Client Catches – Perseverance is a virtue.

Client Catches – Perseverance is a virtue.

As you might expect, answering questions related to everything ‘bass lure fishing’ during the four hours, eight hours or in some of the more recent cases, three days that my clients are with me is something I both thoroughly relish, and that I’ve become extremely accustomed to – but what is the most common question of all?

When should I change the lure? Is night fishing better than daylight fishing? Is it better when the sea is rough? Are spring tides better than neaps? Do bass feed more fervently under a dull sky compared to a bright Sun? These are all very common questions, and some of them have very generic answers, but the one question, or rather the answer, that I believe garners the most surprising response is: What do you think makes a good bass lure angler/fisherman Marc?

My immediate answer to this query is simple…. Perseverance – a virtue that a recent client of mine (Rob) displayed in spades to land the 72cm monster in the featured image – more on that later…

An autumnal dusk along the beautiful South Hams coastline.


I could be completely wide of the mark here, but I think patience and perseverance are two separate attributes entirely (hence the twist to the title of this post). For instance, personally I may demonstrate patience, most certainly from an angling perspective, when I’m stood in the dark and/or the pouring rain, or when I’m teaching a client how to cast or work a specific lure. Most of all, I often demonstrate patience when I’m following a tractor through the Devon lanes when all I want to do is get out fishing! What I am getting at is that patience could well be the mechanism of accepting a problem or that something might not be perfect, whereas perseverance may be the art of overcoming it? I digress…

Anyway, how does this relate to catching bass on lures I hear you say! Firstly, I am definitely not the most patient person in the world when it comes to attempting to catch a fish; I can assure you of that – but maybe this is what drives me, as when I go fishing myself I am utterly ruthless. Of course, I enjoy everything about it from the drive (most of the time), the walk, the surroundings, the solitude, the relaxation, the fresh air, the wildlife, etc, etc. But what I really want to do is attract, catch, admire and release what I believe is the most magnificent and mesmerising creature that swims in our seas – a bass.

Alongside the staggering multitude of locations where bass swim and hunt, from muddy creeks miles from the open sea to wild surf beaches, in addition to the many, many ways, methods and lure types they will ‘take’ it is their presence and their overall menacing beauty that I adore the most.

Two-way street

There are three things that I guarantee when I am your guide: Firstly, I will guide you within locations and surroundings that are both stunningly wild and beautiful. Second, you will learn whatever it is you originally stipulated (for example, how to retrieve/work a certain lure type or how to fish a specific type of venue or terrain) on the Client Booking Forms that I ask all of my clients to complete. Finally and most of all, I will plan your session(s) down to the finest detail – taking into account everything that I know makes a massive difference to your chances of catching.

Ultimately though, it’s a two-way street when you’re one of my clients – I guarantee all of the above, and in collaboration, it is my hope that you remain receptive and willing to persevere with a technique, a method, a venue or a lure type… Thankfully 99.9% of you are!

One of my recent clients (Ben) with a 50cm bass that he landed amongst a haul of six during a blustery session out on the rocks – a day when my instructions and his receptiveness to try a specific lure type (the legendary IMA Hound Glide 125F) brought about almost instant success.

Lost fish

Putting all of the above into context, the recent 3 Day Package (3 anglers, 3 Nights accommodation at the Chillington House BB Hotel and 6x 4 hour sessions over 3 days/nights for £499 per person) that I was able able to complete (COVID restrictions and distancing measures adhered to) was a real case in point, from the perspective that we had to endure some ‘crappy’ weather conditions, and my clients and I have had to work extraordinarily hard for our rewards.

To lose a bass that, as my client (Michael) described it, “felt like I’d snagged the lure on a rock when it just stopped, but then the rock began to move!” whilst retrieving a weighted, white OSP DoLive Stick in darkness, over some of the tastiest reef you can imagine wasn’t bad enough, the following night it happened again! This time, after being hooked on the white Paddle Tail version of the Savage Gear Gravity Stick and nearly dragging him into some very dense weed, under the beam of my headtorch, as I waded in with the net, what was most certainly a bass in the 6lb range shook it’s head on the surface and was gone into the night – gutted doesn’t cover it!

Would you believe it though! The next day, whilst still licking his wounds and while I was tending to the two other clients, a phone call from him (he was in view, but was 250m along the foreshore) commenced upon pick-up with the harrowing words of “Guess what Marc, I’ve just lost another beast – I couldn’t stop it!”. Trudging along the muddy creek to console him, thankfully he did catch three other modest-sized bass during the session as you can see below:

I was just so impressed with Michael’s attitude though. He’d driven all the way down from Ayrshire for starters, and it goes without saying really that he was massively disappointed to have been outwitted by some wily old bass on all three separate occasions. But the way that he, and the second client enjoying these escapades (Pete, who was equally determined to catch, following the clutch of fish he’d landed on Day 2) went abut their business was exceptional. All of the guys were very good anglers in their own right, and I don’t think I’ve seen a collective group (who’d been complete strangers prior to the sessions) be so supportive of each other whilst fishing so avidly – they deserved something special, and it was about to arrive…

Having me on…?

It was Rob, the third client making up this wonderfully amenable union that I was most impressed with though. On the two previous days he’d basically fished, without so much as a touch, until until he’d dropped. Not literally! But I could tell that he’d given it everything and had done everything that I’d asked of him. From the outset on Day 3, I’d decided that I would spend just that little bit more time with him so to encourage and to perfect the methods we were utilising – which after an initial quiet spell with the diminutive surface lures saw me swap him over to, yet again, a white DoLive Stick rigged onto a weighted (3g) 5/0 weedless hook.

Success! Within minutes, as we I stood passing the time of day about all things fishing, I witnessed Rob’s rod jolt sideways as the bass (below) jumped on the lure that was being deftly ‘twitched’ in the ebbing flow – he later managed another one of around 48cm on the fresh flood that I effectively had to scoop, waist deep, out of a snag for him. But it was the fish that he landed in between as it were, that neither of us will forget.

“That’s a fish of a life time”, Rob’s words not mine, as we watched in awe as this majestic, mini- leviathan (if there is such a thing!) cruised out of the swampy, cloudy and muddy shallows back to whence she came – a statement made all the more special for him and I considering he’d landed a 16lb salmon the week before, and that this was, by far, the largest bass that a client has landed with me in daylight and the second largest overall at 72cm.

Something else made this capture quite remarkable however. Not the fact that it took a white ‘worm’ in bright sunshine, in less than 18″ of (admittedly murky) water, but more so that it was sheer teamwork from him and Pete that had brought this beast ashore – let me explain! After responding to Michael’s shout (when he’d landed his second bass of the session) whereby, after running the 250m to him I duly took one of the photographs above, upon looking up I could see both Pete and Rob waving their arms at me under the glorious and very welcome afternoon sunshine.

Clearly they’d landed another bass, and with its wellbeing at the forefront of my mind I sprinted, my ruck sack bouncing all over the shop, as I hurriedly ‘splodged’ back over to them both. “Stopping momentarily to catch my breath I shouted to Pete, “how big mate?”, to which he gestured about this big (very big) with his arms! He’s having me on were my immediate thoughts though, as he is a joker is Pete!

Wow!!!!!!!!! Those were my first thoughts, although my instantaneous vocal reaction, as you can imagine, was rather that of a hideous, expletive ridden torrent of excitement! “How long has she been out of the water? “A minute Marc, we kept her in the water until you shouted over”, came the response from Pete – with Rob, understandably, just stood with his hands visibly shaking! Whipping out my tape measure, snout to the tip of her tail she measured 72cm – what a very, very special fish.

“Quick as you can mate” I gestured, “get your thumb in her mouth and cradle her belly quickly, we’ll get a quick photo and then get her back as soon as possible” I added. Changing the angle of the shot after the first attempt, so to glean every detail of the fishes bulk whilst trying to mitigate against the glare from the its silvery flank, after checking the second shot I was happy. Below is the successful release of what was a truly awesome creature.

After the ‘congratulations’ and the usual shouts (from me!) of raw emotion (I do get excited!), I asked how the fish had taken the lure, what the battle was like, and above all, how did they manage to land her? According to Rob, the bass had taken the lure via a very solid THUMP, before racing, against a pretty solid drag that I’d set for him to the opposite side of the channel he’d been targeting! At that point, Pete had dropped his rod and had came running over! There had been a few nervous moments as what they knew from the bend in the HTO Nebula 2.7 7-35g rod was a hefty fish as it attempted to run parallel in order to ‘make’ the bank of wrack present here.

In the final and often critical seconds though, Pete’s actions summed up the camaraderie and ethos of what these sessions are all about by getting behind Rob’s superb bass and shepherding it into the ankle-deep water, ready to pounce no doubt, should the hook-hold gave way. I was very proud of both of them, although I would have loved to have witnessed it all first-hand – come to think of it, I think I would have been a nervous wreck attempting to net that one!!!!

Many, many congratulations Rob – it was your ‘out and out’ perseverance that resulted in smashing your PB and that of many, many anglers up and down the land to pieces I would imagine. Respect to you and Michael for not letting your heads drop, and my sincere thanks to Pete, for being the ultimate team player.

3 Day Packages for 2021

I have scrutinised the tide tables and have married up the dates with the excellent Chillington House BB Hotel in preparation for my 3 Day Packages in 2021. Of note, is that these are the very first guiding sessions that I place into my diary based on what I believe will be the ‘best’ tides, and those that afford me the greatest flexibility in relation to well the over 170 marks that guide and fish on.

As mentioned earlier in the post, the price is £499 per person (three anglers fish on these packages), which includes 6x 4 hour sessions, full use of equipment if required and 3 nights bed & breakfast accommodation. If you would like to enquire, then please complete the form below and I reply as soon as I possibly can.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Marc Cowling

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