In September BASS member Simon Everett had occasion to visit the ‘far north’ of Scotland. Several years ago he’d heard that there was a possibility of catching bass . . . this seemed an ideal opportunity to look into the rumours.
Simon wrote: It looked ideal territory and I was eager to find out more. I explored a bit further along my planned area and the scenery and bass habitat just got better. The sandbanks were covered in worm casts. The tide turned and got going on a rocky outcrop with a good tide flow past it. The wind was strong, in my face but “do-able”. Strong winds were forecast for later in the day. On about my fourth or fifth cast I was in!
It might not have been a big fish, but it was a bass and from above 58 degrees north too! Is this the furthest north a bass has been recorded in the Society? Anyone caught one in Orkney? I was overjoyed, I had waited a long time to come and fish this place and on my first visit I unlocked it within a matter of hours. Shame I didn’t do a lottery ticket!
I measured it, 47cms and took some scales and put them in one of the soggy, little green packets I have and then weighed it with my Aldi scales. It was 2lbs 12ozs. A plump little fellow with bright blue fins that were lined with white. I have seen a blue tinge before, but not vivid coloured fins like this one had, it was beautiful. It recovered in the water supported by the bladderwrack and then worked its way through the weed until it was off, back into the turquoise bay.
In the time it took me to get round the wind increased, it was howling and made casting a fly very difficult, but I managed to get the odd cast out without it getting blown round in an arc and managed a further 3 fish, only little twinkies of around 32cm – 37cms, but it made my day! A couple using the self timer, because I was alone out here in the wilderness.
The fly that did the damage was a simple DNA clouser about 6″ long on a 1/0 Tiemco 811S. I tie these with the material fastened AHEAD of the dumbell eyes only, that way it doesn’t tangle and doesn’t get so mullered by the fish. Dead easy to tie too.
With the wind having increased to the point where I could hardly stand against it, let alone cast, I felt a move round to the other side of the headland was a good plan. It gave me more exploration time too. If there were small bass in the estuary, then using other places as a model it stood to reason I might find bigger fish on the open coast. I found some lovely looking ground with the wind over my back, but no wave movement.
The rain clouds passed and it turned brighter again with the rain letting up. I carried on trying to blast my clouser into the teeth of the gale, with little effect, but then another fisherman turned up, right in front of me. This one was a professional and he knew exactly where to fish. I watched his brown head bob and then he came ashore with a little plaice and proceeded to eat it right in front of me. I have to confess, when he turned up I dropped my rod and nipped quickly back to the car for the camera and long lens……here he is having finished his plaice no more than 15 yards away from me!
A fantastic day, even if it did only result in tiddlers. To catch them that far north on my first visit to the place, on the fly…amid such scenery and then to be treated to a wildlife encounter like that……priceless!