Friday, 30 March 2012

Silver dozen - 29th March 2012

I had close to a dozen crabs to use up so headed out for a bait session although the wind had calmed down considerably compared to earlier in the week. However, when I got to the beach and stepped out of the car and saw the surf my heart fell. There was just a very weak surf rolling in with little or no wind. I was sorry I hadn't gone lure fishing but as it was about 8 pm at this stage it was too late to go home and get the lure gear. But at least it was a nice sunny warm evening so it was good to be out in the fresh sea air.

I made my way down to the shore - there were already three optimistic anglers in place casting into the very gentle waves.

I set up two rods, one with a 4/0 pennel pulley and the other with a two hook flapper with 4/0 hooks. I baited the pulley rig with crab and put crab on the lower hook of the flapper and half a razor on the other. Then cast out at about 8.30 pm. I knew there was some rocky exposures, now submeged, in front of me so I didn't want to cast too far. However, with the lack of wind, my cast of the rod with the pennel pulley rig went a bit further than I intended. A little later when I tried to retrieve it was solidly snagged requiring a break.

As I was attaching a new shockleader there was a strong tug on the other rod, I grabbed it and felt a fighting fish on the end. It was a 41 cm bass, caught at dusk just as the light was beginning to fade. It took razor on the upper hook.

After a few quick photos, I released the fish, rebaited with the remaining half razor and then got back to work on attaching the shockleader. But before I had a chance to trim the knot ends there was another strong knock on the other rod. A second bass, just above 40 cm in length, again on the razor. That got me worried, I had only taken one pack of five razorfish out of the freezer, if they were going for that in preference to crab I was going to have to be more economical with the remaining four.

I rebaited, this time using about a third of the clam. Again before I had chance to put a bait on the new rig for the other rod I had another bite. This was a slightly bigger bass of 43 cm, again on the razor.

I recast and the bait was barely in the water before I had a fourth bass, smaller this time at 37 cm. I was still baiting the rig for the other rod when I had a fifth bass, just 36 cm this time, and yet again on razor.

I eventually got the other rod set up and cast a crab baited pennel pulley back out. Shortly afterwards I had a subtle knock on the rod with the two hook flapper, picked it up, felt another pull and struck, but the fish was not hooked. I left it for a few minutes then noticed a stronger tug. This time it was well hooked and felt to be a bigger fish. However, as I hauled it on to the shore I saw two glints of silver - I had a bass double, a 41 cm fish on the upper hook and the smallest bass of the night on crab on the lower hook.

This was followed a little later by the first bass on the other rod, another undersize fish.

The bites were slowing down now - I had a chance for a brief rest but it was not long before I had another 40 cm bass on the razor. About 10 or 15 minutes later I had a 42 cm fish on the pennel pulley. That brought the night's tally to 10.

There was a bit of a break then, I had a few missed bites, the bass seemed to have become more cautious and were dropping the bait a second after picking it up. But then I had another strong bite, struck and this time the fish was well hooked. It was the biggest bass of the night at 45 cm, again on razor.

I was almost out of razor at this stage, just enough for one last decent size bait. The tide was now beginning to drop so I reckoned it would not be long before the fish moved off. After about 15 minutes I had another bite on the razor, it was only a 33 cm bass but brought the total to 12. So with that I decided to pack up at a reasonable hour (11.30 pm). It turned out to be a much better night's fishing than I expected with the neap tide and lack of surf and I still went home with half a dozen crabs still in the bucket.

Hopefully the bigger bass will begin to move in during April.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bass on a sunny Sunday afternoon - 25th March 2012

As Sunday was a lovely sunny day I headed to the coast for some daytime bass fishing. There was a strong southeasterly wind which had blown up a big surf so I was going to have to stick to bait fishing. I got to the shore just as the tide was beginning to push in. There was a lot of kelp at my perferred mark so I moved about 200 m further down the beach until I was clear of the weed, set up two rods with 4/0 pennel pulleys baited with fresh peeler crab on one and lug on the other as usual.

I had a couple of strong tugs but nothing was hooked, then as the tide began to push in more strongly I had another strong tug on the rod baited with lug, This time the fish was well hooked. From the fight it felt to be a small bass and a minute or two later I eased a 36 cm fish on to the sand.

Shortly afterwards I spotted a small knock on the rod with the crab. The line went slack as I lifted the rod, I reeled in the slack and connected with the fish, again it did not feel to be big. It was another small bass, similar in size at 36 cm.

It looked like a shoal of small bass was moving in. Shortly afterwards I had a strong bite. This felt to be a better fish, but then the line went slack - the fish was gone!! A few minutes later I spotted a large seal in a breaking wave just at the distance I was casting. It is possible that it had snatched the bass off my hook. The seal worked its way up and down a 250 m section of coastline right in front of me for about two hours. It was probably chasing the bass shoal. During that time I did not have another bite.

Eventually the seal moved on. A little later, just as the sun was sinking below the cliffs behind me, I had another bass, this time on lug. This one was bigger, a 46 cm fish.

Following that I had two small flounder close to high tide, the first was about 34 cm, the second barely 25 cm long. Then over high tide as the light was beginning to fade I had a fourth small bass, again on lug. This gave the rod a mighty whack and I initially though it was going to be a good size fish. It did put up a spirited fight but I could feel that it was not big. It was another 36 cm bass.

I fished on for about another hour but there were no more bites, the fish had moved on as the tide began to drop. I was happy enough with the result of 4 bass and 2 flounder for a daytime session with a southeasterly wind but reckon I would have done a lot better if the seal had not been there.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A few more bass - 19th March 2012

After the mega bass session last week I returned to the same mark on Monday night. I arrived at an earlier stage of the tide compared to the previous session. There was a nice surf and it was a dark overcast night with a light southwestly breeze. I dug some fresh lug earlier in the day and also had a dozen fresh peeler crabs. As on the previous session I set up two rods with 4/0 pennel pulleys, one baited with lug, the other with crab.

Shortly after setting up I had a small coalfish. After about half an hour I had a sharp tug on the rod with the lug. This time it felt a much stronger fish and after a few minutes I hauled a 49 cm bass out of the surf - so off to a good start!! I had a couple more coalfish after that.

The tide was rapidly moving in now, so after moving everything back about 50 m, I started casting into a sandy gap between low bedrock exposures which was now submerged. First cast into this area produced another good bite again on the rod with lug. This time it was a smaller bass, with a length of 42 cm.

About 25-30 minutes later this was followed by a 44 cm bass, taken on crab.

Maybe another 30 minutes later I had the fourth bass, a 47 fish again on crab. This ran a slackliner in towards the shore, I had to reel in a lot of slack before I reconnected with it.

There was then a dry spell with just a few small coalfish to keep me occupied. First I had a double, a small coalie on each hook of the pennel on the crab, then another one on the lug. After about an hour I had the fifth bass, a 43 cm fish, taken on lug.

After that the bass appeared to have moved on. A fished for a hour or so more but only had 31 cm flounder at the end. So while it was nothing compared to the bass frenzy of the previous session, I was happy with the result: 5 Bass,6 Coalfish and 1 Flounder.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Bass frenzy - 15th March 2012

I had not been fishing for three weeks. I was away on business for one week and over the remainder of the time the conditions were very calm so not ideal for beach fishing, I couldn't be bothered going out and catching nothing more than a few small coalfish, flounder and dogfish. However, the weather forecast for Thursday looked promising with moderate southwesterly winds. I would be fishing neap tides so it would be the least prospective according to solunar predictions but I reckoned that the rapidly dropping barometric pressure after a prolonged period of high pressure along with a moderate surf would bring the fish on the feed.

I arrived at the beach and had two rods set up just after 7 pm, one baited with fresh peeler crab and the other baited with lug. There was a nice warm southerly breeze and a moderate surf, so it looked good. However, I got off to a bad start. First cast on the rod with lug I spotted a small knock, struck but nothing was hooked. I waited for the few minutes in case the fish returned before retrieving but then found I was solidly snagged. Eventually I had to break the line. As I was beginning to attach a new shockleader there was a strong tug on the other rod. I grabbed it but after a couple of turns of the reel I found this was also snagged, requiring another break. So with having two shockleaders to replace it was 7.45 pm by the time I got fishing again.

Shortly after that I had a couple of small coalfish on the rod with lug. Then a little later I had a 42 cm bass on crab. It was quite for a while after that, apart from one or two more coalfish. Then the bass onslaught commenced. Over the space of the next hour and a half it was total mayhem - I had another eighteen bass. Most were in the 40-47 cm range, the largest was 51 cm and a few were undersize.

Sometimes the bait was barely in the water before it was snatched by a bass. They typically ran slackliners in towards the shore and I missed several as well.

The majority of the bass were taken on crab. I did get maybe a third on the lug as well as a few more coalfish.

Close to high tide the bites began to slacken off. I was also running out of bait. But the time I had the nineteenth bass I had very little left and resorted to using the crab claws and legs hoping to make it to an even twenty. But once the tide began to drop the fish had moved on; the last bite was another small coalfish. Still a total of 19 bass and 6 or 7 coalfish was a good night's fishing!!!