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).
Bass by all means.
As I mentioned in the last Freshwater BLOG page I've also been sea fishing. I checked my tide table last night and saw that it might be possible to fish an early morning session on a local tide race without drowning myself. I was up and running at 04:00hr and down on the coast ready to fish by about 04:45. It was a beautiful morning the sea was pretty calm and gin clear, there was a bit of cloud cover but it was pretty warm and bright and there was a light offshore wind. I spent a few minutes before I plucked up the courage to wade through the strong ebb flow to my chosen mark and then took the plunge. It wasn't as bad as it looked and a few minutes later I was ready to make my first cast. To avoid snagging on the thongweed and kelp I'd clipped on a blue and silver Yo Zuri slider. I flicked the lure out ten metres or so into the race as a trial and as it hit the water there was a splash and crash and I was in. The bass was no monster but it fought pretty hard in the strong current. I grabbed the camera from my bag and took a few pictures as I played and landed the bass - less than two pounds but beautiful and very welcome all the same.
For the next hour and a quarter it was hectic. Every few casts I was hit by another fish and although there were no big ones a three pound plus bass in a five knot current is a handful on light spinning gear. My lure has strong, sharp hooks so after the first couple of fish I popped the pliers in one jacket pocket and the camera in the other to try and speed things up. I wasted quite a lot of time searching the race for fish but all fifteen that I caught were in the crest as it broke over the ledge I was standing on and most of them were within ten metres of where I stood. The bigger fish ripped line off the reel until I could steer them into slacker water. Fantastic stuff! Although the lure was very effective I missed a few bites and it was noticable that the ones that failed to hook up were often smaller bass and several of them cartwheeled out of the water as they tried to grab the surface lure. By 06:15 the race strengthened quite a lot and the fish seemed to stop biting (I assume they had moved elsewhere so (a) I should have been fishing earlier (subject to the risk of drowning) and (b) I would have packed in by 06:30 but it was still too dangerous for an old wrinkly to wade back to terra firma so I hung about for some time.
I have alittle addendum to my tale. My mate Nigel sent me an email this morning - he'd been fishing from a local shingle beach the previous evening. I'll let him tell it in his own words (altered a little so it follows on):-
"Hi Mike, I went this evening to get some mackerel for the freezer. Apart from a string of four at about 19:30 hr things didn't really kick off until after the sun went behind the horizon (about 21:30), when fish started hitting the surface at about 70 to 120 yds – well out of the reach of a spinner but not too far for the feathers, so I quickly notched up half a bucket full. Would you like a few?"
"I also caught a few scad. Once I'd stopped feathering and before it died a 9 inch scad went on an 8/0 circle hook and was lobbed out on a simple 1oz ledger, the weight was needed to avoid the line being trapped in shingle but I was casting less than ten metres. The scad soon revived and was gently “nodding” the bass rod. After 30 mins or so the “the nod” turned to into a “whack” and line was being stripped from the bait runner, a spirited surface tussle ensued and a bass of between 4 and 5 lb was on the beach (no scales). I couldn't resist trying another live scad but it managed to escape (?) from the circle hook. I put a bigger dead scad on and started to tidy up the gear, I was thinking “I'll just check to see if the bait is OK!” and picked up the rod and started to wind. To my surprise there was another decent fish attached. This one turned out to almost a carbon copy of the first, but it looks skinnier so I'm sure that it's a different one."
So two very different bass catches both equally exciting - wonderful fish bass. Why oh why are the fisheries administrators allowing commercial fishermen to deplete the stocks while we anglers are doing our bit and returning everything as we are bidden? It's crackers! Oh by the way, thanks Nigel I would appreciate a couple of mackerel for bait.
My first fish from the race - what a thrill.
Another one coming through the thong weed.
One of my smaller fish - almost every one was hooked on the front treble.
Yet another; not a very good picture but it gives an idea of the power of the tide race.
All fifteen were simply slid ashore.
Unusually hooked on the tail treble.
Nigel's nice fat specimen caught on live scad.
The thinner fish which took the dead scad. Note the big circle hook.
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