Client Catches – Right on cue…
Are bass territorial? Do certain shoals of bass frequent certain areas at specific stage of the tide? From my point of view, I would categorically answer ‘Yes’ to both of them, but with a caveat…
Some is better than none
One of the main reasons I keep such detailed accounts of my guided and personal sessions is that it helps me to make decisions in relation to which mark (or marks) I will choose to fish when planning for future sessions. Ultimately, I would say that I am pretty ruthless (for want of a better phrase) when it comes to attempting to catch a bass, and what these notes provide me with is the confidence that I am doing everything I possible can to achieve this.
Of course, bass are wild predators that are swimming and hunting along an open and often equally wild coastline, therefore, even I have to admit that any noticeable patterns in my notes are still indefinable. For example, I believe that it doesn’t much for them to deviate from these ‘patterns of behaviour’ with factors such as a short-lived, yet readily available food source (numerous sandeels shoals for example) or a seal sniffing around their ‘patch’ being two classic examples. But for me, having some information is most definitely better than having none at all with a guided session I conducted last week with a returning client (a thoroughly nice man called Andrew) ramming home this point spectacularly.
Has the prevailing wind in the UK been from the west/south-west in the last 18 months? I’d be surprised if it has! Either way, the reality is that the number of days when it has been blowing from the north or east has actually helped me, in the sense that it has made me search for marks that will produce in these circumstances for my clients and I.
You may recall a recent blog post I wrote here depicting my exploits over two exploratory sessions when the wind was howling from the east and the Moon was high and bright. Well, it was on a similar mark that I discovered and kept extensive notes of a couple of years ago, that I decided Andrew and I should head to during this particular session.
We’d had a tough afternoon dodging showers whilst still needing to apply sunscreen! Therefore, it was following a blank and scrutinising the weather forecast, that I suggested a tiny cove that drops into deeper water as a potential night-time venue. “Whatever you say Marc, I’m happy”, came the response from Andrew.
It was a gamble it has to be said, as this mark generally throws up a good-sized bass or nothing at – a lone ranger so to speak… But everything just seemed ‘right’ to me – the tide height, that wind direction, the time in relation to the state of tide that dusk would fall into darkness, in addition to the range of the tide. Also, the time of year, the water clarity and the fact that where we would be fishing would be very calm and still (my favourite conditions for lure fishing in darkness) made me feel very confident of his chances.
Nice new lure = a nice fish!
I don’t know why, but when I pull a brand-new 5″ white senko out of the packaging and twist and rig it onto a fresh 5/0 weedless hook I fancy it will attract a bass. My confidence levels go through the roof! Maybe it’s just me then!
As I attached this one to Andrew’s lure clip (ensuring it was nice and straight) late into dusk I explained to him how he should retrieve it and to expect a hit from the moment it entered the water all the way up to end of the retrieve when the lure was almost beneath the rod tip. “Really?”, he exclaimed.
With the drag set in a manner that would allow a 3lb-4lb bass to take some line, as he gently waded knee deep into the calm water I stored my landing net back onto the seaweed and leaves that had accumulated on the shoreline on the previous tide and decided to creep back along the beach to grab my head torch.
I checked the time on my phone and ventured that we were now entering the state of the tide (which was only a relatively short window of 30 minutes or so) when I would expect one or two bass to move through the area…
I’d taken only a few steps back towards him when I heard him say “Fish Marc.” “Is it taking line mate?”, I said. “Yep!”, was his instant reply and which is always music to my ears! Trudging quickly over the shingle, I swiped the landing net and waded into the water to join him, whereby I could hear his drag ‘clicking’ as the fish attempted to head to his right and into a bank of bladderwrack.
“Steer it away Andrew”, was my response, which he duly completed causing the fish to glide back around to the left, splashing furiously on the surface 5m out and directly in front of us. With the net primed, I switched my headlight on to full and waited with excitement for the bass to appear… “Yes! That’s the one mate”, I said as it’s head and lips came into view – heading towards us like a torpedo and unbelievably straight into my net!
From my point of view, the battle had been short-lived. However, Andrew later described to me in great detail what had occurred once we’d safely and successfully returned his well-earned bass (via the clip below).
Essentially, he’d allowed the lure to sink for around 8 seconds upon hitting the water and then proceeded to recover it quickly for the first 5 turns of the reel, before settling into a steady ‘one full turn per second style’ retrieve. Apparently, he’d immediately felt tension on the line and assumed that the lure was ‘stuck in some weed’ therefore, he decided to give the rod a yank, upon which the bass realised it was hooked and took off… Absolutely brilliant!
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 this blog post.
Book – ‘The Lure of The Bass’ by Marc Cowling
A modern approach to catching European Sea Bass on lures by Marc Cowling.