Client Catches – On your marks…

Client Catches – On your marks…

Not a post about me ‘poaching’ your marks but rather a description of a recent guided session, in which some very precise casting into a very specific feature paid dividends!

Firstly, just how good has it been to actually feel the warmth of the Sun on our backs whilst out on the coastline compared to the awfully cold, wet, windy and utterly miserable weather we experienced throughout May. And with the sea temperature having increased by at least a degree in the past week alone I am waiting for the south Devon bass fishing to explode – something that certainly hasn’t occurred yet…

It’s still been very quiet by on the bass front by day, both from the open shore and into the estuaries, although the darkness has been much better by comparison.


With fantastically calm and clear sea conditions, albeit with an occasional series of larger ‘swell waves’ that served to mix things up a little over the larger spring tides, I was essentially spoilt for choice in regards to where I was going to guide my two clients (Charlie and Henry) for this session.

‘Keen as mustard’ doesn’t come close to describing just how passionate these two anglers are about their lure fishing – with bass in particular being the target species over the past 18 months (when restrictions have allowed of course). Alongside their eagerness to learn as much as possible about the more intricate details relating to bass behaviour and the specific features in which they like to hunt, it was their overall mindset (try and try again, or rather, fish until they drop!) that really impressed me though.

Capitalising on these attributes, I knew they’d relish the opportunity of being presented with various ‘real-life’ bass holding zones and corridors that have yielded many, many bass for my clients and I, courtesy of arriving on the venue pretty much on low water. Indeed, before a line was wetted or a lure was dipped in the sea we spent the first 45 minutes of this 8 hour session clambering over various stretches of reef so that I could highlight certain characteristics about the terrain that attract bass – a couple of which I earmarked for their bass fishing pleasure (hopefully) and that they’d later be targeting with needlefish lures, from a beach, and higher up the shoreline into the darkness.

Note the ‘pebbly pool’ set amongst the reef above, in addition to the ‘neck’ of the gully that leads from the open sea straight into this feature – this is the type of ground I will look to cast a lure into, particularly once the brightness of a sunny day has drifted into the gloom of darkness.

Flood first

So with the entire flood combining with the final 6 hours of daylight it was off up onto the long rocky promontories that adorn this wonderful stretch of the south Devon coastline first of all. With the underwater ledges here running parallel to their stances and separated by some beautifully sandy gullies, it was surface lures essentially fished over the top of the structure that formed our initial approach.

They were both working the lures superbly well – which was an achievement in itself in the strong crosswind blowing across our first mark. It looked great, especially when those ‘swells’ rolled up the rocks and turned the clear-aqua sea into a frothing melee for a minute or so after they’d moved through- precisely the type of conditions that have yielded many a bass from this area.

After an hour or so it was on to separate stances for my duo, whereby they each targeted the narrow gullies that cut through the reef system here: Henry continuing with the large Patchinko 140 at range and where three gullies effectively interlink, and with Charlie casting and retrieving a naturally coloured and unweighted Savage Gear Gravity Stick (paddletail) into a known ‘pool’ as the swell and tide stirred it all up deliciously.

The ‘Switch’

Despite fishing extremely hard, as the water level rose and the sea conditions (from my perspective) improved even further it became apparent that the bass just weren’t playing – if indeed they were even there, which I suspect they weren’t given the effort the guys had put into their fishing. All was not lost however as we still had the dusk/twilight period to fish, and of course the night time itself into the ebb – ingredients that when added into the mix can turn a session on its head in a very positive sense.

Although now stood on a shingle beach, the pair of them found themselves working surface lures over the submerged reefs as the final minutes of daylight finally surrendered to the darkness – blimey it takes ages to get dark at this time of they year! With a black Marc Cowling Signature Needlefish attached to Henry’s lure clip initially and a White Jim’s Needlefish attached to Charlie’s it was all systems go now that the tide had reached it’s peak and was about to commence the ebb.

Overall this was the combination that I reckoned would provide a fish or two, especially now that I’d also manoeuvred them carefully into position so that they could comfortably cast into the gullies I’d highlighted to them during the first few minutes of the session – all of which was under the scrutiny of the numerous beachgoers at the time!

Steady retrieves were now the order of the day (night) and it was almost as if the bass had read the script when, just after a series of waves had pounded up the beach and I’d commented to Charlie that “this was it”, his rod whacked around sharply! A minute later and Charlie was the very proud captor of a 3lb+ bass (below)- his first on a Needlefish lure much to his delight – the ‘switch’ had seemingly been flicked!

Ten minutes later, as I was about to change Henry’s lure over to a white version of the MC Needlefish I heard Charlie shout over the hissing surf yet again. A slightly smaller fish, he was still beaming from ear-to-ear as I unhooked his prize, held her aloft, and then gently placed her back into the undertow in order to terrorize its prey.

“We’ve got a recurring theme whenever we go fishing Marc” Henry commented as I attached a spanking new needlefish to his clip, “whoever drives blanks, and I drove today!” he added. “Na, you’re going to catch one” I replied, and in my heart I truly did believe that he would.

A shout from my right only five minutes after ‘smashing’ the Magnetic Weight Shifting and therefore ‘Surf’ variety of ‘my lure’ out into the blackness and out across the reef Henry found himself attached to a bass nudging the 3lb mark – congratulations my friend, a first again whilst utilising this technique and under these circumstances, plus from this type of mark – very well done!


It had taken a while, but the end result had been well worth the effort (not to mention the exceedingly high levels of receptiveness) that Charlie and Henry had displayed. And from my point of view it had been exceptionally satisfying that the fish had ‘behaved’ almost as expected in relation to which parts of the beach/reef they had eventually infiltrated – all of which had the guys licking their lips at the prospects and possibilities on the marks they routinely fish. I believe they also purchased a number of needlefish the next day too!

My Books

Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective

I have recently released my second book titled ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Volume 1)’. If you would like to discover more about this title and what is encompassed within the pages then you can follow the link to the blog post I wrote upon its release last month here. Furthermore, Henry Gilbey’s review of this title can be found here.

To purchase a copy you can either utilise the PayPal link below or for Bank Transfer enquiries you can utilise the Contact Form at the bottom of this post. PLEASE NOTE that the price (which includes the postage and packaging) to a UK Mainland/Channel Island or IOM address is £21.99, with the price to the Republic of Ireland, Europe or Worldwide at £24.99.

Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Volume 1)


The Lure of The Bass

I will be commissioning another print run of my first self-published book ‘The Lure of The Bass’ within the next 2-3 weeks with delivery from the printers expected towards the end of June. 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 in which they described it as ‘the Haynes Manual of bass lure angling!’

If you would like to enquire about either ‘The Lure of The Bass’ or ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective’ then you can contact me via the form below, whereby I will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

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