With the weather not being fit enough to get out to sea (it’s August for Christs sake) I’ve had to resign myself to trying to catch my 5lb target Bass from the shore. Having read just about everything there is to know about tempting Bass from rocky/beach shorelines and with local knowledge from THE local Bass expert I was expecting good things.
But we all know fishing is never that easy, and as a relative Bass newbie I’ve learnt even more so that Bass are definitely not that easy.
The first area we fished was what looked a perfect rock mark for Bass, I know that they are caught here on a regular basis. Local advice is key and we were told surface poppers or shallow diving plugs are the order of the day, blue and silver being the prime colours. I can honestly say that over several sessions I’ve whipped that water into a virtual frenzy, covering high and low water and every stage inbetween, with every plug in my arsenal and haven’t seen so much as a follow. Of course between my sessions somebody else pulled a lovely 6lb fish from the same spot using the same tactics, but heh, that’s just fishing! Up the coast 10 pounders have been landed from similar shorline. On reading recent issues of Sea Angler I decided to even try some newer, not locally favoured tactics, that being rubbers without any weight hooked texas style. What I can say about this method is that if you soon get bored of throwing a lure out this method does give your arm a break as you slow retrieve, letting the natural motion of the lure, waves and current work in your favour. Your lure spends more time in the strike zone but it still did me no favours. From every type of worm in the book to some very good fake sandeels, nothing could induce a strike.
So the beach it was. Again local advice was sought and again shallow divers and surface plugs were recommended. There are huge amounts of sandeels about at the moment and there is absolutely no doubt that the Bass will be following these in. After several failed attempts with the plugs tactics were switched completely to frozen sandeel (couldn’t get any live ones). Using everything from bubble floats to ledgering still no joy. Conditions looked perfect, just a nice amount of surf, not to much glare on the water and very little weed. I was sure that between the two of us we’d get something but it wasn’t to be.
It’s not so much the not catching that bugs me, more that lack of any signs of life. But when you speak to enough veteran Bass anglers you soon learn that this is normal. You can spend hours hitting the same stretch of water with nothing and then bammm, explosive fish action. As somebody who “doesn’t do blank days” in the boat it’s all a bit of a learning experience, but one I’m really enjoying. I’m determined to get a good Bass on the surface popper, there’s just something so visual about the whole experience, very similar to dry fly fishing. In fact I wonder if I might give that a go next time….