Client Catches – The Twilight Zone…
In my second book ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective Volume 1‘ (a consignment of which I have just collected from the printers) the second chapter ‘Triggers and Indicators’ depicts some of the memorable captures my clients and I have achieved when I believe either what I have ‘coined’ as a Manual Trigger Point (MTP) or a Natural Trigger Point (NTP) has been a highly significant constituent or factor.
In very basic terms, a MTP is something the bass lure angler can influence in many respects, such as adding a pause to the retrieve or maybe the first cast into very specific region – both of which can quite often be attributed to an occurrence or observation perhaps. A NTP on the other hand is something associated to the natural environment, such as the tide turning or the Moon setting, which can very often be a facet that the angler can plan for in advance if it is forecast to do so. Stay with me here…!
Plan A, B, C and…
I am often asked how I ‘plan’ a session, and as I’ve mentioned a few times on these pages and within various articles I’ve written, following the scrutiny of the tide time (which is basically set in stone), and the tide height (which can be affected by the wind and barometric or air pressure), I then turn my attention to the wind direction and strength, and finally, how this translates to the sea state and its potential clarity.
In the five years I have been operating as a professional guide, something that is absolutely essential is that not only do I have a ‘good plan’ (Plan A) to start with, but that I also devise a Plan B, C, D and beyond on occasion. At the end of the day, this mercurial species are feral in the wildest possible sense and as such, are very, very rarely absolutely predictable which is why, more often than not, I will attempt to ‘fill’ a session with as many Natural Trigger Points (NTPs) as possible, as I know that, very often, one of them will ‘make’ the difference…
Incidentally, and as a brief aside, what I’ve found to be a great tool for ascertaining the forecast wind direction and strength (to the exceptionally useful extent that you can effectively zoom down and into the cove or headland you intend fishing) is called Windy.com – you can also click through the various models so to compare the wind forecast too which I particularly like.
The Million Dollar Question!
So, the most common question I am asked when I am guiding, which is indeed most probably also the question most lure anglers new to the sport want answered is: When should I change the lure? This really is the ‘Million Dollar Question’ in many respects, as there are most definitely occasions when changing the lure will or has worked, but then, equally, there will and has been just as many times when persevering with the same lure (providing you have or we/I’ve chosen wisely) will also prove to be the successful choice (of course in this scenario you’ll never know if a change would produced more or a bigger fish!)
There is no right or wrong answer overall, but I will offer my ‘pennies worth’ here and say that, quite often, I will or I will ask a client to change or alter the way I am (or they are) retrieving or ‘working’ the lure as this can give you the edge – providing the bass are already there or they do eventually ‘turn up’ or transit your zone so to speak.
Linking into the reactionary nature of casting lures for bass and when a Natural Trigger occurs then, there will always be circumstances when you are forced to change the lure: the sea becoming too confused for the effective use of a surface lure for instance, or too clogged up with weed fragments to continue using a hard diving minnow with its trailing trebles being two obvious examples.
This leads me on to when I will definitely consider swapping the lure or lure type for another – either for myself or for one of my clients. Essentially, I will consider changing the lure when, based primarily on the overall conditions and my intimate and hard-won knowledge of the mark I am stood on, I highly suspect there are bass in attendance or in the vicinity, yet they are seemingly disinterested in the current offering no matter what way they or I work it…
Did you know…?
Meshing the weather, sea state and lure choice together then, in recent weeks it has become apparent to me whilst guiding my clients that many of them didn’t realise that there is nearly always a lull in the strength of the wind at dusk, and therefore, the twilight period. Further, the wind can actually completely ‘drop out’ for a 10-20 minute period which, in my experience, is when a possible change to what is attached to your lure clip could or should be contemplated – especially if you aren’t catching or maybe only catching small bass…!
Onto some hard evidence then! I am absolutely convinced that a change to a certain surface lure that I conceived (with Tom at TC Lures – the ZIPP WAKE) with the exact conditions in mind that my client and I found ourselves in during a late-April jaunt was the difference between what had been, up until that juncture, a disappointing afternoon and evening, was transformed into another session blessed with a new client PB at 60cm.
Alongside the slender beauty above, my client Dave (the owner of Pirate Lures) landed ten bass during the short (40 minute) twilight period on the ZIPP WAKE, with two further fish in complete darkness (with the largest at 3.5lb) taking one of his very own 12cm Pirate Lures Teaser (a soft plastic weed-less paddle tail in a prototype two-tone sight flash/white-silver configuration) after he failed to register a bite on the Savage Gear Gravity Stick I’d handed him – a rare occurrence in itself it has to be said! You can view Dave’s bass landed in full darkness on The Teaser gallery below:
But it is the virtues of the ZIPP WAKE that I will concentrate on for the remainder of this post. Despite being slightly embarrassed to be ‘banging the drum’ for a lure that I thought might have a place among the bass lure fishers armoury, I feel it is important to highlight its virtues as I would any other lure out there that is doing the business for me when other lures aren’t presently cutting the mustard.
Please bear in mind that I’m not for one second saying that a certain lure is ‘better’ than any other here, but I can honestly say ‘hand on heart’ that when I’ve had a client using a ‘splashier’ surface lure in the exceptionally clear, fast flowing yet ice rink-like water conditions I described in my previous post here (when a near 7lb bass was landed amongst many others) and the other client alongside is utilising the meandering, subtle and ‘snaking’ ZIPP WAKE there has only been one winner…
Firstly, if you’ve already purchased one of these lures but haven’t used or caught on it yet, or indeed, if you are just thinking about it, then I implore you to have a read of the blog post I wrote upon its release back in November (here) so to understand it’s capabilities and usage. In a nutshell however it is:
- Ideal for use in mirror-like, and very calm to ‘slight chop’ seas states such as those routinely found in creeks, sheltered estuaries, quiet bays and tidal lagoons.
- Especially effective where tidal currents are encountered, due to the lack of ‘drag’ the lure creates on the surface – aiding that subtle, bait fish being overpowered, bass attracting movement.
- Although developed primarily as a sliding surface lure, the ZIPP WAKE can be ‘popped’ or gently ‘dragged’ across the surface layer and then ‘left for dead’ – a tactic that has been the downfall of many bass in testing also.
This is not the lure to attach when choppy or rough sea conditions are encountered – no, it is a lure for when the breeze fades and the water in front of you is oily calm. Add in some lateral flow to the current and this is where the ZIPP WAKE excels. Moreover, when the line is being forced in an arc by the velocity of the tide and many other surface lures become difficult to work effectively due to the drag created, because the ZIPP WAKE’s action is understated by comparison it remains, maintains and sustains that wonderfully zig-zagging action on a standard ‘walk-the-dog’ retrieve style.
Something in it…?
An understated and subtle surface lure… This is precisely what Dave required now that the Sun had set and the cold and rather annoying crosswind that had been present all afternoon had finally dissipated. He’d tried everything under my tutelage so far – natural appearing soft plastics, paddle tails once the velocity of the tide had increased and the normally highly reliable Patchinko 100 and 125 respectively as the Sun and the light levels had gradually lowered – all to no avail.
But with distance required to reach the submerged features present on this mark (the ZIPP WAKE casts a very long way for a lure weighing only 15g incidentally), in addition to my brain still whirring with the delight I’d taken from assisting the clients from my previous post whilst utilising it in almost identical conditions and a very similar mark, I just had to hand him one!
Almost immediately, a bow wave registered behind the lure and something took a swipe at it – a bass, albeit a small one, made two further attempts at the lure before finally impaling itself on the hooks. Surely there is something in the manner in which these sublime fish approach and pounce on this lure, as it has almost become ‘the norm’ for the bass my clients and I have caught on them to become hooked on the rear treble.
Whether this mode of pillory is because the water temperature is still relatively low, and the bass aren’t yet up for utterly smashing them from all angles remains to be seen, but I do recall a high percentage of the bass I landed in testing throughout last season taking the lure from the behind – very interesting.
What I can say categorically is that Dave’s bass (below) wanted the ZIPP WAKE badly! Very, very late into dusk (it wasn’t yet dark I can assure you) and with nine small(ish) bass already landed, unhooked and safely released, and at almost the point when I was considering shifting back to a soft plastic once the stars appeared this stunner destroys the lure within a second of it being worked after gently plopping on the completely flat, sky-reflecting surface – oh what a hit that was – good on you Dave and see again very soon!
My Books are ‘Back in Stock’
My most recent title Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society review here and Henry Gilbey’s review here) and my first release ‘The Lure of The Bass‘ (BASS review here) are both currently IN STOCK.
If you would like to enquire about purchasing either of my books then please contact me via the Contact Form at the bottom of this page or via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the payment details. I can accept PayPal or a Bank Transfer.
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Thanks for reading.