Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is it sometimes as simple as "matching the hatch" ?

A few times when I've been out bass fishing recently there have been some mackerel around as well. This does of course help with my girls continuing to think that Dad is actually pretty cool when he brings a few fish home for them to eat - and yes, I know this perception will change as they hit the teenage years, so you will I am sure forgive me for milking it while they are still young !! My daughters aside though, my friend Mark has been doing pretty well on the bass at a spot we fish together on the south Cornish coast, and it wasn't really until I got back from fishing on Monday evening that I put two and two together and came up with five.........

We're never going to come close to fully understanding the ocean and the things that swim within - some of these lure colours we use and catch on to me don't look anything like a potential prey species that might swim in our waters and get munched by the bass. When did you last see a cotton candy coloured sandeel or mackerel swimming around ? Or a white one ? But crumbs do these weird and wonderful lure colours work sometimes, which then makes me think how we "see" the colours compared to how fish might "see" them. If I go too far down this road though my brain starts to fry and I end up waking even earlier in the morning with all kinds of strange thoughts trying to get out.

Anyway, recently Mark has nailed a fair few bass on the MegaBass Zonk Gataride in that Cruising Blue colour. Plenty of bass anglers know how well this particular lure can work, but the actual lure aside, I reckon that Cruising Blue colour is not a million miles away from a mackerel's colouration. Early on Sunday morning Mark was catching a few bass while I was getting only plucks at my lures but with no hook-ups. I went and put on a little MegaBass FX9 lure that I always carry with me and clip on sometimes when I think that it's worth turning to a smaller hard lure. Now by pure chance the FX9 that I have (or had) happens to be the Cruising Blue colour and pretty much straight away I had bass on it. I say "had" because I went and snagged it up and lost it on Monday evening after it worked again for me - and Mark was still catching on that Cruising Blue Gataride. Was it a case of "matching the hatch" as they do in fly fishing ? I need to ask Mark why he put that particular lure on - was it the colour or was it because it was the Gataride ?

Last Saturday morning there was nothing happening at all on the hard lures save for a garfish that one of the lads took off the top. It was a different mark that runs out mainly to sand and it's the kind of place you expect there to be shoals of sandeels hanging around. Now I am not even going to try and claim that I cleverly "matched the hatch" and had some success, because quite frankly that would be a load of crap. Because the only colour of those 6'' OSP DoLive sticks that was available when I bought some was "Wakasagi" (code TW101), those were the ones I had with me. I put one on and pretty quickly hooked what felt like a half-tidy bass only for it to come off. OK, so no bass were landed, but it then got me thinking how that "Wakasagi" colour sure does look like a sandeel to me, plus of course that the only fish hooked was on a soft plastic fished weightless/weedless - and then the brain starts whirring and I'm back to square one !! I can get my head around fish hitting a lure that looks to us like something they might eat, but if this is simple logic then how on earth does one explain why a bass nails something that to us has a colouration that looks nothing remotely like their natural prey species ? There are I am sure plenty of theories flying around, but can we ever actually know why or why not ?