I refuse to believe that every single bass does a disappearing act
Whilst it's hardly the easiest time of year to go chasing bass on lures, I simply don't believe that they all get together sometime and decide that yep, now is the time to sod off to wherever we go and not come back until perhaps later on in spring. There seem to be certain areas of the country where bass do indeed make themselves very scarce throughout the colder months, but around here there is still a chance. A mate of mine had a small bass on a lure around here on Monday morning, and we nipped out yesterday morning for a couple of hours to see if we could nab one before this storm comes in today - ok, so no fish, but Mark did say that it was I think three years ago to the day that he landed his best (non-Irish) bass from the exact spot we were fishing..........
So it's still possible. I don't know what we might get weather wise over the next few months, but so far our winter has been pretty mild and the sea temperature seems to be still hovering around 12 degrees. Nobody ever said that trying to nail a few bass on lures was ever going to be easy at this time of year, but we had some good fishing in December, and if the weather kinda stays on the side of "normal winter", then I reckon it ain't all over yet. Sure, you've got more days when the water is blown out, and from my limited experience the bass do seem to be fairly localised. I can generally find some stunning water further west when it's blown out up here (unless it blows due south and then it's cabin fever time), but whereas we were catching fish there a while back, it just seems to be devoid of bass at the moment - we could be doing things wrong though, I fully accept that.
I do find that trying to catch bass on lures around now is more often than not a case of all that finesse based stuff flying right out of the window - rougher seas, surging swells and stronger winds tend to call for certain lures and techniques. Yesterday for example I would have loved to slowly pull a soft plastic past a specific rock in the rip-current that rough conditions often create, but with a surging south westerly swell and a lively cross wind, for the life of me I could not control a light lure to be able to fish like that. A better lure angler than me I am sure could have done better, but what's fishing if not the perfect excuse to keep on learning?
One thing I do notice is that for all me thinking around say mid-November time that it's going to be time to start breaking out all the much warmer clothing, still it's rare down here that I'm having to wear the kind of bulky garments I used to wear in my winter bait days - is this a case of clothing being better these days, or is it the fact that with my lure fishing I am tending to move around that bit more and not get cold standing or sitting in one spot for longer periods? I used to do a lot more winter night fishing I suppose, but apart from feeling the cold a bit more in my hands as I get older (I never used to wear gloves for fishing!!), all I tend to do at this time of year is change my under-wader wear from the Under Armour Heat Gear leggings over to the slightly thicker and warmer Cold Gear leggings and (tightish, and yes, it's not designed for my kind of body shape) top, with various other thin layers to suit, and most likely some kind of waterproof jacket. Warm enough for the bulk of what winter throws at us down here, but still very easy to move around in. Men in tights.
I have been trying out some new gear recently, and in due course I will report back here. The new "budget" Sunline 8-strand braid, Sunline Super PE8 is bright orange (love the colour), retails around the £30 mark, and so far it's doing great. I have been trying out some of the Stormr range of waterproof clothing for a while now - my experiences have varied from good to "surprised" shall we say, but again, full reports will be on here in due course. These Vision Ikon waders I have got here continue to perform pretty much flawlessly, and I am starting to wonder if for the price you can get them at whether I have used a better pair of chest waders. More to come, and let's see what happens over the next few months with weather and fish.