How often do you plan a Bass trip, or any species for that matter salt or fresh water, and then look out the window or study the weather forecast on the Internet and then decide against it because ‘ everything’s wrong’?
Iain Mortimer tells us of such a day when conditions were ‘not right’ and yet he still found success…
“I used to regularly fish bass competitions but these days it’s very rare and generally only those good natured get togethers that happen to have a prize and so can loosely be called competitions. In reality though they are just an excuse for a load of likeminded people to get together, share some laughs and hopefully catch some fish. Among those in the know such occasions are called ‘bumbles’ as it’s just a load of people bumbling about on someone else’s marks.
Such an occasion saw me setting the alarm for 0345 this Saturday so that I could collect a good buddy and head off down to the Weymouth area for a day of fun and fishing with a competitive edge. Now I have to say that with blustery north easterlies, clear bright sun and scorching temperatures over daytime tides under other circumstances we’d probably have cancelled our plans to spend time with the family. After all, why go to all the effort when it was highly likely nothing would be caught, by anyone, at all. Not in these conditions unless mackerel showed up!
Rolling up at 0630 we proceeded to check out the mark as we geared up and noted how crystal clear the water was, another bad omen in the conditions and so we cheered each up other with stories of blanks as we headed down the water. With the blustery swirly wind even my beloved fly rod stayed in the car as it would be lure fishing all the way. 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am without a twitch, swirl or any sign of anything fishy. We heard of one missed take, and one wee schoolie being caught and that was between around 10 anglers. “See told you” we said to one another, “we must be mad, how long will we give it?”. You know the kind of conversation but continue we did.
As we continued to work our way along the beach there was a nice mix of clean ground into deeper water and rocky outcrops and fingers of rock over shallower water. Great looking ground but for the conditions! However, at one point the rocky fingers ran parallel to the beach, natural dry stone walls would be a good way of describing them. I guessed that as the tide was ebbing the bass would run along the 50yard wide gullies picking off any gobies that had to cross through them to avoid being stranded as well as searching out the sandeels that surely would be present over the clean sand in the gullies. I therefore decided to put on a long, slim paddle tail and cast it as far as possible which should just about reach the furthest ‘rock wall’. A few casts later and just as the lure dropped into the gulley the rod hooped over. Success at last and although only a wee sub 40cm bass it went on the ruler for it could be a winner before being safely returned.
About 5 minutes later, exactly the same happened with an almost identical sized fish at which my fishing buddy congratulated me on my skill and prowess, at least I think that’s what he meant! Stupidly though, on the next cast I let the lure sink to far in the rapidly shallowing water and it was claimed by the rocks. Even worse, by the time I’d tied on a new leader and lure it was so shallow that I knew I’d be bumping rocks on the retrieve but with little time left and no one having a sniff of a bass on surface lures I decided to stick with it. After another 20 minutes the tide had dropped to a level that was making fishing nearly impossible and so I decided one last cast was in order. The lure negotiated the furthest rocks unscathed, came across the clean ground with no interest, reached the nearest rocks and snagged up almost instantly before line screamed out against the tight clutch. That’s no snag my mind slowly realised and my little brain quickly caught up it became apparent that this was no wee schoolie as a number of runs were made.
Eventually though the bass was beaten and having graced the beach was measured at 62cm and 5lb 6oz. That turned out to be the winning fish and I even added a 4th after lunch on a different mark in amongst kayaks, boats, snorklers and a heaving beach!
Now this isn’t really about the competition but it reminded me of a few facts. How easily we convince ourselves that the conditions are wrong, it has to be quiet, the tide needs to be at this time, there’s only one state of tide that’s worth fishing and so on. However, as this trip proved to me again, fish can be caught at any time if we simply stick with it and think about what we’re doing. Lure fishing is about so much more than just casting out and retrieving and although my buddy blanked (luck also plays a part!) we had both learned a lot and had a load of fun. I will also add that the knowledge shared by those who knew the mark also played a large part in my success and that’s bass fishing because half the battle is knowing where bass are likely to be and that part was given to me.
So next time you have the opportunity to go fishing but the conditions are rubbish, go fishing. You might just get a surprise…”
Inspiring stuff there Iain! a great day in the end and worth the effort, and as you say it just goes to show how quickly we can talk ourselves out of going fishing simply because convention tells us it isn’t right. I for one am as guilty as anyone for that.
Thanks for a smashing Article and some great pics Iain!