Wednesday, 3 August 2011

3/8/11 Double Figure Bass!.....#5

I took the boat out of the water on Monday to see what effect two months on the mooring with no anti-foul had had on the hull. There wasn't a great deal of weed growth, certainly not enough to slow her down but, there was noticeably more on the side exposed to the sun so it would probably be worth turning the boat round on the mooring every month. Being on a berth that dries at LW and the fact that there is a freshwater rife outlet close by probably keeps the weed at bay.
Perhaps the marina's resident population of mullet keep the hull clean.

A bi-monthly clean up isn't too taxing especially as I can get her out on my trailer but, at the public slip. You would have thought, with all the dosh that the marina take off me that they'd let me use their concrete ramp!
Jan did the honours driving the 'rig' and there were no issues, but it did remind me what a 'work up' it is launching from the trailer compared to the luxury of the mooring.
 I had intended to carry out an engine service while she was on the drive at home, but the parts weren't available so it didn't happen. The boat's had plenty of use and is probably due a service time wise, but I feel that this regular use is probably preventing any problems occurring, and she can get her oil change when she next comes out in October. Nothing mechanical likes sitting around doing nothing and this is especially true of boats which lie in a very hostile environment.
The sea was flat calm this morning so I decided to conduct an experiment and shed as much weight as possible to see exactly how well she'd perform.
Of course I carried a full tank of fuel and fishing gear but, I dropped the auxiliary,  dumped the second battery and bait tank, and had already trimmed down some of the extraneous kit, that I don't really need, whilst she was at home.
She certainly went better, smoother and faster-the hesitation on acceleration virtually disappeared and planing was easy, but I don't think the increase in speed outweighs the advantage of carrying the second motor. The difference is hardly noticeable when there is any sort of swell that slows me down to around 10kts.
 I might feel different about this when I've done a bit of surgery , found out how the motor ticks and have built up my confidence in her. Ted doesn't carry an auxiliary on his 520, and neither does Alex, and they have years of experience between them, Both cite complete faith in their engines as the reason and the ability to sort out most problems should they occur, and would rather not lug the extra weight around. I'll wait on this one.
Dropping the second battery and tank when not needed will help with the weight issue anyway.
So to today's fishing. Time again was limited because of boat testing and the big 6.1m tide which meant a delay getting off the mooring. I also wanted a 'timely' return as the weather forecast for the next few days doesn't look conducive to boat cleaning, so I wanted it all sorted before 'tea'.
I was disappointed not to get a bass four days ago especially as Alex had reported another good catch in superb sea conditions yesterday fishing with piking hero Dave Horton.
I had considered a live bait trip to the Pine wreck but felt that persevering for a #5 bass might just pay off.
Let's learn to walk before I run.
Also this will probably be my last chance at this set of big tides.
Zipping out on the flat sea to the mark, and easily picking up enough mackerel on the way, I found Spirit , Lynander and another boat all at anchor in the wider area. I asked Neil if he'd had any spikeys and he reported reasonable sport with general stuff but none of my intended quarry...yet. He did feel that when the tide picked up pace, there would be a chance.
If two of the most respected charter skippers in the port were on the scene, I can't have been far off the mark.
I started with a couple of drifts with a bucket kept live bait(worked....just) whilst waiting for the tide to turn but also used the time to get a good picture of what lies beneath, which is becoming a little easier now I'm finally beginning to get the hang of operating and interpreting the sounder .I discovered yesterday that the transducer is adjustable and that I'd had it set too high which is why it didn't work when the boat was moving-it was probably sitting in a pocket of turbulance.(Numpty)
Nothing hit the live bait ,so I picked my anchor spot pretty much central on the mark still within sight of my mates and, as the boat settled I chummed with about eight thawed mackerel using the plastic bag method which seemed to get the bait down where I wanted it. I started with a fillet on a 4/0 and a head /flapper on a barbless 10/0 circle .Having caught a 6 1/2lb bass on the circle before I'm not worried by it's size. The gape is equivalent to about a 6/0 'J' hook and seems to fit a mackerel head bait well.
The tide was already picking up, and so was the wind, but bites were slow in materialising and when they did, I would imagine they were barbecue bream or pouting ripping the fillets to shreds and not getting the 4/0 into their faces.
 The big bait produced two ' thumpers' that were missed. I did suspect bass at this stage and as the tide was now in full flow  I needed 8oz to hold bottom. I decided to bin the second rod and concentrate on holding the 'big bait' rod with the reel out of gear, the spool held by thumb pressure.
Things were beginning to get really bumpy but i decided to sit it out especially as Neil was still about (the others had left) giving me a feeling of security.
Suddenly, and during a quiet pensive moment, I felt a solid thump through the rod handle, immediately let the spool run free remembering the words of John Darling and whatever was down there steadily took line. Seconds later I engaged the gear and slowly lifted the rod to set the circle Into something firm that was banging it's head and taking line.
 Watching the angle of the braid, the fish came up to the surface quickly well down tide continually letting me know that it wasn't giving up easily by continually shaking it's head. I remember thinking that this was no tope , certainly no ray, and hoping that a bar of silver would show. When she finally appeared after a dogged scrap I had one of those 'talk to yourself' moments.....YES, it's a BIG bass!!!!!!! It did look huge in the water-I'd hit the target.
Netting her wasn't exactly easy in the tide and swell but i managed it on the second attempt and had one of those 'why you go fishing' moments when she was safely inside the mesh.
I knew immediately that she was a double. A stunning looking specimen -really thick set and mean looking as big bass are. The scales middled out at 12lb on the nose, a new personal best ,first double to the boat and yet another one of those days when something really special came along.
It's a shame that the pics don't really do the bass justice but they're about the best I can expect without spending too much time setting up a remote and risk harming the fish. The landing net is 24" in diameter so at least this, and my size 12 'plate', gives some proportion .
As it was, when she went back I watched her on the surface for a while, looked down momentarily to sort out some tackle and when I looked up again she'd disappeared off to the depths. I'd love to know whether the fish picked up any of my chum.
Nobody else was about so I gave Neil a quick radio call on 17 who was, as usual ,really enthusiastic, but respectful of my wish to go 'low key' and coincidentally moments later Alex called me on the mobile and was equally chuffed. TBH both these top blokes played a big part in the capture of this fish with their endless help and advice. Thanks chaps.
I dropped a flapper down once more but a wave broke over the stern and splashed my shades so I decided that enough was enough.If I want to play in the big stuff with the big boys then I'm gonna need a bigger boat which I can't have so,............... I returned home at a 'ripping' six knots(it was that bumpy)riding out each and every swell and passing Anthony in 'Lady Bird' on his way OUT for a night session. It did amuse me slightly when he commented over the radio that the wind was a little more than given.
It was quite a 'roller coaster' coming in and the river mouth was the roughest I've yet experienced (big tide, full ebb, lots of messy stuff)  but we got through without a hitch and back to the mooring with plenty of time to spare.
I love this boat fishing lark!


  1. Wow what a stunner Jeff, bet you're glad you didn't swap that one for a chance of 1lb Bass to surface Poppers up the river. Shame about the photo's not showing the size very well, I looked at the first photo and thought you caught a nice 5-6lb Bass, in the second photo it looks quite a bit bigger but still doesn't do it justice! I'm sure you remember just how big it was so well done mate on your first boat double :-)

  2. Cheers mate.Really wanted a bass from this spot and a five pounder would have done to be honest.It is a shame about the was a real lunker.