Always a favourite time of year, the bassing seems to have gone up a notch of late. Mind you, it’s looking like Storm Babet might put the mockers on things for a bit! I suppose we should expect this bad weather at this time of year, but it is a little frustrating when the fishing can be at its best. At least some of us can usually find a sheltered corner in an estuary somewhere.
Last minute call
The month started with a last-minute call from John Tisdale, asking if I wanted to go out in his boat tomorrow. I’ve had some enjoyable boat trips this year with Dave Jones, so this sounded appealing, especially fishing with an old friend of many years.
I tried to push the odd mishap we’ve had over the years to the back of my mind, and was soon reassured by excellent John’s boat handling skills. As we made our way along the coast, memories of great fishing nights from the shore in awe-inspiring places came flooding back. That in itself would have made the day, but then the fishing got underway……..
Putting Dave’s tips into action soon saw me landing my first bass of the day. I was using weighted soft plastics (Storm GT 360 Biscay Shad 12cm, 28g in a browny colour). One of Dave’s tips was to avoid the weedless version, or if you can only get these try supergluing the hook so that it stands proud of the top of the lure. It’s funny how I use weedless hooks all the time from the shore, without incident, but they definitely seem to result in missed/lost fish in this situation.
I ended up with 7 bass for the day (4 hours), up to 59cm – a very enjoyable trip. I even managed to get a couple more bass heads for the Supper4science project. John did OK too – as you can see from the featured image.
After catching my first fish on an Albie Snax recently, I’ve been using them quite a bit. I’d been having trouble getting hold of the pearl ones at the time, so invested in a pack of chartreuse and pearl ones, hoping they would work. I’d also bought some 5″ Cornish Handmade Senkos from Bass Lures UK, which look very similar to Albies. Armed with a selection of these, I headed off for the coast, the night after our boat trip.
First to try was the pearl Albie . A fish of 43cm showed that there were fish about, so time for some experimenting. On went the BLUK one – bang! a 50cm bass, followed by another of 47cm. I can’t believe how hard bass hit these Albie-type lures – perhaps they think they’re small squid?
Next up was the chartreuse and pearl Albie, which quickly produced another bass of 48cm. A change back to the BLUK lure produced a 41cm bass. By this time the lure was looking a bit worse for wear. Matt responded to my feedback by saying that he’ll modify the plastic mix to make it more robust, but 3 fish on a lure that costs around £1.50 ain’t bad value in my book. Back on with the Albie, which produced a 40cm bass.
Things seemed to go quiet, so I decided to call it a day. I couldn’t resist a few chucks on the way back though – just as well or I would have missed the best one of the night!
Neap tides do produce
A few nights later I returned to a spot where I had done well earlier in the year. It’s a mark which I only used to bait fish (with crab) before; lure fishing has led to me learning more about how to fish it.
I was a little doubtful about the very small tide, but previous results encouraged me to give it a go anyway. A 41cm bass on an Albie Snax early on suggested that my fears about the tide may have been unfounded, but alas that was to be the only one. I would normally fish this mark until an hour after High Water, but the lack of action pointed to an early finish – and yet I felt I wasn’t done yet.
I decided to keep the rod up, and have a few casts at a spot on the way back to the car. I’ve never fished this spot, but wondered if the very small tide might not be so critical here. Faced with a flat sea over clean sand, I decided to concentrate my efforts on an area where there was some structure.
On went the BLUK 5″ Senko. I wasn’t very optimistic, but a bump on the lure got my interest up, and a couple of casts later, the lure was hit hard by what was obviously a good fish.
As the fish came in she looked a good size and was thrashing about a bit. As I got her to the edge of the rocks I was standing on, she somehow threw the lure and snapped the line at the same time. Desperate not to let it escape, I grabbed the fish and moved it to safety.
As I measured the fish I couldn’t work out why my fingers felt wet and the tape was a funny colour – in the red light of my torch I hadn’t realised this was blood, my blood! The fish must have caught me with her gill cover, taking a slice out of my thumb, but it was worth it. Recounting the story to the staff at the minor injuries unit the next morning caused much hilarity!
Tintagel bass competition
The weekend just gone saw Tintagel Sea Angling Club hosting their annual bass competition. Of the three club bass comps in Cornwall, this is the only one which is run on a C&R basis. As chairman Richard Coad says, C&R is the way forward.
Nowadays I can’t bring myself to kill a fish, especially a big one, just to win a trophy. So I was keen to support this one and paid the modest £10 entry fee (which included a free hot meal at the presentation do) and started thinking about where & when to fish.
This is a bait and lure comp, and as luck would have it the conditions came good for a spot of bait fishing at a favourite beach mark on the Friday night over low water. My chosen bait was frozen mackerel, specifically a smallish one with head and tail fin removed; I don’t seem to do that well on the heads (but yes, I know others do). A 6/0 Viking passed through the root of the tail, out the other side, and then embedded in the flesh towards the lower end of the bait with hook bend and point sticking out.
First cast was biteless after 20 minutes. I had bought a packet of anchovies from the local tackle dealer (Lowen Chy Angling), who recommended giving them a try. “They’re a bit like blueys, only they’re caught locally” said Dom. Having caught bass to 8lb on bluey, I was eager to try them. First cast produced a bass of 55cm, and I had two more later – on just one packet of six – I’ll definitely be using these again!
Next cast produced a small (42cm) bass on mackerel, with another one of 55cm falling to it right at the end of the session (right before a bloody great bull huss signalled it was time to head for the hills and a welcome bed).
Long-time fishing buddy Steve Ainsworth joined me for an early evening session on Saturday evening , but the fishing was slow. A few hours over midday on the Sunday produced a couple of smaller bass on lures.
I must compliment the Tintagel SAC Committee for all their work in organising the event, and for giving anglers like me the option of fishing a C&R competition. It was great to catch up with the other competitors at the presentation do, and to see my name up on the winners board.
Juvenile bass surveys
Thanks to all our great volunteers for supporting a busy programme of surveys, which have just come to an end for this year (start again next May). Some very encouraging results for ‘0’ groups (this year’s spawning), suggesting 2023 may be a good year class – at least in our survey area. These seemed to come in earlier than usual (mid -June). It was also noticeable that we were finding very small ones in September – indicative of May/June spawning, and evidence of the need to extend the closed period to protect spawning bass.
That’s all for this month folks, thanks for reading.