Client Catches – Salmon beat to bass on lures!

Client Catches – Salmon beat to bass on lures!

As the title suggests, my client for this session (Stuart) is an avid salmon angler who lives close to some of the finest sport in the Country therefore, the pressure was on me to place him onto a bass, by the method he hopes to adopt far more often from his local coastline – lure fishing.

An experienced all-round angler, his previously successful adventures whilst fly fishing for pike, and at night for sea-trout would stand him in good stead for this session – one that would see his new rod (a Tailwalk Salty Shape Dash) christened.

Sublime setting

With the tide only just beginning to flood, the majority of the reef (that we would later be fishing over) was uncovered therefore, I took the opportunity to highlight the gullies, pools and channels that Stuart would be aiming his lures over and into once darkness set in. The outer edge of the main reef here drops off very nicely onto sand/clumps of weed – the ideal ambush and patrolling areas for bass and wrasse – the latter of which were out in force judging by the amount of bites and the two OSP DoLive Sticks that were remorselessly chomped in halve!

With the sea and overall weather conditions forecast to remain calm, it was the perfect evening to be amongst a sublime setting – the high hills leading down to craggy headlands and coves surrounding us.

South Devon fishing
Stuart casting and retrieving a weedless soft plastic lure – a method new to him, but one that alongside using a surface lure (in the sea), he mastered very quickly. Fly fisherman are seemingly ‘natural’ bass lure anglers.

With high concentrations of wrasse present, but with the light levels beginning to fade, I change my client over to a Xorus Frosty in the hope/anticipation of the bass appearing – but despite one possible ‘follow’ it remained very quiet – without even the usual mullet cruising around…

The target

Of course at this time of year, if the sky is clear then it doesn’t get properly dark until well after 2215. So following a quick break in proceedings (more so just to ‘rest’ the area) I attached the deadly Albie Snax to his lure clip, ready to target the very area where two hours previously he’d been stood marvelling over how much natural food (crabs, shrimps and gobies) was readily available… Available to the bass that I reckoned would be invading shortly.

One thing that struck Stuart, was how tight I had set the reels drag in comparison to how he would set it for his salmon fishing. I explained that a bass over 3-4lb would still be able to take some line, with a 5lb+ bass capable of powerful runs in any direction! Either way, a bite from a bass would very likely be a sharp hit/pull on the rod at any point from the lure hitting the water to the lure being below the rod tip and about to be lifted from the water. “Really!?” he said, “I’m looking forward to that!”

How many hits!?

Within minutes of commencing with the ‘night’ part of the session and only 3 metres from dry shingle, a swirl and the rod boucing downwards signalled a good ‘hit’ – but the fish didn’t hook up unfortunatley. Within the next 5 minutes he recieved further hits and following a slight reduction in the speed of the retrieve a fish positively ‘hammered’ the lure – brilliant!

This ferocious little bass had nailed the lure only 5 metres from the beach, but it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t a monster – indeed, it was only twice the size of the lure it has tried to engulf! No bright white lights were shone on the surface upon its return and sure enough within minutes Stuart was once again receiving ‘taps’ on the rod tip – small fish quite possibly.

A good account

Considering Stuart is used to battling 10lb+ Salmon out of fast flowing rivers he’d already been impressed with predatory prowess (in such shallow water) and the velocity of the ‘takes’ from the shoal that were intent on eating the ‘Snax’ – but I’d hoped something at least a little larger would venture into our target area.

With the ‘sweet spot’ in relation to the speed of retrieve now fixed, the rod that was silhouetted against a beautiful starlit sky pulled down sharply and stayed down – another bass had grabbed the lure this time slightly further out at 15 metres. Instantly, my client could tell it was bigger therefore, the ‘full-beam’ was switched on.

It was giving a good account of itself and at first glance (at distance in the gloom) it looked decent. And as Stuart brought the bass closer to the beach, via the sporadic (rather than continuous) splashes, I was expecting something much larger than what I pulled up the shingle via the leader (to alleviate the risk of the hook pulling).

Smiling from ear to ear, I don’t think it mattered to Stuart in the least that the bass he was now holding wasn’t huge. In fact, he was totally in awe that a fish of this size could hit a lure so hard and put up such a tremendous fight! Furthermore, it was extremely satisfying from my persective that the stretch of reef we’d been investigating earlier had produced.


Albie Snax by bass guide
The big 6/0 hook did its job perfectly! Their eyesight must be astonishingly good to enable these armour plated predators to ‘hoover up’ whatever they think is food at night.

Another convert?

Subsequently, I recieved a couple of messages from Stuart thanking me for the session, in addition to his admission that he immediately spent an hour on the net searching for similar marks on his native beaches and reef systems on the east coast of Scotland. That might not sound unusual however, when you consider that I didn’t drop him back to his accomodation until around 0230 it just demonstrates the effect these wonderful fish have on people. I’ll bet that he’ll catch quite a few bass up there this season too!

As a brief aside, the wind picked up significantly (against the tide) as high water approached and with it, the bass either disappeared or just simply went completely ‘off the boil’…

Thanks for reading,

Marc Cowling

DISCLOSURE: If you purchase any lures or equipment using the links contained within this post then I may receive a percentage of the sale as part of an affiliate program. Using these links will not cost you any more then it would from purchasing directly from the website(s).





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