Henry Gilbey
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Could this be the year that we catch bass all the way through, or is just mentioning it the kiss of death?

Early January bass down here in parts of Cornwall to be honest are kind of expected if the conditions don’t go to hell in a mass of filthy water and huge swells as we annoyingly had for what seemed like the whole of December 2018 - but what about February and March? I can’t personally recall ever having caught a bass from the shore on a lure in either of these two months, but I know people who have down here and I wonder if this might be the year when it’s more than possible?

January 2017 Cornwall bass

January 2017 Cornwall bass

Or does saying that now mean it’s all going to go to hell with the conditions and cabin fever will then rage until at least early April! I don’t know how or even if you do keep a loose eye on what’s going on via social media and/or various forums or contacts, but I find it absolutely fascinating firstly that so many lure anglers are still getting out there, and secondly that a high percentage seem to be finding bass. Does this mean that in years gone by that perhaps too many anglers were knocking things on the head that bit early, or are things really are warming up that much that at least some bass are hanging around for longer than they usually would? I find it fascinating.

I nipped out yesterday morning for a very quick local session, and whilst I didn’t get a sniff of a bass but did get a few annoying taps from pesky little garfish, it just didn’t feel remotely like the middle of January at all. The water doesn’t feel particularly cold to me, the sea conditions and water clarity/colour were about as good as I would ever hope to see anytime in a fishing year, the air temperature just isn’t very cold at all at the moment, and with where I was I literally felt that on every single cast I could hook a bass. I keep hearing reports of dolphins herding shoals of herrings in the Tamar for example, and if there really is that much food about - hell, the other day I caught a mackerel on a surface lure - then with the relatively warm water temperatures one must wonder what might be possible this year.

January 2017, and if anything I had even better conditions yesterday morning

January 2017, and if anything I had even better conditions yesterday morning

Unless things do go to hell I am going to keep on trying, but I am also going to use the time I’d have allocated to going fishing to keep on looking for new places to fish. I fished a night session with a friend the other day on a part of the coastline that I just don’t fish for bass myself, and on the way home I got to thinking about how much more there is around where I live that has to be worth having a go at. I think about how limited my knowledge is of too many interesting looking locations local to me that for whatever reasons I might have overlooked and as ever that constant desire to try different things keeps those fishing juices churning around. Bing Maps (better detail than Google Earth or Maps) and plenty of walking here we come…………..

So could this be the year when I do manage to land some bass in February and March? Time will tell of course, but I am going to keep trying if things stay remotely like this - which now means it’s going to snow next week I bet! Are you still going and are you finding fish? Would you usually still be going at this time of year or has the warmer weather and/or reports of other anglers finding bass inspired you to not to put your lure gear away just yet?

I was alerted to yet another tragic death of an angler from the other day. I quote: “In memory of Damian Dixon died on Sunday 13/01/2019 whilst participating in his favourite hobby sea angling whilst setting up on the rocks at howick north Northumberland he accidentally entered the sea and as a result was rescued by the RNLI and tragically passed away later that day. He leaves behind a partner, young daughter and close family”. And then last night an angler from Sicily posted this on my Facebook page: “17 year old died this morning while fishing, washed away by a wave, in Sicily. Very sad.” Fishing the way so many of us do is of course has a lot of inherent risk, but how many of you here for example now own and regularly wear an auto-inflate lifejacket when you are out fishing? In due course I will blog about how easy it is to maintain and service lifejackets, because we look after our rods and reels so why not keep the one item that could save your life in perfect working order? I have put myself on a long road with this angler safety stuff but I am not giving up…………..