Not sure conditions could actually be any better

OK, so we're back to freezing cold E/NE winds that are kindly letting us know we are not quite out of winter's grasp just yet, but over the weekend we got a brief window down here when the winds went SW and things warmed up a beauty. Sure, it's March and I was hardly expecting an epic session on the bass, but I have to say that when Andy and I got to our spot on Sunday afternoon, hopes were at least moderately high of a sniff or two........

If only we had had those conditions around the back end of last year was all I could think. Perfection ? Had to be close. Great clarity, almost no suspended weed in the water to do my head in, a pretty big swell for the south coast rolling in, one awesome looking spot that I have some pretty high hopes for this year, but as I said, it's early March and one has to accept that around here it is hardly the time of year when one would expect bass to crawl up your line in their eagerness to be caught. There is always a chance though is there not ?

Well there might well have been, but Andy and I had not even a sniff. Not even a ding on a rock that one could possibly mistake for a bass hit. You will be pleased to know that I did my customary get too close to the waves thing and caught one right in the face - which was nice. As much as we never saw a sign of a fish, I do personally think we are in with a shout around here as and when we lose these infernal cold winds. I am also looking forward to getting out and smashing a few wrasse on plastics as well. I did see some mullet moving around in our local estuary when I was walking with my family on Saturday morning, and I take that as a good sign.

What I did end up doing on Saturday afternoon was mess around with taking the middle trebles off the hard lures I had with me. I used to do this to my Flash Minnows a few years back and I don't quite know why I have not tried it on all my lures that have three trebles on them. Give me all the stuff you want about (carefully) handling bass for photos and then releasing them for example, but I personally just don't think I need potentially nine hook points going into a fish that I am going to put back however big it might get. I have tried those specialist single plugging hooks and I am sure they work just fine, but for some reason the ones I have used seem to rust up too quickly and too badly.

Does removing the middle treble hook adversely affect the lure's action ? Well I know that a few years back I messed around with replacing those awful trebles that come with the awesome Tackle House Feed Shallow and having a few problems getting it right, but for the life of me on the lures I took with me on Saturday afternoon I could not see or feel any difference in how the things were swimming. OK, I was not getting the clearest view because of the swell, but they seemed to be doing ok to me. Any of you have any experiences with this ?

Aside from me not really liking treble hooks anyway (and I have worked with some operations abroad that won't allow them to be used because of the damage they do to the fish - face it, they do), but then having to accept that these lures seem to need them, like you I am sure I need from time to time to replace various treble hooks on my lures that have either got damaged or have rusted up that bit too much for me to feel comfortable using them. There is no getting away from the fact that treble hooks cost a fair bit and if I can minimise my hook replacement costs by putting one set less on a lure that comes with three then I kinda like that as well.

Any hook whether it be treble or single that I use for my lure fishing has the barb(s) crushed. I have brought this up many times before and I still stand by my personal belief that no true sportsman would contemplate sticking potentially nine barbed hooks in a fish that they purport to love and respect so much. I also still stand by my belief that it's anglers losing fish on barbless hooks and not the lack of barbs, but I also accept that many lure anglers don't share my beliefs and that's just fine. Don't damn me though for sticking my head above the parapet. I am though going to continue removing treble hooks from my lures unless I start finding of course that they are being adversely affected.

Who was profoundly worried by the England rugby performance yesterday ? An Italian side we were expected to comfortably put away but if you ask me we were scarily close to actually losing to them. The idea of going to Wales to play for the Grand Slam on Saturday I will admit is making me more worried than it was, but a part of me feels that perhaps this young England side are actually performing at their best when their backs are against the wall - as indeed they will be on Saturday. Whatever the case it's going to be a monster of a game, and I can't wait (nervously)..............