Thursday, 28 April 2011

Quite night - 27th April 2011

As low tide was about 8.45 pm I decided to have a bait fishing session rather than go lure fishing since the amount of the rising tide in daylight was going to be limited. Dusk at the inital push in of the tide at the chosen mark can often be very productive. However, when I got to the beach there was just a very gentle surf. I took a spinning rod with me too with the intention of lure fishing close to the rocks before dark.

I set up two rods with 3/0 and 4/0 pennel pulleys, both baited with razor. I didn't have time to dig any lug or rag earlier in the day, although I think the rag would have been more suited to the calm conditions than the razor.

From the start I was getting tugs, presumably small flounder munching on the bait. Then I spotted a large splash to my right and about 35 m out  - bass chasing sandeels? I fired out a Feed Shallow in the general direction of the splash, but no takers. Then I spotted another larger splash this time to my left and again I cast out some lures toward the disturbance to no avail. When I got back to the bait rods I noticed small tugs on one of the rods, picked it up, and began to retrieve. There was definitely a fish on, but not a bass. It was a rather plump 38 cm flounder.

A little later I had a good knock on the other rod, grabbed it and struck. At first I though I had a small bass as it was pulling strongly but as I reeled in the fight weakened and it turned out to be a dogfish - my first of 2011.

As the tide began to push in more strongly I had another good bite on the same rod - but it was a second dogfish. Its nice to get a dogfish to add to the annual species list but one is enough. Every time I hook one I think it could be a bass, there is a rush of adreneline and the heart starts to beat faster, then there is the disappointment as I haul it out of the surf and see the characteristic sideways twisting of a dog on the sand.

I was about to move the rod stand back when I had a strong tug on one of the rods. I struck and started to retrieve. But this didn't feel like a fish, more like a clump of kelp with a rock attached, although the beach was weed free. As it began to emerge out of the surf  I wasn't sure what I had, then as I approached I realized it was a large spider crab! It's the first time I have got one on that beach.

I had one more small flounder after that, about 23 cm, and a lot of nibbles from small fish. If the fishing had been better I would have probably stuck it out to high tide at 2.50 am but decided to pack up at about 1.20 am and get an "early" night.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter Bass - 23rd April 2011

It was a nice warm sunny day with a light southwesterly breeze so looked an ideal day for some more lure fishing. I reached the mark at about 4.00 pm just before low tide. The water was a bit more coloured than I would have liked. I started fishing in the location where I had a 71 cm bass a couple of weeks ago. I then moved westwards eventually reaching a small rock promontory as the tide was beginning to push in more strongly. There was quite a lot of weed drifting about there, but I perservered, as I was fishing into a gulley which looked like it might hold a fish. I had started fishing with a Feed Shallow, swtiched to some surface lures and then changed back to the Feed Shallow. Suddenly there was a big splash behind the lure and a bass connected with it. It was about 45 m out and thrashed about on the surface as I worked it towards the rocks. It was a bit tricky to get down to lift it up and I was worried that I might loose it, but it was well hooked. It was a 60 cm bass and weighed just over 5 lb.

As the tide pushed in I moved back eastwards and fished into a small bay. I reckoned that the breaking waves would wash food out of the gulleys to the west of this and into the bay and hopefully there might be a few bass lurking about. I fished there for about 25 minutes and then just as I was thinking of moving I was hit by another good fish. I could see the fish just below the surface, it was stationary for a second or two before it realized that my Feed Shallow was not a tasty snack and then began to thrash about. It felt a strong fish and wasn't going to come in easily. I gradually eased it in. At this stage the waves were breaking over the rocks where I was standing which made it difficult to land the fish so I had to move back a bit until I could coax it into a shallow gulley and on to the rocks. It was a 64 cm bass and weighed just under 6 lb.

I fished there for a little longer but had no more bites and was forced back by the rising tide. I moved further along the shore and had a few more casts but was getting snagged by strands of kelp. I switched to a surface lure but nothing was biting. I packed up at 7.00 pm as I promised I would be home in time for dinner.

Three before breakfast, one after dinner - 22nd April 2011

As there have been a few reports of anglers getting good size bass early in the morning I decided to make the effort to get up at the crack of dawn and get in some fishing before work. I am not a morning person. I could happily head out at 11.00 pm and fish until 4.00 am but getting out of bed at 5.30 am was a bit of a killer. It was an overcast morning and had rained earlier, although the rain ceased by the time I got to the shore. The sea was quite calm, just gentle swells breaking over the rocks.

I worked my way around a small bay, tried a variety of hard and soft plastic lures but nothing was biting. I was intending to pack up at 8.30 am. By 8.00 am I started to work my way back. At this stage I was thinking I should have stayed in bed. Then just before 8.30 am I put on a Feed Shallow for a last couple of casts. Suddenly I was hit by a decent fish about 30 m out. It put up a good fight, I was trying to ease it into a narow gulley at my feet but it had other ideas and headed around the rocks into the next gulley, requiring me to scramble over the rocks. I then managed to ease the fish on to the shore. It was a 51 cm bass.

It was now 8.30 am but I couldn't pack up now that it looked like a shoal of bass might be moving in. I had a few more casts, then at about the same distance out I connected with another. This felt a bigger fish, it was pulling strongly and stripping a little line. I worked it in slowly, this time it came in to the gulley directly below me and I was able to grab the fish without having to scramble across the rock. It was a better fish alright, 58 cm and weighed about 4.5 lbs.

It was now close to 9.00 am, but I couldn't leave without a few more "last" casts. I cast out the Feed Shallow over the same area a few times. Then changed direction and as soon as I started the retrieve I was into another fish. This again felt to be a sizable bass and put up a strong fight. It was indeed the best fish of the session, at 59 cm and weighing just under 5 lb. So in the end it was well was worth getting up so early.

During the afternoon Pat contacted me to say he was going for a short session that evening and had some crabs which I was welcome to share. That sounded like an opportunity not to be missed. We met up at 8.00 pm and headed down to the shore. I have never bait fished over such rough ground. I lost my first rig on the first cast. Pat kindly gave me one of his drilled bullet weights and some beads to make up a rig similar to his.

Pat got the first bass, I think it was about 52 cm. We both lost a few fish, then Pat had a second, around 55 cm. I was still loosing rigs in the rough ground, I was down to my last 4/0 hook, when I felt a tug and struck. I hooked into a good fish, it was putting up a strong struggle. It was a fine bass just under 63 cm.

A little later I connected with another bass, it felt another sizeable fish but came off a third of the way in. We packed up at about 11 pm. I would like to thank Pat again for sharing his crabs and giving me some tips on rough ground bait fishing.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Mullet on a lure - 19th April 2011

As it was a nice sunny evening I headed out for some lure fishing. I went to the same area where I caught three bass on Sunday. I got there about 7.00 pm. I was working my way around a small bay and then spotted a shoal of fish breaching the surface in front of a mass of rotting seaweed at the back of the bay. I wasn't sure if they were mullet or bass but fired out some lures over them just in case. I did feel a few tugs but nothing made a serious attempt to take any of the lures so I realized that they must be mullet.

I moved further around the bay and fished into a few gulleys and off several promontories. But nothing was biting. As the light was beginning to fade I began to move back. I had a few casts off a promontory. The mullet were starting to move back out of the bay at this stage with the dropping tide and I was casting over them. I was frequently changing lures and put on a white Asturie. I had a couple of casts with it and suddenly hooked a fish. At first I presumed it was a bass, it was giving a typical bass fight, but when I had it in very close I realized it was a mullet. I gradually eased it into a narrow gulley, reached down and grabbed it. My first ever Irish Mullet and hooked on a surface lure too!!! It weighed just over 3 lb. It was hooked on the outside corner of the mouth so it looked like the fish made a grab at the lure rather than being foul hooked.

At least now I had confirmation that the shoal of fish were definitely mullet. I moved back to the other side of the bay and had a few more casts but still no bass. The light was almost gone at this stage so I packed up and headed off the rocks before it was dark.

Razorfish gathering - 19th April 2011

A low spring tide today combined with high atmospheric pressure was an ideal opportunity for restocking my razorfish supply. It was a lovely spring afternoon and myself and Melissa set off just after mid-day. The sandbanks were just starting to become uncovered when we arrived. I waded out to a bank that was very productive last year while Melissa went onto a sandbank closer to the shore.

There were plenty of razorfish squirting water in the air when the tide began to recede off the crest of the bank and I got to work with the salt. I got through 6 plastic packets. Soon they began pushing up and on to the sand, although not as plentiful as the previous time I was there last year. However, we ended up with two buckets full - 142 razorfish, so that will help replenish my stock in the freezer, although Melissa is wondering where she is going to put her frozen peas and ice cream.


Monday, 18 April 2011

Eventually found the fish - 17th April 2011

I headed to the same mark as yesterday. The wind direction had changed to a light southeasterly. It was overcast and a bit of sea mist was present so it was quite chilly, although it cleared later in the afternoon and warmed up nicely. I started in the same spot as yesterday but this time there were no bites. I moved along the shore as the tide pushed in but nothing was interested in a broad selection of lures.

I worked my way through a series of small embayments and gulleys but there was not a fish to be seen. Eventually I reached a small cove with a lot of rotting seaweed mounded up on the shore. I reckoned there might be a chance of a bass feeding on maggots or small fish close to the margin of weed. I cast out a range of hard and soft lures but again nothing was biting. Then I spotted the outline of two fish, just submerged and crusing only 3 or 4 meters out from the shore. I moved closer to where they were and put on the Texas rigged Slug Go as there was a lot of kelp strands floating in the water, cast over the fish and retrieved just in front of one of them but it showed no interest. I cast a second time but when the lure hit the water it spooked the fish and they disappeared. I continued fishing there for some time and every five minutes or so there was a small splash so I knew the fish were still there but still I could not tempt them to bite. Initially I thought they were bass but it's possible they were mullet.

I had intended to pack up at 5.30 pm as I needed to be home by 6.30 pm. So at about 5.25 pm I decided to have one last try at another mark not too far away. I started off with an Xlayer. On about the second cast I was connected with a good fish about 20 m out. It gave a good fight and tried to get around a jagged ridge of rock which would probably have snapped my line had it succeeded but I managed to turn it and gradually coaxed it towards the shore. It was a good bass, about 5 lbs, and just under 60 cm. In my hurry to restart fishing I forgot to photograph it.

I had a few more casts with the Xlayer, but came close to been snagged a couple of times on a barely submerged rock about 10 m out. I switched to a Feed Shallow and cast it out. Second cast I was hit by another bass about 30 m out. This felt a heavier fish and was stripping some line. But when I eventually landed it I found the fish was much the same size, although fatter, with a weight of 5.75 lb. However, it was hooked in the side, one of the triples was set just below the gill cover. The fish must have lashed at the lure with its gill plate. That explains why it was so difficult to land.

A couple of casts later another bass made a grab at the lure but wasn't hooked. Then after a few more casts I had another savage bite. This felt to be another strong fish, and again stripped a little line. It was putting up the strongest fight of the day and it took a few minutes to get it in. It was just over 61 cm but weighed the same as the previous fish at 5.75 lbs. It was only lightly lip hooked on one barb of the lower triple so I was lucky to land it.

It was 6.00 pm at this stage so I reluctantly packed up. I reckoned I could have had a few more bass if I stayed but I was already late. But I can always get them the next time.

Fine bass on a SP - 16th April 2011

As the conditions were calm with light northwesterly winds it looked good for lure fishing. I headed to the mark where I caught a good bass last week, getting there just as the tide was starting to push in. I started with a Feed Shallow but I was casting across a shallow reef with strands of weed and was getting snagged. After about 4 casts I changed to the soft plastics. I put on a Texas rigged Slug Go and on the second or third cast I was hit by a powerful fish. It was pulling strongly and stripping a little line. I was worried that it would come off as I tried to get it across the shallow reef and waited until a bigger wave rolled in, then surfed it over the rocks. It continued to fight very strongly, twisting and splashing about in a shallow gulley and eventually I eased it on to the rocks. It was a fine 69 cm bass, weighing just over 6.25 lb.

I continued fishing in the same area until the tide pushed me back. Moved along the coast and fishing into several small embayments but I could tempt no more fish. But I was happy enough with the one fish I did get.

Friday, 15 April 2011

A couple more - 14th April 2011

After the success of Wednesday night I headed to the same beach to fish from low tide through the first half of the rising tide. The previous night all the bass came in a one hour window between 11.00 pm to 12.00 am as the shoal moved along the beach, so if they were consistent in their feeding pattern I reckoned Midnight to 1.00 am would be the most productive. However, the surf was a lot weaker compared to last night but at least it was still weed free.

I set up two rods with 4/0 and 6/0 pennel pulleys baited with full razor. It was quite for the first hour, apart from small fish (flounder and/or coalfish) nibbling on the bait. Then as the tide began to push in more strongly I noticed subtle twitches on the rod with the 6/0 pennel. I thought it was probably the small fish pulling on the bait again. I picked up the rod, I could feel very gentle tugs, let out a bit of slack, the fish picked up the bait and started a run, I struck and connected with a strong fish. Definitely not one of those small bait robbers!! It was pulling strongly as I retrieved, especially when I got it into the shallow surf. Then as the wave retreated I could see the glint of sliver on the beach. It was a 50 cm bass.

However, after that it was very quite for a long time. There were lots of slight knocks on the rod tips but it was just small fish chewing on my razor. I hooked a tiny coalfish at one stage.

I had seen a headlamp way down the far end of the beach. Just before 1.00 am I noticed somebody was approaching from that end, it was Pat, he was heading home. As we were chatting he spotted a knock on one of my rods. I thought it was just the small fish again and ignored it. But as he was heading off there was another knock so I picked up the rod, there was indeed a fish on the end. It was putting up a reasonable struggle although much less than the first fish. It was a smaller bass just under 40 cm.

I had intended to pack up at about 1.00 am but decided to stick it out a bit longer in case a shoal was moving in. A little latter I had a good tug on the rod with the 6/0 pennel, and the line went slack. I grabbed it and rapidly wound in the slack, then felt resistance and struck. I had a good fish on the end and it was pulling strongly. I had it in close then, only about 5 m out, the weight was gone. It felt like the fish had come off. I reeled in but found a small coalfish on the end!! No way could it have given a fight like that. However, when I examined the fish it was damaged just below the gill cover. It must had been munching on my bait, got hooked and then a bass grabbed it. The bass was either holding on tight, not wanting to loose a tasty feed of coalie, or it got lightly hooked itself and shook the hook when I had it in close.

I decided to pack up at that stage and when I brought in the other line there was a 23 cm flounder on the end.

I was happy enough with the result, two bass despite the slack tides and a weak surf. With calm conditions for the next few days it looks like a return to lure fishing for the weekend.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Bass in the Surf - 13th April 2011

After the windy weather of Tuesday I reckoned there should be a good surf up. I didn't have time to dig lug so some razor out of the freezer would have to do. I got to the beach just as the tide was beginning to push in. There was a nice surf alright, not too big, the wind had died down and it was relatively weed free. So despite the slack tides I thought there was a good chance of a bass or two.

I set up two rods, one with a 4/0 running ledger, the other with a 4/0 pennel pulley. It was very quite for the first couple of hours. Then at about 11 pm I had the first bite, a fairly subtle knock on the rod with the pennel pulley. The line had gone slack - it had to be a bass running a slackliner. I grabbed the rod and rapidly reeled in the slack, then connected with the fish. It felt to be a good one and was fighting strongly. After a few minutes I hauled a well conditioned 57 cm bass out of the surf. It weighted just under 4.5 lb.

About 25 minutes later I noticed that the line on the second rod was limp, I started to retrieve, there was a lot of slack and I was sure the fish was gone, then suddenly I felt some resistance, I struck and connected with the fish. It was putting up a reasonable struggle so it had to be another bass. It was in very close at this stage so it didn't take long to land the fish. It was 44 cm, the smallest bass of the night.

Not long afterwards there was a small tug on the rod with the pennel pulley. I grabbed it and struck, this felt to be a stronger fish and was putting up a better fight. It was a 50 cm bass.

About 15-20 minutes later there was a subtle twitch on the same rod and the line went slack. I lifted the rod and started to retrieve, there was a lot of slack line. I thought the bass had dropped the bait, but then briefly connected with the fish before it surged in towards the shore again. The bass was in close by the time I caught up with it. It then began to fight strongly but after a couple of minutes of a good stuggle in the shallow foamy surf I beached it. It was a 52 cm bass and was just under 3.5 lb.

I continued fishing for an hour or so more but the bass had moved on. All I had after that was a very small coalfish. So it was a good result considering the slack tides. It was also good to see that the bass are taking razor again. Last month all they seemed interested in was lug.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

First Bass on lures for 2011 - 9th April

I headed to a rock mark in the afternoon for the second lure session of the year - hopeful of a few bass since reports of bass caught on lures have been coming from Waterford and Wexford over the last week. I fished for about an hour at the first mark with deepish water over the last of the ebb then moved down the coast for the rising tide. The sea was rougher than I expected, with some medium sized waves crashing in. I prefer to lure fish in calmer conditions and was beginning to think I should have gone bait fishing. But as I was there I thought I may as well give it a go.

I clambered out over the rocks to the edge just as the tide was beginning to push in and fished out over a ledge with a steep drop off using a Feed Shallow. On about the fifth cast I had a savage hit just below the ledge and had a powerful fish on the end. It was fighting ferociously and I eventually managed to coax it in over the rocks, surfing it in over the breaking waves. It was a fine 7.25 lb bass, 71 cm, my best bass ever, so not a bad way to open my lure fishing account for the year.

As the tide pushed in I moved to the other side of small embayment and cast across it. A few casts later I was was into another bass again on the Feed Shallow. Not as strong as the first but still putting up a good fight. It was a 56 cm fish, weighing just over 4 lb.

Again I was pushed back by the tide so moved further down the coast and began casting across an area of low lying rocks and shallow gulleys which were now submerged. After about fifteen minutes I was hit by another big fish. It was fighting almost as strongly as the first and I had got it in close, only about 3 m out. I could see it was a big fish but then disaster - it was lightly hooked on the lower triple and broke free. I continued fishing in the same spot for awhile but by 7 pm decided it was time to pack up. But now I know there is at least a second big bass there.

So a good early start to the lure fishing season.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Lure fishing at the weekend

I reckon there should be a chance of a few bass on the lure this weekend. There are reports of nice bass on the lure in Waterford and Wexford so the Cork fish should be taking them too!!

I will probably try a few East Cork marks on Saturday and maybe venture further afield on Sunday (West Waterford or West Cork).

Last year I picked up a bunch of nice lures at Absolute Fishing's open day which I never got to try out so this will be the chance and of course I will be dusting off the cobwebs from the old reliables such as the Xlayers, Patchinko, Feed Shallow, Tide Minnow and not forgetting the Asturie 110, a very under rated lure in my opinion. I have had more bass on the Asturie than any other hard bodied lure.

Using up the leftovers - 7th April 2011

I had some lug left over from the session on Wednesday night so headed out to a local beach for a short early evening session. There was a fairly weak surf but this is a mark where you don't need a big surf to bring in the bass. It was a very nice warm sunny evening, with just a light onshore breeze. I set up two rods with a 4/0 pennel pulley and a 4/0 running ledger. After about half an hour I had the first bite on the running ledger, a small bass of 38 cm.

About 40 minutes later I had another bite on the same rod. The fish was pulling more strongly and I thought I had a bigger bass but it was only a few centimeters larger, just under 40 cm.

There was then a long period of inactivity, apart from the occasional bass breaking the surface about 35 m out, so I knew they were there. They seemed to be chasing small sprat, a few lept out of the water at one stage. I should have brought a spinning rod and some lures with me!!!

I had been saving the best worm for dusk, a big fat juicy black lug, I reckoned that would be too tempting for any bass to resist, I could almost eat it myself. I cast out and waited. After a few minutes I spotted gentle twitches on the rod tip, picked it up, waited, then felt a stronger tug, struck, but felt nothing. I reeled in to check the worm was still on the hook and found about the smallest coalfish I have ever caught - the little swine had made a meal of my best worm!!!

I had a small flounder shortly afterwards. I was nearly out of bait, just a bunch of very small lug left. I put the lot on the hook and had one last cast. Five minutes later I had a strong bite. It was another 38 cm bass.

So while the fish were small it was not a bad way to spend a nice warm spring evening.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Just the one - 6th April 2011

I dug a bunch of lug in the afternoon and later in the evening headed to a West Waterford beach that fishes well on an ebbing tide in hope of getting a better bass than the Cork beaches have been throwing up lately. I had not fished it in at least a year. I got there about 9.00 pm, there was a moderate surf and just a little weed. I set the rods up with 4/0 pennel pulleys and a 4/0 running ledger. At about 10 pm, just as the drop in the tide was speeding up, I spotted a slight knock on the rod cast in close. At first I thought it was a breaking wave tugging on the line but when I picked up the rod I realized that the line had gone slack. I rapidly reeled in the slack and caught up with a good fish. It was pulling strongly and putting a severe bend in the rod. As I reeled it in I could see a decent fish splashing about in the shallows. Eventually I hauled it onto the sand - it was a fine well fed 60 cm bass, weighing just over 5 lb.

I continued fishing for a few more hours but crabs became a problem. They were stripping the baits in minutes. I then remembered why I hadn't fished there for so long; the same thing happened the last time I was there. All I had for the rest of the night was a small coalfish and one crab that had become entangled in the trace. Next time I will bring peeler crab!

Still I was happy with the result, only one bass but it was my best fish of 2011 so far!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Daytime bass fishing - 2nd & 3rd April

2nd April: It was a lovely sunny day so I decided to have a daytime beach session. I was not all that hopeful of catching much, maybe a few flounder. I arrived at the chosen mark and found a nice surf, not too big despite the storms the previous couple of days and best of all it was weed free. I set up the rods, one with a 4/0 pennel pulley the other with a 4/0 running ledger - not a rig I use much but thought I would give it a go for a change. Both were baited with a couple of big juicy lugs left over from my session the previous Thursday night.

Not much happened for the first hour apart from small flounder tapping the rod and stealing my worms. Then I spotted a slightly stronger twitch on the rod with the running ledger, I grabbed it and felt another tug, struck and was into a good fish. It was pulling strongly but I coasted it in on a breaking wave. It was a well fed 54 cm, 4 lb bass. I then realized I had forgotten my camera. So got one on the phone, although the quality is not great.

About another hour passed without much happening, then there was another subtle tug on the same rod. I picked it up, waited, I could feel some very slight tugs and thought it might be a flounder, then there was a stronger pull, I struck, and had something a lot stronger than a flounder on the end. It was putting up a good fight and eventually I landed a 56 cm bass weighing 4.25 lb.

About 20-25 minutes later there was a knock on the other rod with the 4/0 pennel pulley. I grabbed it and struck. Again I felt a strong fish but it ran a slackliner and surged in towards the shore. I thought I had lost it but reeled in the slack as fast as I could, briefly caught up with it before it charged in again, but this time I could see the fish in the breaking wave, I connected again and hauled it out of the surf, this was a even nicer fish, 57 cm and well fed

I had one more bass after that, smaller at 36 cm and taken in close.

3rd April: I dug some fresh lug at low tide and headed to the beach for another daytime session. It was another lovely sunny day, although a bit more cloudy than the previous day and the wind picked up later. The surf was not as strong but again it was relatively weed free.

I set up three rods this time, one with 4/0 running ledger, the others with 4/0 pennel pulleys, although one of these became a pulley rig after I got snagged in close and broke off the upper hook of the pennel.

It was relatively slow start, but after about an hour I had a 41 cm bass, on the running ledger. This was followed about 45 minutes later by a second just under 40 cm.

At about 4.30 pm I decided to move down the beach, moved about 300 m. This proved to be wise decision. Shortly after recasting I had another small bass. It was quite for a while then I had another five between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. The biggest was 46 cm. 

As I was packing up I realized that the line on rod in close was running parallel to the beach - I thought a bass had run a slackliner and started to retrieve, there was something on the end but it didn't feel like a bass - it was a 36 cm flounder.

So not bad for daytime bait fishing, 4 bass on Saturday and 8 bass on Sunday bringing my bass total for 2011 to 56. But even if the fishing had been poor it would have been great to be out on the coast on two such nice sunny days.

Stormy night - 31st March

It was a windy night so I headed east for a late night session - to a West Waterford beach which I thought would be fairly sheltered. When I arrived there was a good surf and it seems relatively weed free. I set up two rod both baited with lug on 4/0 and 6/0 pennel pulleys. However, the wind strength increased and was blowing parallel to the beach. My 6 oz grippers were been ripped up and the lines dragged down the beach. With the wind it was difficult to detect bites, but I was hopeful that the big surf would bring in a few bigger bass than on my last session. However, no bass were caught although I did have five small codling, the largest was only 38 cm.

I eventually had enough of the wind and rain and packed up "early" at about 1.30 am, with enough lug left for another session.

The night of the small bass - 29th March

I decided to venture further from home this time, much further to the west. I arrived at the beach at low tide, there was a lot more features (depressions and gulleys) than I am used to on the local beaches. I set up on the edge of an area with a lot of structure, as the tide pushed in I intended to cast into this area and use a ball weight so that the bait could settle in a depression. There was a good surf, not too big and it was weed free. The tides were slack but I reckoned that the good surf would bring in a few fish.

Initially I set up one rod baited with lug and a second with razor/lug but as the night progressed I was only getting bites on the rod with the lug so I switched to lug only baits. For a while I had a third rod set up for in close but as the night progressed this became redundant, and I was busy enough with the other two rods so it was out of the water most of the time.

At first it was quite, apart from fish robbing my worms (probably small flounder). After about an hour I noticed that the rod with the ball weight was running diagonally up the beach. At first I thought it had been dragged by the current and I began to retrieve but then connected with a fish. I felt a good size fish, presumably Bass, but I lost it in close.

It remained quite for the next hour. Then as the tide began to push strongly I had a good tug on the rod with the lug and I reeled in a 41 cm Bass. I had a 34 cm flounder shortly after that, again on lug. This was followed about half an hour later by a small Bass-codling double on each hook of the pennel also on the rod baited with lug.

I had a 29 cm flounder after that on the rod in close on the two hook flapper, it had swallowed the hook but I got it free and the fish swam away seemingly without a problem.

I had intended to head home about midnight if the fishing was poor but so far it was OK, so I thought I would stick it out for another hour - just as well I did. I had a couple more small Bass over the next hour. At this stage I changed the second rod to lug also as the razor was not getting a bite. About 1.30 am a Bass feeding frenzy commenced as a shoal of small Bass moved in. They were on the rampage - I was getting a bite a cast, usually after less than five to ten minutes, and at one stage I had just placed the rod on the stand after casting when I had a bite and reeled in little Bass. All the Bass were small, mostly in the 32-38 cm range, with one more just about 40 cm and a couple of very small guys at less than 30 cm.

By 2.30 am I was almost out of lug, I scrounged up a few small worms from the bottom of the bait container and put them on for a last cast, and returned to razor on the second rod. Nothing was happening for a while then I had a good tug on the rod with the last of the lug - I struck and started to retrieve. This time it felt heavier and stronger than the Bass I had been catching so I was hopeful of a better quality fish but when I hauled it out of the surf I found two small Bass, one on each hook of the pennel rig.

Again there was nothing on the razor, so with all the lug gone it was time to pack up and face a long drive home much later than I had intended but with a total of 17 Bass it was my best ever session, although they may not have been big they were still Bass. Afterwards I realized that with that my Bass total for 2011 (44) now equalled my total for the whole of 2010 and it's not even April yet - looks like been a bumper year for Bass.

I must add that all Bass were rapidly unhooked, quickly photographed and released with the minimum delay and all swam powerfully away.

A few nice bass - 27th March

I headed to a beach mark directly after digging a load of lug on the last hour of the ebb. I got to the mark just as the tide was starting to push in. There was a better surf there than I expected so I was hopeful of getting a few fish despite the slack tides. I set up three rods, one with lug/razor, another baited with just lug on 4/0 pennel pulleys. I set up the third rod with a two hook flapper and cast in short into a bit of a gulley. It was quite until after dark, then just after the light went I had the first bite. It felt to be a strong heavy fish but I lost it two thirds of the way in.

About 20 minutes later I spotted a gentle twitch on the same rod (the one baited with lug), I picked it up and could feel some slight tugs, I released the lock on the reel and waited until the fish started to run with the bait, locked the reel and struck. This felt to be a good fish and after a strong fight I landed a 54 cm Bass.

This was followed by a 38 cm flounder and then a smaller 26 cm flounder. After that my lug baits were been constantly robbed. I would see subtle twitches on the rod tip but the fish were seldom hooked. I reckon there was a load of small flounder pulling away at the worms.

About an hour after the first Bass I had a strong tug on the rod in close. It ran a slackliner to the left but I quickly caught up with it. The fish was fighting strongly and I could see it splashing about it the shallows. After a few minutes I landed a 56 cm Bass.

I had a couple more small flounder after that (24 and 26 cm) followed by a small Bass at 38 cm, again all fish were taken on lug. The bites then died down, apart from the little bait robbing flounders. The last fish was a small codling this time on the rod baited with lug/razor cocktail.