Catching Bass in South Devon – Out searching for new marks

Catching Bass in South Devon – Out searching for new marks


Time to explore!

With only a few small Bass (taken on surface lures) for my efforts during my most recent Bass fishing forays, and with settled conditions and low water spring tides combining, I thought it would be a good time to go out exploring for some new marks (still with the lure rod in my hand of course!). With my forthcoming clients also in mind, I wanted to see if I could find some more marks close to some of my more ‘predictable’ areas.

Having studied Google Maps over the last week or so, I had earmarked some ground that I wanted to take a look at in person, during the lowest tides. It was pretty warm in Devon for the time of year, so I made sure I had plenty of water (and a pasty!) with me, and looked forward to breathing in lots of fresh air…..


Morning Ebb

On this particular morning, I was out fishing at around 1030 (high tide was 0830) in order to fish the ebbing tide. As this was ground that I hadn’t fished before, my method was to simply position surface and soft weedless/weightless lures close to and around the larger rocks protruding above the surface, trying to keep a low profile (as the water was very clear) and using the rocks for cover wherever possible.

This type of mark is extremely common here along the breath-taking South Devon coast –  generally at the extremities of beaches or small bays, tucked in under the cliffs and accessible only for a few hours due to the tides. The seabed will be a mixture of interlinking gullies, deeper pools and wrack covered ‘fingers’ of rock interspersed with patches of shingle or sand, therefore attractive to all forms of Bass fodder – lovely!

I really do like to fish the periods of the tide when it is running at its strongest (2 – 4 hours of the flood or ebb) but I was astonished at how quickly the water was receding on the mark in the picture below. With only one tiny Pollack and a similar sized Bass, both taken on the IMA Salt Skimmer (Rattling Bora) that you can buy here at Fishonlures I decided it was time to move on.

New mark number 1


Next bay syndrome!

As the tide was ebbing and it was very calm, my ‘next bay syndrome’ kicked in, whereby I just have to see whats around the next headland, point, promontory etc… you just never know! With the sun now starting to peep through I was hopeful that the changing light conditions might stir more Bass into attack mode…. no such luck I’m afraid.

If there was any about, I imagined they’d have already vacated the reef seen in the foreground of the mark below, however by scrambling out across the rocks just to the right, I was eager to ‘bounce’ a paddletail lure and a weightless weedless worm around on the large sandy patch just beyond the breaking wave in the picture –  my theory being that there might be Bass waiting for the gobies, prawns etc to also vacate the area…

Another picture of mark number 2


Low tide and very ‘Bassy’ looking ground

Now when I get excited about a mark (like the one below) I always want to fish it straight away, even in Winter (or as soon as there’s water over it in this case) but I had other commitments later in the afternoon so it it’ll have to wait…

What I liked about it is the exposure to the open sea (it isn’t tucked away behind a headland) and also the natural ‘links’ via the gullies you can see. I can imagine Bass following these routes in with the flooding tide, and although it does look very snaggy, you could feasibly get the lures back at low water….

By standing on the rocks on the left of this photograph, I will be aiming shallow diving sub-surface lures or weedless, weightless soft plastics into those sandy gullies as the tide floods, or working a surface lure over the entire area once it is deep enough to do so 🙂

Can’t wait to fish this!


Highly motivated

Happy with my latest discovery I pushed on – finding another good looking spot that I could easily (not over the cliff edge!) access at low water, and for the first 3 hours of the flood, or on the last 3 hours on the ebb. My stance will be the lighter grey rocks you can see in the bottom left of the photograph, casting either side of the largest rock in the bottom centre of the photograph.

Again, note the large rocks interspersed with weed and some sandy patches, great ambushing ground with lots of cover for a hunting Bass. In the weather conditions  the picture was taken in, if you could manage to stay out of sight, fishing in a very subtle manner (fluorocarbon leader and again, soft plastics) would probably be the way forward. In choppier conditions with a bit of colour in the water a shallow diving lure could work. Where as in rough conditions with waves breaking across this whole area, I would look to use a surface lure.

Another tasty looking venue that I’ll be researching…



A lovely day out, plus something learned perhaps?

All in all, it had been a lovely day out in what is, without a doubt, my favourite part of the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited lots of different parts of the UK, Europe, The Middle East, Canada and the US, but South Devon on a rough old day or a beautiful calm sunny one does it for me every time.

Even though I did managed a couple of tiddlers in the morning, sometimes, you can learn just as much from not catching anything, as you can from hooking into a beast on a remote rock mark. If the conditions suit having a look or exploring, rather than constantly fishing, then having the motivation to walk a few miles could prove beneficial in the future – time will tell for these particular marks of course.


Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling




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