3 Day Package – A story of ‘firsts’

3 Day Package – A story of ‘firsts’

A story of ‘firsts’ indeed, as this was the first 3 Day Package that I have conducted this season, plus the anglers who participated (Dennis, Henry and Michael) managed to land many bass on lures by utilising methods new to them – here is brief account of the events.

Tropical

The weather really has been up and down since the start of April, but as we greeted each other at the Chillington House BB Hotel here alongside the lure rods, reels, waders, lures, etc. the most important item to take would be the sunscreen! Once out on the coastline you could have mistaken the surroundings for a tropical island – that was how blue the sky appeared, and how clear the calm seas were.

Sunny skies and bass
In these conditions, very naturally moving, shaped and coloured lures can work well, or I tend go to the other end of the spectrum and utilise small surface lures that splash and flash in an attempt to tap into a bass’ predatory instinct…

The inaugural session of what are six four hour sessions completed over the course of the three days is a great opportunity for me to get to know the clients and to understand precisely what they’d like to achieve – so that I can plan accordingly for the subsequent sessions. Three hours in, and having taught Dennis how to work a surface lure effectively, in addition to Michael most definitely mastering the ‘sink and draw’ method with a tiny metal jig cast out in to the main current I decided we should call time and head out for five hours later that evening and into darkness.

Remote

My choice of venue for the evening session involved an arduous walk to a very remote cove. But I was hoping the scenery en route, alongside the catches I expected them to make, would be worth the effort. With the first phase (getting there) navigated successfully it was down to the fishing. Positioning my three clients along the beach, I described to them separately what the ground/seabed was like in front of them and then asked them to attach Albie Snax (Michael), Needlefish (Henry) and senko (Dennis) lures respectively.

Bass on Albie Snax
Ahh, the Albie Snax… What a great lure, and one that seemingly out-fished the senko Dennis was using only a few metres away!

Michael in particular was very keen to utilise the Albie Snax having never caught a bass on one despite reading about how effective they are (guilty!). And it took only minutes into true darkness before he shouted that he was into a fish (see below).

Bass from shingle coves darkness
Michael’s first ever bass in darkness on a lure – well done!

Although it wasn’t huge, I could see that this bass meant a lot to him. Clearly, it gave the others renewed confidence in the venue and the tactics we were employing – as it is a huge leap of faith lure fishing at night. And as I’ve said before, you’ll continually doubt it works until you experience that first hit or fish caught.

UK Bass guide
He was getting the hang of this now! Compensation for the long, winding and hilly walk I’d say!

Michael followed up his initial capture with another slightly larger bass soon afterwards (see above), Henry lost one on the needlefish just as he was about to land it, but then hooked and eventually landed another one – something he was really pleased about, as he was very keen to catch one (his first!) on these brilliant lures. Dennis, on the other hand, had to make do with just two pollack on this occasion – his time would come however…

The long run

With the weather set to be hot and sunny the next day, and with a very late finish to the previous session, I suggested that we start the next session during the early evening and fish straight through until the early hours again – the ‘long run’ so to speak…They all agreed, which I was pleased about given that it would enable them to fish during what I considered to be the optimum periods given the overall weather, sea state and tidal conditions.

Estuary bass on lures
Henry took to working the soft plastics like a duck to water!

With all three anglers set on their respective ‘marks’ I proceeded to ‘teach’ Henry how to work and retrieve one of my favourite soft plastics – the OSP DoLive Stick. Now, considering he is more used to blasting medium-to-large surface lures out across his native Sussex reefs I was extremely impressed with how he took to this method -culminating in him landing his (you guessed it) ‘first’ ever bass on a weedless, weightless soft plastic.

Bass on OSP DoLive Sticks
A plump bass that took the DoLive Stick on a ‘twitch, twitch, then let it sink’ style of retrieve.

It was time for Dennis to ‘break his duck’ though. Therefore, with the others happily fishing away I decided to concentrate my efforts on him for the next hour. There! Bait fish were scattering around 80-100m out from our stance signalling predators (bass) underneath them, and with that Dennis asked if he could attach a metal jig.

My initial thoughts were to allow the shoals to move closer (and not send a metal lure plummeting into them) so that all three anglers could attempt to take advantage of the situation. But with the shoals seemingly congregating just out from Dennis he very quickly landed two small bass, with Henry also adding one once he’d transferred over to the ‘metals’ cast at extreme distance by his lovely Shimano Exsence Infinity rod.

Dennis’ night

Once darkness set in this session well and truly belonged to Dennis! Henry had a number of hits on the white senkos and was very unlucky not to land a bass, and Michael just had, well let’s just say a very quiet night (in hindsight I think the fish were moving just slightly out of range from his reach with the lures).

Quite literally, the minute it seemed to become properly dark Dennis shouted that he’d had a bite, which quickly translated to a “Yep, fish” later on the retrieve (see below). Soon after his first (sorry!) ever bass caught on a lure at night was being held up very briefly for the camera, before being returned.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

He followed up this success with a further two bass of a similar size, but just as high tide approached his white senko was snaffled by what I’d really hoped would turn up on this marvellously consistent spot – a proper one!

Big bass on white senkos
His Tailwalk Salty Shape Dash was placed under the greatest amount of strain it’s received thus far by the brute above – a beauty that was nicely hooked in the top of the mouth on the 5/0 weedless twistlock hook.

All bass are special, but to land one over 5lb from the shore on a lure is a benchmark fish – which was why I was so happy that Dennis managed to beat his personal best with the 62cm fish that he did exceptionally well to steer away from the thick weedbeds during the battle (I could tell he was used to wrenching cod out the kelp near his Yorkshire home that’s for sure!).

South Devon bass fishing
A personal best bass for an angler who loves his bass lure fishing. He’d come a long way for this one even though he has been catching some quality bass from the rugged Yorkshire coastline already this season.

Tricky

With a brief window of opportunity to fish the mouth of an estuary the following morning, we were up and out relatively early considering the very early morning finish, whereby Dennis landed one on a metal jig worked in the powerful tide current, and Michael latched into a small bass from an adjacent beach, as the swell pushed over a sand bank.

Guided fishing from Devon
Henry (seen here) and I witnessed a very decent-sized bass take (presumably) a small fish off the surface only yards away from us, but despite his efforts it didn’t fancy his lure.

The final session was completed during the evening and into the night with the intention of fishing ‘hard’ once darkness set in. By that, I mean each angler was keen to review and revisit the methods they’d learnt over the previous sessions, be it fishing with surface lures, hard shallow diving minnows, jigs or weedless soft plastics on a very beautiful and open stretch of rocks, before concentrating their efforts on the night fishing.

Bass fishing holidays
Three great blokes who love their bass lure fishing – a great combination for me as their guide.

There was a slight problem though, in that the gentle north-westerly wind that had been forecast turned out to be rather gusty and full on strong westerly that was stirring up the weed fragments in the shallows – I wasn’t very impressed… We could have moved, but with all three anglers more than content to remain in position they made the best of it with a variety of lures including the needlefish, Albie Snax, senkos and hard diving minnows.

Bass on hard lures in darkness
Hard diving minnows aren’t my ‘go to’ lures in darkness – but the difficult conditions warranted their use on this occasion.

Michael eventually landed the only bass of the session on a lure that I’d taken a fancy to in his lure box – the very long casting and exceptionally shallow swimming/diving Megabass Kagelou 124F here. This quite bulky lure coped well with the crosswind and small weed fragments and was nailed in the exact gully that I’d stood all three anglers over the low tide period earlier in the session, whilst explaining the type of features to look for when hunting for potential bass marks themselves.

Bass on lures at night
Michael’s bass that was clearly hunting in the underwater gully that I’d highlighted at low water to my clients as one of the ‘bass entrances’ to this shallow, rocky cove – it is extremely satisfying when this occurs.

Be quick!

My next 3 Day Package will be conducted between the 9 – 11 June (the second of seven I am completing this year) and I cannot wait! I do however have two places remaining on my final package of the season between the 15 – 17 September. The price is £499 per person, which includes 3 nights BB at the Chillington House BB Hotel I mentioned earlier in this blog post. Please do get in touch via the contact form below if you’d like to book your place – my previous blog post here will hopefully answer many of the questions you might have. Be quick!

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s