Client Catches – Lots of little, one larger…
With time at a premium now that the my guiding season is in full swing you’ll notice that these ‘Client Catches’ and ‘My Recent Catches’ posts will become more regular, but somewhat shorter, in addition to being more of a summary of events. It is my hope that I can keep my readers/followers updated with what is occurring in regards to my bass fishing/guiding exploits here in south Devon.
Returning clients Ian and Les joined me for two days last week, encompassing 2x daylight sessions and 2x night sessions. A real double act, this partnership will fish (for anything that swims) until they drop – that is how much they love their fishing! With their speciality being lure fishing for zander in freshwater, the predatory bass is quickly becoming their favourite sea fish…
Frustration turns to glee
A horribly cold wind and the ongoing threat of some heavy showers greeted us on the first session – one in which they rotated through various proven bass lures without a touch. I won’t lie, it was frustrating. However, with that wind persisting (even though it wasn’t forecast to) I decided on a completely different stretch of coastline to conduct the evening/night session – one that was completely sheltered from the gusty wind, to the extent that where my clients were situated it was like a millpond.
It went swimmingly, with small bass jumping on the surface lures (a new one called a Seadra Spitta 110 here almost immediately, in addition to the OSP DoLive Sticks here as dusk approached. We lost count of how bass were actually landed, but it was marvellous to watch, and I can still see Ian’s smile now as he landed his first ever bass on a surface lures followed by his second, third, fourth and so on!
In the back of my mind, was the prospect of having two very talented and dedicated anglers casting out senkos in the dark over an expanse of seabed that the bass were very keen to explore on this tide, and many others previous to it, even in March/very early April.
Les had the golden touch during the darkness it seemed, as he latched into one quickly by fishing the 5″ Wave Worm Bamboo Stick on a steady retrieve through the exceptionally calm, clear and very shallow water (2-3ft). The real magic though occurred right on high water, when something much better grabbed it!
I’d briefed my clients to shout out if something began to take line from the drag as I’d set them so that if a fish of over 3lb nailed it some line could be taken. As a guide, one of the most wonderful things you can hear is a client saying “It’s taking line!” which is precisely what Les did, resulting in a fine 4lb bass. He later followed that up with a couple more, including another ‘scrapper’ of around 2½lb.
More of the same
We met the following morning whereby I decided to take me clients to a very rugged area, that was now safe to fish following the high winds and swell we’d experienced a few days earlier. Remarkably, and to my amazement considering how rough it had been, the sea was significantly calmer than I’d envisaged, and with a definite green/grey tinge to it. I was actually pretty excited about their prospects as they began to work the gullies set between the car to bus-sized rocks. Only one bass was caught (by Les) on a medium diving hard minnow, but it was an enjoyable session al the same.
I’m always happy to give my clients the option of returning to the same mark when they are with me for more than one day and that is what they plumped for over the opportunity to head somewhere else for the evening. It was a good decision though, especially when a bass was landed on the ‘DoLive’ on the very first cast.
This time it was Ian who utterly out-fished his mate, but only because he could ‘reach’ the bass that were visibly hammering the tiny shoaling sandeels with his more powerful HTO Nebula lure rod here. Furthermore, rather than the Seadra surface lure that had been so effective for Les the night before, it was the strangely named Savage Gear Horny Herring here fished on nothing more than a straight retrieve that was continually being utterly ‘destroyed’ by the ravenous (but small) bass.
As dusk fell into darkness you could have heard a pin drop, that is how calm it now was, and I could sense the concentration and anticipation in the air… But the bass provided us with a classic example of being red hot one night and stone cold the next, as only one was landed (by Les). Throughout the part of the session in darkness I kept telling them both that if it was quiet, and they weren’t being harassed by small bass, that it would allow the better-sized fish to attack the lure. On the previous evening it had gone very quiet for a good 40 minutes before Les’ stunner had turned up, and I knew that these two would maintain their concentration for what I was hoping would be another great memory made.
I heard Les cursing 30m down to my left and saw his red light flick on – a birds nest? Yes, but only after he’d found a loop in his line and proceed to sort it out just as a bass decided it would hit the Bamboo Stick and drag line off his spool! It was a very unlucky moment and one in which the bass quickly managed to shake the 5/0 hook… What a pity, and I suspected that might be the only chance of the night, which it did indeed turn out to be.
Below is a video of Les safely returning his 4lb bass:
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Book – ‘The Lure of The Bass’ by Marc Cowling
A modern approach to catching European Sea Bass on lures by Marc Cowling.
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