Saturday, 7 June 2014

4/6/14 Back On The Bass

Along with my mates Clive and Pete, Martin is probably one of the most experienced and successful lure bass anglers amongst our local 'group'. Their catches reflect their ability and mine, by comparison, are decidedly 'average'. Sure I get a few fish and good ones too but, these three are definitely a cut above the rest among the privateers.
 In fact, Martin's pretty damned good at boat fishing in general so after a chance meeting on the pontoons when we found out we were both going out solo to the same mark the following morning, I jumped at the chance of his invite to jump aboard his boat and join him.
We'd both agreed it was to be a lure only early morning session mostly to avoid the worst of the weather, which was due to turn around lunch time and, although I'm not good at getting up really early in the morning  , according to the bass 'gurus' this is the time to be out there fishing.
We met on the pontoons at the 'reasonable' hour of 5a.m and headed to the mark on a very flat sea.
To begin with, the fishing was slow.........very slow. Martin took a few wrasse and to be honest, at that point, if I'd been out there on my own I'd have chosen to move to an alternative location.
This was to be my first lesson. Martin was confident that, although the bass weren't giving themselves away on the sounder, they were present, and would at some time choose to feed. We persisted by continually drifting the same area bouncing our soft plastic lures along the sea bed,even though the tide was dropping away, again not normally what I would choose to do, and eventually Martin was proved to be right.
Not big bass-most in the 2-3lb class but great sport and very consistent.
Gradually the fish began to show more regularly on the sounder , and in a denser configuration  especially as the tide speed reduced.
Occasionally the shoal would appear on the surface often for several minutes. It was calm enough to see this occur but bird activity more than gave away their location, and once we'd moved the boat close enough without spooking them,it was  time to hit them with hard plastic surface 'Patchinko' lures which seemed to kill on almost every cast until they would suddenly sound, and disappear for a while.
By mid morning the tide , although quite small, was flooding hard enough to make vertical soft plastic fishing all but impossible, and the wind had whipped up anyway so we decided to call it a day but not before Martin winkled out two decent sized fish in the 5-6lb bracket just for good show. Interestingly as the tide pushed hard, less evidence of the shoal was seen on the sounder and most of the fish caught were when the lure was fished hard on the deck, whereas during the slacker periods the fish could be taken well up in the water on a retrieve, or on the drop.
 My theory is that they may have spread out over the mark with their heads down during this time and therefore become a little more difficult to locate, especially as we were struggling to keep the lures on the bottom.
We very quickly lost count of what was coming aboard and a conservative estimate would be fifty bass to the boat at least.
 Martin chose to return all of his but I decided to take three for the table two of which were prepared as 'Cerviche'. Quite simply, the fish is filleted and cubed then marinated in lemon and lime juice with tomatoes, chilli and tabasco. The first time I'd actually eaten 'raw' fish and it was quite stunning.
So what did I learn? Well, lets just say it's given me plenty to think about but foremost was Martin's patience and confidence in the mark .
 The location itself is not unknown to me nor anything special and, as I'd said, is one that I'd regularly visit. Out of respect for Martin and one of our charter skippers, who also uses the spot on occasion, I won't even quote it by number. I'm unlikely to forget it anyway.
The main difference due to his experience is that Martin seemed to know exactly what the bass would do on the mark at any given time. He knew they were there, or indeed were likely to be there, as he'd caught them in the preceding days and therefore despite them not initially co-operating he decided to stick it out and this paid off.
When I think back to my own trips to known bass marks where I've thought they just weren't present and therefore moved on, it does make me wonder if they'd been there all the time but were just not up for it. The only way to find out is to go back and try!

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