Monday, 25 July 2011

A few hard earned bass - 23rd & 24th July 2011

Saturday 23rd:   I returned to the area in West Waterford where I fished last Sunday. I had one bass there that day during gale force winds so with the calmer conditions I was hopeful of a good result. It was breezier than I expected with a rather cold westerly wind. I fished the first mark for about an hour with no indication of any fish activity. As the tide began to push in more strongly I moved further along the shore. As I was passing a small inlet I had a cast but the wind caught the lure and carried in onto the rocks. I made my way out along the margin of the little bay and rescued the lure. While I was there I thought I may as well have a few casts. It looked shallow and snaggy so I put on a Texas rigged giant Xlayer and cast it diagonally with the wind across the reefs. Second cast I was hit by a good bass about 30 m. It fought strongly all the way in. It was 59 cm and weighed 5 lb.

I continued fishing the same area until I was forced back by the tide. I moved further along the shore and then worked my way back but there was no more interest.

Sunday 24th:  I arrived at a favourite bass mark a about 7 pm shortly after low tide. The water was crystal clear and weed free. It looked good with a bit of fizz in the water due to moderate swells breaking on the rocks. Earlier in the afternoon I had made a visit to Absolute Fishing in Tramore and picked up a bunch of shiny new lures that I reckoned no bass could resist so I was eagar to try them out. I was fishing for about an hour and got through all my new lures and some of the old reliables but there was no interest. I was about to move on further down the shore but decided to have a few last casts using an Asturie, the one lure I had so far yet to try. First cast it was grabbed by a bass about 40 m out. It fought well and I was surprised that it was only a 41 cm fish.

I coutinued using the Asturie, I had a few splashes behind the lure but no hook ups, then just as I was lifting the lure out of the water a bass made a snatch for it just below my feet but missed. I tried some other lures and soft plastics but the Asturie was the only lure that was getting any attention, so I put it back on. A little latter the lure was grabbed by a bass in the same place only 1.5 m out. I had it on for about 5 seconds and it felt a good fish, it was stripping a little line and putting a good bend in the rod but then came off!!!

Shortly afterwards Pat arrived. We fished together for a while, I had another fish (may have been a pollock) lunge at the lure but it wasn't hooked. The pollock then came on the feed. Pat seemed to be getting a small one on every cast. He moved on at about 10 pm but I stuck it out for another half an hour but all I got were another four small pollock.

So another slow weekend, but hopefully with the weather warming up and the tides increasing the fishing will improved later in the week.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A few bass in tough conditions - 16th & 17th July 2011

Saturday 16th:  The weather forecast for the weekend was not looking ideal. I headed to a favourite bass mark early Saturday afternoon just as the tide was starting its initial push in. The westerly winds had already disturbed the water which was now quite coloured and there was a lot of fine seaweed floading about. I spent about 20 minutes on the first mark but was snagging weed on every cast despite using Texas rigged soft plastics. I moved a couple of hundred meters down the shore to an area where I could cast with the wind. I was able to reach a good distance with a Texas rigged Giant Xlayer. After about half an hour my persistance was rewarded when I felt a strong tug on the Xlayer, a strongly fighting bass had taken the lure. It was hooked about 35 m meters out and put up a spirited fight before I landed it. It was a 55 cm, 4.25 lb fish.

As the tide rose I was pushed back off the mark, the surf was becoming bigger as the wind gained strength, and the waves were picking up a lot of loose weed left on the rocks making fishing difficult. I moved further down the shore to a small bay. I fished around the margins of the bay until close to high tide. The water was highly coloured so I stuck to the soft plastics and fished them close to the bottom but didn't have a bite.

Sunday 17th:  By Sunday the wind had swung around to a northwesterly and was now gale force. I decided to try a rocky peninsula in a bay that I thought would be relatively sheltered. The wind was blowing off-shore but there was not as much shelter as I had hoped for. I was nearly blown off the rocks a couple of times by strong gusts. The tide was just beginning to push in when I arrived. I was fishing across an area with many barely submerged rocks and lots of weed in places so stuck to using Texas rigged Giant Xlayers. As my back was to the wind I could cast them out considerably further than normal. Less than half an hour after starting I was struck by a bass. It was hooked about 40 m out and struggled fiercely all the way in. As I got it close it saw me an made a last break for freedom, turned and stripped a few meters of line before I regained control and coaxed it the rest of the way in. It was a 57 cm fish, a bit more slender compared to the fish I had the previous day and weighed about 4 lbs. I laid the fish on a flat rocks and reached into my bag for my camera but discovered I had left it at home!!!

Shortly afterwards as I was retriving the Xlayer in the final meter a good size bass must have been following the lure, saw me and made a large splash as it turned and surged away.

I continued fishing in the same area for another half hour until I was pushed back by the tide. I moved to the left, and fished into a small bay that had now become filled by the rising tide. I did see another large bass follow the Xlayer in very close but it turned a couple of meters from the shore. I tired a variety of other lures but could tempt no more fish. However, given the gale force winds that were flattening out the sea I was happy enough to have caught the one bass.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The ones that got away - 13th July 2011

Wednesday was a lovely summer's day so I finished work early at 4.00 pm and headed to the coast for a short session before dinner. High tide was at 5.00 pm and I arrived at the shore just after 4.30 pm. I commenced fishing a mark that I had previously checked out at low tide and reckoned it would be a good area for bass to lurk as the tide filled. On the second cast as I retrived a Feed Shallow I could see a large bass following, but it stayed about a meter behind the lure and turned away close to the shore. I continued casting across the same area, changed lures, tried some soft plastics but I had no more interest.

I then moved about 25 m to the east. I was casting across an area of shallow reefs with intervening deeper shore parallel gulleys. As some of the rocks were barely submerged I switiched to surface lures. After about ten minutes, just as I had the lure within a meter of the shore a bass made a sudden lunge for an Asturie right below my feet, it was on for a second or two but came off. I could see the bass in the crystal clear water, and could see another two fish right beside it. However, the brief fight spooked them and they were gone in an instant. Despite throwing out a variety of lures I had no more bites.

I moved further along the shore. There were lots of splashes in the calm water but they were mostly mullet. As it is a good bass mark I thought it likely that there could be bass amongst them but there was no interest apart from one big splash behind a patchinko about 30 m out.

As the tide began to drop I worked my way back. I got out onto a rocky platform that was starting to become exposed. There are several gulleys just off this that have produced plenty of bass for me in the past. I put on a Texas rigged Slug-go and lobbed it in to one of these, let the lure drift, giving it a few gentle twitches to keep it moving. At that stage of the tide it was probably about 3.5-4 m deep. Then suddenly the rod flattened out, there was a very good fish on the end pulling fiercely and stripping a little line. I had it on for about 10 seconds and was trying to get it to the surface, then the line went limp!!! The line had been rubbing against the submerged rocks on the edge of the drop-off and snapped!!!

I was annoyed to say the least!!! As I was travelling light that was my one and only Slug-go so I tried a giant Xlayer. I did feel a tug on the Xlayer at one stage but nothing was hooked. I perservered for about another hour but the tide was now dropping fast so I packed up. Not the best session I have ever had but at least there were fish there even if I didn't succeed in landing one.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A couple on Sunday evening - 10th July 2011

I was busy during the day so didn't get out until evening. I arrived at the shore close to 7 pm, not an ideal time with low tide at 8 pm. I started fishing with a Feed Shallow, after a few casts I was hit by a small bass about 25 m out. I had it in at the edge of the rocks and was waiting for the next swell to coast it in over the edge but before the wave arrived the fish managed to shake itself loose!!

I continued fishing with the same lure, then about 10 minutes later the lure was struck by another bass in about the same area. It felt a slightly bigger fish and was pulling harder. I coaxed it in around the rocks into the shallows. There was no escaping this time. It was a 49 cm bass. Interestingly its dorsal spine was bloodied, as if it had been lashing at bait fish. But afterwards looking at the photo I noticed that there is a mark on the fish's body below the doral spines, looks like it was caught in a net and maybe damaged the spines trying to free itself.

There was nothing for a while after that and I tried a variety of lures. Then switched to a Texas rigged Xlayer. I cast it out an let it sink into over the edge of reef, just giving it gentle twitches to keep it moving. On the first cast there was nothing. I lobbed it out into the same gulley a second time, letting it drift. Then after a few minutes the line suddenly went taut and I could feel a strong fish pulling. Shortly afterwards it broke the surface and I could see that it was a bass. I guided it through the rocks and into the landing net. It was a 52 cm fish, well fed and weighing just under 4 lb. It was cleanly lip hooked so the hook could be removed with the minimum distress to the fish.

Just before the tide started its initial push in I moved further along the shore to a mark that often produces big bass at this stage of the tide. However, it was quite. I fished there for about an hour without a bite so moved back to where I started.  I did have a strong bite but the fish came off after a few seconds. As the light began to fade the pollock came on the feed. I had a few attack the Feed Shallow, but most were lightly hooked and came off apart from one. At that stage I decided to pack up as it was going to be difficult to find a bass through the pollock.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The mighty Feed Shallow strikes again - 2nd & 3rd July 2011

2nd July:  When I left the house early Saturday afternoon it was quite overcast, with just a few breaks in the cloud, but by the time I got to the coast the clouds were gone, the sea was calm and the water was clear. It looked like a real summer's day, I had forgotten what those were like. I arrived at a reliable mark just as the tide was starting to push in. In April this was a particularly productive stage of the tide for big bass. However, this time with the calm conditions and bright sunlight, I was not so successful. I tried a variety of lures, I had a bass on for a few seconds on an Asturie but it came off. I moved along the shore as the tide pushed in, but no more bites.

After about 2.5 hours I moved to a small bay further along the coast. On about the fourth cast I had the first bass, only a small one of 37 cm, caught on a Feed Shallow, but a start at least, and my first lure caught bass since the end of April.

A few minutes later I had a second, a bit bigger at 43 cm, again caught on a Feed Shallow.

Not longer afterwards as I retrived the lure in close I could see a small bass following but it failed to bite. I had a couple more casts across the same area, then there was a good solid bite. It was another small 39 cm bass again caught on the Feed Shallow.

All three were taken within about 15 minutes. However, the bites died down after that. The shoal of small bass must have moved on. I switched to some surface lures and soft plastics but could tempt nothing more. About two hours before high tide I made my way to the other side of the bay. I began fishing from a mark where I had a number of 4-5 lb fish in April. After about 20 minutes I was rewarded with a good fish. It hit the Feed Shallow about 30 m out and put up a fierce struggle, but I eventually worked it in. It was the best bass of the day, a fine chunky fish at 57 cm and weighing just over 5 lb.

I fished there for a little longer and then made my way further along the side of the bay. I clambered along a narrow promontory and began to fish. A few minutes later I had a bass smash into the Feed Shallow only a few meters out. It was another strong fish, as I got it close it made several dashes for freedom stripping line. I finally got it to the edge of the rocks. I was leaning down trying to grab the fish when it made one final violent head shake and shook the lure and was gone!!! It was a bigger bass than the previous one. Its hard to estimate the size but I would guess it would have been between 6.5-7.5 lbs.

I had a few more casts, changed lures but could not tempt it again. I packed up about 30 minutes later. So while the fishing had been slow with a toal of 4 bass from low to high tide, at least it was a start to the summer lure fishing.

3rd July:  Sunday looked like been another hot summer's day. This time I lashed on plenty of sun screen and remembered to bring a hat and most importantly a landing net!! When I got to the coast the sea was even calmer than the previous day. Since the low water mark had not been productive on Saturday I decided to start in the bay where I had encountered the shoal of small bass the day before. Second cast out diagonally across some shallow reefs my Feed Shallow was hit by a bass. It fought strongly and I was surprised that it only measured 48 cm. The landing net came in useful this time as I needed to lift the bass up a ledge close to 1 m high.

Next cast I hooked another bass, but lost it two thirds of the way in!!!

A little later I made a long cast directly out to reach the seaward side of a reef. Just as I began to retrieve there was a massive splash behind the lure, the fish was hooked for a second or two, but then broke free. I continued casting across the same area, then a few minutes later I hooked another bass, but in closer. It was a 45 cm fish, again taken on a Feed Shallow. It was my 100th bass of 2011!!!

It was quite after that. I experimented with various lures but there were no more bites. So I moved to the other side of the bay. I fished the first promontory, and cast parallel to the shore, towards the area where I had lost the good bass the previous day. After a few casts I was hit by another bass, but not the big one. This was a 47 cm fish, again taken on a Feed Shallow.

I moved further along the shore but there were no more bass. I did get a couple of 40 cm pollock with the Feed Shallow. I debated working my way back the way I came but I was tired and hungry at this stage so decided to head for home. It was another slow day but at least I had three bass so I was happy enough and the Feed Shallow again saved the day.