Storm Lures had a saying on their lure boxes – ‘Think like a fish no matter how weird it gets’.
Well I have woken up in the early hours many a night in a cold sweat, kicking & screaming. In my nightmares I was always a haddock, well a fillet of haddock to be more precise. I’m about to be dipped in a beer batter mix, rubbed down in wholemeal bread crumbs before being tossed into some top quality hot oil. Well if you’ve got to go you might as well do it in style. Luckily the medication is working, when I remember to take it – well I do have the memory span of a goldfish. Anyway that’s another story.
Seriously – I often try & think like a bass or any fish for that matter if it is my target species of the day. When I’m LRFing for pier species, the gobies would have a different set of concerns to the bass in their survival stakes I assume. But let us think like a bass.
Apart from sex – well I do have the survival of the species to consider. What are my daily concerns?? Survival would be my only concern. That means quite simply eating & not getting eaten.
So when you are considering your choice of location (remember you are still a bass) you need to think about food sources firstly. Bass will return year on year to the same areas like clockwork as their prey will. All things being equal, crabs moult at the same time & places, sand eel, herring & mackerel shoals move inshore & offshore, they move up & down in the water column etc. So as you have to be in the canteen by 1pm to get your lunch so does the bass, if you are late you may miss out. Bass know that sand eels bury into the sand at night, it’s no coincidence that good bass fishing can be had over sandy areas that are suitable for sand eels to rest in. Bass know when the ragworm are likely to leave their burrows to spawn. They know more than we give them credit for. They need to know these things to eat & survive – simple.
Bass are going to return to their local inshore waters from having been involved in a massive sexual orgy (spawning) needing to rebuild their strength & put on body weight before the winter & to grow in length. The smaller bass learn from the slightly larger year class or two above them & they remember these places & times like homing pigeons.
Bass are looking for an in season food, that is abundant & that is easy to catch. They are greedy shoal fish remember or a lazy old timer.
I’m not going to do a list of places to catch bass as all areas of the country are different, but all I will say is don’t rule out a solitary large stone on a beach as a structure point. Especially if that beach holds shellfish, lug worm, sand eels etc. Also bass feed at ALL states of the tide. A mark that is unproductive on the flooding tide may be a hive of bass activity half way down on the ebbing tide.
Just as bass will raid a beach after a storm to feast on the dead & dying worms, shell fish & crustaceans that took a battering by the waves. They also are very catholic in their eating habits & fresh water fish, earthworms, small mammals etc washed out of river systems in flood conditions will also be taken.
We humans are wasteful creatures & scraps from cafes, fish processors & other sources that end up in the water are all food for the opportunist bass.
Find the food, or find an ambush point & you will be in with a chance of hooking a bass or two.
Remember think like a fish & you will find them.
Sleep well & don’t have nightmares.
Author: Nigel Fairclough