What are gullies?
I'm sure that anyone reading this blog article will know what a gully is! However, in relation to my own bass fishing they generally fall into 4 categories.
- Gullies carved into the sand (flat beaches or estuaries) by tidal flow.
- Natural gullies linking rock pools (similar to depressions talked about in the previous post) within 'pavement' rock formations.
- Gullies between larger rock formations where the current is exaggerated or waves are forced to break around - where the water is relatively deep (15 - 25ft) therefore they do not dry out at low tide
- Clearly defined 'pathways' linking reefs to beaches or coves - these are generally shallow (1 - 15ft) therefore, they do dry out at low tide.
In this post I am going to concentrate on items 3 and 4.
In Image 1 below, the very obvious gully that has 'dried out' on a low water spring tide is 'open' to the prevailing wind, waves and tide and runs into a small cove - somewhere where sandeels and mackerel shoals can occasionally become trapped.
The broken rocks at the entrance to the gully mean that during any onshore or swell conditions you're very likely to see waves breaking (creating white, foaming water) into this area creating a natural 'zone' for smaller fish to become disoriented. There are a number of stances where you can move with the incoming tide where a weedless soft plastic or precisely positioned minnow lure (cast straight up the sandy gullies) can work really well.
Image 2 below is a classic (in my neck of the woods) grouping of rocks and gullies that doesn't quite dry out at low tide - often found at the end of long promontories of rock or headlands. I've found these types of marks are very good to fish at the start of the flood or end of the ebb; as the bass move in from, or out to the open sea.
Due to the proximity of the weed and rocks a successful method has been to simply casting and drift soft plastics (particularly OSP Do-Live sticks, Dot Crawlers and Megabass Cattle-tongue lures) into the gullies and literally retrieve them (occasional twitches) up to your feet. This method has been successful during flat calm to slightly rough (1 - 3ft waves) conditions.
Image 3 is pretty much a myriad of bass venues rolled into one! Look to fish these types of mark during the first 2 hours of the flood or last 2 hours of the ebb when only the slightest amount of movement (breaking waves, swell = turmoil, easy prey) can see the bass feeding in numbers.
Note the arrows (right to left) depicting the flow of the tide on the flood in this instance and the lovely gullies that run at 90 degrees to it. This is exactly the type of ground that bass will seek to follow the tide into and out of. I have found it best to fish it with surface lures such as the Chugbug, Sliders, small Patchinko and the IMA Salt Skimmer or with very shallow diving minnow type plugs such as a Tackle House Feedshallow.
Image 4 below displays what is my favourite 'type' of bass mark - large rocks at the end of a promontory of rock or headland, where the seabed is mostly sandy, and where, most importantly a very natural gully or 'route' is defined. These types of marks generally 'stick out' in the current and are subjected to the greatest amount of wave/tidal movement.
If you're looking for a good general bass mark then these are the ones that will fish the most consistently in varying weather, wind and tidal conditions. I think the combination of the acceleration of the current between the rocks, the turmoil created by the breaking waves and the number of ambush points available to a hunting bass make these types of marks extremely noteworthy.
Of significance, if you can find a mark like this with a sandy seabed then any prey items (or lure) washed/cast into them massively standout. In parts 4 and 5 of this series, I cover patrolling and positioning bass - the patrolling element here is the bass moving through with the tide but with a successful method being to cast the lures (soft plastics, hard and surface) straight up the gullies, but as close to and as parallel to the rocks as possible.
The positioning element is that I've found during rough conditions bass will wait at the base of the promontory of rocks and wait for items to be swished towards them (circled in the image below). Under these conditions expect to be hit very close to your stance. Indeed, it can often pay to position yourself further down the line of rocks and cast into the gully with a view to the lure moving more naturally into the 'hot zone' so to speak.
Images 5 and 6 are of the same venue seen during different states of the tide. It is similar to the type of mark above in that the rock formations 'funnel' anything that is being washed with the waves/current towards your stance. The seabed is sandy with the overall depth on a high spring tide being around 15 ft therefore, it does dry up on a very low water spring tide.
Again, these are great types of marks as they can be fished with a high degree of confidence in most (except severe) weather conditions with all types of lures. What more could you ask for!! A 5lb+ Bass nailing you, that's what!
Many thanks for this Marc. You all have a good weekend. Still crying after last Saturday’s rugby, but in truth all that seems so insignificant when yet again we are so sadly reminded how much hatred there exists in the world. What can you say to the families so suddenly torn apart like that? There are no easy answers and I guess we pull our children in close and reiterate how hatred is such a pointless narrative by which to live one’s life………….