Client Catches – Particularly Precise…… (Part 1 of 3)

Client Catches – Particularly Precise… (Part 1 of 3)

This is the first of three short blog posts detailing the precise types of features that my clients have effectively ‘aimed at’ and subsequently caught bass from in recent weeks – both from the open coast and just inside of the estuaries. If this post or the other two are of interest, then the ‘Templates For Success’ chapter in my latest book (here) could well be of even greater value to you…

Interspersed between these posts, now that the ‘heat’ is off me somewhat following the initially onslaught that was/is releasing my 3rd book, having cleared all of the final (and I mean final!) DIY jobs that had been hanging over me all winter as I wrote each page, I can begin to update these pages more often than I have in recent times. So please do look out for posts relating to my 2024 availability, my recent and personal catches, plus a nod to a Podcast interview that I was very kindly asked to complete for Bass Fishing Ireland.

The beginnings

Wind back to some of my earliest blog posts and magazine articles, and one of the major themes pertained to just how precise I was in relation to where I would cast my lures – something that has endured, and that flows through all of my books, and that continues to play a highly significant part in my/our success whilst chasing these spikey fellows.

“A gully, or more a separation in the rocks and reef, with shingle, sand, and weedy patches more prominent and set at angle that encourages the bass to venture into it on the ebbing tide is located here guys”, I remarked, as I expanded the screen and zoomed into the area of delicious reef that they would be aiming their respective lures out into and onto as darkness approached. “One of you will be targeting this precise area, while the other will be concentrating on a slightly deeper section of the reef and a kind of pool that the bass will investigate as their prey (gobies, tiny pout and pollack and the like) will be thinking about retreating from as the water shallows” I added.

Not that greatest photograph granted, but it highlights the gully or ‘separation in the rocks’ that Dom was retrieving his lure through in darkness.

Plan B

The guys (Dom and Jon) had worked their b******s off all afternoon and evening along an estuary stretch that I was 80% sure would produce. But as is frequently the case with these mercurial creatures, and especially early in the season when they could be there, but just not necessarily in a feeding mood (low metabolism), they just wouldn’t play to my tune… Various lure types, changes of lures to suit the changing tidal and overhead conditions, different colours and varying the retrieve speeds – we tried it all, but nothing was working…

So what can you do as a professional guide? Move location is my answer, as in April (which is when this session took place) the bass may just be located in precise (that word again) pockets, and could also be holding up anywhere from an adjacent gully, beach, bay or even on an entirely different section of coastline. So off to a completely different section of open coastline this time we went.

Countered comparison

A fabulous pea-shingle beach, that leads onto a reef consisting of numerous pinnacles and pools, alongside a plethora of potential bass patrolling and positioning points (yes, those) was now are hunting ground for the final two hours of the session – a period that would take in the early-ebb, and of course, the light dimming into darkness.

The lures I asked them to attach were, in essence, at two ends of the soft plastic ‘movement spectrum’ in many ways, with the entire body-wriggling virtues of the Savage Gear Gravity Stick Paddle Tail countered with the more comparatively imperceivable ‘slaloming’ effect of a lure I still love – the Albie Snax (we’re really winding back here aren’t we!).

In case you haven’t already sussed, by utilising either slightly different, or even contrasting lure types where a direct comparison can be formed (all with expediting what it is the bass my desire in mind) is an extremely useful weapon in my guiding armoury. Indeed, anyone who regularly partakes in this form of the sport will know and appreciate that sometimes a lure can be led past their nose and they’ll ignore it, whereas something else brought into view my be instantly obliterated such is their capricious nature.


Something I very often convey to my clients is how 70-80% of the time when I am fishing or guiding I/we will be stood in one place and casting into an area that I have surmised or know (from previous encounters) that the bass will move into – this is the art of interception. I’ll write more about this in the second and third parts of this short series, in addition to what it is I am doing during the other 20-30% of the time, but let’s just say that the velocity of the tide and current plays a significant part.

But back to the session, and with clock ticking down rather than the enthusiasm and effort being displayed by my clients, I’d only said to Jon a few minutes earlier that a hit/bite will just come out of nowhere. To add some further context to this discussion, Jon really didn’t have any confidence in fishing at night or on an ebbing tide, plus, he had zero confidence in the Albie Snax – so you could most definitely say he was completely and utterly reliant on me here! But you know what happened next…

One of my all-time favourite lures for a number of reasons. Cheap, durable, they cast well, they rarely snag up, oh, and they catch lots of bass, especially in quite little coves and beaches that lead out into rocky reefs.

Yep, I was stood right next to Jon, chatting about the price of the weekly shop of something like that when ‘THUMP’ – his rod banged over as a very decent and a very welcome mid-April bass chomped on something it was now wishing it hadn’t of! A good shout to Dom (who was still targeting ‘his’ gully 30m away) saw him bounding along the shingle and out of the darkness like a deer in our headlights just in time to witness one of Jon’s finest moments as he very kindly quipped – just brilliant moments as always.

What a grin. This bass meant a lot to Jon, and importantly, it has banished any notion that the darkness, an ebbing tide, and most of all, a lure not doing an awful amount in the water completely out of sight.

I hate to describe my guided sessions as ‘lessons’, but the truth is, this session really was a eye-opener for the guys. Why we’d chosen certain lure types on the first location, why we’d decided to move (via a 15 minute drive and a 10 minute walk at either end) and most notably, why I’d place them in what were very precise positions on a beach that is 400m long, in order to target some very specific features – something I’ll be expanding on in the two follow-up posts.

My Books

My new title ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Volume 2)’ is IN STOCK and available to purchase. Details of the contents of each respective book in the image above can be found in the blog post I wrote recently here, in addition to the various PayPal payment options applicable to each book at the bottom of that post. Alternatively, if you would prefer to pay by Bank Transfer or you just have a query, you can contact me via the Contact Form below or directly at and I will answer as quickly as I possibly can. Thank you.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

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