Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

How light do we go for our bass fishing ?

It's about that time of year now when an ever increasing bunch of anglers break out the ultra-light lure gear and start hammering all kinds of fish on soft lures especially. LRF, ultra-light, call it what you will, in the end it's just fishing to me, and personally I think that we as anglers can sometimes get far too hung up on what stuff is called rather than concentrating on going fishing and having fun. It still sickens me to read stuff on forums where various anglers seem to delight in running down "other" kinds of lure fishing that is not say blasting big minnows to the horizon on long rods, but that I guess is merely a reflection of real life and the pettiness that some people are always going to delight in. What ever happened to live and let live ? If there is one thing that this ultra-light lure fishing proves to me is that yet again, if you use balanced gear then you are putting the odds in your court a whole lot more when it comes to landing the fish you hook. And I am hearing more and more about how scaling down and fishing for what is actually there during our colder months especially is really helping anglers out when it comes to their bass fishing.

But how light do we go for our bass fishing ? I will never as long as I live understand going light merely for going light's sake. I don't get the whole IGFA light line records thing when fish are sometimes fought for so long that they have to end up almost dying of boredom and simply giving in. The ultra-light lure anglers are scaling right down because they need to for the fish they are targeting and the way in which they are fishing. Look at the rod above. It's an 8' Daiwa Branzino bending into a bass. The fish was not very big, but the conditions were fairly "heavy". At no point was the rod ever bottoming out or really struggling though. The rod can bend far, far more than that into a fish, yet in truth most anglers are not sure how far a rod can actually be pushed. We simply do not have the fast or hard running fish that would force us into learning how to really push our gear. My own personal view these days is that modern fishing tackle technology is enabling me more and more to use a good mix of light tackle but with added grunt built in. Why though ? Because I can. Nice and simple, and with no implied undertones to feed the rumour mill that some idiots spend far too much time fanning the flames of (sorry for that, but there is a part of me which worries that if we are not careful we run the slight risk of making lure fishing a bit "elitist", and I despise elitism in fishing because of how it alienates other anglers and especially newcomers).

I suppose I have settled mainly on using different 20lb 8-strand braids for my lure fishing because quite simply I can. Do I need a 20lb mainline and a 20lb fluoro leader to deal with a species of fish that is considered exceptional when it reaches the magical 10lb mark ? No, of course not. But these modern 8-strands are so ridiculously thin and easy to fish with that I am more than happy to up the grunt a bit and fish in my view perfectly effectively with 20lb mainline. Why not ? I want to enjoy hooking and playing fish, but I want to be in control if I can be and win the fight as many times as I can. So why on earth would I not up my advantage if technology is enabling me to do so ? In time I might well go down lower, but for now I just feel happy using this kind of stuff. If I need to go lower because I feel I am missing fish or a particular method demands it then I am entirely comfortable with scaling down, but for now I feel comfortable with the balance I have struck. And if another angler wants to fish in a different way, then good for him or her. Surely one of the most important things in fishing is to have an open mind ?