Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Proxy bass fishing.
My Only recent sea angling session was a blank with bait just after dawn. The truth is that I've been pretty busy with other things and, apart from my last wrassing trip with the girls, when I did manage to wave a rod about it was over the river. Fortunately I have a couple of pals who have made the effort to get down to the coast and do a spot of spinning so I shall write a bit about that.
Bill Fagg had an interesting session near Chapman's Pool and he did manage a few modest bass on his lures. However, the most interesting pictures he sent me were of feeding thicklips. Now I've written quite a lot about catching mullet on 'dry' maggot flies over the years and the method can be very productive. Bass also take maggots 'off the top' but they do it in a completely different manner, so one of the critical things that you need to know, if you are to succeed, is how to tell the difference between the appearance of the two species when they are feeding in this way. Perhaps the most obvious distinction is that mullet tend to skim the surface film in a rather leisurely fashion with their eyes and the tops of their heads exposed. In contrast bass usually dart up and grab a mouthful of floating food with a splashy rise or a sort of mini porpoise roll. Sometimes the different behaviours are less obvious and in this case it helps if you know exactly what to look for. When I'm asked by anyone new to this type of fishing I always say that the head of a feeding bass looks as though it has been punched and has a black eye while the lips of feeding mullet are quite chubby and pink or red in colour. When you land a mullet the lips are pale grey or whitish so I assume that they become suffused with blood in some way when the fish are surface skimming. Why does it matter? Well maggot feeding bass can usually be tempted with a fry fly, a small Delta eel or even by spinning with a popper or a sub-surface lure, while mullet are most susceptible to a maggot-baited, poly-fly in the surface film.
To return to the bass fishing. Bill spun with a weedless EvoStix lure weighted with a drilled lead head. These lures are very consistent bass catchers, they are easy to use in all sorts of conditions and they are relatively cheap, tough and durable - so excellent all round. Another of my pals Phil Vivian also went spinning in Purbeck on the same day as Bill and he caught only one bass but it was about four pounds. In this case he was using a Black Minnow and he says that the fishing conditions looked poor. He also made another comment about using the Black Minnows that they are very attractive to wrasse, which is fine if you are rich and want to catch wrasse because for sure those pearly teeth will rip the lure to bits in no time. So perhaps it is wise to restrict your B.M. bassing activity to places where 'brown fish' are thin on the ground? To complete the picture another pal, Nigel Bevis, also caught a few bass on lures fishing along towards Weymouth but I don't have any pictures. Clearly I missed out altogether - pity!
Surface feeding thicklips - note the juicy pink mouths.
Close up - Even the lip papillae are visible on this pouting beauty.
One of Bill's bass on the EvoStix. See what I mean about a 'black-eye'?
... and another one.
Phil's nice fish taken on a Black Minnow.
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