Catching bass (and wrasse) on lures from south Devon
Now I’ll admit, the bass in the image below is just a tiddler! But what a beautiful fish all the same, and proof that you can catch Bass on lures (the Maria Chase in Black Chrome that you can buy here) in very sunny calm conditions.
Another type of fish that absolutely loves to nail anything that comes close to its lair, particularly in bright/calm conditions is the Wrasse – check out this one below that grabbed my Z Man Elaztech soft plastic (in the smokey shad colour). As my Wife said when she saw the picture “it looks radio-active” but I can assure you there hasn’t been a nuclear accident in the South Hams! It weighed just under 3 lb and really took me by surprise as I was only really testing the lure out. It floats on the surface initially but dips and swims 6 inches beneath it with a nice slalom movement when retrieved – pefect for those really nasty weedy, shallow venues.
Next up was a session on one of my most predictable marks. This is a long promontory of rock that is only accessible on low tides below 1.4m (Yealm Entrance scale) and only really fishable for the first 1 and a half hours of the tide – depending on how rough the sea is. What first attracted me to it was the way it juts out in the tidal flow and the smaller ‘islands’ of rock around it mixed with a sandy seabed. For these reasons it is possible to fish it with a variety of lures (soft plastics bumped along the bottom is my favourite method) and it just screams Bass.
The Bass in the picture below was hooked on what was my last cast (as I knew the tide was flooding quickly into a gully I have to cross behind me) aimed parallel and very close (1 ft) to the main rock formation and straight up a sandy gully. The sea was extremely clear which makes me theorise that the Bass might have been holding tight to the rocks to aid their ambushing of the smaller prey perhaps? Additionally, they appear to use the this route/gully to consistently transit the myriad of smaller ‘islands’ here on their way to the really rocky/weedy bay close to this mark.
The fish was caught on a Maria Chase (rainbow/cotton candy colour) lure and really smashed it just after a swell had moved through – it was one of those moments when you just know you’re going to get a hit.. Incidentally, it really wolfed down the lure and took a good 5 minutes to revive before swimming off strongly – hence the odd angle of the horizon. I was keen to get it back in the water so I don’t know what it weighed – just over 3 lb I reckon.
Short session on the ‘Bug’
My next short session was with the lures on a similar mark that has really got me scratching my head!? I catch Bass here on a fairly regular basis and again it has that mixture of deepish (6 – 8 ft) of water encompassing gullies interspersed with rocks the size of cars.
What is confusing is that there are actually 3 very ‘Bassy’ looking marks that I can cast into from more or less the same stance (sounds great in theory). But I sometimes feel that I’m missing a trick by rotating where I do cast as I’m almost spoilt for choice. The problem really is that I want a lure fishing through each of these spots at the same time – the perfect guiding Bass spot perhaps, or maybe I should just concentrate on one spot per tide? Time will tell…
The fish below was only around 2lb 8oz and took a Storm Chug Bug that was being ‘chugged’ in the waves/disturbance during the moments when the swell moved through. It was caught between the large rocks (on the left) and the rock in the middle of the picture below.
Finally, another lovely afternoon was spent searching out a new venue that I hope to use for guiding purposes in the future. Fantastic conditions greeted me with an overcast sky, a 2ft swell moving through on an ebbing tide this time.
The Hokkaido Metsuki (Silver Bullet) that you can buy here did the business here, fished nice and tight to a reef that was being exposed by the tide. It measured 54cm which seems to be the average size of the Bass around at the moment – will Autumn or a decent late Summer storm bring in the big ones?
Sorry my eyes are closed in this picture, I had a feeling that the Bass were around and I was keen to get this one measured, photographed and back to come and haunt me in 10 years time (when its double – treble the size!).
My next blog will be part 2 of my 6 part series – all about finding and fishing your own Bass marks – Part 2 is about gullies.