My Recent Catches – New mark, new lure…
I love May… The flowers bloom, there’s fresh leaves on the trees and more important than all of that – the bass arrive in earnest! If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that I’ve been fortunate enough to have been catching bass from this very special part of UK throughout winter and into the early spring. But, without a doubt, there has been an upturn in the numbers of bass recently, with the larger ones now gradually beginning to appear…
Despite those quite frankly ‘horrible’ and somewhat bracing easterly winds we’d all experienced, in between my guiding and writing commitments I have found a little time to explore some new marks, in addition to utilising a needlefish lure that I have personally designed and had built – how exciting!
Remarkably, it was during the last bout of strong westerly winds that I managed to nip out for a quick night session. The website that I use to monitor the wind direction (Ventusky) was predicting a four hour lull, therefore I grabbed the opportunity to wet a lure. I only managed the one bass of around 3lb (below) on a white senko from a very sheltered shingle bay with a sandy seabed so I was happy – lovely stuff.
My next session involved testing out some of the prototype needlefish lures that I have designed, and that have been handmade by none other than James Lanfear of Jim’s Lures fame here. In total, I landed 16 bass from two separate marks – one with a sandy seabed and the other encompassing a flat expanse of reef.
Although none of the bass were above 2lb it turned out to be a pleasing session, as my experiment of regularly alternating between the black and the white versions (there will be a silver model too) was an a real opener and something that I will expand upon in a subsequent post.
My next session was conducted on an area that I have been ‘itching’ to fish for months! It is a triangular wedge of primarily flat reef, but with lots of clefts and bowls carved into it by the fairly substantial tide that washes over it. I’ve stood here during the day and imagined fishing it in darkness, with the soul intention of giving it a go when the wind is blowing hard from the east – which it had been pretty much continuously for bloody weeks!
With the wind at my back, the sea calm and clear and with the tide flooding, I knew I only had about an hour to fish before I would have to scramble back around the rocks to a nearby beach or be cut off. It sounds ‘dodgy’ but I can assure that I had thoroughly researched the mark. As the very large and very bright Moon rose and the gusty wind enveloped me from time to time I was surprised and excited at the same time, when the rod hooped over and the drag started to buzz, as good bass took the senko!
Of course, with the previous evening’s beauty on my mind and with the same state of tide slightly later into the darkness, although I had deadline to meet in relation to an article for Sea Angler Magazine here I crept out another quick two hour session and completed my writing early the next morning.
With the current a little more vigorous (due to the slightly larger tide) and with the wind having a little more ‘south’ to it than the previous evening I decided to attach a senko that wouldn’t be pulled up onto the surface by the additional drag on the line that these conditions create. I initially attached a needlefish, and although I did catch four small bass, an fresh influx of salad-type weed and the strengthening pull of the tide (now pretty much against the wind) meant that I felt that the lure wasn’t quite fishing properly.
The 6″ 17g Insane Creations Bass Slayer here rigged on a meaty 7/0 weedless hook is the prefect lure to utilise in this scenario, as it cast well, is weedless and moves through the water in a fantastically stable and direct manner. I knew the tide was creeping up the shoreline and was it was about to reach ‘my marker’ (a particular rock behind me) therefore, I decided to make three more casts and then return home.
The first two ‘cast and retrieves’ passed without incident, therefore, I aimed the trajectory of the cast slightly lower in order to ‘punch’ it out across the stiffening crosswind… Ten turns, twenty turns and I knew the lure was about halfway in when the rod whacked around as a bass walloped it! It then turned and swam directly at me, and I had retrieve like crazy before eventually regaining contact with the fish.
I had no idea if it was a decent bass or not until it splashed in front of me in the beam of my headtorch, before allowing me to coerce it onto the shingle bank – a very ‘silver’ bass it was too. I returned this one as quickly as I could (see below) and then slithered my way back around the rocks and wandered back up to the car under the Moonlight and the bitterly cold wind – I can’t believe I’m still wearing a woolly at in mid-May!
I have limited copies available of my recently released book ‘The Lure of The Bass’ that isn’t for sale anywhere else at present. Independent reviews of this publication (including one from the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society) can be found here. If you would like to purchase a copy please utilise the PayPal facility below or contact me via the form at the bottom of the blog post here.
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.