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Ryan Dabbs Guest

The humble bass addiction

As I stated in my first blog I’m relatively new to lure fishing and lure fishing for Bass was something that i had never even thought of.
It all started around this time last year after meeting a rather good local lure angler. In the lure world he is pretty well known and has even fished for England.
Wayne Fletcher has become a very close friend and I have a lot to thank him for (if he reads this i will say I didn’t write it) I can talk all day about how he has shown me tips and tricks to target the dozens of species I’ve now caught on lures, but this is about Bass.
Going back to the first ever session for the humble bar of silver, we arrived at a very nice and secluded section of our local estuary. We had a plan to target them on the surface so I acquired an array of top water lures ready for the session, what I didn’t have was a rod that could actually impart the action needed for such lures, it was too “soft” well I didn’t think much of this and had to use what I had.
Now many don’t like to talk about blanks but that’s a huge part of our fishing I believe, its also a great way to learn.
Well I blanked that session and the following two! The rod was way to soft and wasn’t setting the hooks properly. I also learned not to strike, a huge learning point that I now tell anyone who comes out with me, let the bass and rod to the hard bit you just keep that lure working!
That 4th session when I swapped rods was one to remember, we hit the water straight after work on the flood (incoming tide) the weather was clear skies and a lovely 23° with a 4mph westerly. We watched the bass coming in from the distance and after 20 minutes Wayne had landed 1. Next cast he had another and then so did I, we were hitting small schools every 15-20 minutes and each time landing 4-6 fish we only stayed there for about 3 hours as my girlfriend was rather hungry and as we know us men don’t want to have to deal with a Hangry missus! We ended up with 31 bass between us and I couldn’t wait for the next session.


Fast forward to last month and I had asked my neighbour if he wanted to come bass fishing, he is a carp angler as probably many of you reading this are but and angler none the less we donned our waders I set him up a rod and off we went well 1st cast for Lewis and he only went and bagged 1 a lovely schoolie. To say he was hooked from that first fish would be an understatement as he then had 2 more fish that evening and was grinning ear to ear. I had a text from him the following day “any chance we can go again tonight mate?” of course I obliged and that week we went 4 times and landed over 30 bass between us. Not bad going when the sessions were only just over an hour each due to the tide. Lewis has now got his own set up and still comes with me at any opportunity!


July 23rd after a brief meeting with a like minded angler Darren we were planning a perch fishing trip on the river. The day before we were due to go the weather had changed and we had the first day of the heat wave, knowing the perch would be shy biting I asked if he fancied giving bass fishing a go, he had never caught one and didn’t realise they were readily availble on his door step. We had wicked conditions that evening not getting to the water until just after 5pm, the wind was slightly up on what the weather man had predicted but it was blowing the right direction so we had a nice wind with tide scenario where the water is almost like a mill pool and a slight overcast sky it looked great. The bass were deffiently biting but if we could call them bass I’m not sure, we had fish just bigger than our lures being super aggressive and trying to eat them, luckily the single hooks were sharp and we had half a dozen fish up to around 30cm within the first hour.
The wind had started to pick up as the low pressure front crept in and with that the bigger ones came onto feed. Darren landed his 3rd pb a healthy fish around 34cm and I had 2 of similar size.
Then Darren had a take that had me reaching for the net, an explosive hit that pulled drag as it turned and went with the tide, although we are using stiffer rods there still fairly light with mine being a 10-30g and Darren’s a 7-20g, the rod was bent the braid singing in the ever increasing gusts and as it surfaced Darren’s face lit up, to many all out bass anglers this is a schoolie but for where we are fishing its a really nice fish and at just over 40cm an absolute cracker! It was a stunner dark olive green back petering down to an almost golden flank and a snow white belly what a fish, just like Lewis Darren now enjoys joining me for a session and today (August 7th) he is picking up his new bass rod!


Just 3 days after I took Darren out for his first encounter with the bass I had some friends coming down who also fancied their chances with the bars of silver that surround the Essex coast. Rob and Sam.
Now these gents know there way around a lure rod fishing the Thames and surround London rivers for all manor of species, this session was actually me repaying the favour as they had taken me on a wild brown trout hunt in their urban environment!
We had a whole day planned with the first high tide at 05:30 we planned to fish the ebb down to low and then change marks to fish it safer on the flood. They arrived at 5:30 and by 5:45 we were down at the mark, there were mullet everywhere and the odd bass creeping through the weed too. We all opted to start with surface lures but after 20 minutes we were all routeing around for a different lure to try. I now don’t take more than a handful of lures I’m the worst for chopping and changing and not sticking to a lure long enough. Sam’s zara spook was deployed and as we watched the sun rise over the marshes we saw the awesome sight of the bow wave coming from right to left which then sunk down just before Sam’s lure and then erupt as the fish came half out the water shaking its head. A hairy battle ensued as it darted for every bit of weed it could find but finally Rob had it in the net, what a start to the day! The fish was another cracker around the 40cm mark.

The fishing went a bit stale after that fish and as we followed the tide out I noticed something that got my heart racing and my little legs pumping even faster through the waist high water.
At this point I would like to say I know this mark very well and wouldn’t recommend doing this if you don’t know the hazards that are out there where you’re fishing! I wouldn’t fish this mark on an incoming tide as I feel the risk of injury or worse is increased tenfold.
But back to my excitement. We had Gulls diving! This is something I’ve only seen when out on the boat and never this close to the shore line. All 3 of us were wading as fast as we could trying to get as close as possible, we could see from about 200m away the fry leaping out the water followed by big bars of silver! We knew we had to get to them! The closer we got the further out to safety they drifted, we reach a point where there were still a few birds working and we peppered our lures along there, nothing for 4 casts, lure change (I’m terrible for this) first cast with the illex water monitor and I was in, the fish felt really good but with the speed at which the tide was retrieving it was hard to tell. It surfaced and I was elated, a fish pushing 50cm was a brilliant bass for the area I now wanted Rob and Sam to get in on the action, I held the fish in the net to recover hoping one of them would snare another for some brilliant photos after a few more casts from them, nothing! I pinned the net between my legs and flicked my lure back out I had just put the bail arm over and started to turn the handle when the rod tip arched right round, I was in again! 2 casts with the illex and 2 fish, this second fish was bigger too just over the 50cm mark I had a brilliant brace shot thanks to Rob and we carried on until low tide!


We had fished around 4 hours and between us we had managed 11 bass what a start.

We went back to mine where we had breakfast waiting thanks to my girlfriend.

We hit the road and drove the 20 minutes to the parking area, unfortunately we stayed and chatted for to long over breakfast and missed the point of tide I was aiming for, but that didn’t matter after a fruitless hour and the wind picking right up to almost 25mph we decided we would explore further along the coast, presenting surface lures was now impossible and we had changed over to shads and metals to allow us to punch through the wind and still give us a chance of a few more fish, well we fished hard for the next 5 hours and although we all landed a few more they were alot smaller but still good fun. I had now found a potential new mark that needed some more exploring and the twins were more than happy with their efforts for the day! We finished on 17 bass with loads of new skills and alot of laughs. I will end on the equipment used but please remember this is more of a guide, if your local shore line is littered with rocks and snags step it up a bit, I also enjoy fishing light. I have a 7ft 10-30g which covers me for most lures and a slightly heavier and longer one for fishing metals and bigger shads. The 10-30 is my go to for surface fishing I use lures between 90-120mm mainly heddon spooks, illex water monitors and the gunki megalon. Braided mainline is a must as it cuts through the wind and pick up off the water much easier than mono. I have 2 sizes, still heavy ish but I use 16lb on my lighter rod and 20lb on the heavier. Fluro carbon leader this is what changes the most depending on where I’m fishing. I carry 3 spools with me 10lb 14lb and 16lb each have their uses in different situations. Most of the time I find the 14lb my go too I would rather have a slightly heavier leader just incase I do get snagged or rub against a rock, it could be that slightly thicker line that means you land that fish! Reel wise you’re looking for something around the 2500-3000 size for beginners I can highly recommend the daiwa ninja in 2500 it’s what’s on my surface rod. Then after that it’s all down to how much you want to spend.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to drop me a message on any of my social media’s, I may not be a pro but I will help where I can.

Tight line and wet nets

4 replies on “The humble bass addiction”

Excellent blog,
Started lure fishing myself this year as I’ve moved to the south coast, still try to get the hang of the tides etc local information very hard to get hold of
Tight lines
Neil

Cheers Neil,
I have now found myself travelling down to the south coast for the bass action. Unfortunately the larger bass are few and far between along the Essex coast compared to down south!
I am still learning about the tides myself but can say I’ve had better success on the ebb than flood

Tight lines mate Ryan

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