Client Catches – Sticking with it…
A brief blog post, but one that I wanted to write as it really highlights the importance understanding when to consider changing the lure you’re using during a session, and indeed, when to steadfastly remain with your choice…
As per a recent post that I wrote here depicting the use of hard diving minnow type lures, the overall sea conditions appeared (to me anyhow) to be highly conducive to catching bass during this guided session. However, even though the end result was the same (a beautiful bass that put one of the most satisfying smiles I’ve witnessed from a client yet), on this occasion, there were a couple of subtle differences in the way we achieved it – with sheer perseverance being the overriding factor.
Looking through my records, the hoards of sprat (being harassed by the mackerel) normally arrive here in south Devon around mid-August – yet this year I first noticed them during the final days of July. And it was with this annual feast in mind that I ventured out with a extraordinarily keen angler (Dave) for a session out on the rocks.
I knew the conditions were tasty, but as we donned our waders and boots whilst checking we had everything we needed (including the net which I nearly forgot!) I felt confident of his chances – something that I did indeed relay, even though I knew I was severely tempting fate! “Normally, when this amount of bait fish are around Dave, the bass will very often hit surface lures indiscriminately”, I told him. “Therefore, our initial approach will be to concentrate on using this lure type.” How wrong was I!
After teaching Dave how to work/retrieve surface sliding lures (the Seadra Spitta here and the larger Xorus Patchinko II or ‘Big Patch here) his technique was ‘purring’ even with a strong crosswind that was doing its utmost to hamper him – a skill that will serve him extremely well during future sessions I’m sure. The only downside so far was the fact that the bass just weren’t playing! Maybe they just weren’t ‘tuned’ into the bait fish and therefore ‘whipping’ them off the surface as yet?
Surely there were bass about though!? I mean, we’d spotted the sprat right at our feet, the tide height (building spring tides) was excellent and the sea conditions were sublime (2ft of swell and decent water clarity). Plus, the actual weather (cloudy, but warm) and the time of day (late evening) all spelt one thing to me – BASS! Right… a change of lure is required were my thoughts…
With that crosswind still nagging away, and with Dave’s newly found casting prowess somewhat fragile, I decided to remove from my personal lure box a (sadly discontinued) lure that has become one of my (and many others I suspect) all-time favourites – the IMA Hound Glide 125F here. If you’re not already aware of their existence and just how accomplished they are at casting, swimming and catching then lets just say that you’re better off not knowing what you’ve missed! Joking aside, my advice is be quick and order some via the link above…
One hit is all it takes
With the swell increasing further as the top of the tide approached, my instructions to Dave (to pre-empt the lure landing on the sea’s surface and to wind down onto the lure straight away so to ensure it dived down and began swimming quickly) were being carried out to the letter. Further, he was concentrating so hard on keeping the rod tip low (so to accentuate the lure’s action) and retrieving the lure all the way to the rod tip each and every time, that I had to remind him to take a breather/drink every now and again.
“Shall we change lures again Marc?” Dave asked tentatively. “No mate”, I said . And I then proceeded to explain to him why this particular lure was the one for the job. Firstly, there have been numerous occasions when fishing or guiding on this mark when the bass are patrolling/travelling laterally a good 30-40m out from the main stance and where the tide is at its fiercest – so we simply needed a lure that was capable of achieving this kind of distance.
Secondly, as the tide began to ebb, the sea grew quite ‘angry’ and we needed to be using a lure that would remain stable under the water and within the turbulence. Thirdly, the water was clear, therefore, I surmised that a lure looking as much like the real thing as possible (blue-tinged back and silver flanks) and that was also swimming at a similar depth to the sprat we’d seen would give him the best possible chance of success.
It was approximately 3 hours into the ebb, when as I climbed down to Dave’s position to offer some more encouragement and to tweak his retrieve speed (to slightly slower), that his Fox Rage rod here slammed down hard! Yeeeeeesssssssss!!! The drag buzzed a little, but then the fish arched its way to our left, before slowly and powerfully swimming straight at us and then dangerously to our right – dangerous from the perspective that there was/is a submerged rock that I have recently lost what I think was a beast on…. At the second attempt Dave managed to coerce her into my net, whereby I could sense my own relief and Dave’s sense of achievement.
Guide and client had worked together to land this one. My insistence that the IMA Hound Glide was the tool for the job, alongside Dave’s persistence and receptiveness had been rewarded. Would this bass (or others) have eventually nailed a surface lure? Do you know what, I don’t think so… A small one skipping across the surface maybe, but in the sea and wind conditions we faced it would have been very difficult to keep the lure moving/splashing/zigzagging effectively across the surface.
Incidentally, the bass hit the ‘Hound Glide’ around halfway into the retrieve at a range of 20m from us – a distance that admittedly, most similar hard lures would have been capable of. However, we’ll never know how far that hard-earned bass followed the lure, and I, for one, have a huge amount of confidence in this lure – something that is huge in any form of fishing, let alone bass lure fishing…
Thanks for reading