My Bass Angling Journey

Aged seven, I was sat behind my dad on my uncle’s boat with a handline catching baby pollack whilst they fished for bass.

At the age of eight I was elevated to bass fishing with a rod and line of my own, so I sat keenly watching my float with a live prawn dangling under it, needless to say my concentration withered quickly and I sat daydreaming until the rod was nearly yanked out of my hands. Jolted back into the real world I was delighted to obey my dad’s series of instructions about holding the rod tip up and eventually landed a handsome silvery bass.  This moment set me on my obsession with fishing for this hard fighting, beautiful looking fish which I have fished for from both boat and shore in England and later in Southern Ireland.

The journey has been delightful, with continuous developments in both tackle and methods, so from float fished live prawns, through static dead baits from the shore, live baiting from a boat, using hard plugs, through to soft plastic baits fished dead drift or retrieved through weed, it has been a real experience over my 58 years of bass fishing.

Another experience has been the reduction in the number of bass that I have been catching. Despite these huge leaps in tackle and methods, my catches have reduced, rather than what should have been expected with an increase in success.

In 2006 I became aware of BASS and after looking at who they were as an organisation, I decided to join. This has been a great move, as I have met a large number of like-minded members, many have become real personal friends who I have holiday fished with in Southern Ireland.  Having witnessed the lack of numbers and size of bass in recent years, I feel it is essential that we anglers need to keep tapping on the shoulders of those that have the ability (although probably not the will) to manage bass stocks, so they do not get to the point of collapse purely to fill the coffers of unscrupulous commercial fishermen.

BASS is a great organisation to belong to, with its quarterly magazine, members forum, members Fish-in’s, AGM and more and the forum is a great source of information on the full spectrum of bass fishing (excluding specific member’s marks of course). Part of my continued membership is in the hope that recreational bass angling can continue with a reasonably healthy stock.

Most of my fishing today is done from my boat, I may be in the minority in that I use Nanofil line on my reels, this is due to horrible experiences of wind knots in braid and I would rather be fishing than trying to untie them!

If you watched me you may wonder why I don’t just fish from the shore as I often drift the boat about casting distance from the shore and cast literally to where I would be wading on the shore, then retrieve outwards to the boat, I do this because I have found that bass are often VERY close to the shoreline and I am convinced that many shore anglers unknowingly scare bass away as they approach the water’s edge to cast. Interestingly, my personal best bass actually came from water that was only 30cms deep, so please keep this in mind if you shore fish, approach quietly and cast sideways, as opposed to reaching for the horizon.

Author: Jon Williams

Feature Photos: Jon Williams

© Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society 2021

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