Thursday, 5 September 2013

Kayak Sea Bass Fishing and a Mixed Catch

I usually focus on catching Sea Bass from September through to the end of December.  Bass are around earlier but in the autumn, they tend to be more abundant.

I had a couple of free days this week and with a favourable weather forecast what better way of spending that time than out on the kayak fishing.  When I have the time to fish the whole six hours of a flooding tide I sometimes like to vary the methods used and therefore, vary the species caught.

Concerning Sea Bass fishing, experience has taught me that there are times of activity and times when you might as well pack up and go home.  In 25 years Bass fishing I have never caught Bass for the whole six hours of a flooding or ebbing tide.  Therefore, rather than waste the non-productive time in the hope of a catch, I would rather target Bass during the time of the tide when I am most likely to catch and then go for other species.

My chosen mark produces Bass in the first three hours of the flooding tide.  My plan was to spend those first three hours drifting and trolling using lures after which I would paddle out to deeper water and fish at anchor.  At anchor, one rod would be used to fish with bait on the bottom targeting Thornback Ray or Bull Huss and whilst waiting for a bite, I would jig a Herring Rig targeting Mackerel or Herring.

When lure fishing for Bass from the kayak I like to combine drifting with trolling.  The idea is to set up the drift over the chosen mark and deploy the drift chute at the stern, which turns the stern of the kayak into the wind.  With the stern into the wind, I am facing down wind, which makes it easier to cast the lures down wind and to the sides covering as much ground as possible.  This also of course slows down the drift giving much more fishing time.

When paddling back up tide/wind to reset the drift, rather than just paddling back it often pays to troll a lure at the same time.  This way in effect you are always fishing.

On day one of my two-day trip, I launched an hour earlier than low water to pick up some fresh bait for the bait fishing at anchor later in the day.  One the bait had been secured I could then focus on the Bass fishing.

The mark is shallow rough ground and I would be drifting over depths ranging from 3' to 15'.  I mentioned in a previous post Top Sea Bass Lures the lures I like to use when Bass fishing.  For this trip, I carried the following plugs, a Tackle House Feed Shallow 128, a Savage Prey 130, and a Megabass Zonk 120 Gataride - Hi Pitch.  These floating diving plugs give me a diving range from 1' to 4'.  Generally, even in the deeper water the Bass will rise up from underneath to take the lure. 

The three hours Bass fishing produced two fish.  One caught trolling and one drifting and both took the Tackle House Feed Shallow.

The three hours spent fishing at anchor produced nothing from the bait rod however, the jigged Herring Rig produced a Gurnard, Mackerel, and to my delight a Squid.

The mixed methods of day one produced a mixed catch which was pleasing.


On day two, I planned to repeat the tactics of day one.  First, I needed some fresh bait for later and fortunately, Mackerel showed on the fish finder.   Interestingly, you can see the lure going down to the shoal and jigging amongst them.  A fish finder can be very useful at times and since fitting the Garmin Echo 550c I have been very pleased with its performance, the returns are excellent and very clear.

Once again, with the bait secured for later it was time to focus on the Bass fishing with lures.  This time the session produced three Bass all caught trolling the Tackle House Feed Shallow.  Two of the Bass were undersize and returned.

With the Bass fishing session over the fishing at anchor in deeper water began.  This time the session produced fish on both the bait rod and the jigged Herring Rig.  The bait rod produced a nice Bull Huss on fresh Mackerel, and the jigged lure produced a few more Mackerel and a Horse Mackerel.  Interesting how dark the back is on the Bull Huss.


It is always pleasing when a plan works out and for me the most interesting catch over the two days was the squid simply because I do not usually catch them.  I have read that squid fishing is becoming more popular in the UK.  I may invest in some squid jigs and add squid as a target species to catch for the dinner table.


  1. Rob, have a look at these home made lures :

    1. Thanks for this. Very clever and sure to work.


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