Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A few bass over the last two weeks

I have been very busy with work so didn't get the chance to update the blog for the last few weeks so here is a summary of the recent fishing:

29th September: The conditions looked good so I headed to an East Cork mark that can fish well in relatively calm weather. The water was still rather coloured but better than it had been through most of the summer. I worked my way eastwards with the rising tide but nothing was biting. After a couple of hours I got the eastern end of the bay. I tried a few soft plastics first then put on a Feed Shallow. After a few casts the lure was snatched by a bass about 25 m out. It wasn't a big fish with a length of 47 cm but fought well all the same.

I had another three takes in fairly quick succession after that, the first was only lightly hooked and came off after a few seconds, the second stayed on a bit longer before breaking off. The third stayed on all the way in, I had it at my feet and was trying to surf it on to the rock platform on the crest of a wave, but just as the wave lifted it the fish flipped over and shook the hook.

The tide pushed me back and I began fishing into narrow gulleys along the flank of a small embayment. As it was fairly deep water here I switched to a Zonk Gataride. After a few casts a small fish made a lunge for the lure and was on for a few seconds. I don't think it was a bass - more like a coalfish. However, shortly afterwards the lure was snatched by a bass right at my feet. As it was in so close it only took a few seconds to land, it was a plump 44 cm bass,

As the light began to fade the pollock came on the feed. I had about six plus one coalfish in quick succession, but no more bass.

4th October: I headed to a mark which had produced a few bass in mid-September in the last few hours to high tide. I arrived about an hour before dusk. The sea was much rougher than I had anticipated. I was not too hopeful of catching anything at all but thought I may as well give it a go since I had driven all the way there. I used lures that have a fair bit of movement, such as the Savagear sandeel and the Zonk Gataride. After about 40 minutes a Gataride was hit by a fish about 30 m out. It fought very strongly and stayed deep all the way in to the edge of the shore. I was convinced it was a pollock until I eventually raised it to the surface and saw that it was a bass. Since I was standing on a ledge 1.5 m above the sea level for safety as big swells were crashing onto the rocks I had to try to land the fish on the crest of a wave. The fish had other ideas but eventually I got it on the rocks to a place where I could safely grab it. It was a very well fed 54 cm bass. Unfortunately in the struggle to land the fish the vane on the Gataride was broken off.

I switched to a large Savagear silver/white sandeel. A little later I had a bass take the lure about 20 m out. This put up a good fight but I was faced with the same problem of landing the fish. I tried to surf it onto the rocks on the breaking waves three times but it was a larger, more powerful fish and wasn't going to be taken so easily. On the third attempt as the fish slid back the braid caught on the edge of the rocks and snapped!!!!

Next time I fish there I must remember to bring a landing net!!!

6th October: It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon. High tide was late, 10.40 pm so in the late afternoon I headed to the same location I fished the previous Saturday. The conditions looked good, not too rough, water clarity OK although there was a lot of fine rotting seaweed floating close to shore. There was not much happening but out to sea I could see several disturbances on the water with lots of seabirds diving or snatching sprat off the surface, presumably forced to the surface by shoals of mackeral. The bass were probably out there too.

Close to dusk the fishing began to improve. First I had a pollock of about 3-3.5 lbs on a large Savagear Sandeel followed shortly afterwards by a 48 cm bass on the same lure.

After that I could feel plenty of fish hitting the lure but they were not hooked, probably smaller pollock that couldn't get their mouths around the larger lure. I switched to a yellow tailed jellyworm and shortly afterwards it was taken by a small pollock. However, since I was really interested in bass I put on my last Zonk Gataride and fished on for a while but there was no more interest.

13th October: This was another nice Saturday  - three good Saturdays in a row - that was something we did not experience throughout the entire summer!!! I headed to a West Waterford mark where I had some good bass last year but so far this year had fished very poorly. I reckoned it might be time to try there again. The water was quite clear so it looked promising but unfortunately the fish didn't think so. I worked my way westwards for several hours without a sign of a fish. I reached the western end of the bay which has a deeper water gulley. It was now close to high tide so I thought I would try for pollock. I got a few but they were small, 1-1.5 lbs. I began to work my way back, got to a small bay close to dusk and could see some fish activity on the surface. I fished a variety of lures and caught a number of pollock and a few coalfish but no bass. The total for the day was 13 pollock and 2 coalfish, but all fish were small, nothing over 1.5 lbs.

14th October: Another nice day so I headed out in the late morning to catch the start of the rising tide at a favourite East Cork mark. There was a moderate westerly wind blowing parallel to the shore which flattened out the swell but the water was still quite coloured. I worked my way eastwards without a bite. I got the eastern end of the bay about 2.5 hours before high tide. The rising tide had brought in clear water but still there was nothing. Then a large Savagear sandeel was grabbed by a bass about 40 m out. I had it on for about a minute before it shook the hook. But at least that indicated there were fish there.

A little later a small shoal of mackeral chased a shoal of small fish into the corner of the bay. I had a go at fishing for them as a diversion, got two on Xlayers and another on an Asturie but then they moved on. A little later close to dusk I noticed some more activity on the surface in the same area. I thought the mackeral were back but it was pollock and coalfish chasing the sprat. I caught about 10 pollock (1-2.5 lbs) and two coalfish mostly on Xlayers. I was hoping that there might be a few bass joining in the feeding frenzy and fished across the area with a Gataride, Feed Shallows and several other lures without any interest.