My Bass fishing year (Part 1 of 3) – 10 items of equipment that I’d recommend 2016
Welcome to Part 1 of my Bass fishing year – 10 items of equipment that I’d recommend. The next two parts will cover:
- Part 2 – 10 things I’ve learnt since becoming a Bass fishing guide.
- Part 3 – 10 favourite photographs and the story behind them.
Introduction – writing about it…
I really enjoy writing about all aspects of Bass fishing – whether it’s finding marks, catching the fish, guiding clients or writing reviews on the items of equipment I use, it’s all good fun!
So to end 2016, below is list (in no particular order) of what I’d personally recommend in order to for you to maybe enhance your own Bass/lure fishing experiences – or you might be lucky and find some of them via he New Year sales!
Moreover, I believe strongly in using gear/tackle/equipment that offer simplicity in their use, that actually work and are value for money – None of these items have been sent to me for free and I will not be receiving anything for recommending these products to you.
1. Leeda Volare Breathable Chest Waders Here
Yes, I did give the Leeda Volare Wading boots a firm ‘thumbs down’ here however, I have been really impressed with their breathable chest waders. I’ve only had them for 3 months, but they do feel very light in comparison to my previous, more expensive waders and they don’t appear to rip easily – which is comforting to know when I you’re clambering around sharp rocks of course:
- Relatively inexpensive at £104.99 however, I bought mine for £84.99 so shop around!
- Very comfortable back harness (it doesn’t ‘dig in’ at all, due to the clever design).
- 2 x front pockets (1 zip-able and relatively water/splash proof).
- Light-weight, yet they appear to be robust (they don’t easily tear or rip).
2. Berkley Whiplash 20lb Braid Here
Clearly a very important part of lure fishing and this braid does it for me 100% – in fact, I personally look no further and I won’t be until they stop making it. I’ve tried lots of other types (and the sexy colours) of braid from various companies over the years and all have differing levels of durability, suppleness and price!
Ultimately, I want the ability to get at least two spools filled (value for money) from a braid that I know isn’t going to let me down during the fight with a fish, or through continual knots/birds nests:
- Very fine diameter 0.06mm (20lb) – this is what I use.
- It sits on the spool extremely well and casts beautifully every time – very few wind knots if it’s looked after by manually bringing over the bail-arm after each cast.
- Will easily fill 2 x spools (you get 33o yds) – so is value for money at around £27.
- Very durable and any ‘frays’ (following contact with rocks) are easy to spot if you use the green colour (I personally think the ‘Crystal’ version puts Bass off unless you use a very long fluorocarbon leader).
3. Illex Nitro Sprat (14g 90mm or 21g 120mm) Here
If you follow this BLOG or my Facebook Page then you’ll know how consistent these articulated ‘paddletail’ lures have been for me, especially in the last 2 months. They were recommended to me by Steven Neely of Rookie Bass Angler and Total Sea Fishing. At £7.79 they come with 1x jighead and 2x bodies and although they might appear a little expensive when compared to say, the Fiiish Black Minnow or HTO Artic Eel, I can ‘hand on heart’ say that these lures are superior:
- Very robust – they do not fall to pieces after attacks/catches etc…
- They cast extremely well – the 14g casts just as far as the 21g due to less wind resistance (smaller size of course).
- I’m fishing them primarily by bouncing them over sand/shingle patches in amongst the rocks and they do not’snag’ as much as similar lures – part of the design possibly?
- I haven’t caught any Wrasse on them! (I do like Wrasse but Bass are the preferred target of my clients and I) – Is there something in the ‘scent’ perhaps that attracts Bass only?
4. Neoprene (Body Building/Support) Wrist-straps Here
Why on earth would I be wearing these things out lure fishing? Well, I got fed up looking for a wading jacket with suitably effective sleeves/cuffs that would enable the least amount of rain/sea water to penetrate up my arms – something that used to be a regular occurrence when stood close to the breaking wave or returning fish. So I improvised somewhat and wear them around the cuffs of my jacket:
- They’re a very cheap alternative (£4.99 ) to spending a fortune on a kayaking jacket or the very expensive fly fishing/wading apparel – many of which have neoprene cuffs.
- It enables you to spend the money saved on a breathable/waterproof (is there such a thing?) walking/outdoor jacket.
- The straps enable a certain amount of protection to your wrists should you fall – we all put our hands forward of course!
5. Majorcraft Skyroad SKR 862ML (10 -30g) Here
This lure rod has been out for a while now (2013). I’m not, and never have been interested in buying something that is ‘fashionable’ so I did have my doubts (when I pressed ‘Complete Checkout’) that this rod would be much better than my beloved Slash Lamya Thief and the handle (close to the reel seat) took a little getting used to, but boy have I been impressed! I bought my Skyroad because I wanted a true ‘all-round lure rod’ and it certainly is!
Hard to get hold of (especially as more and more people recommend them of course!) but I have been blown away by just how good this rod is – indeed, I sometimes let my clients have a little go with it and I practically have to turn down cash offers for it there and then:
- Very light (119g) , very crisp and powerful and very comfortable to fish with (once your used to it).
- Gives me the confidence that I would be in control of a really big lure caught Bass in rough/wild/strong current conditions.
- Value for money at £179.99 – I’d happily pay another £100 that’s how good it is!
- Unlike some rods I’ve used – This one truly is fantastic with all lure types (surface, bouncing paddletails, weightless SPs or cranking minnows – just brilliant.
6. Panasonic Lumis DMC-FS18 Here
Now, I’m clearly not an expert when it comes to cameras, but I do enjoy taking photographs of the catches, scenery and the surroundings so the fact that this sits comfortably in my pocket , yet takes a decent picture is great.
Apologies to any photography enthusiasts for my lack of expertise in this area, but this camera has been extremely important to me in capturing my experiences, and that of my clients this year. The best compliment I can pay this lovely little Lumis is that I borrowed a very expensive camera for a couple of days and along with it being very cumbersome, the pictures I took, compared to what I already had, just didn’t convince me to upgrade… yet:
- £45 on Ebay was the cheapest I ve seen but they’re £129 on Amazon – alternatively , there is a newer model.
- Intelligent Auto Mode (picks correct setting for that particular image and does it well).
- Robust – it has been dropped more than once!
7. Veals Mail Order Lure clips (small) – Snap links Here
This humble clip has made it into my ‘Top 10’ for a reason. Call me tight, but I just cannot justify spending nearly 4 quid per packet of 6 items, on something that I’ve found to be no more advanced than the humble snap link… These are what I would describe as ideal for changing lures quickly (which isn’t a necessity anyway).
Furthermore, I am convinced that the frailty of some of the more ‘specialised lure clips’ mean that if they are bent ever so slightly (in the rush to change a lure?) they impair the ‘natural’ movement of a minnow, sub-surface type lure…Sorry moan over!
Quite often, in very clear conditions, I don’t even use a lure clip at all and will just tie the lure straight onto the fluorocarbon leader however, at all other times I use these. The important thing here, is get this part of your lure fishing wrong and it will seriously affect your catch rate:
- Very durable – they have not let me down even when pulling the lure out of snags.
- Cheap – at £2.35 for a bag of 30 (make sure you get the small size)
- They don’t rust easily/quickly.
- They are very easy to use even when your hands are cold – unlike more expensive ‘fiddily’ clips…
- They don’t randomly ‘bounce open’ unlike some versions of this type of clip.
8. Hokkaido Metsuki 130F (Silver Bullet) Here
One of my ‘Go to’ lures early in the season, especially when there where lots of sandeels about. Costing £11.99, weighing 14g but with some decent ball bearings inside (enough to propel it very well on the correct gear) this lure was responsible for many of my Bass catches back in June/July:
- Fantastic ‘Life-like’ iridescent finish that really glistens when retrieved.
- Great action 50cm under the surface – so ideal for shallow shorelines or when you want it to be silhouetted in deeper water.
- Reacts very well to the occasional ‘jerk’ ‘twitch’ or even when momentarily ‘stopped dead’.
- Very good value for money – buy 2 of them!
9. Dunlop ‘Polarising’ Sunglasses Here
Continuing with the ‘value for money for items that work theme’ these Polariods were initially a ‘stand in replacement’ for the more expensive pair that I, of course, left on a rock somewhere! Really comfortable (not all sunglasses are), really cheap (£12.99) and best of all, blood brilliant at looking down into the water in order to see the features or any ‘late follows’ from our friend the Bass:
- Easy to get hold of – Argos!
- You won’t cry if you lose or break them.
- They come in a very robust case.
10. Xorus Frosty II 500g (small Patchinko) Here
For me, the best surface lure out there (sorry IMA Salt Skimmer)… These things catch Bass when other lures just aren’t. Like the Hokkaido Metsuki, very effective when the bait fish are being harassed – they are worth every penny of the £17.99 they cost.
Easy to cast and easy to ‘work’. Even though two separate clients lost both of mine, this lure will be the first on my ‘replenishment list’ for future clients and I to use – so I’d appreciate if you email me first to see if I’ve got mine before placing your own order! :-):
- Subtle enough to catch in calm conditions, yet with enough ‘action’ when worked correctly to make the Bass rise in rough conditions.
- Casts unbelievably well for a lure weighing just 15.5g.
- Quite versatile in that it can be fished ‘walk the dog’ ‘twitched’ or ‘skitted’ across the surface.
Thanks for reading – I welcome any feedback.