Sunday, 16 December 2012

December Beach Fishing for Bass 14-12-12

There was a time when the only Bass fishing I did was from the beach and mainly at night.  These days most of my Bass fishing is during the day with lures either from the shore or from the Kayak.  This is usually over rough ground which has proven to be far more productive with better quality fish than open sandy beaches.  That said, I have caught many Sea Bass from sandy beaches and still occasionally enjoy this type of fishing particularly in the Autumn/Winter when it can be difficult to get out on the kayak. 

In Cornwall, Bass are caught on the beaches right into January but over the years, I have found the best time is September to December.
It is generally known that you give yourself more chance of catching Bass and other species from sandy beaches if you fish after dark.  However, that is not to say you cannot catch during the day because you can including bright days especially if you choose your spot on the beach carefully.  By that, I mean fishing near features, close to rocks at one end or the other, near isolated rocks on an otherwise featureless beach, gullies, river outflows and strong currents all seem to attract Bass.  Time of tide is also important which varies location to location but in general I have found around the low water period to be the most productive time.
The beach I am fishing today is a small south facing bay.  It has a fresh water river outflow, rocks at the left and right borders and a couple of isolated rocks exposed at low water.  The current on the far left and right of the beach is stronger than the rest of the beach and during spring tides there is an outgoing rip even on an incoming tide. 

I fish this beach as close as I can to the left rocks where there are also a couple of isolated rocks on the beach itself.  The most productive time is two hours either side of low water.  You do not need a big surf just a steady surf of about four to five breakers.  I have also caught Bass when it is flat calm but fishing close to the rocks. 

At times, the biggest problem is weed which I find incredibly frustrating as it can make fishing impossible.  If there was one reason I would give up beach fishing altogether it would be because of the battle of weed infested surf!
The food generally available to the Bass is sandeels, crabs, brown shrimp, white ragworm and razor clams.  I have caught with sandeels but these days I use razor clams.  The scent is fantastic and for me it is confidence inspiring bait.  I know from the past that if the Bass are around they will find it and take it.  They love it and if you have to buy it, it's a great deal cheaper than peeler crab!

Razor Clams Excellent Bass Bait

Being soft razor clams can be difficult to work with.  I find it easier to prepare them at home by first threading a baiting needle through the main meat section.

Then fold the rest of the meat up to the foot and bind with bait elastic to make a sausage.

Then cut to the required size.

When baiting up, thread them on the hook the same as you would a worm and secure with more bait elastic.  Because the meat is already bound with elastic it's much quicker and easier to bait up.

The rod I use is a 12ft Greys 2oz to 4oz Bass rod with an Abu 6500 multiplier loaded with 15lb nylon and a 30lb shock leader.  The fish hook themselves but I enjoy holding the rod and feeling the bites and this rod is very light.

The rig is a pulley rig with a short 10" to 12" snood and a 5/0 Varivas Big Mouth hook.  I find longer snoods tend to tangle.  Bass seem to take quickly in the surf I do not find any need for longer snoods.  The leads are 3oz or 4oz Breakaway's, heavier leads are not needed at this location.

I arrived about 1 hour before low water and the surf looked good.  There was a bit of weed but it looked fishable.

After baiting up I cast out about 70 yards from dry land.  I have never found any need for distance casting when surf Bass fishing.  On this beach they are usually within 100 yards and at times only 20 yards out.  I like to vary the distance in an effort to find the fish.  On the ebb tide they tend to be a bit further out but usually still within the 100 yards.

No fish were caught on the last of the ebb and as the tide turned I shortened the distance to about 50 yards.  I had a couple of bites that did not materialise but it was a sign that there were some fish about.  I changed the bait regularly to make sure of a fresh scent trail and as the tide really started to move the first Bass was landed.

The following couple of hours produced four more fish.

None of the fish were big enough to be keepers and all were returned.  There is always a keeper around the corner and it was good to see plenty of small fish that may be keepers next year.

It was a while since I last went beach fishing and I enjoyed the trip.  I admit I would rather be out on the kayak Bass fishing over a shallow reef knowing that I stand more chance of a decent sized fish but to me being in the environment fishing takes you to and catching fish big or small is a pleasure.

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