My Year in Review 2022 – Part 2 of 2 (My Catches)

My Year in Review 2022 Part 2 of 2

(My Catches)

If you follow my ‘bass-only’ endeavours on Facebook (I intend to recommence growing my Instagram profile in 2023) then my ‘grinning mug’ may well of appeared within your feed on a regular basis throughout 2022. But to those of you who maybe just don’t ‘do’ social media, I have been absolutely itching to write this post for you – one that encompasses the catches I have achieved within each calendar month of 2022.

Progress

I have travelled along some very unfamiliar paths this year – and I mean that in a literal sense too! As once my guiding season was well under way in April, alongside probing as wide a variety of my usual marks as I possible could which, as I mentioned in Part 1 here I routinely complete early in the season, it was with a great deal of excitement that I ventured into some unknown territories this year – my insatiable desire to just keep on learning on overload at times!

As you’ll read and appreciate I’m sure, as the year progressed, so to did my inclination to progress tactically in my continual search to improve as an angler and a guide, in addition to ways in which to enhance my understanding of our favourite sporting sea fish. I must add that what I do reveal here is a comparative snippet of what I came to discover during a season that has, yet again, got me thinking and indeed dreaming of future possibilities…

January

Payback time

Two blanks were the sum of my efforts following my first forays into 2022, but with the sea and air temperature (in daylight in regards to the latter) at an inviting 10-11oC, the forecast cold, calm and crisp nights represented the ideal opportunity for me to slip out again before the weather returned back to the ‘standard’ wet and windy pattern. If you’ve read my blog post from January (‘A Jolly January‘) then you may recall how I ended up losing a very nice bass (that was close to 5lb) after ending up on all fours in knee-deep water which, believe it or not, I did see the funny side of even at the time!

The Savage Gear Gravity Stick Pulse Tail (here) rigged onto a Savage Gear 6/0 3g hook was a staple in my lure box over the winter period, and again, throughout the whole year.

There were bass around for sure, which was why as soon as the opportune conditions presented themselves again I was hard at it – in darkness only as I was spending each and every daylight hour sanding, preparing and painting the barn conversion that we’d purchased and moved into the previous October. Three bass on my fourth session of January, with the largest at a very respectable 57cm (the 4.5lb fish below) was ‘payback’ for the one I’d lost early in the month, with these fish the forerunners for what would be a successful mid-month period in which I went on to land fifteen bass in eight sessions.

I don’t often say this about my own fishing adventures, but I bloody well deserved this one after ending up in the drink a fortnight earlier!

The ‘Wolf-Moon’ certainly wasn’t putting the bass off feeding in the shallow water I was fishing into that’s for sure! Moreover, it was around this time that some of the tactics I theorised could work under such conditions happily came to fruition. There were some memorable moments out under what was an impressive nightly display of glittering stars and that huge white ball in the sky, but the undoubted highlight came during a cloudier interlude when the rod was wrenched over in spectacularly style – the culprit being the beautiful 66cm (at least 6.5lb) bass below. This bass also matched my January best from only a year previously (here).

My joint-biggest January lure-caught bass at 66cm. A culmination of a proven lure (the a white SG Gravity Stick Pulse Tail) and the honing of my approach during periods of a high, bright Moon being major contributors to a capture that I wouldn’t have thought possible 10 years ago – all of which I will reveal in my next book ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective Volume 2)

It was especially satisfying to end this collection of catches in January by taking my friend (Henry Gilbey) fishing one evening for what transpired to be (for a short time at least until he landed his first ever in February here) the latest in a season that he’d caught a bass on a lure. One-a-piece was the total, and it was a great way for him to test out his new camera in the dark – something he’d been keen to complete. All in all, I was really pleased with how the fishing had gone in January – a time of year in which I realise I am exceptionally fortunate to be able to target these amazing fish, added to the fact that it offered some welcome respite to the painstaking painting and decorating I was undertaking at the time!

You can certainly tell that Henry’s camera gear is far more advanced than mine on what was another enjoyable evening out chasing some mid-winter silver!

February

Enlightening

I’d hoped that 2022 would be a year when I could land a bass during each and every month on a lure, but if I am to achieve this feat in February I definitely require the ‘Weather Gods’ to look down on me favourably. As I’ve covered many time before, High Pressure sitting over the south of the UK, with very little wind or rain is ideal. So, with the favoured conditions in place for the first week or so of the month I fished pretty hard despite feeling as rough as rats – with the glimmering 53cm bass (below) being the highlight of those sessions:

My second largest bass ever in February I believe, and one I was really pleased about as you can see! Quite remarkably, the weather was settled and warm in early-February this year, with early-evening air temperatures at around 10oC serving to tempt me out despite feeling a tad poorly with a terrible cold. Not COVID yet mind…

In total, I managed to land eight bass during the nine sessions that I completed in February – with the latest occurring (2 on that particular evening) on the 21st. However, as you’ll read in my next self-published title (sorry to keep banging on about it!), what I established was extremely enlightening. And just as importantly, the path that these short sessions set me on paved the way for numerous realisations, confirmations and many of the bass related accomplishments in 2022. Below is a gallery incorporating some of those late-season bass, and if you want to read how I achieved it you can find out more within the blog post I wrote titled ‘Splash n’ Dash‘.

March

Worth the wait

I’d spent the past three months working exceptionally hard on completely redecorating and transforming our home, so now I was ready to commence landscaping our garden – yes I am bonkers, and no, I never stop. So with conditions once again aligning during the first week of the ‘new season’ (I consider my season to run from the 1st March to the 28/29th February here in south Devon) I was keen to see what was about. Not a lot was the answer, and I have to report that it did feel somewhat ‘deserted’ out there on the coasts and estuaries therefore, I just cracked on with the DIY and waited, in hope, for the weather to settle and warm up a bit – which it did just in time for a bout of COVID to hit my family and I typically…

This was clearly a worrying and frustrating time in which I tested positive for 12 days. However, the flip-side to being housebound for that time was that it allowed me to complete three objectives whilst recovering: 1. Planning, creating and completing a 1 hour presentation that I gave for the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society AGM (that you watch in full below), 2. Steadily completing the landscaping of my garden – such was the splendid weather, and 3. It meant I had the time to sit, rest, and happily arrange my lure boxes in anticipation for when I could go fishing again!

First session out onto a favoured estuary system, and the mild weather had certainly got them in the mood, as I recall arriving onto the shoreline to be greeted by a hungry bass ‘whacking’ some helpless fry off the top. On went a surface lure (a Patchinko 125 that was required to attain the required range of 45-50m), whereby I enjoyed a fantastic session as the, albeit small bass, tried to smash the living daylights out of the lure. I landed eight, but it could have been twenty-eight in all honesty. Oh what fun and it obviously felt great to be out, breathing in that salty air and feeling healthy again!

One of the little ‘bristlers’ that I took great pleasure in catching and releasing in my new found ‘COVID-free’ state during the final days of March.

The wind had turned Northerly overnight, and the previous evening’s almost ‘mugginess’ was replaced with a much colder feel to things the next morning. But despite this, I hatched a plan that involved visiting a remote creek (much further upstream from where I’d caught the night before) in the hope that the fry (or smelt?) had been pushed well up-river and into the various ponds, streams and channels here…

I was not disappointed, and the effort exerted to get to this mark (I was testing my stamina as well to be honest) was worth it as you can see above and below, courtesy of landing a marvellous 64cm March-bass on a lure that I love in these conditions – the 5″ Keitech Easy Shiner in ‘Sight Flash. You can read the full story of how this noteworthy capture unfolded via my post ‘Follow The Fry‘.

A very well-fed bass! I have no doubt that this beauty had been gorging on the fry for a number of days prior to me latching into, holding and releasing what is by far and away my largest bass caught in daylight in March. What I continue to learn about the habits of these wonderful fish is just staggering to comprehend at times.

April

On track

With my guiding commitments beginning on the 2nd April, my immediate responsibilities clearly shifted from ‘doing up’ the house and going fishing whenever I could, to full-on ‘client mode’. As you may have read in My Year in Review Part 1, the season started very well and continued in the same vein – essentially ‘on track and in line’ with the gradually warming sea and air temperatures. All I had to do was find a bit of time to fish myself between completing some DIY ‘snagging jobs’ and I was certain I’d land a few…

Another bass landed on the Marc Cowling/TC Lures ZIPP WAKE. For whatever reason (that could be related to the bass preferring something more subtle and not necessarily splashing quickly across the surface in the still cool water) for my clients and I, this was the lure to utilise throughout April.

My creek, estuary mouth, headland, tide race, shallow reef, rocks, shingle and sandy beach marks – I paid many of them a visit in order to ascertain where the bass were located and what they were feeding upon. There were ‘hot spots’ most certainly, but overall, although I was only finding them in localised pockets, if found them I’d catch a fair few – both in daylight and darkness (see below):

It was a case of ‘cast, search and then move’ if the bass weren’t forthcoming in April, but get the lure into the desired and often very precise area and one would jump on it – such as this fine, fresh, four pounder.

As always, I kept a very close eye on the sea temperature via the Start Bay Coastal Observatory (here) as I know from experience that specific temperature ranges can be a ‘Natural Trigger’ for either certain prey fish to arrive in earnest (namely mackerel or sand eels), or for bass activity in general to become established – the 12oC sea temperature mark often being an indication that bass will become willing to hit surface lures, ion much deeper water, out on the open coast.

Right on cue. Within 48 hours of the sea temperature approaching that seemingly magic figure towards the final days of April, and a trip down to a craggy headland that enables me to access a vicious run of tide, saw me latch into what is a very respectable bass ‘off the top’ from the open coast this early in the year. At around 4lb, I was chuffed with this one, as again, it confirmed to me that the various indicators for potential bass behaviour that I lean on can be extraordinarily accurate. The blog post I wrote ‘Bouncing For Bass‘ depicts my mid-spring adventures if you fancy a more insightful read.

Mr Major Craft for April! With the sea conditions looking so inviting, although I didn’t ‘expect’ to catch on the Patchinko 125 that evening, I was more than hopeful…

May/June

Exploration

The ‘traditional’ bass season was now well and truly up and running. So with a good number of client and personal captures under my belt, outside of my guiding obligations I decided to embark on some rather enthralling exploration (rather than experimentation) initially in May and June, but that in reality, has endured indefinitely. Although they were infrequent and rarely lasted more than a fortnight, during those bleaker winter days and evenings, I’d sat down to seriously consider whether there were even more viable options to me in my quest to track down these very unique fish…

One new type of venue for me was where sea water water met fresh, close to the extreme tidal reaches/limits of the many river systems I am surrounded by. My theories were based on the numerous stories that my freshwater friends and clients (lure enthusiasts who usually targeted pike, perch and sea trout) had told me, alongside environment agency employees who’d informed me about bass being routinely observed and indeed caught within completely freshwater – resident bass in fact!

One of the first bass that I landed and released from somewhere I really hadn’t previously considered to be a viable bass venue…

Clearly, the capture of one or even a dozen or so ‘swallows’ doesn’t make a summer, however, what I learnt and what I observed during May and June’s inland ventures in particular, like February’s catches, really set me on my way in relation to how best to approach this type of environment as I landed bass up to 60cm. Furthermore, although I started out by utilising the tactics that have been highly productive on all manner of venues where bass are encountered, I can tell you here and now that my eyes were well and truly opened…

There was seaweed on the banks here, but you’ll be surprised how far away from the sea it is either carried or grows. Another mid-summer bass caught from somewhere I was concerned I’d be bumping into carp anglers on the way back to the car!

The second type of environment in which I sought to understand the bass lure fishing potential were the extreme, open coast low tide rock marks. Again, the possibilities are almost endless in this regard when you consider the area that I am fortunate enough to have grown up fishing, but in a nutshell, what I am talking about are places that are not accessible by foot outside of the very lowest spring tides.

Roasting hot, a clear blue sky and fishing with lures in crystal-clear water amongst the rocky gullies that was barely knee-deep – not exactly the quintessential bass fishing conditions many of us were brought up on. My friend and I landed seven bass via rock-hopping our way around to somewhere I doubt has ever been fished – serious, serious food for thought.

In a similar fashion to the way that fishing very close to freshwater had caught my attention and imagination, it was one of my spearfishing friends (some of them are nice!) who’d regularly commented about the bass he’d spotted whilst clawing his way around the gullies at low tide for lobster and edible crabs that grabbed me… So, first time out to test the theory and I managed to land several bass on one of the hottest days of the year from within zones of water I’d have previously ran a net through whilst looking for prawns – it was almost unbelievable that they were there, but there they most certainly were and are…

Another fine bass that nailed the Patchinko 125 (such a great lure) from under a headland gully, and in a very precise location that 12 months ago even, would have been the last place I would have cast and retrieved it…

July/August

Time at a premium

As you may have read in Part 1, I was ‘smarting’ a little from the pain of witnessing three very large bass being lost in the space of a week by my clients in early July, and what didn’t help is that I rarely had the opportunity to fish myself in an attempt to balance things out. What’s more, even when I did, they bass weren’t paying ball – the irony being that in between some further fruitful investigations inland, I’d returned to some of my regular haunts after May and June’s successful research and development to find that my ‘banker marks’ were being prowled by and preyed upon by the ever-expanding seal population…

A better one from under the trees.

It was sweaty out there alright, and most of the personal fishing that I did partake in was built around late-evening sessions once things had cooled off, with fishing into the night often a disappointing proposition which was a shame… On a positive note, due to the bass being surprisingly hard to come by, I ventured far and wide and to sections of the South Hams coastline that I hadn’t visited for some time, and was pleasantly surprised. If one area is falling short, another will be blossoming is something I have come to appreciate even more since becoming a full-time professional guide.

It was wonderful to out fishing and guiding during what was a splendid summer, with this one making the sweaty climb down and back up the cliff more than worth it – the Patchinko 125, yet again, accounting for this angry bass.

Alongside the discovery (if you like) of two completely new and very different types of venue in which to target bass, another massive ‘plus’ was gaining a far better understanding of how to approach a particular river system that has had me scratching my head for years! But with persistence (pig-headedness as I know the bass are there!), I did manage to extract a number of decent fish from it in 2022, with some night-time sorties planned for this winter and into early 2023 high up on my ‘to-do’ list.

The same venue as the fish two photos up, but a better-sized bass on a different day. I look quite slim there!

Again, in line with what was occurring on the guiding front, as the nights began to draw in ever so slightly, the bass appeared to respond by virtue of the night fishing improving tide-by-tide. And although I didn’t encounter anything monstrous, this period enabled me to continue testing some of the suppositions I have/had in relation to the height and angle of the Moon – all will be revealed in, you guess it, my next book due for release in March 23!!

September

A subtle influx

I was due a big one, and with a 70cm+ bass having been recently caught and returned by one of my clients you could just tell that the both the numbers and the average size of the bass was changing – surely but subtly. It has been a while since I hit into a proper bass from the open coast, in rough sea conditions, on a hard diving minnow, therefore, I was especially happy to feel the awesome prowess of the 62cm fish (below) as it nailed a Daiwa Shoreline Shiner 97F within the undertow of the shingle beach I was stood on. I enjoyed this one!

It was very sunny as you can see, but the sea state was just sexy as hell with crashing white, aerated water being stirred up shingle. Oh and the hit that reverberated through the blank was just awesome. A cracking, light-backed and very silvery bass that had been feeding over clean ground (sand/shingle) for some time I imagine.

What made the capture of the bass above even more satisfying was that I’d lost a bloody good one to the undertow (I actually had the bugger out of the water and a larger wave swept in as is always the case!) the night before, and under a massive Moon that had just risen too!

Sight fished…

With the weather around mid-September bordering on ‘hot’ again, I could have made it very easy on myself and just fished a venue far easier to access. But this isn’t how I roll of course, and instead, I decided to fish a stretch a long way up a river system where I had witnessed some big o’ bass essentially scooping up the stranded bait fish over low water. Now, when I say the water was very, very shallow, I am describing water here that wasn’t even deep enough to cover the back of the smaller bass that waited and waited until I took one step out of the water before zooming past me to join what I’d suddenly spotted was an even larger bass…

An instant reaction – that’s what I was really hoping for as I flicked the 4″ Fish Arrow Flash Shad that someone had kindly given me (thanks Jud!) in the direction of the two bass. PLOP, SWIRL, TAP! FISH ON! I’d read about, and have watched the videos of the excellent French anglers catching bass in this manner, and I’ll you what – this is‘ off the scale’ fishing, and is, quite possibly one of the directions I’ll be heading in over the next few seasons…

An astoundingly significant bass at 7lb that really didn’t like the look of me!

I was having a good week! The weather was great, the lanes were becoming quieter and fishing was brilliant. So, as I had a few good fish in ‘the bass bank’ as it were, I decided to explore another one of my hypothesis by visiting a very specific type of venue, over a very specific cycle in the tides – very small neaps… Apologies in advance again here, but I really do want to save the details for ‘you know what’ but suffice to say, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat again when, twenty minutes into the session, my largest bass of 2022 (unless I better it in the next few days of course) in the 8lb bracket (below) ‘ploughed into’ the Patchinko 100.

Not the kind of rock mark you would want to fish from on a high spring tide for safety reasons, but one that over this tiny neap low tide allowed me access to an area of terrain that I ‘reckoned’ would see bass holding there – and by golly they were! What a belting bass!

October

Different lures

Into October, and with so many ideas and possibilities flushing through my bass-ravaged mind, in conjunction with the still amazingly settled weather and almost all of the sub-2lb bass disappearing at this time of the year, in between what were some excellent client captures I did sneak out from time to time. The beautiful bass below was landed during what was a business meeting of sorts with Mike – the owner of Tacklewave Ltd (the company that brings a great deal of the high-end Japanese gear to our shores) and the superbly stocked Chesil Bait n’ Tackle.

Now, I’d had my eye on the IMA Chappy 100 and 80 for quite some time, therefore, when he handed me a pristine 100 in the UK Limited Edition ST Ammo configuration (here) I was already grinning! But after the gorgeous 60cm+ bass below swirled at it initially, before destroying what is an almost translucent lure (something I love incidentally) on the very next cast into the same zone only a few metres from my stance, you could say I was instantly convinced by their effectiveness!

A great photo captured by Mike and one that did the moment justice. Happily, I landed a number of bass on the IMA Chappy during the session and have, as you’ll see, continued to have a great deal of success with these brilliant surface lures.

One fish that I hooked into during October does haunt me a little I have to say… I’d been working a weedy, brackish shoreline with the Chappy 100 ST Ammo Mike had kindly given me, and precisely where a strong current meets the weedy margins a bass (there’s a tiny possibility that I’d foul-hooked the back of a mullet I guess) took the lure. Well, I say ‘took’, as I didn’t actually see or feel the fish take what was a highly-prized possession at the time because I don’t think they were as freely available as they are now.

Anyhow, the rod just went over (and remember that I use the sublimely light yet extremely powerful Major Craft Seabass Custom 882M 7-35g) and the fish just started taking line at a quite remarkable rate – which considering how tight I set my drag nowadays shocked me somewhat! But before I could gain any control over the situation PING – the 19lb fluorocarbon had parted only a few centimetres above the lure clip as it rubbed onto the bass’s razor-sharp gill plate I believe… Gutted.

Prior to the weather going completely to pot, and to be fair the long overdue wet and windy spell set in, I did manage to land the nice ones above – the bass in darkness taking a lure that I believe will become another classic: the newer, smaller, 120mm 12g Savage Gear Gravity Sticks (the Pulse Tail in white), with the ‘sunshine bass’ walloping an IMA Chappy 80 in amongst the wrack if my memory serves me correctly.

November

Better than average

With the open coast beach, rock and reef marks ‘off limits’ into early-November due to the swell, I was forced to tuck just inside one of the estuaries for what was a short but highly successful session. Another great little soft plastic paddle-tailed lure (a 4″ Megabass Spindleworm in white) was brought into action on this occasion, as I reasoned the bass were feeding on whatever the terns where heckling in the current. I was correct in this assumption too, as when I went to unhook the 64cm bass I landed (below) it spat out a small herring or whatever it was that it regurgitated!

If you hook one in November it is highly likely to be at least 3lb+, with this one double that weight.

Pleasingly, I managed to land another bass of 55cm during this session, and followed it up with a slightly smaller one a few days later (see below) in some very turbid water following the heavy overnight rainfall – my tactics in this regard will form part of a chapter called ‘Overcoming Adversity’ within my next book, and describes how I have learnt to circumnavigate naturally occurring elements such as coloured water, weed fragments, very clear water, bright sunshine, etc. to name only a few scenarios that are thought to make it less than ideal to lure fish for bass.

Below is gallery of some of the other bass that I landed in November, alongside or indeed still attached to the lure that attracted them – the SG Gravity Stick, IMA Chappy 80 and a Sunslicker Swimish respectively. The largest fish below (centre image) was getting on for 5lb, but when I’d witnessed a bass twice its size swimming alongside it as I brought her ashore I decided to sacrifice the grip n’ grin in the hope that I could fool its friend!

To end the month on a high, on what the final night of November (and a cold, frosty one at that) I headed out into the gloom to a local beach and was rewarded with this perfectly-formed bass at just over 4lb – the Savage Gear Gravity Stick Paddle Tail in white accounting for yet another bass. I cannot speak highly enough of these lures.

Not quite an official winter bass for me – although that would come of course.

December

I just love Winter!

Placing a client onto a bona-fide winter lure-caught bass is something that I pride myself on, and that I’ve suceeded in doing for the past four consecutive years. But achieving this milestone isn’t easy, and behind the scenes, in between the half-a-dozen guided sessions that I build into my programme each December, I will be out and about, fishing hard myself searching for those localised ‘pockets of bass’ I so often write about early and late in the year.

I think the 60cm/5lb bass below encapsulates just how much bass lure fishing as a whole has evolved over the past 20 years. I mean, how many of us would have been out in December, under a very bright Sun, in exceedingly clear water that was 18″ deep with a 100mm top water or surface lure attached? Not me that’s for sure, although this beauty did envelope the lure wonderfully with a huge swirl only three casts into this session!

I very nearly went and did the food shop during this particular morning, but instinct told me to go fishing first! Bottom line – always trust your instinct!

It isn’t always as easy as catching them the 3rd cast of course! However, as my mantra during the coldest months is to complete short sessions of no more than a couple of hours around what I consider to be the ‘best’ period in the tide, if the bass are feeding, I generally latch into one fairly quickly. As is very, very often the case when night fishing at this time of the year, as soon as I began to sense some additional tension through the rod and braid as the tide sped up, BANG!

My experimental stage never really ceased in 2022, with this magnificent near four pounder taking a Black Gravity Stick under a high full-Moon…

Sometimes you just find yourself in a hot streak! So with the weather about to take a much colder turn and with my guiding commitments now complete, I decided to head to an intricate little estuary mark so that I could fish the start of the flood – the plan being to work the IMA Chappy 80 tight along the weedy margins, into where I envisaged the bass would be hunting for fry, prawns and above all, crabs… Once again, just as the tidal velocity increased, and just after I’d added a short pause, this ‘clonker’ went and pounced on it!

A really, really pretty bass and a photograph that a great deal of people ‘Liked’ on social media. Another fine fish to the IMA Chappy 80.

Minus 3oC – that was the air temperature as I slithered along the rocky/gravelly foreshore for a session in which I even thought I was mad to conduct. Buy hey, you’ve got to be in it to win it, which is why I ignored the ice that had formed on my dry bag and got on with the task in hand – which was to place a bass on the deck. Two hours in, and with my sinuses pounding due to the cold air and without a hint of a bite, I decided that I should concentrate on searching the area out, rather than waiting for the bass to come to me as they often do on this venue.

Knock, Tap – yep, I was in! I was buzzing, as even though this one was only a pup, it saw me through to the final minutes of what had been a session I’d thoroughly enjoyed. Once again, I take you back to the photograph of the winter bass further up the page landed under very sunny conditions etc. Would I have had the confidence to have been out in icy conditions, with a very realistic chance of catching 7 years ago, let alone 20…? The answer is a resounding ‘No’.

But it got better… On what really was going to be the final cast of the night, at maximum range and where I know there is ‘drop off’ close to the thickest section of weed, I must have plonked the white Gravity Stick Pulse Tail as close to damn it on its head, as a few turns into the retrieve a soft, yet solid thump resulted in the near five pounder (below) taking a bit of line. It then realised it couldn’t out power the set up and proceeded to head straight at me and into the wrack. B******s! But with all tension removed momentarily, I fooled her into thinking the danger had passed, and when she slowly moved out of the snag I exerted enough pressure to get her up onto the surface, whereby the battle was effectively won.

A solid winter bass in the 5lb range caught on a very cold night. Interestingly, both fish nailed the lure within minutes of the large Moon rising above the horizon. So was it my ‘scatter-gun’ approach that had assisted me to catch the two bass within a short window of the session, the changing light levels, or a combination of both..?

Final fish?

It isn’t very often that you experience blocks of ice floating down the creeks here in south Devon, which probably explains why the fishing ‘slowed up’ somewhat over the very coldest of ‘ice days’, let alone nights that we experienced prior to Xmas. But during a slightly warmer afternoon I did manage to winkle out a couple of bass on the 4″ Keitech Easy Shiner, and following a couple of unsurprising blanks due to the extent of the severe cold I imagine, once everything had got back to normal as such, I also landed one in the dark in the final run up to Christmas Day itself (see the gallery below):

In summary

As I write this very late into the evening of the 27th December I have a stinking cold – the result of too many late nights or someone passing on a Christmas Party-induced bug. Either way, I feel like crap and it stopped me from fishing on Boxing Day night which historically (see last years’ 71cm whopper here) is a night when I usually pull one out! But never mind, it has been another fantastic year of bass lure fishing, and I couldn’t be happier with the catches my clients and I have achieved – plus, you never know, I might just be able to sneak out once I’m feeling better and this incessant windy and rain has abated before ‘The Bells’ bring in 2023…

If I had to some up 2022 for me personally in one word I would say ‘instructive’, as what I have continued to learn in relation to bass behaviour and the locations in which I know now I can catch them from, coupled with improving my skillset in relation to methods/techniques in tricky conditions, and actually, just making the right call at the right time is why I have decided to write another book. Bass are just utterly, utterly fascinating, and I feel that as I gather more self-attained information, and my own understanding is enhanced, once I have successfully transferred this new-found knowhow directly to my clients, the natural step is to share it with my fellow anglers via further publications.

For now, I hope you enjoy the remainder of the festive period and that you can wet a lure if the opportunity is there. Have a wonderful and bass-filled 2023, and please keep yourselves abreast of the Bass Fisheries Management Plan (BPMP). Furthermore, if you’re not already a member, I would urge you to join (and support) the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (here).

My Books

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

As I have blatantly intimated, Volume 2 of Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (which will be my 3rd book) will be released in March 23 .I will contact everyone who has previously purchased either of my titles once my new book is at the printers. But for now, I recently commissioned another print run of ‘The Lure of The Bass’ and ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Volume 1)’ and I have them both IN STOCK.

To reserve my second book (March 2021) Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective Volume 1 (Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society review here and Henry Gilbey’s review here) or my first release (October 2018) ‘The Lure of The Bass‘ (BASS review here) please contact me via the contact form at the bottom of this post. Alternatively, you can email me directly at southdevonbassguide@yahoo.com and I will replay as soon as I possibly can.

Thank you for reading and have a Happy New Year!

Marc Cowling

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