Friday, 8 November 2013

Autumn Beach Fishing for Sea Bass 07-11-13

The autumn storms have arrived and over the recent weeks, it has been impossible to get out on the kayak.  Winds of between 25mph and 45mph along with rough seas and big swells means the kayak has remained firmly locked away in the garage! 

This is the time of year for me to dig out the 12ft 2oz to 4oz Bass rod, oil the Abu 6500c reel, make up some rigs, and head off to the beach armed with a bucket of bait for some surf fishing.




I have fished this beach for 30 years and it produces Bass three hours either side of low water.  At high water, I have caught Bass but never as consistently as low water.  For the last two days, the sea has been rough and the biggest problem is loose weed, which can make it un-fishable.  Today, the wind had dropped leaving a nice steady surf and looking at the breakers it appeared reasonably clean although weed left by the previous tide could cause a problem later as the tide floods.

The tackle is a 12ft 2oz-4oz Bass rod, and an Abu 6500 reel loaded with 15lb mono and a 40lb leader.  Leads of more than 4oz are not needed at this beach hence only a 40lb leader.  The rig is a straightforward fixed paternoster with a short snood.  Distance casting is not required.  If the Bass are here, they are usually between 20 yards and 80 yards from the shore therefore, there is no need for a distance-casting clipped down rig.




These days I always use razor fish as bait, which I gather myself and freeze for later use.  This makes it very convenient when needed for a fishing trip.  It has a fantastic scent and a bright attracting colour.  The only problem is its softness, which can be difficult to work with however; the use of bait elastic to bind the bait solves that problem.






Of course, lugworm, ragworm, and peeler crab are also great baits however, lugworm and ragworm need to be kept alive, and unless you gather peeler crab yourself, it is very expensive.  I have caught just as many Bass on frozen razor fish than I ever did when I used fresh worms or peeler crab.

I started fishing about two hours before low water.  The fishing was slow however, about half an hour before low water there was a strong pull on the rod tip followed by slack line, and a Bass was landed.




When hooked on a beach, rather than pull against you, Bass tend to run towards you which means having to reel like mad to keep up with the fish otherwise the slack line could result in a lost fish.  Because the fish run so fast towards you, sometimes you cannot be sure it is still hooked until you catch up with it close to the shoreline.  This can be a bit unnerving and a relief when you eventually feel the thump of the fish shaking its head.

This fish measured 39cm, which is over the landing size limit of 37.5cm however, I have a personal size limit of 40cm therefore, this fish was returned.  It was also the only fish of the day.  I fished on for the first three hours of the flooding tide and although I had a couple of bites they did not materialise however, one fish is better than none particularly when shore fishing and it was pleasing to catch something.

There is no doubt in my mind that kayak fishing for Bass is far more productive.  Trolling a lure or casting lures on the drift over shallow rough ground is more likely to produce better quality fish than fishing sandy beaches from the shore.  However, standing on a nice beach with great surf coming in is very enjoyable and therapeutic.  I have done it now for 30 years and will continue as long as I can particularly, in the autumn when the sea dictates that it is not possible to get out on the kayak.



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