Client Catches – Keep your eyes peeled
When a client informs you that he’s only ever been mackerel fishing ‘a few times’ prior to a guided bass fishing session I become both nervous and excited! Nervous, because attempting to catch bass on a piece of plastic isn’t easy, plus well, my client just might not ‘take’ to this exciting style of fishing! But equally, I become very excited about the prospect of assisting someone who is clearly very keen to learn and experience this wonderfully addictive branch of the sport.
One of the reasons that I decided to become a professional bass fishing guide is that I wanted to provide my clients, from whatever fishing discipline or level of expertise, with a few steps up the ladder. Well, my client during this session (a very friendly and easy going guy called Daren) is most definitely halfway up it judging by his new found capabilities, and after a tale-tale sign of bass activity greatly assisted us.
It was a pleasure to lend him a pair of my waders plus a rod/reel, and I could sense his immediate delight at the lightness and crispness of the Savage Gear Salt CCS 7-28g lure rod here that he was holding. Seriously, if there is better ‘entry’ lure rod out there (they cost around £70) then I haven’t used it yet – and I get to use a lot client set ups nowadays…
What possibly proved to be a very decisive moment however, was when I extracted a certain surface lure out of my personal lure box – the superb popper/slider hybrid that is the Whiplash Factory Spittin Wire here. This is a lure that I genuinely believe that HAS something (in fact lots of things) that are ‘special’ about it…
Very briefly – it casts brilliantly and can be used effectively in so many different situations ranging from deeper water during ”swell conditions’ to when the water is very shallow (12″) and oily calm. Plus, it can be made to ‘perform’ in all manner of ways – such as deftly zigzagging it with that ‘belly roll’ type of movement, slashed across the surfaceg or gently’popped.’ That I’ve also caught quite a few bass on it in complete darkness (as you can read here) in addition to my last two 7lb+ bass in very different circumstances places it top of tree as far as I’m concerned
Duck to water
The biggest compliment I can pay Daren is that I have never seen anyone be able to pick up a lure rod, cast a 15g lure so well, and be able to ‘work’ it so effectively in such a short space of time – very natural and like a ‘duck to water’ I’d say. I even asked him if he was a fellow angling writer or a guide who’d travelled down to south Devon just to ‘spy’ on me!
Joking aside, after a very slight amount of fine-tuning, each lure type that I demonstrated and then asked him to use was administered brilliantly – so huge respect there. After utilising a variety of weightless, weedless soft plastics for an hour, and after catching his first ever bass, I decided it was time to clip on the additional ‘special lure’ that I’d lobbed into the box. Within minutes Daren was creating that awesome wake and popping motion with the Spittin Wire across an otherwise calm sea.
So why had I’d chosen to attach it in that instant? As I was sipping my drink, I witnessed out of the corner of my eye what I thought was a swirl and a tiny splash as something grabbed a poor unsuspecting creature off of the surface… For the moment though, in line wih my instructions Daren continued to cast well away from the recent activity. Around five minutes later though THERE! It happened again… But this time I knew 100% that it was a bass stationed on the exposed side of an underwater ledge and that was seemingly ‘picking off’ any food items unfortunate enough to move too close.
Straight away, I caught Daren’s attention and moved him into position in a way that he could cast the lure into the vicinity of the ‘bass den.’ “Just cast into that area there Daren,” I said. Woosh, Plop, Splash, Knock, Splash…. BOOOOOM! The fish well and truly hammered into the Spittin Wire and the rod jerked forwards and a couple of metres of line gave from the drag – we’d fooled it!
Considering the only fish Daren had ever landed before was a few mackerel that had hung themselves on a line of feathers he did exceptionally well not a: panic and b: attempt to rush the fish. Yes, I was talking him through what to do, but in the heat of the moment what I saying was probably utter gibberish! “Keep a tight line, keep the rod low, now place pressure to your right,” were just some of my commands, until I managed to slide the net under a very dark, very broad and very handsome bass for my client.
After returning this bass, Daren went on to catch a further six – all of which were small in comparison, yet just as ferocious. Furthermore, none of the fish caught after his 60cm fish made themselves obvious prior to hitting the Spittin Wire – although the one that followed it straight away and attempted to grab it three times was fun to watch!
The significance of Daren’s capture is exemplified by the fact that witnessing a single bass ‘take’ an item off the top is actually quite a rare event in my experience – and by that I mean my ‘personal experiences’ from the marks that I frequent. I am aware that in other parts of the country and from specific types of locations it is fairly common. Moreover, I have read about anglers who regularly ‘sight fish’ for bass – something that I have experienced when fishing with bait (another very rare event nowadays).
Would any lure, or more specifically any type of surface lure attracted the same savage attack as the one I’d thankfully remembered to transfer into my client lure box? We’ll never know…
Thanks for reading.