Being a quiet time on the fishing front, and not having much to write about, I thought I would share some outtakes from my book to help you pass a few minutes. These are passages of the book which I left out in the interests of not boring the pants off everyone. Not that I was unhappy with them, but you actually can get too much of a good thing!
Fishing with prawn at night
Fishing with live prawn under a float is such a simple and natural way to catch bass. Doing this at night adds extra appeal, and can be deadly as this short tale illustrates.
After a long walk, I made my way down to a tiny, deserted cove, well off the beaten track. The path down is not for the faint-hearted, especially when carrying a bucket of prawns. As I picked my way down in the dark my pulse quickened when I heard a moaning sound coming from below. As I got nearer, I realised that a large seal was responsible for this. ‘Oh flip’ I cursed (or words to that effect!), ‘I hope he’s not staying’. He must have got the message because he left!
Half an hour with a small (10cm) ‘Sammy’ surface lure didn’t produce, so it was out with the prawn gear. I was using a 15g ‘Buldo’ weighted clear plastic float sliding on 20lb braid mainline with a 2/0 Limerick Match hook on the end. I had pushed a small tip light into the plastic sleeve it came with, which was glued to the top of the float.
I was glad I had made the effort to fish this mark. Over the next hour, the little light on the float shot under three times, zipping along just below the surface as bass up to 3lb made off with the prawn. And a move to a couple of other spots within the cove produced more fish to round off the night.
Tales of epic catches
We’ve all heard tales of epic catches. Word gets out and the grapevine is buzzing with rumour and excitement. These tales were usually started off in the tackle shop, or fishing club, but nowadays social media plays a big part.
Each report fired me up, and I’d be down there hoping to share in the spoils. After a while I came to realise that these reports were often out of date, and misleading with regard to the mark – people may want to tell the world about their success but, perhaps wisely, not where they caught the fish.
I learned not to take too much notice of these reports, except perhaps to note the fact that fish are around in my diary and spreadsheet. With bass being so predictable there’s a good chance they will show at the same time next year, and it could be worth redoubling your efforts at these times. On the other hand, if these reports are from a trusted source, and very current, they can be worth following up – but even then there’s no guarantee the fish will still be there.
I know anglers who follow social media, avidly soaking up the catch reports, and then feeling depressed because their own results don’t match these, or letting these reports influence them on where and when to fish. Better to decide when and where to go for yourself, based on personal knowledge and past experience. Some may feel this is a blinkered approach, but it works for me; it also has the advantage that I can fish away in blissful ignorance of all those big catches I’m missing (or not)!
Changing my fishing style
By the early noughties my fishing style had broadened. I was actively seeking out rough, rather than clean, sandy ground. The session that really convinced me that this type of ground produces bass, even in calm conditions, still sticks in my mind…..
I made my way down to a small rocky cove for a spot of late afternoon plugging. It was a sunny and calm July day, and I was returning to a mark I had first looked at in 1989. At that time I had my beach eyes on – I was only interested in finding sandy bits in all this nasty rocky stuff! This meant fishing it on a low water spring, when the tide had gone out beyond the reef. How wrong I was!
Suffice to say I blanked on that occasion and basically never fished it again – until now. This time I had my rough ground eyes on, and my inbuilt ‘bassometer’ was going off the scale!
After a couple of hours working along the reef, by climbing onto some adjacent rocks I was able to cast my plug, a Yozuri Arms Pencil, out near a large rock, and work it over some very bassy-looking rocky gullies which were just starting to fill up; no beach angler would dream of putting their bait there.
A couple of turns and there was a violent splash as a fish missed the plug. I paused momentarily, and when I started to wind again a 4lber hit the plug. This one scrapped well in the calm, clear water. I can still recall the pleasure of the moment; a warm summer evening, a beautiful cove, fabulous bass ground, and a good fish caught on a surface lure – magic! To crown the session, I caught a couple more fish, smaller than the first, before I had to pack up.
I walked back to the car with that feeling of satisfaction which comes with your first success at a mark, but which was tinged with a sense of irony, having missed all those years of potentially good fishing. That session convinced me of the value of rough ground bass fishing and I never looked back.
That’s it for this month folks. Thanks for reading.