Bass Fishing article by John Staten
What's the best way to drive an angler to distraction - Answer - Tell him that you just heard his mate caught a Bass where he has been trying without any luck for the last 6 months. This is liable to see him end up in court on a charge of murder with intent to do harm! Bass fishing is the one topic to set the majority of sea fishermen's hearts racing.
Why is it that Bass fishing seems to grab the imagination more than any other fish for most of us? They are plentiful around the coast in most regions now that we have become aware of them and fish for them like we never did years ago.
On the east coast where I do a lot of my fishing (Aldeburgh/Pakefield area) you can catch schoolies all day long in the right conditions along with the chance of a real heavyweight thrown in.
I know anglers that go afloat for them and catch any amount, up to 25 in a single trip when they are actively feeding! I also know guys who have put in the hard work and know with a certain amount of accuracy where and when the Bass will be running.
So it's not because they are scarce or too hard to find but the Bass does have a mystical quality about it and a lot of anglers put it on a pedestal, way above most other species. It USED to be the case that they were scarce because most anglers never went Bass fishing and a lot of Bass where caught more by accident rather than design, but not any more.
Is it because they put up a fight like no other fish - I don't think so. Other species like Mackerel, Mullet, Pollack put up one hell of a fight, don't they?
Is it because they are different in size, shape or weight, again I think not.
Maybe it's because there are so many different ways we can use to catch them. You can bottom fish using bait or float fish, use jigs, jelly worms, lures, plugs or poppers for catching Bass. There are many different methods.
The one method that is my preferred technique is using lures and poppers, probably the hardest methods of all, but that to me is where the answer lies. A lot of practice and a lot of skill goes in to Bass fishing using lures and poppers! Plus a lot of local knowledge is needed about the local habits of the fish. I know area's where at a certain time of the tide of a particular height you can set your watch by the Bass running down a gulley. Now I'm not advocating 'Catch & Release', that's one for the individual but it does make sense that if I were to keep taking fish from that area then sooner or later I'm going to start wondering why the Bass aren't there anymore.
One or two spots that I visit that are more than likely to produce fish then I will put them back unless I want one for the table. I just feel there is no need to kill the golden goose.
If you have done the homework and learnt the 'knowledge', then you will realise there are times and places where you can set your watch by what time and height of the tide the mystical Bass will make an appearance. They will come through a rock gulley for instance at a very particular state of the tide. That's where the 'homework' comes in. Not only does it take patience, skill, practice and knowledge on where and when to catch them but also the feeling of putting the hours in and finally reaping the benefits is untold self satisfaction beyond belief.
Why else would we do it? I know one chap who has been trying for a few years now to catch a Bass and hasn't succeeded in getting a sniff of one, apart from admiring the ones his fishing buddy catches! He will of course succeed, it's just a matter of time and I hope I'm about when he does to see the joy and look on his face when it happens.
Why do we not just cast a ragworm on the end of a flowing trace, which we all know does claim more than it's fair share of Bass rather than stand there for maybe session after session casting a lure and not even getting a sniff of a Bass?
Working plugs and poppers is an enjoyment in itself. There is something about seeing a popper doing it's stuff on a flat calm sea, skitting across the surface or watching a plug coming in below the surface in a clear translucent sea, looking as you believe, a bait fish should look like!
I still get goose bumps whenever I go Bass fishing and get hooked into one and nearly all anglers I talk to feel the same way. It's not always too good for the heart rate as we get older, believe me! It's the knowing you have used the knowledge and skill learnt over a period of time that has finally paid off. Of course catch a decent sized Bass on light tackle and the exhilaration is quadrupled!
A lot has been said and written about which plugs, lures or poppers etc are the best but to be honest I and my friends have had numerous fish on a host of different lures of one sort or another.
The old saying about a lot of fishing tackle caught more anglers than it ever did fish comes to mind!