What does a ‘guided’ Bass fishing session with me involve?

What does a ‘guided’ Bass session with me involve?

I’ve been getting quite a few queries in relation to exactly what my ‘Bass Guiding Service’ involves and what I provide therefore, I thought I would write a post explaining the following:

  • What do you get for your money
  • My Client Booking form
  • My Insurance Disclaimer/Liability release forms
  • My Health and Safety brief
  • My Risk Assessment
  • Rods, reels and lures at your disposal
  • What happens on the mark

What do you get for your money

  1. Professional and expert guidance, tuition and advice on all things related to Bass lure and/or bait fishing. This includes advice on how to identify your own potential Bass marks and fishing ground, casting tuition (not fly), how to choose the right lure to suit the conditions and guidance on the what tackle to buy if you wish. Put simply, I aim to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant session and that, even if we fail to catch a Bass, you walk away having learned a great deal from the experience of me guiding you.
  2. I have extensive experience of Search and Rescue assets by working within Distress and Diversion operations rooms, including the use of VHF radios – Importantly, I know how to react in an emergency situation.
  3. I do not and will not fish when I am guiding clients – I firmly believe that I cannot give you my undivided attention, or keep you safe from the elements (the sea) if I am not concentrating completely on you.
  4. Ultimately, you are utilising my hard earned extensive knowledge and experience over 31 years of fishing from one of the most beautiful parts of the country and an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) – South Devon. I will provide you with a fast-track to success in order to catch the most prized of our sea fish, the supreme Bass, by what is considered as the most sporting method – lure or bait fishing with the latest, most modern equipment available.
  5. I am available for bookings between 1 April and 31 Jan – Bass can be caught very late into the Winter months, with often the start and end of the season being when the largest fish are landed.
  6. I will pick you up and drop you off within a 10 mile radius of Kingsbridge in South Devon – this is included in the price and is separate from the 4 or 8 hours fishing time. For example, the clock doesn’t start until we get out of the car and we are on the way to the first mark. I believe this will alleviate you, as the customer, having to navigate the lanes and traffic and it takes the stress out of what should be a completely relaxing experience.
  7. The use of 2 ‘modern’ lure rods,2 lure fishing reels loaded with braided line, chest waders (all sizes catered for), Polaroid sunglasses and modern lures (sub-surface, surface and soft plastics), again all included in the price.
  8.  I will take a picture and email it to you for your own purposes – creating a canvass for example.

My Client Booking form

Below is an example of my Client Booking form. When you initially contact me, these are the questions that I will ask. This is so that I can gain an instant understanding of your requirements and indeed, if I am available on the dates you require.

The reason I ask about your previous fishing experience is that I am eager to cater to your needs. I appreciate that some clients will be excellent fisherman in their own right, where as some of my clients may be complete novices – this information assists me in determining the level at which I need to operate, teach and mentor.

Of note, is the fact that if I am available on the day you require my services, then if you stipulate a time I will completely work around you.

Alternatively, if you tell me you can fish on a certain day or days, then in order to optimise every opportunity for you to catch a Bass, I will look at the tide times, forecast weather conditions (if within 7 days of the session) and the predicted light levels in order to provide you with a number of options.

Client Booking form


My Insurance Disclaimer/Liability Release forms

In order to be insured against accidents, injuries and hopefully not death! my public liability provider has stipulated that all prospective clients complete the following forms that will be emailed to you once you have confirmed your booking with me:

  1. Disclaimer – Requires you complete basic details like your name and contact details in addition to you declaring any existing sports injuries and/or medical conditions – this is to ensure that all information that could increase the likelihood of an accident/incident are captured.
  2. Liability Release form – This is a signed declaration that you must read, understand and sign agreeing that you accept that these activities are dangerous, that you will adhere to my instructions in order to reduce the chances of an accident/injury to you and/or anybody else, that you accept the risks involved in this activity, that you have declared all known medical conditions and/or sports injuries and finally that you have received a Health and Safety brief from me.

Disclaimer form


Liability Release form


My Health and Safety brief

I am required to provide you with a Health and Safety brief in order to validate my public liability insurance. Please note that I carry a First Aid kit, mobile phone and a rope at all times. A lot of this is common sense, however please ensure that you read it carefully – this form will be emailed to you when you confirm a booking with me.

Health and Safety brief


My Risk Assessment

I am not required by law (as I don’t employ anyone) to complete a Risk Assessment associated to my guiding activities. However, as I hold the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) accredited qualifications of ‘Managing Safely’ and ‘Risk Assessor’ I wanted to reassure you, as my clients, that not only have I identified the hazards and risks, but that I have put measures in place to mitigate them – this is available on request but please see an excert from it below:

Risk Assessment for ‘South Devon Bass Guide’


Rods, reels and lures at your disposal

Included in the price of my service is the full use of the following:

Daiwa Tournament Airity 802HS 8ft Lure rod (see here)

  • Weight 130g
  • Casts 16 – 56g – Ideal for larger hard plugs, surface lures and bait fishing
  • Costs new £199.99.

Daiwa Airity 802HS 16-56g

Slash Lamya Thief 862L Exclusive rod for Sea Bass (see Henry Gilbey’s review here)

  • Weight 140g
  • Casts 4 – 28g  – Ideal for bumping soft plastics around or fishing hard minnow (120-130mm) lures.
  • Costs new £179.99

Slash Lamya Thief 862L 4-28g

Daiwa Exceler-S 2500 spinning reel (see here)

  • Weight 290g
  • Costs new £64.99  – £84.99
  • Great line lay and capacity – goes perfectly with the Daiwa Airity Lure rod

Daiwa Exceler 2500

Mitchell Mag-Pro Extreme 500 (see here)

  • Weight – an extremely light 179g
  • Costs new – £130
  • A brilliant little reel that goes well with the Lamya Thief – this outfit feels very light and reactive in your hands.

Mitchell Mag Pro Extreme 500

High specification lures (hard sub-surface shallow divers or deeper divers, surface lures and soft plastic weedless and/or weightless lures are all available to you at no additional cost – see below just a tiny sample of some of the patterns used from the leading tackle companies.

IMA Hound Glide (see here)

IMA Hound Glide

HTO Artic Eel (see here

HTO Artic Eel used for Bass

Storm Chug-Bug (see here

Storm Chugbug

What happens on the mark

I pride myself on providing you with a first class service appropriate to you.  As previously mentioned, I will cater my service towards what you require taking into consideration your previous experience and/or how much detail you would like me to go into. Therefore, please see below a break down/timeline of what to expect once we are on the shoreline.

  1. As the equipment (rods/reels/lures/line) is very light, I will demonstrate the correct way to cast the lures.
  2. If required – We will spend some time learning how to cast the lures accurately in order to maximise your chances of catching a Bass.
  3. I will demonstrate the way each lure type reacts in, or on the water (for example, how a soft plastic worm type lure drifts or darts in the flow, the wriggling action of a hard minnow plug or indeed the splashing action of a surface lure).
  4. You will get to practice how the slightest rod movements and retrieve rates can affect the lures action before we ‘go live’ in order to augment your confidence – so that you know that you are fishing the lure in the correct way.
  5. The first cast into a known Bass mark can often be the most important. It is common to get a ‘hit’ on that first cast, that is why all the casting tuition will be done away from that first initial mark.
  6. I will talk you through how to react when you are ‘fighting’ a Bass – some head for the nearest snag (rare), some shake their head violently, some swim parallel to you, and most do all of this! Getting them to the net (I use one for guiding purposes for saftey reasons and to reduce mistakes) by utilsing the drag/clutch and the power of the rod is vital to landing a decent Bass –  I don’t want you to potentially lose a fish of a lifetime.
  7. I will explain in exact detail (checking your understanding if required) of how to fish each individual mark as we arrive onto them (if indeed we are fishing multiple marks during our session together). I want you to feel comfortable, content and confident that what you are doing will assist you in catching Bass.
  8.  I will teach you how to find your own marks – I will point out the types of gullies, weed beds, rock formations, tide rips, sandy patches, likely Bass patrolling routes, likely Bass holding or ambush points and any other significant factor that will increase your confidence of achieving this.
  9. I will teach you the art of ‘watercraft‘ – how do certain marks react to differing tidal, wave, weather and wind conditions, and where will the Bass be in these conditions.
  10. We will talk at length, about choosing the right lure for the conditions, be it the type of ground we are casting over or into, the clarity of the water or indeed matching the lure choice to what the Bass may be looking for.
  11. All of my marks have been extensively researched in order to guarantee the safest routes on to/off of and the exact time (considering the tide and waves) that we can safely get onto or off of them. I do not gamble with safety where the sea is involved.


I hope that this post covers as many questions and queries as possible. If you do want to know more then please do not hesitate to get in touch via a comment, text, email or phone call. With Autumn just around the corner, I’m expecting some excellent Bass sessions, when fish like the beauty below are a definite possibility.

Guided Bass fishing

Thanks for reading and I hope this post answers your questions – Marc Cowling





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