Client Catches – Freshwater to bass fast track!
Do I have a favourite ‘type’ of client? Now that would be telling! But what I will say is that one of my favourite types of client is someone who is very experienced and/or proficient in a different aspect of this marvellous sport, be it salmon, trout, Fly etc, but who has very limited or no experience of catching a bass on a lure.
With that in mind, my client for this session was a really friendly guy called Aaron, an avid freshwater angler with 35 years of expertise within this and the associated angling disciplines, but who had only very recently (four trips in total) decided that he wanted to have a crack at the bass. And he certainly wasn’t disappointed…
Our first mark involved clambering around on an exposed ledge at low tide and that was jutting out into the tide race. Here, a barnacle covered promontory (that is completely covered three hours either side of high water) is surrounded by a sandy/shingle seabed – the ideal ambush point, or one to intercept any bass that are feeding early into the flooding tide.
With a wicked crosswind present, my initial choice to ask my client to use a surface lure might have seemed a little strange (as smaller versions of this lure type can be difficult to control in these conditions), but after some tuition and a little tweaking here and there, I was very pleased to see Aaron ‘master’ this method in no time at all.
Clearly, he knew how to handle a fishing rod, a 9′ 6″ Tailwalk EGinn here in this case – although we both agreed that the 8′ 6″ version (that he also owns) would have been far more suitable for the marks we were to fish (due primarily, because of the increased levels of overall ‘feel and precision’ linked to a shorter rod) and the lures we would be using.
With his Patchinko 125 here spluttering and snaking across the surface, interspersed with short (1-5 seconds) bouts of it lying motionless, the first time that we attempted to ‘pause’ the lure, a bass came up and ‘boiled’ right next to it – nearly… However, after a further hour of casting and retrieving, and with the tide now pushing us off the ledge I decided that we should move to the next venue in preparation for the main event (and one that Aaron was incredibly excited about exploring) – lure fishing in darkness!
I joked, as Aaron unveiled his leafy-patterned jacket from the car, that he would certainly be blending into the surroundings! With a huge spring tide expected during this evening/night session, I knew we would be pushed right up the beach, and literally into the bushes enveloping it, an hour and a half either side of this monster tide. So why had I chosen this venue then? Quite simply, it was during this series of larger than average spring tides that I had previously landed some good-sized bass here, with only small ones present over the neaps and indeed, the smaller spring tides. But unlike stalking carp or pike on his native lakes and reservoirs we, of course, didn’t require any form of camouflage on what transpired to be a very memorable session in the dark.
I was keen to teach Aaron as many methods as possible during this 8 hour session, as he’d driven a long way (Hampshire) to be here. Commencing the second section of the session in full daylight and with the smaller Patchinko 100 here due, in part, to the amount of sprat prevalent, it soon became apparent (yet again) that any bass in the area just weren’t interested in hitting what is normally a very dependable lure. Therefore, I proceeded to instruct the virtues of an OSP DoLive Stick here to yet another exceptionally receptive client (I do like my job a lot, as I’m sure I keep saying!) – a lure that left him utterly flabbergasted of its very natural-looking appearance and ease of use.
Wave Worm time…
Although we were yet to latch into or land a fish, I could sense Aaron’s contentment at learning the methods and techniques that would suit his own open coast venues, in addition to knowing we were about to enter what I’d suggested would be the most opportune period – dusk and into full darkness.
It was Wave Worm time! With dusk now upon us, I offered Aaron a black and blue speckled version of this deadly senko (that I’d obtained from High Street Tackle in Ilfracombe here) and talked him through a technique that has served me well with the senkos in general – especially this year. As is commonly known, in low light conditions (but not necessarily fully dark), the silhouette of this pattern/colour is highlighted against either the sky or indeed the seabed (or both) – something has resulted in a number of bass for me during this short period of the late evening over the past few months.
Onto the method I use then, which is very, very simple to achieve. I allow the lure to either sink to the seabed (or very close to it) or I allow it to sink for one or two seconds only, before retrieving the lure quickly (two-three turns per second) for the first five turns of the reel’s handle and then immediately settling into a slower one full turn of the reel’s handle per second rate all the way to the rod tip (ensuring that the lure remains under the surface all the way to me).
It was after around half-a-dozen recoveries of the lure that, right at the end of the retrieve, a decent-sized bass made a last-ditch attempt to grab the soft stickbait just as he about to remove it from the water. Drat! (or words to that effect were muttered…) But at least he now knew that what he was doing would attract a bass (attaining confidence). And as the sky darkened and no further ‘bassy’ enquiries were registered I clipped on the ever dependable white Wave Worm to use in what were very calm weather and seas conditions.
As high tide approached and the air grew still, our conversations quietened yet became more humorous, and I felt like I was guiding a mate rather than someone I’d only met five hours ago. But alongside the laughs, I kept encouraging Aaron, whilst informing him that the bass can move through at any time here, and that the fishing can very suddenly ‘switch on’ in an instant. It was following such a remark, that his rod just suddenly WHACKED over around six or seven turns into the retrieve!
The drag buzzed (a very good sign!) but then everything went quiet… “Is it still on”, I asked? “Yep, it’s swimming towards me Marc” (something I’d thankfully warned him could happen if a good one was hooked). My headtorch went on, but I could see his braid was in coils on the surface of the water! “Keep winding mate” I told him, and as he did so I caught a glimpse of a few spines and the back of a nice bass under the beam and to our right – the fish seemingly ‘going’ for the sanctuary of a weed-bed.
The bugger made it into the weed too, but with a bit of slack line administered, followed by a bit of tugging the bass relinquished its position in the kelp and splashed violently on the surface in front of us. Another quick run away from us, and then the EGinn’s power tired out what I knew was a 5lb bass as soon as I saw it, to the extent that it sailed into my net – he’d done it!
I am very fortunate to be in a position to share these memories, but I have to say that I could see (in the dark yes!) that this fish meant an awful lot to Aaron alongside the multitude of accomplishments he has achieved in fishing. “This is right up there Marc” he grinned, as he held his ‘reward for being patient’ up to the camera, before gently allowing her to recover and slip away, relative none the worse for being caught (see below).
It took a good five minutes for him to stop shaking with the excitement, but eventually he picked up the rod, I straightened out the rather mangled Wave Worm, and he began fishing again – onto Round Two as it were…
“That was something else Marc” and “What an amazing experience to catch a fish like that, from a place like this and using this lure in this way” and phrases similar were echoeing out into darkness as the rod THUPMED over again! This time, the fish wasn’t as crafty, in that it attempted to out-power him by running away from us initially, before swimming in a parallel manner left then right – taking a little line from the reel’s drag sporadically as it did so.
Again, my beam was activated as he drew the fish nearer, until what was another wonderful bass swam directly into my net – this one being slightly smaller at what I’d estimate to be 4½lb. At this point, and after safely returning his second beautiful bass, I don’t think Aaron could quite believe what was happening! Tiredness had set in yes, but I think the emotion, concentration and sheer effort that goes into holding first-hand what I am convinced are intelligent, yet utterly wild, creatures had now taken its toll. Therefore, we decided that was the time to end the session – well and truly on a high.
One day (or night)
I know these captures weren’t double figure monsters (one day…), but all that matters to me is that if a client doesn’t catch during their session that they leave happy, relaxed and brimming with confidence in their technique or with advanced levels of know-how in regards to how they are going to tackle their own bass marks, or attempt to catch a bass on their own in the future.
But when they do land a bass whilst being guided (and most do) and yet another remarkable memory is made, the sense of fulfilment I get is twice as much as when I catch a bass when fishing myself – and I very obviously love to catch and release these fish!
I suppose I do have a favourite type of client then – one that I can call a friend after meeting and guiding them. Below is Aaron’s review that he very kindly wrote:
Had a recent trip with Marc. I booked an 8 hour session with him and mentioned I’m a beginner in Lure fishing, but 35 years experience in other types of Angling.
Marc was very professional and extremely patient also very easy to get on with, felt as if I’ve known him for a long time.
We went to a beach/rock mark first in strong winds and managed a couple of close hits with surface lures. Then for the evening we drove a short distance to another Beach mark, that we fished into dark.
Just before dark I had a large Bass follow to the rod tip and it jumped out of the water and just missed my Senko. I obviously had the shakes then!
Just into dark had my first Bass of around 5lb which completely blew me away. Then I was a jibbering mess! Then not too long after a 4.5lb Bass just to confirm I wasn’t dreaming. I decided to leave on a high.
Left for my long journey home through the early hours of the morning on cloud 9!
Marc is an outstanding Guide and all in all a great guy. Had one of my best fishing trips ever and we had such a laugh also, which is what fishing is all about.
In 8 hours I learnt such a huge amount! I will be booking more and more trips up for sure!
Marc thankyou mate, see you again soon!
Thanks for reading