Summer Solstice Bass

Arrangements were made for a 6-45pm meet with Phil ‘The Fly’ at location Y. My pager going off alerting me for a fire call at 5-00pm & another one at 6-25pm had delayed me somewhat. So an hour later than agreed I parked up at the car park for the mile plus hike to meet up with Phil. High water was 9-18pm & another friend Mark was coming off the Bass on a flybeach with his dog. “Don’t bother fishing down there” he said “Tons of floating weed, a large swell & no fish”. I’m meeting Phil” I said “If you enjoy walking then carry on” Mark said as he insisted that it was not fishable.

I headed off with Jake & Jerry (my beautiful dogs) along the beach & when Phil came into view I could see what looked like a seal in the water just in front of him.  As I approached Phil was landing a small bass on the fly & the seal turned out to be a large basking shark’s dorsal fin,  the sizeable plankton eater was heading south with the aid of the tide at around a hundred yards out.

Fly caught BassThe water was dirty but not too dirty, there was around four feet or so of visibility. I selected a grass hopper coloured wave worm & lobbed it out.  I was not using my fly gear as I had the two dogs with me. Phil hooked into bass number two at around 2lb so the bass were here but I had had no interested in the natural coloured wave worm. So it was time to swap to something a bit more visible. Two casts later & a white wave worm produced a hit but no hook up.

The floating lettuce type weed was horrendous plus there were large piles of brown weed all along the tide line & in the margins. Jerry (one of my Springers) likes to stand in front of me in the water. Well the swell was picking Jerry up & broad siding him into my legs. That force pushing a Springer spaniel at me was like getting hit in the lower leg area by a bag of cement. I was nearly knocked off my feet several times by him. I could see bow waves following my wave worm in, but as the lure was shrouded in weed the bass were not having it. A couple of casts later my lure managed to dodge the floating green menace & approach the shore weed free. What the wave worm didn’t manage to do was dodge the 4.5lb bass that was stalking it.

A Bass caught on a weedless weightless lure

There was a ferocious hit on my lure at around fifteen feet out as the line buzzed off my reel in a seaward direction. A couple of short powerful runs later the bass was unwittingly surfing on a wave up the beach. Jerry & Jake behaved impeccably yet again. The bass was measured, photographed & returned. Both dogs came into the water to see it off, remarkably the bass revived for a few moments & released from my boga grip took shelter under Jerry to revive a bit more. Jerry just stood there looking at this bass that was brushing up against his legs until it slowly made its way off on the surface for a few yards then glided downwards.

Nigel with a fine Bass

Phil took two more bass on the fly before he headed for home just after high water. I stuck it out for a further hour & was joined by a seal shortly after Phil left. More hits on the wave worm followed but no hook ups as the weed was still an issue.

When I arrived back at the car a bait angler was sat having a coffee in the gathering foggy darkness on this summer solstice evening.  “How did you get on” I said “I had over twelve doggies” was the reply. Yes I thought, that is why I very rarely go bait fishing these days.

Author: Nigel Fairclough

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