The sheer joy of catching fish

I don't think I could give you a better example of how much simple and uncomplicated pleasure the sport of fishing and the simple act of catching fish can give than yesterday evening. My friend Mark knows this local coastline like you would not believe and we made plans to fish a spot just as the tide turned and started to ebb. He had caught a whole bunch of fish the previous evening when I was out photographing a long lure rod for a Sea Angler feature, and whilst the lack of sunshine and almost continual rain might well be getting many of us down, there's no denying that the actual conditions for bass fishing around here are pretty tasty at the moment. Mark had kindly asked a local angler called Dean to come along as well and see if he could get in amongst the fish.

Catching a load of fish and christening new fishing gear big time - that's the way to do it !! Dean had very recently upgraded his lure fishing tackle and I noticed a brand new Graphiteleader Argento RV 8'6'' (nice choice sir), a Daiwa Caldia 2500 Mag Sealed spinning reel, what looked like that awesome Sunline Castaway braid, and a fistful of shiny new lures. Another angler who I presume went weak at the knees after entering the excellent new Art of Fishing tackle shop in Plymouth (check here for details of the lure fishing festival they are running down here in Cornwall this weekend). Anyway, not only was this the first outing for Dean's new gear, but I found out that he had never taken a bass off the surface and was literally dying to - his brand new Xorus Patchinko was already clipped on and ready to go when we met up at the top of the cliffs............

You could not ask for much better conditions - loads of fizz, fairly "heavy" sea conditions but excellent clarity and a lot of mist/fog, and almost straight away Dean is hooked up to a bass that smashed his Patchinko. It was a little hairy helping him land it, but to see that smile across his face at catching his first bass off the top which was I found out was also his biggest bass to date, that's what fishing is all about. Fun. Thrills. Simple pleasures. I suppose the bass was nudging around the 3lb mark and it wasn't hard to get Dean beaming for a few photos !! Between us we caught a whack load of bass of no great size, but just the sheer fun at being out there and seeing bass go loopy in those conditions - you can't ask for much more than that. Tie me down and allow me to take one surface lure only and I'll go for the IMA Salt Skimmer, but last night's sea conditions required something more substantial to take fish off the top and at the end of the day you can't really get a better surface lure for the job than the Xorus Patchinko. I also took fish on the IMA Hound 125F Glide (still can't find conditions which this lure can't bite into) and the IMA/DUO Nabarone 125 (the sinking one), and I know Dean smashed a bunch on his (new) sinking Daiwa Shoreline Shiner. Mark also took bass on the Savage Gear Sandeel and I found a few almost beneath my feet on the IMA Koume 90 - I am almost certain that they were the first bass I have ever caught on a vibration lure which I have to say brought me close to jumping for joy. I think I might be pretty useless at using a vibration lure, but it caught fish. OK, so there were no big bass, but when there are a load of hungry fish around it does give you the opportunity to experiment with lures. Hugely well done Dean. I get a huge kick out of seeing people catch fish who love it for what it is. I think he might have gone and gotten the surface bug...............

Above is my photo on the new issue of Sea Angler magazine - aside from the thrill at getting a cover shot, what makes me even happier is that it's my second wrassing on plastics front cover this year with Sea Angler. "It'll never catch on" !!? Fishing is about having fun and being out and about. I have no time for detractors who bemoan anglers trying different things and having a blast doing it. Each to their own and surely it's much easier to just celebrate the fact that a fish like the wrasse can be targeted in so many different ways rather than be high and mighty. Who cares who fishes for what ? Who cares what "social standing" different species of fish have ? I love my bass fishing in a way that I never thought would happen, but I can't bring myself to fish for nothing else. I need some variety. The fact that lure fishing gives one so many options is perhaps one of the reasons why we are seeing more and more anglers getting into it.