Monday, 3 March 2014

Daytime bass - 1st & 2nd March 2014

A few weeks ago I did a reconnaissance of some beaches to see how they had been affected by the winter storms. I had a look at one beach in East Cork which I had never fished before. In the past this was flat and featureless and I dismissed it as a potential mark. However, after the storms there was a lot more structure on the beach. A large amount of sand had been stripped off to the left exposing a broad area of rubble. The beach close to this now had many shallow depressions and small gulleys. It looked far more interesting and I decided I would definitely try it when the conditions and tides were suitable. It was still very flat so I thought it best to fish it over the last couple of hours up to high tide.

The weekend looked to be fairly decent, breezy and showery but not blowing a gale, with big tides so I reckoned this was an opportunity to try that beach.

Saturday 1st March
I dug a bunch of lug at low tide. High tide was a 5.30 pm so I was going to be mostly fishing in daylight and I wasn't too hopefully of getting anything until at least dusk. I got to the mark at about 3.15 pm. There was a nice surf breaking on the beach, not too big, although the water was still highly coloured after all the windy weather. I found a likely looking spot and set up two rods one with a 4/0 pennel pulley baited with lug, the second with a two hook flapper baited with lug and razor.

After about 20 minutes the rod with the pennel pulley suddenly buckled over. I grabbed it and felt a strong tug from a fish. As I retrieved the fish broke the surface about 40 m out and trashed about violently as I reeled it in. A few minutes later I hauled a nice plump 3 lb bass out of the surf. That was a good start, far better than I had expected.


About 20 minutes later I spotted some lighter knocks on the rod. It felt to be a smaller fish. I could feel it twisting about and thought it was probably I coalfish, but I was wrong, it was a fairly large eel - another surprise!


A little later I had a very strong tug on the rod with the pennel pulley. I grabbed it but the line had gone slack and I could feel no resistance. I retrieved and found a tiny coalfish on the end. The lower hook of the pennel was in its mouth and had come out though the top of its head. I think I must have hooked the fish earlier but as it was so small I didn't realize it was on. A bigger fish, most likely a bass, probably grabbed it, driving the hook through its skull, but unfortunately was not hooked itself.

Ten minutes later I had a small flounder, followed by a couple of small coalfish taken in close on the rod with the two hook flapper. Then at about 5.30 pm at the top of the tide I had a strong tug on the other rod. This was another bass, again a well fed fish, a little larger than the first with a weight of 3.25 lbs.


A few minutes after landing the bass I had a coalfish double on the two hook flapper, rapidly followed by two more.

Then at about 5.55 pm I had the third bass of the session. This was taken in close on razor on the two hook flapper.


The coalfish became a pest as the light began to fade. They were attacking the bait as soon as it was in the water. As the tide began to drop more rapidly the bites slackened off. I fished on until about 7.15 and decided to pack up after the thirteenth coalfish.

It was a far better session than I had dared hope for with 3 bass taken in daylight, 13 coalfish and a flounder. It was well worth taking the chance with a new mark in daylight.

Sunday 2nd March
After the success of the previous session I had to make a return visit to the same mark. I got there about 4 pm. The wind direction has changed and there was a much weaker surf. It also felt a lot colder. I set up in the same place but this time had 4/0 pennel pulleys on both rods. About 15 minutes after I casted the second rod there was a sharp tug on the first. It felt a good fish and fought strongly all the way in. It was a stocky 3.5 lb bass, another fish that had been feeding well over the winter.


However, after that it got very quite. I changed the pennel on one of the rods for a two hook flapper with smaller hooks and cast in close in the hope of picking up another fish. It was not until about 6 pm before I had the next bite, a 37 cm flounder, taken on the rod in close.


The coalfish did not show up this time until it was almost dark but even when they did there were not feeding as ferociously as the previous evening. The last fish of the session was a five bearded rockling. I packed up after that as the tide began to drop more rapidly.

So while not as good as session as the day before I was happy with a bass in daylight at this time of year as well as 6 coalfish, a flounder and a five bearded rockling.

There's silver under the rainbow


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