

I really want to go fishing!

So you’ve spent the evenings reading/re-reading your collection of fishing magazines, books and blog articles on how to catch bass on lures.  You’ve checked the weather forecast for the umpteenth time – much to your other halves displeasure… You’ve checked that all your shiny new lures are in their place, the car is packed and you’ve remembered your wading boots! Or is it just me who seems to do this!

You’re struggling to sleep the night before, as you’ve been looking forward to being out on the coastline, the wind on your face – even the spray of that wave you didn’t quite judge… You get out onto the shoreline, be it the rock or beach of your choice, yet despite casting hour after hour you catch… nothing.

On the way home you play it over in your mind, waiting for the inevitable ‘so did you catch anything?’ from your family and friends.  You felt confident today, you couldn’t wait to be out there, but did you really expect to catch a bass on the lure? They’ve outwitted you, you say to yourself… In total fairness, it could be down to a multitude of reasons why you didn’t catch.

Put the odds in your favour

So what could you have done to enhance your chances? Put the odds in your favour! If you’re going through a bit of a barren run, the confidence can soon drain away in that you start to question your own techniques, methods and ability. However, by going back to the basics you can quickly turn things around.

There are things you can do to like:

  • Read back over all of your notes  – if you don’t keep any then start straight away.
  • If possible (around other commitments) pick a building, flooding spring tide to conduct your next trip.

So lets cover these two ideas:

Reading back over your notes –  If you don’t yet take any then start by making a list of the following:

  1. Tide Height (4.6m for example) Low/High water times
  2. Flood or Ebb – what did you fish?
  3. Weather conditions (crucially also note the previous days conditions too)
  4. The wind speed and direction
  5. Air and sea temperature
  6. Time of day (0600 – 1000 for example)
  7. Moon phase (more on that in a future blog)
  8. Water clarity – Extremely important
  9. Marks fished – Exact locations (give them names that only you recognise)
  10. Any other notes  – anything that seems significant like bird or seal movement/follows/other fish caught (Wrasse/Pollack especially)

If you do keep notes, then the hope is that something jumps out like the following:

  1. A lure that used to consistently catch, but got lost in your collection after it failed once/twice on the bounce.
  2. A venue that ‘let you down’ but could now be worth a try once again, at a different time of the season perhaps.
  3. A particular set of tides (2-4 days before a new moon or the highest of the spring tides for instance).
  4. The weather conditions the previous days before a successful trip – maybe it was flat calm with an offshore wind for 3 days, then it swung around to Force 6 directly onshore.

Pick a building, flooding spring tide  – Remember, put the odds in your favour.

Now I’m not for one second saying that bass will only take lures under these circumstances – lots of my venues are in fact, ebb tide marks.  However, I truly believe that fishing under the conditions below will enhance your chances if you’re stuck in a rut:

  1. A building tide – as in building gradually from the lowest neap high tide, up to the highest spring tide.
  2. A sea has ‘movement to it’ preferably a 2-4 ft swell, or regular similarly sized waves.
  3. Look for a weather pattern whereby it has been flat calm for days on end and a weather system is just about to move in, bringing strong (enough to create the wave conditions above) onshore winds.
  4. If its been flat calm for a good while, then the sea should have decent to excellent clarity.  I use a scale of 1 – 10. 1 being murky as hell (chocolate if you like) and 10 being crystal clear – ideally you’re looking for 4 – 8 conditions.
  5. Really concentrate on the 3rd and 4th hours of the flood, regardless of whether this is at the crack of dawn, midday or late evening. If the conditions are right the bass won’t mind it being in broad daylight (another blog subject for later no doubt).
  6. Fish what has been your most consistent mark or marks in that short time period of the tide – not somewhere completely new to you.


How do I catch Bass

By going almost ‘back to basics’ you can enhance your chances.

Good luck and thank you for reading my very first blog post.

Marc Cowling







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