Smashing bass on soft plastics in the middle of the night

Sunday was my last night in Jersey, and bear in mind that I had gone over on a set of tides principally for nailing photos of wrasse fishing on soft plastics. Or HRF as a lot of guys are starting to call this lure fishing - Heavy Rock Fishing. But Keith and Kevin White reckoned it might be worth a crack at fishing for bass with soft plastic lures, at night. Not dusk. Not early evening. In the pitch black. Having that confidence to believe and trust that a fish such as the bass can home in on the vibrations coming off your lure when there is no light around. Many of us here have spent a whole of time night fishing over the years, but purposefully targeting bass on lures at night ? It was a whole new experience to me..........

OK, so we head out along a bunch of very slippery rocks, with instructions not to shine headlamps out over the water. It's properly dark. Keith and Kevin make their way down to the water's edge, while I hang back and wait to see if anything happens. My instinct is to jump in there with my cameras and hurl a load of light around from my flashgun, but obviously this is not going to do the potential fishing any favours at all. I will admit to a degree of deflation when I saw the size of the soft lures the guys were rigged up with - no more than 3' long shads (or paddletails as the guys call them, makes perfect sense to me). How's a fish going to locate them in the dark when there is no scent trail pouring out of big fresh baits to home in on ? But I need not have worried.......

From virtually the first cast Keith and Kevin are into bass. Lots of bass. I can hardly believe what is going on. This is utterly insane. Talk about making the lures work subtly, and there's me, a bass angler who is always having to fight my urge to crank the living hell out of every single lure I chuck out there. Not these guys though. They have supreme confidence levels that a softly, softly approach with soft plastics at night is what the bass want - and they are completely right. A lot of this HRF fishing for wrasse actually really helps with the feel and touch required for the bass fishing. To the tune of 19 bass in a very brief two hour session - and bearing in mind that we moved three times, and a lot of the time I was also having to haul them away from the water in order to nail a few grip and grins with all these fish they were catching. Yes, you heard it, 19 bass - all at night on soft lures, bar one fish that Keith took on a DEPS Balisong Minnow to show me how they do that as well. Without me around I reckon they would have smashed any number more. Photographers eh ??!! Not only does it take a leap of faith to go out and do this kind of (awesome) fishing, but it takes a degree of patience to have people like me work around them.

The more fish the guys caught, the more my brain was whirring around as it started to analyse what was going on in front of me (in the pitch black mind you) and think about approaching some of my own fishing a whole lot differently. Massive credit where credit is due. Keith and Kevin White work so hard to keep refining their approach to their fishing over in Jersey, and that's after they have gone out on a limb anyway and refused to accept that things can't be changed and adapted in order to catch more fish. I am not personally aware of any other bass anglers who have been religiously fishing with lures (hard and soft) in the middle of the night for so long now (not dusk, not first light, night time) and catching so many bass over and over again. I am sure the guys have come across all manner of doubters and cynics who just don't want to believe what has been going on, but I can say it as I saw it - a couple of supremely talented anglers who are helping to drive our sport forward. Fishing needs people like this. Makes me think big time.............and that is what it's all about.

OK, so the only way I can get a photo like the one above is to use a lot of flash - and it's hardly going to win any creative awards. But hopefully it gives a sense of how incredibly sensitive that lateral line on a fish must be to be able to smash small soft plastic lures in the dark. Look at that inky blackness beyond Keith. I guess we can't help but think of locating stuff in the dark via our own limited senses, and then we (wrongly) translate that to fish. The perfect end to a fantastic trip over to Jersey, with various plans for return visits. If you have any desire to learn more about all these different kinds of lure fishing (be careful, it's highly addictive !!, but the stuff I have been seeing will help your own fishing no end), then contact Keith White right here, because he is running guided trips and all manner of teach-ins and teaching courses. Just a great reason for visiting Jersey. As if anybody needs an excuse to visit such a cool place anyway. As I said the other day, if all those currents, reefs and structures don't get your heart racing just looking at them then you need to take up another sport. A place like Jersey just inspires me.

And if to prove the point, there have just been a couple of stunning bass caught over in Guernsey on soft plastic lures at night - you will need to sign up to the Lure Forum (very much worthwhile) and then check out this post right here. This stuff is happening right now. Lure fishing is evolving as we speak, and I for one find that just so exciting. Sitting still is not an option.......

My two younger brothers are right in the middle of shooting their next feature film up in the highlands of Scotland, and I found out that a Scottish news channel did a really cool piece on them - check here and move the sliders along to 19.45. How awesome is that ? Makes me proud to be able to say they are my brothers. Can't wait to see the film . I just can't get my head around what it must take to pull a feature film together, but somehow they just do it, and I am in complete awe of their talents. Imagine how cool it would be to take that kind of talent and apply it to filming fishing ? One day...............