After the winter break even Archie’s looking forward to going bass fishing regularly again. The jobs have all been done, the gear’s all been checked and topped up/replaced, and I’ve even got a new reel (Shimano Vanford C3000 – thanks for the recommendations Tony and Ben) to go with the rod I acquired last year (8’2″ Tailwalk Dageki 3.5-24g) . This combo is a treat to use in estuaries, and the shorter rod length will be useful when casting up against the trees at high water.
Among my Spring purchases were these beauties , my most consistent lure last year, from Cornwall-based Bass Lures UK. They do a wide range of lures and give great value for money.
First choice on the menu
I decided that I’d target the bass with crab early on in estuaries this year in anticipation of some good fish searching them out. This seems to be working so far – three trips in and I haven’t blanked yet. No monsters mind, but peelers do seem to be first choice on the menu, with just the one fish on soft plastics. I suppose that makes sense, given the amount of peelers usually around at that time – not that my traps are producing that well yet. Bass can find any amount of small hardbacks throughout the year, but it’s the Spring peel which seems to coincide with the arrival of the bigger fish.
I caught fish on 41% of the trips I made last year. One of my targets for this year is to try to improve on this (that’s if the fish are there to catch), so my plan is to focus more on a smaller number of proven marks at the peak times, in good conditions, and using lures and methods I’m confident with. I really want to try to gauge just how bad (or good) the stocks are, and if I don’t catch, it’s more likely to be that the fish aren’t there, rather than me not fishing it properly.
As I get older, I’m beginning to appreciate the benefits of fishing closer to home, at places I’m familiar with, and enjoy being at – even if it means reducing the chances of catching bigger fish.
I attended the Tight Lines meeting this week. What a great venture this is! There was an interesting talk from a couple of GP Practice staff about Social Prescribing. For those not familiar with this, it’s basically about signposting people who may be struggling with their mental health to groups like Tight Lines as part of their recovery.
We also heard from a couple of guys from the Porthleven Coastguard team. So good to meet the folks who provide this great service – on a voluntary basis. Reassuring to know that such folks are ready to come to our aid, should we need it, but let’s do all we can to avoid this by taking well-known basic precautions.
At the recent BASS AGM I was presented with the John Leballaur Restoration Award in recognition of our juvenile bass survey work in Cornwall, and my Science work for the society.
This award is greatly appreciated and valued, particularly given the esteem in which I held the man himself. I wrote this in my book back in 2019:
“In 2000 and 2001, we were involved in a tagging programme with CEFAS. We were trying to build on the earlier work of Donovan Kelley and others in unravelling the movements of bass. The late John Leballeur, then Chairman of BASS, organised teams of taggers from around the Country. John was a genuinely decent man – patient, kind and helpful, and he inspired many people with his dedication to the restoration of bass stocks. The ‘John Leballeur Restoration Award’ for the individual, group or organisation which has made a major contribution to bass restoration in any given year, is a fitting tribute to his memory.”
Juvenile bass surveys
Speaking of juvenile bass surveys, we are just about to start this year’s programme. It’s always exciting anticipating what we’ll find. I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on the temperature and wind, as this can affect the success of spawning. I’ve learned not to be drawn into making any premature predictions, but I’ll keep you posted as and when things become clear. We’re always looking for more volunteers, so just send me a message if you’d like to help.
All the best, and tight lines!