Over the past couple of weeks I have really started picking the pace up as regards to fishing. I’m not sure why but after I had my English PB bass as my first of this year in mid march I kind of slacked off for a couple of weeks after. I still got out but was only the odd session of which did not produce much but a few wrasse, that said as long as I’m catching fish I’m happy. Since I have picked the pace up though I have seen a few rewards in the way of fish. The more exciting thing is all of the signs of the summer starting to happen. All the things we as anglers look for to signal the start of our bass season, you know the waters warming when you’re getting continual follows from wrasse chasing hard plastics right up to your feet, and generally hitting the hard lure. I’ve had 5 landed on hards recently, and these are not real slow fished lures creeping along the sea bed, I’m talking relatively fast retrieves mid-water. The IMA Hound Glide 125F in cotton candy accounting for a few of them. Then all the action I’ve been seeing from the sea birds, plenty of gannets around and there seriously slamming the water, mostly a bit further out not quite in casting distance but good signs all the same. Last weekend there was a bunch of turns really working the water hard and these were closer in, just about reachable from the shore. Last but not least it is a good sign of warming waters and summer sun but not necessarily a good sign for my wing mirrors and wallet, it’s the flock of caravans that engulf the roads in this period and the not so welcome extortionate car parking prices.
Me and my new fishing buddy Andy got out amongst it a couple of weeks back and I’m not quite sure we were ready for what awaited us over the next couple nights. Bass was on the agenda and we were feeling relatively excited about the session as we had some tasty looking conditions, we got to our mark and started giving it everything. We had the clarity, the fizz, good wind the only thing was it was a neap tide, but that didn’t bother us to much. Not a lot happened to start with really but I got a shout from Andy, he had just seen a fish jump not far out in front of him. He didn’t get the best look but it was a silver flash, so both of us being bass nuts we immediately jumped to the conclusion it was a bass. This got the blood pumping and we were getting excited. Over the next half hour or so we began to see a lot more fish jumping, and reluctantly decided it was not bass. The next logical fish it could be was a sea-trout so again that got us excited and we decide to get out some dexters and spinners at a chance of a sea-trout. Our fast fished spinners seemed to get some attention we were feeling knocks maybe from bumping into the stacks of fish but some were definite hits, far to aggressive to be bumping a fish. I went for a real thump of a cast and the dexter just fly’s out on this Skyroad, I tighten up and start retrieving, next thing I know I’ve connected with something and it’s fighting back. It was a strange feeling like nothing I’ve felt from a fish very dull but powerful pulls on the rod, I wasn’t sure what I was into here. I got it to the surface and manged to get it in quite close where to mine and Andy’s amazement I had hooked into a mullet, admittedly foul hooked which I can imagine explains the way it was fighting. This was a very nice mullet we got a good look at in on the surface close in before the hook pulled and it swam off.
The thing that surprised me about this was not the fact that the mullet were on the coast as I was fully aware they ventured out of the estuaries, but more the fact that they were hitting lures. Yes the first was foul hooked but I did go onto land another mullet a bit smaller but this fish was hooked right in the corner of the mouth, clearly the fish had intentionally hit the lure. What an awesome feeling that was a new species and for it to be on lure was just brilliant. I’ve put the fish as athin lipped mullet, i have no experience in identifying mullet but im pretty sure that that’s what it is!!
The more exciting stuff though came from a session I had recently, I got a message from Keir Sims saying him and his buddy Tim were heading out for a little night session, was I keen? Of course I was keen, I’ve been reading about bass on lures at night for a while and also dabbled here and there last season with no real success. Also the fact that Keir and his mates had been seriously pulling in some numbers and an average bigger size of fish all last year from night fishing, I was more than excited about getting out with these guys. We visited a mark that I’ve not actually fished myself, but I’m very familiar with the surrounding area as I fish it a lot. We planned to meet down on the mark so I got there early to have a scope about check it out for when it got dark. It was flat calm with the sun out so decided to have a little chuck for some wrasse, there was some lovely looking gullies and dark holes for the wrasse to be hiding. On went the Z Man Hula Stickz and immediately I was getting attention, and it wasn’t long before I had the first wrasse up. Not big but was one of the most beautifully marked ones with the white spots and bluey tinges on the fins. After an hour or so of good sport from the wrasse I managed to pull up 5 fish one of better size maybe 3lb which put a nice little bend in the rod.
Keir and Tim arrived and after a little chat we geared up and got ready, first of we all got surface lures on as the light was dimming. Straight away were getting small pollock throwing themselves out of the water at the lures, some on which are not much bigger than the lure itself. Not something I’ve seen much of but is quite amusing to watch. Keir managed to actually get a hook up on the surface, was only a pollock but nice to have something of the top. After a few more kamikaze pollock it was getting dark so we all switched up for SPs, from listening to the guys they have always found white paddletails on assorted jigheads have always done the business. I opted for a Savage GearSandeel body in pearl white mounted on a Crazy Eel 10g jig head, it was relatively shallow so wanted to go quite light to stop snagging up. After maybe 10 minutes I was half into a retrieve and get a nice little bite, no connection so I resume my retrieve and a couple of seconds later my rod goes over. Fish on, that woke me up, not huge but I was sure it was a bass it was fighting too hard to be one of the minnow pollock. On goes the head torch to reveal a nice silver bar at our feet Keir retrieves the fish for me and after a couple of pictures and a moment to admire the beauty that is a bass I slipped it back. That was certainly the confidence you need for night fishing to make you believe it is possible. I had another not long after this was only a little chap though but a bass all the same. As I unhooked the fish and turn around to release it Keir announces he has a fish on, again no monster but this was Keir’s first of the season so he was more than happy to see it. A few pictures for the first of the season and back he went. Keir went on to have a couple more Bass so overall a nice little result, especially with a few wrasse chucked in amongst and a few pollock.
As I said I had tried the night fishing before with no real success but going with someone you know just gives you so much more confidence, and also to state the obvious it is a hell of a lot safer to be with someone at night. Here’s to many more at night and hopefully a few donkeys. Despite having fished through the winter and all the rubbish weather this is where it truly starts, nows the time when you seriously get excited and are hopeful for bass every time you go out. To all my non fishing friends and family have a good summer and I will see you next winter when the bass disappear again!!