Small Boat Bass

As the heady days of summer disappear so does my late evenings spent wandering the shore looking for a Bass or two. There are still Bass to be caught from the beaches this time of year but to really get amongst a few fish, a boat is needed to get offshore a few miles and look for the shoals of Bass that are starting to feed up for winter. On a recent trip out we headed to some sand banks where we know the baitfish hang out this time of year and watched the fish-finder intently looking for the screen to show mid water clouds of prey that would give away the predators location. Sure enough we saw lots of action on the sounder and even small schools of sandeels hiding right under our boat, but it was not until the second run of the flood tide that the Bass started to show. The first indication was the birds circling above us and as they have a height advantage we simply let them point us in the direction of the fish. They duly obliged and we found ourselves among a proper feed-up! Gannets diving all around was an awesome sight and a sign that the Bass were starting to push their targets up in the water until the surface exploded with life.

The smaller Bass always seem to arrive first and the above fish was the first of several we had while casting right at the surface commotion with all sorts of lures and for a while we managed to hold them at the back of the boat and tag-team them by holding a fish in the water and dropping a lure behind him for one of his mates, lots of fun. Curiosity got the better of us and we wondered how to pick out the better fish so we backed off the shoal of school Bass 50 yards and threw some bigger lures around. Adam got into a better standard of fish on the x-layer showing some patience to allow the lure to sink to 5-6m and lazily twitch it back as if to mimic an injured baitfish.

Bass on XlayerBigger BassBass on Jighead

We had lots of Bass in a hectic session using all sorts of lures, some of the best fun was fishing un-weighted plastics skipped along the surface and waiting for the water to pop with a chasing Bass. Luring for Bass does not get any more visual than that. My only gripe, and its a common one for me is not taking enough photos but when the fishing is good it's a case of landing the fish and getting a lure back in the mix as soon as possible, as being among a frenzy like the one we found is all too rare. So the camera has to wait for a big Bass to arrive! I don’t want to sound like my Dad but, a word of caution to those drifting around chasing Bass this time of year. Keep an eye behind you. It's too easy to get carried away spotting fish and lobbing lures around the show, but we had a few close shaves with partly submerged pot buoys which would have ruined a good day or worse. Whether there are two or three of us on the boat one of us will be in charge of that particular drift from the boat starting point to eventually going round again and any fishing in between. That way the lads with the rods can concentrate on the job without keeping one hand on the throttle ready to take evasive action.

Weather permitting we hope to have another crack at the Bass on the boat very soon.