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.