It's not as if you're expecting to clean up when you head out lure fishing for bass on the 25th January in the UK, but considering that down here in Cornwall we seem to be having a relatively "normal" winter so far as regards storms and cold snaps, when you've got good conditions and a nice tide there is still a chance at a few bass on the lure gear. I also happen to subscribe to the fact that unless you go you're never actually going to know, and I also can't bring myself to believe that every single bass gets to a certain point in winter and suddenly sods off. Sure, things can get tough on the fishing front, but getting out and blowing away the cobwebs never hurts anyway.........
Yesterday morning we had some pretty good conditions here in south east Cornwall, with a high tide just after 9am, a nice bit of chop, good looking water, and overcast skies. The water has pretty much cleared up after that blow the other day, indeed the coastline around here seems far less fragile than it was for much of last year after that brutally stormy winter we had - and I can only hope that our winter continues to remain relatively "normal". I picked Mark up and we were fishing before 8am to make sure we got roughly an hour either side of high water.
It is particularly rough ground where we were fishing, beset with gullies and holes plus a section of reef that holds a bunch of long gullies running as good as east to west and lined mostly with sharp rocks that in places stick right out of the water. Anybody with half a clue would look at this ground and think bass, but of course savage ground like this comes with a risk when you fish it - tight lines and sharp rocks offer the potential for a bit of heartbreak on the part of the angler, and I refer you back to a blog post from late last year when I got done by a proper, proper bass. Check here, and yes, it still haunts me.
I am pretty sure that the bass I lost yesterday morning was not quite in the same league as that one, but out it this way, it would have done me proud for nearly February. I tend to think that when you hook a bass over really shallow ground, wind down tight into it and the fish then thrashes on the surface as your rod bangs over hard, then it's a pretty good fish. This bass yesterday morning did that bit of thrashing on the surface, then in a flash it got its head down - and as the fish did that, my braid broke above the leader. OK, so there might well have been some previous damage to my braid that I had not seen, but it just felt like of of those times when your tight mainline is pinged across a horrible sharp rock and it snaps.
That's a couple of good bass I have lost fairly recently, both not far from where I live, and I can't help but think that either I am simply unlucky or else I was doing something wrong. I have no issues with looking at myself and how I fish and trying to work out how to get better. Some people said to me that the bass that broke me on a rock before Xmas was a case of me pulling it too hard. I hear that and I have thought plenty about it, but believe me when I say that I didn't get the chance to pull that particular fish even half as hard as I would have had it stayed on.
The bass I lost yesterday morning happened via a different set of circumstances. I was fishing with a shallow diving hard lure (that killer Duel Hardcore Lipless Minnow 120F in the colour as per the photo above - green back etc.) over some shallow rocky ground that happens to have a bunch of these deepish gullies running parallel to the shoreline. I had whacked the lure as far as I could get it (it's a good casting lure), and I hooked the fish say a third of the way in. How far out is that? I have no idea, and just as I won't put a size on a fish I didn't see, I have no idea how far that lure goes when I cast it - and quite frankly I don't care as long as I hook fish. It's getting out there far enough obviously.
Whilst the loss of that fish annoys me, I also accept the fact that if I choose to put lures over that ground and hook a decent fish a fair way out, then initially at least the fish has the upper hand. However ready I might have been to pull seven bells of hell out of that fish yesterday (and I didn't even get a chance to), I can't control the initial hit, indeed surely why we go fishing is partly for that reason - we just never know what is going to happen. I want that uncertainty, because success then feels even better. I have thought a lot about it and I am going to put it down to fishing being fishing. Bad luck essentially. It could have been some pretty useless angling though, I will grant you that, but whatever the case it was good to get out and hook a good bass at this time of year, and so close to home as well.