Friday, 17 March 2017

Bass Fishing Tips

Recently a friend asked for some tips to help him catch bass, so I thought I would share some that I have used over the years just in case it may help anyone who is starting out.

Please note there are people far more qualified than I, so if you are looking for advice just Google away - there's loads of great info out there.

  • Fish close. How close? Experiment you may just be surprised
  • Fish big. Think of the size of bass you are targeting and match that with the bait you use
  • Big hooks. Don't be put off, the bass won't
  • No lights. When you have to, face away from the water and use a red filter (if your light has it)
  • No noise
  • Fish one rod. As I was once told, fish one rod and fish it well
  • Touch leger when conditions allow. It will let you know what is happening more than a rod tip will
  • Experiment with trace lengths. Depending on the conditions long is not always the best
  • Not all tides will produce even when everything seems to be right which makes the next point frustrating
  • Be prepared to do a lot of groundwork by fishing venues and tides to discover the best times
  • The bite window can be as short as 20 minutes on a tide
  • If you go for big or bust, then go expecting more busts
  • Use a running ledger or freeline if conditions allow
  • Don't use a light weight when ledgering it will only get 'lifted' during a take
  • Check your hook point every time you bait up
  • Keep a diary or log as bass can be very predictive and looking back can start to reveal patterns
  •  Appreciate this is subjective but be secretive when you have found them, not all anglers will respect catch and release and in this age of social media it doesn't take long for the word to spread
  • Please put the big girls back, it takes on average 2 years to grow 1 pound
Hope this helps.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Battery recharged

Beautiful morning, sea gentled to flat calm. Still really early but wanted to get out and perhaps erase my last trip - who knows. Tried and tested tackle at the ready and everything to hand, wasn't expecting, so wasn't disappointed.

The breeze however turned as expected, creating a lovely draw along the shoreline just made for a prepared bait to hang around in the undertow. The light cloud lifted and the sun broke through just as I found a new method to attach my bait. Made me smile with its simplicity.

A slight knock out of time had me alert and I noted the time - just in case - but the undertow was playing games with my bait and me.

Battery fully recharged, will keep popping in to see if they have made an early return.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Fishing like a fool...

With the weather almost feeling spring-like I decided to fish the tide up for a few hours in search of a Thornback Ray. Now I have not set out to fish for this species before, or any other ray for that matter, but with so many reports of there capture I thought I must give it a go.

As per usual I spent some time reading up and asking where I should try locally and decided on a spot that has produced in the past. Bait was going to be mackerel and squid both deployed at distance, as according to the stuff  I've read that is where they should be. I arrived early evening to a deserted beach and made my way to my mark.

There are times when fishing everything goes wrong, almost as if its out of your control; its as if the fishing gods are against you. There are also times when you simply fish like an idiot and you deserve everything you get. Saturday night was one of them. I won't bore you with the details but I was unprepared and out of practise, and what doesn't help either is my close up vision is even less close-up the darker it gets!

The fishing was also rubbish without a touch for 3 hours, the wind picked up from nowhere and I started to doubt the wisdom of my idea. So I reverted to plan B and started to fish close in the hope of a passing bass, but as expected nothing was happening so I upped sticks and made my way home.

Not a great trip to start 2017 but if this weather continues to hold I'm going to try another mark in the hope of an early bass. I will let you know how I get on.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Whiling away the time...

Whiling away the time whilst waiting for the return of the bass, I've had a look back on my records for 2016. The results for me, when compared to previous years were outstanding and by far my best year yet, so it's been interesting to look back and try to find out why.

My first advantage was being able to find them in June. Over the last 10 years or so, apart from the odd schoolie, I've never had any success in June, so it was a real surprise when I located them and they were huge! This meant rather than just try a few early trips and then seriously concentrate again as summer came to a close, my early success kept my enthusiasm going throughout the year with the added benefit of more rod hours in the water.

Thankfully my good fishing buddy Richard made a welcome return to the shoreline during 2016 which gave us the advantage of comparing results at different venues. Richard kindly showed me a mark many years ago that was responsible for a real step-change in my results - but the last few years, and especially during 2016, the returns were rubbish. In fact, from memory it only produced one decent bass to Richard, despite many knowledgeable hours fishing at the right time and at the right place.

Although not good for Richard it stopped me fishing a spot that didn't produce and so I could try out different locations, times and state of tides. Over the past few years my typical fishing times had changed from mostly night to fishing during the day - because that was when I was getting results. However trying new venues meant I started to do more night and early morning sessions to find the best times. An interesting observation (although still early days) is the realisation that the traditional set of building spring tides isn't always the best time to go, and on some marks it could be the kiss of death when compared to a later set of neaps.

Bait was the usual mackerel, but over the years the size used has gradually grown to a point where I will happily use half a large mackerel to make one bait. I'm convinced this is making a difference when the bigger fish are around, although I'm certain on a couple of occasions I may have missed out on a few smaller bass with my determination to grab that biggie.

My results over the year were 5 bass between 3 and 4 1/2lb, and 4 bass over 5lb with two around the 9lb mark (to enable a quick return I like to measure rather than weigh.) Although nationally these numbers wouldn't raise an eyebrow, when you compare these results with 2015 when I only caught one decent bass, and I had to wait until December to get that one, then you can see why I'm quite chuffed!

Really, really looking forward to this year as I have a couple of new ideas to try out. The first one is ground-baiting; over the years I have played around with this but its all been a bit half-hearted, so I'm going to try a few ideas from the carp brigade as I'm sure I can do a lot more to attract bass to my bait. The second idea I need to try first to see if it can work but its tied in with using two rods when conditions allow.

I'm hoping that they will still be around in the sort of numbers as they were last year, and found in the same places and times; but that's bass fishing for you - we always seem to live in hope.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Reminiscence of a fool... Part 9

Fishing as we know is not always about catching fish (which is just as well.) Here is an old blog entry from a late evening mackerel trip...

We will live forever

June 6th 2013

The wind dropped leaving the sea with a gentle bulging glow, allowing the remains of the large smouldering sun to reflect almost unbroken across the bay. Earlier I had cast expectantly into small forming shoals of mackerel for bait later in the year, and maybe tea tomorrow?

courtesy of thomas laupstad

With a heavier shoulder bag than when I started, I made my way back along the beach enjoying the summer night when from above the sound of crunching shingle I became aware of people singing. Looking across the beach I could see two women walking parallel with me, but I was unable to make out the words, so I slowed down and gently walked across the stones.

‘We will live forever,’ it sounded like a hymn and if it wasn’t it should be as it was being played in the best outdoor cathedral in the world. It’s rare when seemingly random events come together to produce moment’s like this but it felt like my walk back was being accompanied by voices of angels. It was inspiring as mother natures display.

We all arrived at our cars at the same time so I thought I would compliment them on their singing, it was then I noticed they were mother and daughter who, just like me, were also enjoying the moment. So I left them undisturbed.

Lovely, just bloody lovely.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A short cold and wet trip

On a whim or was it a hunch, or was it just a moment of stupidity?

Anyway what ever it was I decided to fish a few hours down to low this PM in the hope of a January bass as I'm sure some of the older bass never leave the shores during our milder winters.

However to cut a short story even shorter it was a waste of time, cold despite it being a mild January and a heavy drizzle that soaked everything it touched... good to be out though!

I think.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to those who read this stuff and hope your rod bends to the weight of your target during 2017.

Just a quick update from me, had a couple of trips in December but nothing to report however a late trip in November saw me fishing on the other side of the same bay on the same tide as a forum member who hooked into a bass of a lifetime of over 11lbs!

Really pleased for the guy and it does show that they do exist (!) and at a time I wouldn't normally fish as well (I'd had already packed up and gone home at the time he caught) so another lesson learnt which will hopefully help me in 2017.

Tight lines all