As I had not yet got my first bass of the year I was determined to catch one this week before the end of the month. I was off to a slow start this year compared to last year when I had my first bass on 4th January but I have done a lot less fishing compared to the same period last year and much of the fishing I have done has been targetting cod.
I set off to one of my winter marks, the first time fishing there since last February. The wind was forecast to strengthen late in the evening. Before I left home there was a light breeze but not much, this particular beach needs a reasonable surf to bring the fish in close. However, by the time I got to the shore there was a strong southwesterly blowing. Unfortunately it had yet to whip up much of a surf; there were a series of short wavelength, low amplitude waves rolling in, but not the large breakers I was hoping to see. But nevertheless since I had made the journey there I thought I may as well give it a go since my possibilities for productive fishing late on the ebb and over low tide were limited due to the extensive illegal bass netting that took place off the East Cork beaches late in 2011.
I set up two rods, both with 4/0 pennel pulleys, one baited with fresh peeler crab, the other with razor and cast out. No much was happening and I was beginning to think I should have tried elsewhere. At about midnight I retrieved, put on fresh bait and moved the rods forward, closer to the low tide mark. The wind was progressively strengthening and the surf was getting a little bigger, but not much. As I was carrying my tackle box forward I spotted the tip light bouncing up and down on the rod with the crab, dropped the box and sprinted the last 40 m to the rod stand. The line had gone slack, I rapidly wound in the slack until I felt some resistance, struck, but didn't feel much weight, the line was slackening again, I wasn't sure if I had lost the fish or if it was swimming in towards the shore. I kept in contact and could feel some tugs, as I got it into the shallows I could feel something more substantial and then saw a flash of silver as the fish struggled in a few inches of water. I hauled it a little closer and then lifted it out. It was a fine bass, a large chunky fish with a weight of 7.5 lbs and a length of 65 cm so well above average weight for its size.
Weed bacame a problem after that over low tide. The wind had increased significantly and as it was blowing diagonally to the beach my line was getting dragged down to the left making fishing difficult especially when snagging clumps of weed. I was hopeful that more bass would show up when the tide made its initial push in but all I got was a dogfish, there were no more bites, so I packed up at 2.00 am.
Still a 7.5 lb bass is a good start to the season so I went home happy that I had made a good decision on fishing this beach.