South Devon bass fishing – Recent catches on lures
Well the whitebait, sand-eels and Mackerel are jumping up the beaches and if you believe the papers, the sharks aren’t too far behind!! But its our very own ‘Great White’ the predatory Bass that is also following the Mackerel that interests me 😀
As you can see from the headline picture, it’s been a good couple of weeks Bass fishing with some decent fish coming to all types of lures. Firstly, I have to say ‘Thank you’ to my neighbour Rob, for not only did he agree to come shore lure fishing with me (he likes his boats) but he also took the fantastic main picture (and the one below just as I hooked a Bass) that is very prominent on my website. We also caught 2 Bass, although they were very small (one of which was barely larger than the Feed-Shallow it tried to gulp down) I wish I’d got a picture really…..
However it was a session I had on a mark where I ‘cut my teeth’ into lure fishing for Bass that I had my best session so far this year – Here’s the story.
I knew that some of my usual marks facing ‘West’ would be weeded out or extremely murky following the wind and rain we’ve had in Devon recently, so I decided to fish a bay that is sheltered from a westerly but where a decent swell can make for excellent Bass conditions – as my Uncle once told me, don’t bother fishing here unless the waves are crashing up the beach! So even though it is a good 50 minute drive from me, I knew it would be worth it.
Good conditions forecast…..
I was somewhat surprised initially to see that although there was a swell running into the bay, it wasn’t quite as big as a I’d expected. But considering it was only 2 hours into the flood and with the weather forecast claiming the wind was going to increase to 20 mph I wasn’t too concerned.
As I crunched along the beach and through a gully that I’d walked through a good few hundred times I noticed that there was an awful lot of bird activity… were the Mackerel in? I’d only said to a lady I met walking back from a session last week that we’d need a good stormy spell to bring them in and here they were.
So it was with a great deal of excitement, anticipation and a couple of shiny new lures that I made my first cast with a Red-Gill Evo (in white) that I bought here (matching the hatch so to speak) varying the retrieve between very slow, very quick, bouncing it on the bottom and it was after the 5th cast that a Bass grabbed at the lure at the very last second (see below) – It was only around 2 lb but put up a nice fight considering it had been hooked at my feet pretty much. As you can see, the sun was shining at this point but the wind, cloud and swell were gradually starting to build.
Now I’ve fished with a lot surface lures over the years, with the mighty Chugbug a firm favourite of mine but without doubt (and I know a lot of other bloggers/guides say this) I really think the finest surface lure out there is the small Xorus Frosty ‘Patchinko’ in the 500g colour that I buy from here At 15.5grams, if you’ve never fished with one, you would not believe how well these things cast – even into a head wind.
Furthermore, I would go so far as to say that if you were to only have one surface lure in your armoury, then this should be it. Still matching the hatch, this particular pattern looks and acts on a tap tap (rod down in this instance) steady retrieve more like a dying sand-eel on the surface than a…. dying sand-eel on the surface!
South Devon Bass fishing at it’s best…
As the swell started to increase with the flooding tide, a gully that had previously looked fairly benign was now teething with foaming surf. The sky had also darkened in the last 20 minutes and the sea had taken on that lovely greeny hue with the clarity restricted to about 2 ft.
I had an inkling that the Bass might be holding up in a zone very close to my initial stance so I clambered a few steps further down the (large) rock that I was standing on and cast directly up into a gully and started tapping the small Patch towards me. Almost instantly, a Bass came up and knocked the lure clear out of the water – they were there!! The next cast was grabbed in exactly the same spot (same fish?) but was it only about a pound and a half and was easily hoisted up the rock edge – I then caught a further 2 Bass from exactly the same area both of which were the same size.
Give it a rest!
I decided to ‘rest’ the area for about 10 minutes while I had a snack which proved to be a good idea as this next Bass (seen below) smashed the lure just as it was about to be washed onto the main rock that I was standing on some 15 yards to my right.
It is amazing how close to the rocks Bass will feed in rough conditions. I was casting slightly beyond the ‘feeding zone’ and bringing the lure towards the edge of ‘my rock’so to ensure the correct presentation – something that is often critical when fishing with surface lures or soft plastics.
This beautiful near 5 lb Bass actually swam towards me initially, before trying to take me around a finger of rock (I’ve lost a few fish to this bugger I tell you) before I managed to grab it.
A few more casts into the same area didn’t bring anymore boils on the surface so I decided to try a few casts out onto the sand that runs out from this mark with a Fiiish Minnow 12g, a HTO Artic Eel 20g and the Savage Gear Sand-eel all to no avail – which did surprise me actually…
Never discount the ebbing tide or a very cheap lure!!
The tide had just reached its peak and was starting to ebb (which on this mark generally signals another run of Bass) therefore I decided to try something different. Onto the Delande lure clip went a lure that I bought for £5.99 from my local petrol station come hardware store, newsagent, bakery, water sports shop – good old Ashby’s of East Charleton found here. The lure was an Abu Tormentor jointed minnow 30g, 130cm see here that I thought resembled the small Mackerel that were now chopping at whitebait in a frenzy behind me so I thought ‘what the hell’…
Casting the plug into the previous ‘hotspot’ I started cranking it (literally) towards me… Just as I was about to lift it from the crashing swell, right under the rod tip a good Bass (4 lb) made a last-ditch attempt but failed to hit the lure. Extremely excited, I cast out 15 yards again into exactly the same spot between 2 large rocks – just at the intersection of where another gully meets the flow at right angles to the one I was casting into when I had an all mighty whack on the rod (come on!!).
The rod bent right over and the reel started singing as the Bass made the most of the swell moving strongly to my left, but happily (from my perspective) away from the finger of rocks… After a really decent tussle (in which the Bass took line on 3 or 4 occasions) as the swell was now quite strong I allowed the Bass to swim through a small gap in the rocks into a quiet gully behind me before grabbing it firmly.
It was at this point that I noticed another lure angler watching me from a cove behind me that turned out to be a guy called Danny Parkins. He is a Wrasse lure fishing nut who later that evening took a Wrasse on a Fiiish Minnow close to 7lb from a beach! see his details here and the picture of that fish.
The stunning Bass below looks bigger here than in the headline picture, but it is the same fish 😉 and it is proof that you don’t need to spend 15 -20 quid on lures to be successful.
Although the fish above was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening, I took a further 3 Bass in the 1 – 2 lb bracket on the Red-Gill Evo (in white) and Savage Gear Sand-eels. 9 Bass in total with 2 Wrasse (which loved the Savage Gear incidentally) and a rather plump Mackerel (no wonder) mean’t it had been a cracking session in near perfect conditions.
To top it all off, I had a good chat with Danny and his mate and my Mother cooked me sausage, egg and chips as I was passing their place on the way home! Can’t be bad can it…..
Part 3 (Quiet rocky/weedy bays) of my ‘How to find and fish Bass marks’ series coming up next time.