A little under 3 months since my book about bass fishing, ‘A Bass Angler’s Life’, was released, I’ve just sold the 100th copy. This is something of a milestone for me, so I hope you’ll forgive a little celebration and reflection. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without all those who have bought the book, so a heartfelt thanks to them.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing the book, but as the prospect of publication drew near, I began to have doubts about how the world would judge my efforts. I was tempted to just file the manuscript away, to reflect on from time to time, and not risk the book being ridiculed, or treated with indifference. But my aim was always to get a book published, so I just had to be brave, and hope for the best.
All that’s behind me now, and I can honestly say I’m glad I went ahead. Sure, 100 copies sold is small fry to some, and I have a long way to go before I cover my costs, but to me this represents a success. I still can’t quite believe that so many people have bought my book. I’ve also had some very encouraging feedback and comments, via phone calls, emails and social media, including the BASS Forum (access to this comes with membership). I’ve listed some of these comments (with permission) on this website (see under book reviews). What I hadn’t anticipated is the way the book would bring me into contact with so many people.
A busy summer
The summer hasn’t all been about the book though. If you have a look at my picture gallery you’ll get a flavour of what I’ve been up to. Fishing wise, this is turning out to be one of my best years ever. I’ve caught 9 bass over 60cm (roughy 5lb), the first one on the 5th January. The best of these, which measured 71cm (8lb 1oz weighed), came a couple of weeks ago. Seven of these fish came on DoLive Sticks, the other two on peeler crab (shore). Hopefully, the best is yet to come, as long as the weather (and the netters) don’t mess things up too much! Mind you, when conditions get tough, it forces you to consider other options, thereby expanding your fishing repertoire.
Hope for the future?
July saw quite a few small bass around in Cornwall, and this seems to have continued through to the autumn. Without doing scale analysis, I would think these are from the good 2014 year class, and very encouraging to see. Let’s hope these little fish are allowed to become big fish, and give us a chance of a lunker in years to come. And from the juvenile bass surveys we’ve been doing over the summer, it looks like 2019 could be another good year; just as well, given the very poor results we saw last year.
Away from home
Mid August saw Angela and I heading over to Guernsey for an extended summer holiday. It was great to spend time with family and friends over there. We were fortunate with the weather, allowing us to enjoy the wonderful coastline and beaches, and sample more of Guernsey life and the many events the island puts on. The fishing wasn’t spectacular, it has to be said, but it was great to meet up and get out with Bryn, Simon and the other lads again. We fished quite a bit, particularly over the GBASS Festival weekend, and it was good to try new marks and techniques, such as very slowly retrieving free-lined live launce, a popular method on the island.
Just days after returning from Guernsey, I was off again, this time to South Devon for the BASS South Hams Fish-in.
This is a beautiful part of the world, and it was great to spend a few days exploring the area, while meeting up and fishing with the guys from BASS, including exchanging a few fishy stories over a pint in the legendary ‘Pig’s Nose’.
One particularly memorable part of the fish-in for me was getting to meet, and fish with Alan Vaughan. As many will know, Alan co-wrote ‘Hooked On Bass‘ with Mike Ladle. Like Mike, Alan was very helpful when I was writing my own book. After numerous telephone conversations and emails, it was great to finally meet up. Seeing Alan baiting up with corkwing wrasse had me thinking back to the book, which so affected my fishing all those years ago. And watching him working the legendary ‘Chug Bug’ surface lure, which has accounted for numerous fish for Alan and many others, has got me rifling through my tackle draws in the garage to give them another go.
The dust had hardly settled from the Fish-in, when Luke Kozak joined me for a successful, and very enjoyable few days’ bass fishing in Cornwall. It seemed like ages since I had done any fishing at home, and this spell reminded me how good the fishing in Kernow can be.
We were into fish from the word go, with Luke doing well on surface lures. The night before the Duo Bassmasters Lure Festival, I landed a 71cm fish, along with another of 55cm, both on DoLives (white). On the first night of the festival, I landed a fish of 62cm (again on a DoLive), before the wind got up and spoiled things. On the Sunday morning/lunchtime, what was expected to be just a ‘filler’ session, before heading up to Launceston for the prize giving, turned out to be a real bonus. We landed ten bass between us, with Luke catching some nice fish on a Sasuke 140 plug (Sand Bora).
That’s the thing about competitions – they make you go fishing when you wouldn’t normally bother, sometimes with surprising results. If the fish are there and feeding, you can catch – even in bright conditions, in the middle of the day. Mind you, a bit of surf definitely helps. Luke ended up with the visitor’s prize and just missed out on the longest 3 fish.
I’m very much looking forward to a sustained period of fishing from now until the end of January. One of my objectives is to catch a big bass on mackerel bait – let’s hope I have something to report by then! Tight lines to you all, and here’s hoping you achieve that new Personal Best.