Bass fishing "traditions" ?

If you had asked me ten years ago where I thought my fishing might be at the end of the decade, I never for one second would have predicted this bass fishing addiction. Sure, I used to catch a fair few "by mistake" when out ray and cod fishing with the more usual 6oz beachcasters, tripods and rig wallets, but me getting all loved up with light tackle fishing for bass ? Never for one second. Not me. That lure fishing is for people who can't handle big rods isn't it ? Proves how good I am at predicting the future.........

But, and it's a big but, for all my love of fast-action spinning rods, shiny Japanese lures and Shimano spinning reels, I still get a huge kick out of pulling the 3-4oz bass rod off the shelf and doing a bit of bait fishing. In my mind, this is where "our" bass fishing comes from, and while there might not be any shiny things involved, (Van Staal spinning reel aside) little beats standing in the water waiting for bass to move through. I love it. I might not spend much time these days staring at two scaffold-pole type beachcaster tips in a tripod, but I will always get off on various forms of bait fishing. It's where I come from. OK, I do like shiny new lures though.

There is often the most wonderful symmetry with an angler cradling a light beachcaster - it's a bit of an "obvious" shot above, but I thought a black and white conversion might really bring the eye on to the fisherman lost on quiet concentration. Or at least he would be if he didn't have the great big me waving my cameras around in front of him and making purring noises at the quality of the light. My mates have the patience of saints to not mind me doing what I do around them.........

As we get close to the end of the year and most bass anglers would naturally be putting away their gear for a few months, I am hearing some reports of good bass fishing from various locations. Typically it has picked up over in Ireland, literally a few days after we left, and although the fishing is not how it should be, I am told the inshore waters are clearing nicely and the bass are hungry. Nathan told me of some good lure fishing down in Cornwall over the last week or so (check here), and I would guess that the Kerry and Dingle peninsulas over in Ireland are starting to fire on bait. This cold snap is so much better than the weeks of driving rain, grey skies and gales that we had been having. OK, so snow and ice is causing problems for parts of the country, but it is winter after all.

I reckon 2010 is going to be one hell of an interesting year on the bass front - there is so much going on out there, with all manner of people starting to discover what the fuss over light tackle fishing is all about. Where is this all going to lead ? Your guess is as good as mine, but I do have a few hunches though. One thing that is utterly vital is that we as anglers give the right people at least half a chance to do what they can to help protect our fish stocks. If there is one thing you do at the start of 2010, join BASS and the Angling Trust - we all know that sea fishing is one thing that we can actually do for free, and I wholeheartedly support our right to fish, but as anglers we need to think about the future and at least do something to help support some very good people who are working to try and safeguard what we take for granted.

I do not like banging the political drum, but all you need to do is to take a proper look at the striped bass fishing on the east coast of America - look at what nearly happened, and look where it is now. Nothing is ever perfect, but it's a classic example of recreational fishing being of such economic and social importance that something simply had to be done to rebuild the striper fishery. Sometimes I let my mind wander and imagine what it could be like over here if we had lots and lots of big bass for everybody to catch..................