Ahead of the new saltwater season, Chris Ogborne looks at the vital statistics of Sea Bass fishing and gives you his shortlist of things to look out for! Invaluable bass fishing tips, whether you throw a fly, cast a lure or launch a bait out into the surf- these tips are sure to help you land more and bigger fish.
1. Specimen hunting. If you want a big bass then you’ve got to target them, ignoring all the tempting smaller fish. I stalk mine, late evening on the beach, just after the sun goes below the horizon. Short rod, tight fly presentation and very careful watercraft are the key ingredients.
2. Wet wading. This gives you a huge ‘edge’ over people in waders. With shorts and bare legs you feel the temperature changes and when you find these, you find fish! It’s also a lot safer in the marine environment and a lot more comfortable in high summer
3.Lighter rods. Don’t be drawn into the old school thinking that you need heavy tackle, whether on fly, spin or lure. Lighter rods give you precision, minimum disturbance and better presentation. There’s very little you can’t do with a 9foot 6 weight fly fishing rod.
4.LRF. If you haven’t tried it, you should! Light Rock Fishing is all about an approach to fishing that is absolutely more fun, and more rewarding. And it catches lots of fish! It brings delicacy and subtlety to saltwater fishing.
5. Boat or shore? Shore and beach fishing is great, and essentially it’s free. Find yourself a good drop-off, fish the blue water channels, or prospect around the rocks. Remember that weed covered rocks are best, as they provide cover for the things Bass feed on. But occasionally you will need a boat, either to each those impossible marks or simply because of the weather. Top tip is to pick the best skipper – they will make or break a day out! Ask the local fishing tackle shops and they’ll tell you who the local stars are! And always ALWAYS look out for feeding birds – that’s where the bait fish will be.
6. Soft Baits. Bass are clever fish. They ‘feel’ a hard metal bait in their mouths and will reject it if they can. But soft baits seem to feel good to Bass – they take them more confidently and hold on to them. You miss a lot less fish with soft baits, like the sidewinder bass fishing lures.
7. Leaders and rigs. Don’t go only light with leader strength. Bass fight hard and you don’t want to lose a big fish on a breakage. For flyfishing leader I rarely go under 7lb and for soft baits I normally start at 10lb, unless I’m on really fussy fish.
8.Catch and Release. Bass are beautiful fish and deserve respect. They are very slow growing so a 5lb fish can be upwards of 6 years old. As the Bass stocks around our coast are under huge pressure, think long and hard before you kill one. Maybe it’s better to have the pleasure of watching it swim away?
9. Late summer. September is my favourite month. The tourists have gone home and I get the beaches to myself again. Treat yourself to a long week end in Cornwall in September, enjoy the softness of the climate, and put yourself in with a real chance of a big fish before the season ends.
10. And finally……… Don’t ignore the schoolies! Smaller bass are have fun on light tackle and they can often fight better than fish twice their size Out on the sand bars they can give tremendous sport and massive fun.