Over the last few weeks I have found bass fishing slow, probably as a consequence of the water clarity. The fish seem to have been reluctant to come close to the shore in such clear conditions. As there have been plenty of reports of bass caught on lures at night in recent weeks I decided to have a night time session at a West Waterford mark.
I got to the coast and made my way out across the rocks to the shore and was fishing by 9 pm, just at low tide. A westerly wind was beginning to pick up but the water was crystal clear. There was not much happening until the light started to go and the tide began its initial push in. I was fishing a weedless Xlayer across some shallow reefs when suddenly a large fish lept almost clear of the water to try to snatch it, missed, and fell back with a mighty splash. In the brief moment it was clear of the water it looked like a bass although in the twilight it was difficult to be sure. I continued casting the Xlayer across the same area but there was no more interest. I switched to a weedless Slug-go and on about the third cast it was struck by a fish in exactly the same location that the bass had lept out of the water. It fought strongly, tried to get around some rocks but I managed to keep control and turned it towards me and gradually brought it into the shallows beside me. It was a stocky 55 cm bass, weighing over 4.5 lb.
I had a few more casts with the Slug-go. It was dark at this stage although the shore line was well illuminated by a bright three quater moon. I switched to a Patchinko thinking that it would make a larger disturbance on the surface as well as rattle to attact any bass moving in with the tide. After 4 or 5 casts there was a massive splash behing the lure about 20 m out, but the fish didn't connect, I stopped the retieve and then the fish smashed into it a second time a second or two later. This time it was well hooked. Intially it fought very strongly, flattening out the rod and stripping line. I struggled with it for a few minutes, gradually coaxing it in. Then the fight stopped, at first I thought I had lost the fish, but could feel weight on the line and thought I might have snagged a clump of weed as the fish came off. I reeled it in close and then turned on my headlamp to see what was on the end. The bass was still there!! but as soon as I switched on the light it went into a frenzy, wildly thrashing about although as it was so close it was easy enough to ease it onto the rocks. It was a rather slim 71 cm bass, weighing just under 7 lb, about a pound under weight for its length.
I fished the same area for a few more minutes but was pushed back by the tide. I found a new spot close by and fished for another twenty minutes or so. The tide was rising fast now so I moved further back. I fished a little longer but there were no more bites so I packed up and was off the rocks before Midnight. Still I was happy with the result for a few hours lure fishing in the dark.