So it’s finally happened, the one thing we as bass anglers crave and pray for, the first bass of a new year. I can proudly say I have fished the year through, right in and amongst all the dirty stuff, pouring rain, strong winds and big swell, I was in it. Through the main body of the winter my target was purely wrasse, I just wanted to see if I could land them all year round, and I’m happy to say I managed to. Such a great feeling being able to be out fishing and catching on lures in less than perfect conditions when most others fishing gear is gathering dust in the shed.
My last bass I caught was on Xmas day last year, and although I was catching a few wrasse I soon started craving that need for bass again and at the start of February that was it. I made the decision that from then it was all about the bass, every time I was going out I was purely targeting the bass. Something that at times can be quite tricky, knowing how hard it’s going to be to find bass at this time of year. But I prevailed and pushed hard fishing a lot of different ground scouring all my marks, it’s hard to know what to look for really from not having any previous experience of catching fish at this time. Do I go out looking for the usual sorts of conditions, fizzed up water, SW winds big spring tides?? To be honest this time of year there’s no room for being picky about when you want to fish, you just have to be out, and that’s what I did. I got out and fished whenever I could after work for a couple of hours and at the weekend regardless of what the weather was doing. When I got out I would just make the best of what I saw in front of me. Today wasn’t to different I had a small neap tide, a horrible NE wind, Bright sunshine and quite murky water, more or less the total opposite to the conditions I would like for this certain mark. As I said I cracked on a worked with it, I started fishing over some shallow ground, as it was only a small neap it meant that my favourite place on this mark wouldn’t actually be fishable due to it not flooding over.
Anyway I choose the Duel Hardcore Lipless minnow, one that I’m yet to catch on but certainly a brilliant looking lure and great casting and fishing over the real shallow stuff. After about 10 minutes I just wasn’t feeling it, it was one of those times when you’re fishing and it just doesn’t feel right!! So I moved on down the coast and moved onto another spot, this was a bit higher up and fishing in some deeper cleaner ground. A nice little spot that I really feel good about, not one I usually fish due to having another preferred spot 50 metres down but today I felt good about it. A change of lure was in order, this bit of water was a bit lumpier and I wanted something I could trust to dig in and hold in those conditions. I chose the IMA Hound Glide 125F in Cotton Candy, this lure is just a monster. It casts like nothing I have used before and digs into big seas pretty easily. And the Cotton Candy colour has just become a firm favourite of mine ever since I had been introduced to it over in Ireland, thanks Henry.
First cast with the Hound Glide and it absolutely hammered out, little tap on the rod tip to dig the lure straight in and I started my retrieve. Nothing crazy just a nice reasonably slow straight retrieve. I’ll be honest I was out fishing in more hope rather than confidence but nearing the end of the retrieve I felt a tap on the lure, now because of the ground I was fishing on I knew there was no chance of it being a snag plus it seriously felt like a fish. I paused my lure for a split second after the tap in hope to evoke a full on take, I resume my retrieve and bang the rod went over and I was into a solid fish. It wasn’t an overly long fight as the fish hit my lure quite close in but a fight all the same. When it came to the surface and I saw the fish I almost fainted, I could see this was a decent fish and my heart rate had now just about doubled. Because of where I was fishing I was up on a ledge and there wasn’t anywhere to land the fish easily or to pull it up onto a rock, I was stuck at first trying to control this fish with it thrashing around on the surface. I found the lowest point and just went for it, I grabbed my leader and hand lined it up about a couple metres. That I must say was rather scary just praying the fish didn’t shake the hook. Finally I had this fish on land and in my hands, what a beauty of a fish just an absolute dream of a first fish. After weighting and measuring and a quick couple photographs the fish was returned strong. The fish was 59cm and weighed 5lb 8ozs, I had to take a seat after all of that just to ty and contemplate the last couple minutes.
For me now that’s the start of my season, I’ll be out and about at any point I get the chance. Which will be every night after work until it gets dark and all weekend!! I can only hope that this is the start and it carry’s on getting better from here.