Stick it out!

Bah, humbug! I’m not feeling much Christmas cheer at the moment! I haven’t caught a single bass since early November. Whether it’s just a series of unhappy coincidences, or something else, I’m not sure. Boat anglers seem to be catching a few here (Cornwall) – no great size though, but whether I try the coast or estuary, all I get is blanks. The netters seem to be making hay, and there seems to be plenty of bait fish (anchovies/pilchards etc) around, so I don’t know why it’s not happening for me. The other night Ian Ingram and I were treated to quite a spectacle of loads of garfish thrashing about in the water, seemingly oblivious to our lights – no bass though.

This isn’t a totally unique situation though. Take 2014 for example. Just when I was expecting the season to go out with a whimper, the (shore) fishing really took off around the time of the full moon. The photo in the featured image of this blog is from that year.

Plan B

It was December the 15th to be precise. Arriving at a favourite mark, I was greeted by the sight of  a boat laying a net right across the front of it. I won’t go into the politics of this, but I’ll just say that I was totally gutted! Not only would I have been wasting my time on the day in question, but the fishing would be that bit poorer afterwards – and not just in Cornwall either.

I traipsed back to the car. To say I was cheesed off was putting it mildly (and diplomatically!) , but I didn’t want to miss out on my fishing fix. After running through a mental map of the area, taking into account the tide and conditions, plan B was hatched.

Conditions looked good, and there was no sign of nets. Things started well, with a couple of bass to 50cm on a Z Claw surface lure. At that time I hadn’t even started using soft plastics at night – it was all plugs. One in particular which produced well was the Duel Hardcore Minnow 130F in rainbow colours – aka the ‘Joker’. He certainly wasn’t having a laugh that night, when he produced this nice 60cm bass.

60cm December bass taken on the ‘Joker’.

It’s the same fish that appears in the featured image (you can also just make out the eyes of my then golden retriever Toby!).

That same period produced this cracking bass for fishing pal Paul Wallace on squid when we were out together, so I’m not giving up just yet!

Paul’s 8lb2oz December bass.


As part of my role as Science Lead for BASS, and also as organiser of juvenile bass surveys in Cornwall   I’m involved with the ‘FinVision’ project. This is a great opportunity to get involved in bass research by viewing and commenting on images of juvenile fish from the comfort of your own home. These are collected by novel underwater cameras being developed by Plymouth University. You can do this, and find out more about the project,  via this ‘Zooniverse’ web portal.

Bass Fisheries Management Plan

The Bass FMP has now been published. I’m still digesting this, so won’t comment yet, but feel free to share your own thoughts if you’d like to.

Devon and Severn IFCA netting consultation

D&SIFCA are consulting on the possible reintroduction of netting in the Salcombe Estuary.  If you care about bass fishing I would urge you to respond. I have made a personal submission, and ones on behalf of the Cornish Federation of Sea Anglers and the Cornwall Bass Investigations Group.

That’s about it for this month folks. Have a great Christmas and New Year. Thanks for reading the blog; it’s great to see the number of subscribers going up steadily.  If you don’t hear from me for a bit it’ll just be because I’ve run out go things to write about over the winter – but I will be back!