Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

How fast can a bass move when it wants to kill something?

If there is one thing I am far more comfortable with in lure fishing these days, it’s fishing various lures much slower when required, but via my growing obsession with the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel I can’t help but wonder how fast a bass can actually move when it really wants to zone in and eat the lure/kill some kind of prey. I remember out in Italy in April when we were chasing bluefin tuna on Le Crazy (photos here), and on a couple of occasions I managed to see the outrageous ease with which a tuna could chase after a fast moving Crazy Sandeel and nail it. Look at the shape of a tuna though and you expect them to move like a missile - but what about our bass? How fast can they actually move? Wow I would love to see some professional underwater footage of bass on the hunt for fast moving prey.

I was out for a quick dangle on Tuesday, and whilst I tend to fish this particular spot around the HW and down, I needed to be back to look after my girls when my wife went out for the evening - and to be honest it was a good excuse to check the place out on the LW and the first of the push. Conditions were ok, albeit I’d have liked a bit more sea and lower light, but it was a chance to get out bassing after a week away in the US, plus I wanted to try out this brand new Major Craft N-One 9’ 10-30g lure rod I have just been kindly sent to have a play with - crumbs……

Over some parts of the mark there was actually more water there than I had realised, but I didn’t get a sniff on any hard lures or weedless soft plastics I tried, and it wasn’t until about half an hour into the push that I clipped on a 150mm/10g Crazy Sandeel and got nailed. It was a small but very welcome bass, but what continues to amaze me the most is how easily these fish seem to be able to nail a fast moving lure like the Crazy Sandeel, and also how they just engulf it. Even if I wasn’t an advocate of fishing with barbless hooks I would be crushing the barbs on Le Crazy because the bass just seem to inhale it, indeed I reckon that little bass would have died on me if I hadn’t been able to simply push my finger down on the bend of the hook and have it so easily slip out. Holy cow they nail it.

Now I was fishing my Crazy Sandeel at a fair old pace, as in you can very easily feel the lure start to do its rather seductive vibrating sort of swim when you rip the rod tip back properly. Too slow and the lure feels dead, but get the right speed and it just comes to life, and the pointy shaped jig heads are obviously designed to get the lure dropping fast and thus also fishing properly on the drop when you complete a “rip” of the rod tip and the lure of course drops down as you reel back to it for another “rip”. Does that make sense? I compare the speed at which this lure needs to move to say how slowly I was fishing a white senko on a beach in Ireland a few weeks back (check here), and it’s night and day. But that small bass just crunched my Crazy Sandeel with what I must assume was considerable ease - it’s a shame we so rarely get to see bass hitting lures, but in a situation like that I can’t help but wonder just how fast they can go when they want to.

Now it was hardly an epic bass session, but I moved around a bit, tried a few different hard lures to no avail, and I then found some deeper water and this time clipped on a 150mm/20g Crazy Sandeel. Pretty quickly I dropped a small bass and then landed one, but a few more taps later and I had to head for home. As before I was ripping the Crazy Sandeel nice and fast, albeit I don’t really know how fast the thing’s moving compared to say me, a load of adrenaline, a decent hard lure and a bouncy sea!! All I know is that for all my learning how to slow down when required and without doubt catching more bass because of it, there does seem to be a time and a place for ripping the hell out of various lures - and as is the case with a lot of my lure fishing, my continual learning about various techniques tends to be driven by particular lures and how one might work them, and yes, I am mildly obsessed with this Fiiish Crazy Sandeel and what it seems to be able to do for me in the right locations. Food for thought? Anybody know how fast bass can actually swim if they have to?

Below are some previews of my work in the next issue of Sea Angler magazine, on the shelves very soon I believe. Have a good weekend all of you - smash ‘em. And of course a big congratulations to Richard Cake of Dorset Fishing Rods (interview with him here) for winning the recent 2015 Irish Bass Festival. Not only can the guy bass fish a bit!!, but he can also build a mean rod. Well done sir.