My Recent Catches – Fun in the Sun!
Ok, so it’s not the most ingenious title, but it sums up a recent collection of my personal fishing adventures superbly! As alongside the almost ‘sunscreen weather’ during the latter stages of November, I also managed to winkle a number rather nice bass – this post depicting just a few of them!
With the Lock Down 2 restrictions obliterating the guided sessions booked in between the 5th November – 2nd December I would like to think that I’ve used the unexpected time wisely! Indeed, alongside the many unfinished DIY projects now completed to the required standard (I’m in the good books!) and my Tax Return ready to be inserted into the HMRC website, I’ve also found the time to do what I really wanted to do – go fishing!
If you read my blog regularly, then you’ll already know that in conjunction with being totally obsessed with catching bass on lures and turning over every conceivable stone (so to speak) in my search for them, that I do (over) analyse pretty much every aspect to my approach. Moreover, I readily accept that, to some, I may even appear to lack any deep and meaningful enjoyment out of it all because I am constantly looking for reasons ‘why’ this or that may have occurred!!
Not the case I can assure you! As together with the confidence and overall feeling that I’m doing everything in my power to place the odds in my favour before I even step out the door, in tandem with the meticulous planning and scrutiny of my decision making following each session, nothing gives me greater satisfaction than spotting a potential ‘bass mark’ on a satellite image, scoping it out, fishing it, and then nailing a bass from it! Oh yes!
In complete contrast to this time last year (when it bloody rained continually!) the weather, until this recent cold plunge, had been more like late September/early October here in the Westcountry. Further, with the sea still relatively warm (at between 12-13oC), calm and primarily clear along most of the South Hams coastline (plus significantly, all of the estuaries I like to hang around in) due to the lack any real wind or rain it’s been truly idyllic just recently – you could say that I’ve had a ball!
If you read my previous post (here) then you’ll already appreciate that although crystal-clear seas or waterways certainly aren’t essential to keep on catching bass on lures, what it does provide, particularly at this time of year, are more opportunities – opportunities for me to venture into previously unchartered (with a Patchinko anyhow!) territories that I have been itching to fish for months, if not years!
Bow… Wow! Wave!
A bit like witnessing bass smashing bait fish, which until this season had been something of a rarity (somewhat surprisingly perhaps?) for me here in south Devon, I speak to or read about many anglers who have experienced a bass coming right up behind a lure, creating a ‘bow wave’ as it does so – like a submarine surfacing! Well, for whatever reason, on this particular morning it happened to me not once, but twice!
What a sight! Honestly, the first bass that performed this manoeuvre breeched the surface and tracked the Patchinko 100 for a good five metres (as I continued to retrieve it quickly) before it eventually ‘stoved’ into the back of the lure! Somehow this fish didn’t connect with the Size 6 Berkley Fusion 19 trebles (that I am currently replacing all of the hooks on my lures with nowadays), but I didn’t have long to wait for my next chance.
First up, another powerful hit from what I presume was a good-sized bass at a range of 40m failed to hook up. This occurred within seconds of commencing the ‘working’ of the lure, after it had plopped on the oily surface on what was a very warm sun for late November. Then, a few casts later, just as the zigzagging lure reached the ‘midway point’ of the recovery, and as I brought it over a bit of a submerged feature, another beastie rose up from the seabed and began arrowing in behind the ‘small Patch’ – A serious ‘wake’ being created in the process. ‘Keep going, keep working the lure Marc….’ CRASH, BANG, WALLOP!
This one nailed the lure good and proper, and with my drag set, again, a little tighter than usual and with the Graphite Leader ASPro 862M I have been (very happily) playing around with soaking up the fish boiling on the surface and short parallel runs very nicely, I quickly managed to pull the bulky 60cm bass (above) onto the stoney shoreline, before unhooking and releasing her (below):
With the recent COVID restrictions prohibiting me from guiding clients, the way I have approached my fishing during this period has been from a ‘research and development’ point of view – finding more and/or better marks being my main area of focus. In conjunction with this, I have also been utilising various paddle tail lures such as the Sunslicker Swimish that you would have read about in my previous post (here) plus another lure I’ve been catching on (see below even after I did inadvertently rig it upside down!) which is the Keitech Easy Shiner.
Essentially, whenever I have been faced with the prospect of the strength of the tide making it too difficult to work any of the sliding surface lures I use, or more importantly, to make them appear natural (and not cutting across or against the current) I have swapped over to a subsurface ‘paddle tail’ lure to positive results.
Outside of intermittently ‘popping’ various hybrid (the Whiplash Factory Spittin Wire for example) or the designated dish-shaped surface lures (such as the Tackle House Feed Popper) with encouraging results (see here) in the flow, whether the water has been cloudy or clear, catching bass from very fast moving segments of water has been something I have been wanting to regularly achieve for some time now. And in addition to the Easy Shiner and the Swimish I have added a few others to my armoury – I shall let you know how I get on with them…
One area that I’d been drooling over for ages, via the Google Earth historic imagery and a stack of photographs that I’d taken over a very low tide some time ago, was next on my list of ‘places I must try!’ The only problem here is that the walk to the mark entails a rather ‘muddy’ approach shall we say, and when I commenced fishing the tide was so low and the mud was so thick and sludgy that I had to stand about 7m from the waters edge – otherwise I’d have been pressing the button on my Personal Locator Beacon in order to be helicoptered out!
Retying the leader knot, I was astonished at the numbers and size of the mullet swimming past me every few seconds – there must be bass coming through as well on the newly flooding tide I thought? Third cast, with a White ‘Sight Special‘ (a dull white with a speckled glittery belly section) OSP Dolive Stick attached, and immediately after I’d added a little ‘twitch’ to the retrieve, a very solid ‘THUMP’ reverberated through the braid and the sensitive rod tip on the Yamaga Blanks Ballistick TZ Nano 86M that I’d brought out instead today.
If anyone was watching me they would have found it hilarious! What transpired to a really fired up 58cm bass had dived for a dense patch of bladder wrack at the very last second, whereby I ended up with about triple the expected weight on the rod and line as I pulled the fish and the weed up the muddy bank. PING! My 20lb braid snapped, leaving me with the prospect of wrapping the line around my arm and dragging a heap of weed, mud and a squirming bass somewhere embedded amongst the heap as I slipped, slithered and splodged away until I could safely grab my prize!
After initially creeping slowly up the mud to eventually reach the rocks on this venue, the pace of the water in front of me really began to pick up as it reached ‘hour three’. By now, after spotting shoals of tiny fry in the shallows I’d decided to clip on the Patchinko 100 yet again, working it delicately close to the wrack that had recently began to ‘float’.
On a previous cast and retrieve, a fish attacked the tiny lure only a metre or so off the rod tip, at a speed that was quicker than a blink of an eye. What’s more, after immediately retrieving it and then flicking the lure out only two metres from my stance I was amazed to see the bass (that I saw and estimated to be at around 6lb) take another lightning-quick gulp at the lure as soon as I’d brought it to life – unfortunately it missed again, before clearly smelling a rat and swiftly disappearing! Pity…
Luckily (considering I’d never fished this mark before!), this was clearly the stage in the tide when the bass wanted to enter the area – transiting through at a fair old rate, utilising the velocity of the tide and current to propel themselves seemingly within very close proximity of my stance… I was in heaven!
SWIRL/SPLASH/SMASH! Again, within a millisecond of carefully slithering the Patchinko 100 along the path that I envisaged the bass were currently taking, another rod-wrenching explosion saw me attached to and subsequently landing an almost identical bass. I say almost, as although at precisely the same length (measured at 58cm) this one had been spared the indignity of being heaved over the mud and was in absolutely pristine condition, as you can see from the photograph and release video below:
You would have no doubt noticed that the Xorus Patchinko has featured prominently and assisted me greatly to achieve my recent catches. Therefore, in my next blog post I will go into some of the finer details in relation to precisely ‘how’ I am using the 100 and 125 sizes respectively, in addition to how I managed to land two further bass of 62cm + 66cm on them during the final week of November.
My £50 + £100 South Devon Bass Guide Vouchers are currently for sale and can be redeemed against a session during 2021. They would make an excellent Christmas present for someone who has experienced a guiding session with me before (and would like to return), or maybe someone who has been saying “I’d love to give that a go” for some time!
I have commissioned another print run (100 books) of my self-published book ‘The Lure of The Bass’ with delivery expected within the next few days. If you would like to learn more, then a breakdown of what is encompassed within the chapters can be found via the blog post I wrote upon its release back in October 2018 here. Furthermore, an independent review written by the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society can be found here.
Please contact me via the form below to reserve your copy of my book, or to enquire about the Xmas South Devon Bass Guide vouchers: