Client Catches – Eager at Easter!
Eager at Easter sums up perfectly both my feelings as a guide (I couldn’t wait to start guiding again) and that of my clients – who have told me they couldn’t wait to lure fish for bass along the beautiful south Devon coastline! Here is a summary of how they’ve got during the past week…
Mike and Tim
Accomplished fly and sportfishing anglers in their own right, Mike and Tim joined me for a session on a day when the very strong easterly wind and associated swell did its best to scupper our chances. All started well though, as Tim managed to land his first ever bass, quickly followed by another one from the same sandy cove, by casting and retrieving the ‘classic’ and now very difficult to obtain hard minnow lure – the Megabass Zonk Gataride) here.
As the tide height increased so did the swell unfortunately, which did make things more complicated both in regards to safety and lure choice – with even fishing from an adjacent beach proving to be extremely testing and wet (sorry Mike!).
Father and Son
Next up, I was joined by a Father and Son combination on a very warm and sunny day. But with the previous day’s swell having abated somewhat, it served to create some tasty sea conditions- with waves occasionally battering the rocks causing lots of aerated bubbling water, plus a sea with a very ‘bassy-looking’ green tinge to it…
I had a particular vantage point for my intrepid anglers in mind, with the plan being to teach them how to utilise a number of different lure types whilst giving them the best possible chance of connecting with a bass. Surface lures, line-through models that could be cast huge distances out over the sandy seabed, and again, medium-diving hard minnows were worked around the rocks, but it remained quiet. The great thing about being a guide however, is that you have the ability to continually assess and evaluate – which is when I discovered just what I was looking for in their lure box – a long casting, fluttering jig in the form of the Duo Press Bait Kamuy here.
I instructed my client to cast the jig out, then remain in contact with it (on a relatively tight line) until it hit the sandy seabed some 10ft down. Then, I asked him to retrieve it quickly for between 5-10 turns of the reel’s handle, and then allow the lure to ‘flutter’ (as they do) back to the seabed. Additionally, on every other cast and retrieve, I asked him to simply allow the lure to ‘bounce’ along the sand in the current. About 15 minutes after attaching the lure I turned just in time to hear my him shout “Yeah” as the rod thumped over.
I always know a client is connected to a decent bass when I see the line slicing through the water and the fish remains (primarily) deep rather than instantly splashing on the surface. And as I grabbed the net and scrambled to his side I could also see the slow ‘nodding’ on the rod tip as the fish attempted to leer to his left before breaking the surface about eight metres from our stance. From here, he did a very good job of steering the 3lb+ bass (and his first ever incidentally) towards my waiting, and yet to be christened, net.
The next outing could easily have been a mid-June day as it was that warm – in fact hot! And with the sea now having calmed down significantly it was time to look for an area on the open coast with a strong current. I could have headed for one of the many estuaries present in south Devon of course, but with the likelihood of boats continually passing us, alongside my client’s desire to fish from a rock mark, I decided upon a stretch that would enable him to use a variety of lure types too.
As the tide was so low, he commenced the session by standing in the surf and casting a lure that catches a lot of bass in this scenario – the Savage Gear Line Thru Sandeel here. Before long though we were on the rocks, but it took until halfway through the flooding tide before he began to connect with and subsequently land two small bass. A couple of ‘follows’ (that are all too common at this stage of the year) also occurred, and we could both make out mullet and at least one bass snaking around in the clear water in front of is, in addition to shoals of small sandeels. This correlates with the number of terns and gannets dive-bombing very close to the shore of late!
As the light began to fade and the heat of the day diminished both surface lures (the Xorus Patchinko 125 here) and a diminutive shallow diving hard minnow (the Daiwa Shoreline Shiner Z97F SSR here) were brough into action – with the latter accounting for a third small bass for my client that hit his lure very close to the rocks.
What a pity
No blog post of mine is complete without the story about ‘the one that got away’ and this post is no different! With the Father and Son combo joining me for their second guided trip of their holiday we embarked on a late evening session that would overlap into darkness.
Upon reaching the mark I had chosen (a shingle cove with an area of reef present and covered by around 4ft of water over high water that eventually leads onto pure sand) I made the unusual (for me) step of attaching Line Thru Sandeels to both of my clients lure clips. I say unusual, as normally I will commence a session with two anglers by placing them on different lure types so to cover a couple of options in regards to what the bass may be looking for. But with actual sandeels likely on the menu and a lot of ground to cover, these exceptionally long casting lures were soon sailing out in the sporadic, and at times rather large, swell.
It was just after ‘Dad’ had ‘snapped off’ and as I was re-tying his leader to his braid that his Son shouted that he was into a fish. A dropped everything (literally) and raced down the shingle to be greeted with him concentrating hard as what I would almost certainly say was a very decent bass proceeded to remain deep and use every advantage it had in the powerful undertow to place a fantastically exciting bend in the rod, as the reel occasionally clicked to signal line being dragged off the drag – a moment to behold!
But… As he drew the fish nearer, a series of (inevitable it seems) larger waves approached, and just as I was about to grab his leader and drag the yet unseen culprit from out of the drink the line slackened and it was gone… Yes, I swore – and very loudly as you can imagine! As very often happens when you hook into (and lose) a good fish early into any session, bar a ‘touch’ on the Father’s needlefish in darkness, the session remained quieter than I had envisaged. Next time…
My 3 Day Packages
My 3 Day Packages (3 Days Guided Bass Fishing and 3 Nights Accommodation for £499 per person) have proved very popular, with both former clients who enjoyed these sessions last year returning, alongside a number of new clients who I will welcome down to south Devon this season – I cannot wait! I only have one more 3 Day Package available which is between the 15 – 17 September. Therefore, if you are interested and would like to know more please see my previous blog post here.
If you would like to purchase my recently released book ‘The Lure of The Bass’ (independent reviews including one from the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society can be found here) please either complete the Contact Form (via a previous post describing what is included in each of the book’s chapters) here. Alternatively, it can purchase pay directly by PayPal below:
Book – ‘The Lure of The Bass’ by Marc Cowling
A modern approach to catching European Sea Bass on lures by Marc Cowling.
Thanks for reading.