3 Day Package – Windows of opportunity

3 Day Package – Windows of opportunity

My most recent 3 Day Package (completed with my clients Dave, Joe and Kev) was probably my most diverse yet from a ‘type of mark’ perspective – an achievement in itself considering the thunderstorms and strong winds (that were continually changing direction) that we had to contend with. But this is where attaining (through years of research and experimentation) around 170 proven bass fishing marks to guide my clients upon pays huge dividends. Plus, it means that I can take advantage of often short windows of opportunity to fish certain marks before they become unfishable.

Varied

I am very lucky here in south Devon, in that alongside it possessing an extremely varied coastline (incorporating sandy surf beaches, headlands, multiple estuary systems, rocky/weedy foreshores and many, many gems hidden away from civilisation!) I can guarantee being able to ‘duck’ out of all wind directions should it increase to a level that makes lure fishing either uncomfortable, but more especially, dangerous. Client safety is always at the forefront of my mind when deciding ‘where’ to guide them, which made the fact that they managed to land fourteen bass during their sessions with me all the more satisfying, as I had to ‘dig deep’ on occasions to find areas where they could utilise a variety of lure types, enjoy their fishing and above all catch some lovely bass – this post is snap shot of the events.

bass lure fishing at dawn

Longer than expected!

The first session actually ended up lasting longer than expected due to the weather forecast being inaccurate (I won’t moan too much about this as I know I did last season!). With storms due to arrive at around 8pm, the essential criteria for my mark selection involved having a mobile signal (data to enable me to look at the rainfall radar via the internet), being relatively close to the car, and above all, without a cliff top walk should we need to recover home with hast!

OSP DoLive Stick White
I do like the white DoLive Sticks, and this bass certainly did!

Choosing an estuary mark to fish 3 hours either side of low water, small surface lures such as the IMA Salt Skimmer here, Xorus Patchinko 100 here and weedless soft plastics such as the Fish Arrow Flash here and OSP DoLive Stick here were deployed initially. Dave landed a small bass early into the session on the Fish Arrow and then added another larger bass on a white DoLive (with a little assistance from me as I showed him how to work the lure!), Joe hit into a small one on his ‘Patch 100’ and Kev also landed two on his inexpensive, but very effective HTO Glide here in the white configuration – the white colour seemingly working very well under the bright sunlight…

Estuary Bass on lures
A joint effort this one, as I was demonstrating how I like to ‘work’ the lure on Dave’s set up when I’m sure I felt a ‘bump.’ Upon returning the rod to Dave there was a bass attached! One that he subsequently landed.

As the Sun began to set, and with no storms (as yet) on the horizon, I decided that we should move to an open coast mark (a shingle beach with a flat expanse of reef present at range) in order to fish with needlefish into darkness. Two hours into phase two of the session and with no bass obliging the first spits and spots of rain arrived in conjunction with a  strengthening wind… I checked the radar here and there was a storm approaching fast, therefore, we scarpered back to the car – just in time too as immediately after the sky was just being continually lit up!

Day two

Day two dawned hot, sunny and slightly less humid, therefore, we attempted to fish a series of rocks that lead onto a completely clean (sandy) seabed for around 2½ hours, before retiring early in readiness for the evening/night session. Here, the water was relatively deep (at 12-15ft) and swept by a fairly vigorous and laterally running tide. This short session saw Joe and Kev landing two small bass a piece to their Savage Gear Seeker metal lures here fished in a ‘sink and draw’ style.

Back when I planned this particular 3 Day Package in January, I had a particular mark in mind when I scrutinised the tide table – I just hoped that the weather on the day would be conducive to my clients fishing it. Thankfully it was! A shingle platform backed by a low cliff, this mark is shallow (4-6ft) over high tide and has patches of weed and rock present on the seabed. It can be exceptionally reliable too, but following Joe’s two small bass (again, to his Patchinko 100) during dusk, it took a good two hours into full darkness before I head Kev shout as a bass attached itself to his white Wave Worm Bamboo Stick here.

catching bass devon
A first ever for Kev on a lure at night and on a weedless, weightless SP. But his night was about to be well and truly ‘made’ later in the session!

It was a pleasing bass (particularly as Kev had never used weedles, weightless soft plastics before), but on the small side for this mark at around 2½lb. However, as the tide turned Joe began to receive a couple of ‘taps’ on the rod tip, and it wasn’t long before I heard my favourite expression bellowing out of the night air “Taking line!!!!!” Racing over to Kev, I witnessed his Tailwalk EGinn 88M rod here being yanked downwards in bursts, in conjunction with the braid being dragged off of his Penn Spinfisher 2500 reel here.

Senkos at night for bass
Not the most flattering photo of a bass admittedly, but in the heat of the moment (and the fact that it is pitch black) you don’t always notice the sand/gravel on a fish.

I knew it was the bass we’d come to catch there and then, but I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised that it was only around the 5lb mark given the brutal nature of the battle – one that Kev did extremely well to win. I say ‘only’ as it was without a doubt a tremendous bass in anyone’s books and one that Kev was over the Moon about (he couldn’t help but rib his new friends about it too!). Moreover, I have to say that I felt for Dave as he didn’t receive a touch during the night and Joe also had what he said felt like a good bass manage to wriggle off the heavier 6″ senko he was using after hitting him close in.

big bass devon on lures
An ever so slightly larger smile, but a much larger bass that’s for sure! This 5lb+ beauty is a capture that I know Kev will treasure for a very long time – not bad for someone who’d never fished this way and with this lure type before!

Day Three

The wind again increased from a different direction over night, along with the swell building significantly, therefore, we had to be very careful on the mark I had chosen for the mid-afternoon foray (it had been a very late night the night before). It looked good though, with lots of aerated water being pumped around the same rocks that had produced a good bass to a client only 72 hours previously, and I was ready and waiting with the net as my clients’ large surface lures were splashed around the various gullies and protruding islands. However, with the sea conditions rapidly bordering on dangerous, and unable to fish the zone that I’d originally planned, the session had to be curtailed somewhat – the window of opportunity having been closed early!

rough ground bass lure fishing
Threatening clouds and a swell increasing in size by the minute greeted us on Day 3 – much to my annoyance!

Following a quick detour to their accommodation (the Chillington House BB here) for a change of clothes and then to a local Pub for our dinner, we embarked on the final session. As always, once I have met and guided my clients over the first day and night, all decisions about mark selection are talked through and discussed, so that everyone gets out of the package what they want to get out of it (to fish certain types of marks or learn to utilise certain types of lure for example). Further, it also enables them the chance to return to a mark they have enjoyed success on, or would simply like to fish again. And on this occasion they all wanted to return to the previous night’s venue.

3 day guided bass fishing packages
Kev, Joe and Dave on the way to our fishing mark for the final session – one that failed to live up to the hype unfortunately…

Not again!

Strangely, or maybe not so strangely we blanked… The amount of times that a mark has produced one day or more especially one night (and often dramatically so) and then failed to produce the next day/night or tide is uncanny – even more so when two or more clients are involved… But it happened again!

This brings back memories of another mark where this has occurred – an open coast lagoon-type scenario (the type that I cover in detail within my book ‘The Lure of The Bass’) that was spectacularly consistent in darkness during 2017, yet it failed to produce a single bass during the whole of last season! Anyway, I stood on that shingle with my clients for six hours, on the same mark that 24 hours earlier and many, many times previous to that had yielded good numbers and good-sized bass without so much as a sniff . That’s fishing I guess, and bass are masters at letting you and I know that we only know a tiny fraction of what is going on under the water…

Thanks for reading

Marc Cowling

 

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