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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).
Slow bassing spell ends.
This month I've persisted in trying to catch a bass on bait. Normally I would have switched over to fishing for pike by now but my new neighbour Martyn is keen to get into the local sea fishing scene so we've had a couple of trips together in the past few weeks. We were trying to catch a decent bass on freelined baits - a new approach for my pal. On the first evening Martyn had a couple of decent runs but both of them came unstuck - not the ideal start. The next two sessions were blanks and this was followed by an evening trip which resulted in me dropping a tiny conger in the edge. The following morning I got up early and went on my own to try the same spot but the two bites that I had were clearly squid because they had bitten the sardine baits in the neck.
The next day the weather had calmed down and with the forecast suggesting it might be my last chance to try before the forthcoming gales and rain I decided to have another go that evening and, in anticipation, put a couple of frozen sardines in the bucket to thaw. Later that day I was walking up the garden whistling (as usual) when Martyn called out over the fence that he was thinking of fishing that evening too. We arranged to go together and at about 18:00hr we were crunching our way across the gravel beach. We had decided to try a different spot not far from the place where we'd recently blanked. Out went the baits, Martyn's mackerel fillet and my sardine, and we stood side by side chatting and waiting for action. For a change it was pretty well flat calm and easy to fish (gusty winds can be a pain when you're freelining baits) and it wasn't long before Martyn said he'd had a bite. Clearly it wasn't a bass because it gave just a couple of firm tugs before departing. A little while later he had the typical trembling bite of a mullet and when he wound in the mackerel was in a fairly sad state.
At this point I decided to have another cast and found that apart from its head my sardine had gone. "Squid again!" I muttered and attached my second sardine (typically I'd only brought two). Once more we stood talking and waiting for action and it was probably ten or fifteen minutes before I felt the line tweaked from my fingers and beginning to run out. I commented that it appeared to be a bass bite but after two or three metres had left the reel it stopped moving. I didn't think that the fish had been alarmed so I simply waited in the hope that it had paused and would set off again. It did. The line began to run out, much faster this time, and after it had taken twenty metres or so I took a pace forward and dropped the rod tip to give a bit of slack before gently closing the bale arm. The braid drew tight and there was a sploosh out in the darkness as my rod arched round. "I'm in!" I said to my pal so he reeled in and switched on his headlamp. After a short struggle we saw a nice bass in the shallow margin and I was able to haul it ashore. Eureka!
The fish measured exactly 60cm (it was in good nick so about 5.5lb) and was beautifully hooked in the top lip on my 6/0 circle hook. We took a couple of pictures and returned to our fishing (Martyn is less frugal than me and gave me a spare bait) Almost at once my pal had a run and it would be nice to report that he landed a good bass but the fates were against him so for some reason his line became draped with kilos of loose weed, tied itself in knots and the fish escaped. Next time eh Martyn?
My bass just after it was beached.
The circle hook did a perfect job.
Not a bad picture for pitch darkness - thanks Martyn.
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