After the disappointing Eddystone campaign I really needed a good days fishing so yesterday I went out with fingers crossed . The tides are dropping out into weak neaps . I have found that the evening flood tides best suit this situation so I decided to fish 1 pm to 9 pm . My first suggestion was we try surface lures in around 35 foot of water and the first cast of the first drift pulled a big bass straight to the top . The take was huge . This was a much needed big bass with a Patchinko in its mouth. Over the years I have learned that big fish are so often lost due to over tight drags , if you hook a bass cleanly in the top lip you can easily rip a big enough hole in the mouth that a good headshake will throw the hook, my screw up but my drag was set too tight , as I fumbled for the drag the fish pulled hard and she was gone ! GUTTED ! My diary is down this year and a big bass with a surface lure in its mouth is always good for business . The next cast produced a big boil at the side of the boat , despite the lack of fish on the fish finder there were obviously a few Bass around . An hour or two trying various spots had produced nothing more than Pollock .
So it was time to move on to an old favourite of mine , the ebb tide was pretty much done and we drifted at only 0.5 knots over the ground . When we drift large open areas I try to cover as much water as possible by long range casting in opposite directions with one guy either end of the boat . Steve was on the bow casting out into open water and Mac was at the blunt end casting towards the shore . I call this a ‘searching drift’ . Steve soon hooked and landed a lovely Bass on the Fiiish 150 Blue rigged with the 30 g jig head . After my tight drag screw up earlier in the day I could not have been more concerned that Steve did not suffer the same fate and I loosened his drag twice during the fight . When you hook a fish at long range theres only so much pressure you can exert on a fishes mouth , as the fish gets closer I loosen off , I would rather spend a couple of extra minutes with a loose drag than haul hard and pop the hook. I know I am labouring the point somewhat but this is an obsession of mine born from the school of hard knocks and big Bass escaping .
I must say that everything I have read online suggests the eel requires aggressive actions to make it work , I followed the hype and did so with poor results . Its only when I started to let the eel flutter about that I started catching. Pollock go ”Crazy ” for the eel , and Im only just starting to get my confidence that it will land me bass. Im really excited by the 220 mm rigged with the 30 g jig head . Im sure it will become a house favourite over 2017 .
A further 5 or 6 drifts produced nothing more than 1 kilo pollock and when you find the Pollock that often means you have lost the bass , the two do not tend to mix well , theres definitely a bit of a feud going on between the two species . So it was time to keep searching . As I approached my next mark it was like a Da javu . A year ago almost to the day ago I found the same number of seagulls just sitting on the water waiting around in the exact same spot , as if they knew something was set to happen . Last year as the tide turned to flood Bass would arrive and start to push tiny sandeels or baitfish to the surface . It was my awareness of the calendar and the exceptional fishing I had on this mark last year that drew me so far off the beaten track , so the sight of those birds gave an enormous feeling of pride and excitement , had i got it right ? Am I turing into a human seagull or just a crusty Cornish Bass fisherman ?
As soon as the flood tide started to show itself and the boat started to drift Northwards that was the dinner bell ringing and the birds squawked excitedly . There was certainly not the same volume of bass on the mark that were there last year but the first cast into the sqwabbling birds produced a double hook up. If you cast and rip the lure through the shoal you tend to catch the small bass , if you cast in, then clamp into the lure and let in pendulum swing its way down under the shoal you will often pick up the better fish . It was the same with Striped Bass in my previous life on Cape Cod
Over the session Steve continued to out fish myself and Mac , Mac was not having a great day and the frustration was getting to him , once you get that no fish loves me head on its very hard to shake it and he was struggling to get his head and his lure into the zone , Pollock still loved Macs lure but Bass continued to elude him , eventually a small bass took pity on his plight and threw himself at Macs minnow . Mac makes 8 pounders look small . Mac with a school bass does not make for an epic fishing photo !
The light was fading and it was time to head home . All the way home I pondered just how much I love my life as a professional Bass fisherman and the fun we have aboard my boat , a welcome reprieve from my worries about my diary for 2017 and the validity of something I have poured heart and soul into for quite a few years . I have been living the dream for a decade now and I really don’t want the alarm to wake me just yet ?