3 Day Package – Cold Comfort…

3 Day Package – Cold Comfort…

My most recent 3 Day Package, encompassing three anglers lure fishing for bass over three days, took place over a period when the UK was sitting under a rather chilly, windy and particularly wet low pressure system!

I am being completely honest and transparent when I say that I won’t even try and pretend that the fishing was good – as it was bloody tough going. But my clients and I did take some comfort (in the cold and wet) from the events depicted in this post – as personal bests were beaten, in addition to bass being caught on methods new to them.

Daylight doldrums

During the daylight sessions, a definitely theme has developed so far this season, in that the bass are either there or they aren’t. What I mean is that even in what I would consider as ‘tasty’ and if you like the ‘quintessential’ bass lure fishing conditions of a flooding tide, an overcast sky and a bit of movement and colour to the water, it has been difficult to locate them at times. Yet, on the following tide or day, the bass have appeared and my clients have landed half a dozen or so, with some of them being of a decent (3lb) size.

It goes without saying I have a theory about this! Undoubtedly (and certainly judging by the amount of times I am still wearing my woolly hat out there!) the air temperature has been slightly lower than average between April to June. I also believe that the sea temperature is possibly 2 weeks behind because of this. Additionally, the baitfish (sandeels) have, as far as I can tell, only been only appearing very sporadically close inshore, again, from tide to tide.

Bass fishing in daylight with lures
Supposedly ‘ideal’ conditions, but the bass are guzzling up the most easily obtainable meal – the sandeels. To hammer home this observation, my good friend of mine landed a 15 bass (of which many were over 3lb) just recently and they were all ‘coughing up’ sandeels, yet he returned the next evening and blanked spectacularly.

What I think all this translates to is that the bass are seemingly following the readily available food source (the sandeels) around the coastline. On a number of occasions so far this season, if I have witnessed this staple bass food in the water, or I have seen gannets circling in our vicinity then my clients and I have invariably caught bass, and often in good numbers.

Unfortunately for my clients, on all of the normally very reliable marks (at this time of year) that we tried in daylight the bass just didn’t want to play, or quite simply, they were elsewhere – it really was a case of the fishing being in the doldrums it has to be said. Furthermore, due to the heavy rain and thunderstorms (that weren’t forecast I hasten to add) on the second evening, we were only able to conduct two sessions in darkness rather than the usual three. That’s the depressing stuff out of the way, now onto the actual catches!

Moving through

I was excited, but I could tell that my clients were a little apprehensive about fishing in darkness with nothing more attached to their lines than a white worm ‘thingy.’ But when we reached the mark following a long slog (as always), when I began to describe the way the tide and water moves, the features beneath the surface and why I would be asking them to retrieve the lure in a certain way I could sense their enthusiasm increasing – especially when I showed them the photos of the bass that previous clients had caught right where they were about to wet their lines!

Lure fishing for bass in darkness
The white senko (5″ Wave Worm Bamboo Stick) does it yet again. This bass took Tom a little by surprise, as he admitted later that wasn’t entirely convinced by the method – he is now though!

With all three clients (Alan, Nigel and Tom) positioned in their respective ‘spots’ for the evening, they proceeded to cast and retrieve a mixture of the usual suspects (the OSP DoLive Sticks and small surface lures such as the Xorus Patchino 100 and Whiplash Spittin Wire) into the required zones until I deemed it dark enough to transfer them over to the ‘deadly’ Wave Worm Bamboo sticks.

I’d explained on the way to the mark (a stunningly remote cove flanked by a long line of protruding rocks on either side) that the bass would move through in ‘waves’ and to expect a series of bites (and hopefully fish caught) in quick succession, based on my experience of this mark – an occurrence that did indeed materialise.

Memories made

It took a long time to become fully dark, and the crescent Moon high above us kept things illuminated just that little bit longer it seemed. But when a thin veil of cloud drifted up the coast, that, in addition to the optimum period in the tide being reached saw all three anglers latch into bass – and good-sized bass too.

Guided shore fishing UK
Another personal best bass. Moments like these are treasured and it is a privilege to share them with my clients.

Tom (above) was the first to shout “Marc, fish!” and I was delighted to see him land (via my net) what transpired to be his personal best bass from the shore at 59cm (around 5lb). What’s more, I was extremely relieved as this was the third time that Tom has been guided by me, having previously landed wrasse on his beloved Fiiish Minnows!

Bass from beaches at night
This one put a real bend in Nigel’s Major Craft N-One 9′ lure rod – a piece of kit that like a lot!

Within minutes, and just after I’d re-tweaked his retrieve rate, Nigel called me back to him just as I was wading out of the water as he announced that he too was ‘in.’ As I reached his side, I flashed on my headtorch to witness a big splash and a flash of silver just beyond a bank of wrack in front of him. “Crank it in now mate”, I encouraged him, as I sensed that this one was just about to attempt to snag him up ‘good and proper’ in the weed, and I wasn’t sure initially if his was a really large fish too!

big bass at night on lures
A fellow guide in Ireland asked me about my camera settings after seeing this detailed photograph. The truth is, I set my Sony Cybershot HX90V to ‘Auto’ and ensure that there is a solid background behind the subject, so that the flash surrounds them rather than escaping – something that Henry Gilbey advised me to do after I asked him how to take a decent photograph in darkness. Cheers Henry!

The sprint!

It was while I was videoing Nigel’s bass swimming away that we all heard Alan shouting “taking line, taking line!” from down the beach – whereby I stopped filming and sprinted out of the water and along the shingle to him!

As I reached him in the knee-deep water I could see the bend in his rod, but rather dispiritingly, he didn’t appear to be ‘battling’ with the fish. “Everything’s gone solid Marc”, he said… The bass had somehow managed to snag him in the thick kelp fronds that are slightly further out and at a range of 30m+ on this mark. I really felt for him considering he’d been so encouraging and happy for his new friends who had only moments before landed and returned their bass.

We managed to pull the lure free of the snag, but the bass had evaded capture this time, and by the sound of how the fish ‘hit’ and then just shook its head, before slowly moving off whilst dragging a good few metres of line from his spool suggested to me that it was highly likely to have been a bass much larger than those already landed and returned. The only consolation for Alan is that during the next evening session, and late into dusk, he managed to hook and land his first ever bass on a surface lure – albeit a very small one.

Not firing

Following these sessions, the weather has remained very changeable and is still (for south Devon) on the cold side. Despite the unseasonable conditions, a number of clients have caught bass during their sessions with me, including one of nearly 7lbs and that was particularly special to its captor. In addition to this, I managed to find the time to test out a new mark during a session in darkness which resulted in a nice bass also – both of which I will endeavour to tell you about very soon via my blog posts.

I am very happy how the season has progressed so far, however, I don’t really think it is firing on all cylinders yet, as there are a number of marks that would normally have produced big bass by now that just haven’t – a warm, settled spell could well change all that though… Here’s to hoping!

3 Day Packages – One place left!!!!

Guided bass fishing packages UK

I have one place available on my final 3 Day Package of the 2019 season that will take place between the 15 – 17 September. If you would like to know more please follow the link here or please get in touch via the contact form below.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling





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