Monday, 4 April 2011

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.

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