Somewhere over the Atlantic I search for some inspiration for the BASS Blog.
It’s the time of year when various groups of UK anglers head across the Atlantic to chase the bigger American cousins of our European Bass. The migration is in full swing along the Eastern Coast of North America, and our target, the ‘Striped Bass’ is just one of species that is on the move.
So what draws UK Bass anglers over there? On the same trip two years ago, I was fortunate to be fishing alongside the current BASS Chairman, and I asked him what had been drawing him to make the journey for well over a decade. I pointed out that there are any number of locations around the world that would be perhaps equally valid destinations for quality angling. His response was simple and instant …. “They are bass”.
Perhaps it’s the combination of the foreign travel, and the familiarity all at the same time. Whilst it isn’t exactly the same species as ‘our’ bass, it’s pretty similar, and can be approached in much the same way. The main difference is the scale of the tackle required to land the bigger ‘cows’. Topwaters, metals, soft plastics…. it’s all the same thing. Even dirty bait if that’s your thing ! There is also the travelling group of UK fly throwing anglers who dare to head into combat armed with self-tied works of art, and rods that will be flattened-out at times.
For me, its the perception of that huge predator lurking in the dark waters. Creeping along the shore at night, any cast can result in the sudden THUMP of those huge weights against my bulky lure. With a drag clamped-down beyond the needs of anything back home, the sound of line getting stripped in the dark, & the feeling of that rod being wrenched forward with spectacular force … that’s the drug which I find insatiably addictive.
The Striper fishery is ‘managed’ in such a way that we can only dream of in Europe. Whilst our politicians struggle against the power of the commercial lobbyists, and whilst we in the recreational sector fail to muster our full weight of numbers, which if brought to bare, would result in overnight change…. we have to make the best of a diminishing resource, struggling ever harder to refine our tactics for a heavily-pressured species.
The Americans are out fishing in huge numbers right now. They have a huge biomass to provide both sport and a mighty meal. It fuels a valuable industry, tackle shops, hotels, guides, boat sales, a whole network of valuable commerce and employment based around a resource that is highly prized, with a will to sustain it.
We could have the same principles back home tomorrow, if we could just harness our numbers. It would save me the cost of this 7.5hr flight, 2 weeks away from my family, and the utter frustration of only enjoying such qualify fishing for a brief moment each year. If only….
BASS Blogger: Si Lewis