Catching bass on lures – The marks, the methods and recent success
Over the last 3 – 4 weeks the weather has been, as we’ve all experienced, very mixed with downpours and heavy mists yet on occasions, some very clear skies. However, the general wind direction has been onshore for a lot of my marks. Therefore, as per my previous post I’ve tried to concentrate my efforts during short sessions on marks that have fished particularly well for me in recent seasons, in addition to one other mark that I’d love to ‘work out’.
The fish below (sorry, the picture was taken with my mobile balanced precariously above a rock pool, hence missing half of my head off!) was taken on an ebbing tide, on the very first cast into a really tasty looking gully, with a mostly sandy bottom.The fish absolutely nailed my sandeel imitation hokkaido metsuki 130F in the silver bullet pattern that you can buy here and put up a tremendous scrap in what were calm/clear conditions in the early evening – it weighed 4lb 6oz.
This particular mark is only reachable/accessible around 2 1/2 hours after high water on the ebb, on a moderate spring tide or for the first 2 1/2 hours on the flood. Essentially its the type of mark where you’re stalking the bass, hoping that they’re holding around a particular tiny reef just waiting for some unsuspecting bait fish or prawn to get swished around in the slight turmoil between the rocks. It’s basically the type of mark where you nail a bass first cast, or you have to continually cast into it over a long period (1-2 hours) with a view to the fish moving through and coming to you – a mark that I need to fish more in order to get the best out of it. Ultimately, I was really happy to catch this one as it’s the largest bass I’ve taken from this particular spot.
A couple of days after this, the conditions looked extremely good with the wind having swung around and freshened to create some excellent onshore conditions, with a nice run of intermittent ‘swell’ waves – meaning the type of conditions where it is flat calm for 3 -4 minutes and then 5 or 6 3-4ft waves suddenly move in. I think this creates really nice conditions, as you can imagine all the bait fish, gobies, crabs and prawns being suddenly washed out of their lairs… Additionally, the water clarity had become slightly murkier with high cloud making the sun somewhat hazy.
I had the afternoon to myself therefore, I tried a variety of marks on a flooding spring tide. The end result was 3 bass, all around the 3lb mark, taken in 3 separate marks, on 3 different lures. The first mark is only fishable on the first hour (sometimes 1 1/2 if it isn’t too rough) on spring tides. Again, it is effectively a gully with a sandy bottom with a reef about 30 yards out, only 1ft under the surface, that creates that beautiful foaming, frothing sea when a wave has crashed over it. However the really interesting thing about this mark is just how close the bass will swim ‘parallel’ to the main rocks on the flood.
The first Bass took a savage gear Panic Prey surface lure (in white) just as the sea was calming down following a run of swell waves.The second bass was taken on the very edge of a finger of rock and actually took the lure (hokkaido metsuki 130F) as it was stopped just as I was adjusting my Polaroid sunglasses – I was amazed that the bass didn’t see me to be honest, as I was perched relatively high up above the swell.
The third bass (see picture below) was taken from what is probably my favourite mark of all time – I’ve had more bass over 5 lb from here than any other spot. It is shallow (3 -4ft at around half tide on a medium spring), with narrow gullies that connect the rock pools filled with gobies/prawns and the like – the reef being about the same size as a tennis court. When I catch a bass from here it is nearly always over 3lb and nearly always caught on a surface lure zipped around or a soft plastic trotted around in the flow. Very rarely will I catch a bass on a hard minnow type lure cast across the flow – fishing the with the flow yes, and by using the natural direction of the waves, also yes.
Now this is significant, as when a spring tide is flooding the flow can move through at a fair here, so I figure the bass just use the current to move through quickly – basically gulping down anything it sees as an easy meal. To make the point, the 5lb + Bass at the top of this feature was taken a couple of years ago from this mark with a Tacklehouse Feedshallow (mullet) that I had simply lobbed 2 yards, just to see what the action was like when it was grabbed. I must have literally just put the lure on the nose of the fish! Unfortunately it was one of those fights from a bass where it doesn’t realise it’s hooked and just wallows on the surface rather that heading off like a train.
The bass in the picture below nailed an OSP DoLive Stick that I was simply staying in contact with, casting it up current and letting it drift back towards my stance, with a very occasional twitch – more to ensure it hadn’t washed under a rock than anything else, and to keep it moving through the current as naturally as possible – you pretty much always get a very positive take wen using these brilliant lures.
The third (and largest) Bass of the session
All in all, this was a lovely afternoon to be out lure fishing for bass. There wasn’t a soul around and I enjoyed a well-earned pint before I drove home – I didn’t tell the missus that bit!! More catch reports very soon.
A fantastic day out lure fishing – right, time for a pint!