The first run of bass on my local patch is dependent upon both water temperature and clarity. This early run, with breeding very much on their minds, can be the most colourful of the season. As spring turns to summer the fish will take on a colour reflective of where they have been spending their time. Clean ground fish display silver and gold whilst the rock dwellers can sometimes seem almost black when they first come out of the water.
However this early spring run have blue in their fins and capturing that stunning tint has focussed my attention over the past couple of weeks. On solo trips static images of the fish on the deck of the boat are always taken as the self timer can give variable results. It’s easier to get everything in focus and the lip grip tool helps to control the fish on the deck and stop is thrashing around and injuring itself (I return most, but not all, of my bass).
For me there is still a place for grip and grin photos of the bigger fish, which I favour to give a sense of their true size. The self timer can often over expose and I position the boat to give the darkest background. I’m pleased with this one as it has picked out the blue of the fins which is difficult to get once the fish is out of the water.
I took some time out on a recent trip to try to capture what I see as the fish come up to the boat. There are challenges to overcome and it is difficult for me to accurately see what I have captured given my need to wear optically corrected Polaroid’s when fishing. The small screen on my compact, waterproof camera doesn’t help either. However by carefully framing the shots and taking a number knowing that only a few will result in the correct focus and exposure is no real hardship. Thank goodness for high capacity SD cards!
What I found on this trip is that fish just under the surface gave an interesting image with the water distortion adding something to the photo. I was quite pleased with the image shown below and I am now a man on a mission to see how I can capture different pictures of bass as the season progresses.
I just hope the very dark summer fish turn up again later in the season to give me a chance of capturing and then sharing their almost black appearance when they first come to the boat as this quickly disappears once they come aboard.
Article and Pictures by Clive Hodges