Is there anything better than a Sunday when the sun shines like it did yesterday? We made plans to head for a beach that we had never been to before, and would you believe it, but surrounding this particular beach was some coastline that I had been wanting to check out for a while. Now if there is one thing we are good at as a family it's getting our stuff together for a day on the beach - a proper picnic (egg mayo sarnies etc.), wetsuits for the girls, lots of water, nets, spades, buckets, a rod and a reel plus a bit of wrasse gear for me, and Storm of course.
The walk down to the cove was great, and in that weather yesterday the beach and surrounding coastline was just stunning. What an awesome part of the world to live in - so much stuff to do on our doorstep that there is hardly enough time to cram it all in. As a family we don't have anything to do with computer games or other such stuff that helps to keep one away from the great outdoors. My girls see a beach and they know exactly how to get on with enjoying themselves, so I grabbed a bit of fishing gear and headed out onto the cliff path for a bit of a wander. I never get a second's grief about going fishing, but I didn't want to be very long as I just love being on the beach with my family in such fantastic weather.
Perhaps a couple of miles west of where we were was some ground that I had checked out on Bing Maps, so Storm and I got our walking shoes on and headed for it. I had no idea if you could even get down to the section of coastline, but after a bit of up and down we came to what I was hoping it might look like from my internet based "research" - some truly awesome looking ground that I imagine might chuck up a few decent bass when there's a bit of a sea running from the south or south west. I would also imagine that there would be some good wrasse fishing around here and I wanted a few quick chucks to get a quick feel for the place.
So I get down to the water's edge and rig up the wrasse gear - a small 4'' green sort of paddletail on a Texas rig. The ground looks pretty staggering and I cast into the roughest bit of stuff I could see. I'm looking around and trying to imagine what it might all look like with say a decent southerly wind whipping in and putting some proper fizz on the water. I am standing on a ledge and bumping that Texas rig along the bottom and I then take a proper look right beneath my feet.
OK, so this is a GT in the Seychelles, but you get my drift - seeing fish, very exciting!
And holy cow if there aren't a couple of bass lying right there. Seriously, plain as day (Costas of course, they're so good it should be illegal) there are two bass holding just off the bottom with their heads towards me. The larger is about 4lbs and the smaller one about 3lbs. I nearly did what my brother once did when he saw a big pike on the River Kennet (he fell in with excitement and spooked it), but I managed to hold myself back and instead do everything else wrong that you could imagine. Talk about fish fever taking over.............
I wound the wrasse gear in, lent right over the ledge (don't break a natural horizon Henry) to get a better look at the bass, and then proceeded to drop the Texas rig right on their heads. Nope, not out in front of them or even me crouch down to get in a better position - no way, because that would have been some mildly skilful stuff. That would have been the sort of stuff that an angler who hadn't suffered severe cabin fever through the stormiest winter he can remember would have nice and calmly done. He would have thought about the situation and come up with a plan. But not me. Nope, that Texas rig dropped right upon their unsuspecting heads like a stone.
And would you believe it the bastards spooked? OK, so in reality it was gin clear, very bright and flat calm yesterday, and I was not out there to try and catch bass - but if you see fish you could of course be in with a chance, or at least you could be if you could retain an element of self control and fish at least with a modicum of skill. I could write a pretty decent article for Sea Angler on how not to do it if I added up every single thing I did wrong yesterday, and I am not afraid to admit that my complete overexcitement was my downfall. I saw a couple of bass and I messed up. I can think of any number of different things I might have done even with the wrasse gear I had with me (how about simply dead-drifting a senko rigged weedless/weightless down to those bass while I held back, crouched down all Ninja-like?), but no, I cocked it up and spooked the living daylights out of the fish. I chalk it down to experience - or lack of!!
But at least I saw them, and I saw them nervously swimming around a couple more times as well, no doubt giving me the bird and having a good giggle. How much confidence does it give you though to (quickly) fish new ground when you check it out and actually see the very fish you hope you might one day catch from there? I only had a few brief chucks for wrasse and failed to connect with a couple of bites, but I had done what I set out to do on my detour from the beach - find the ground, have a good look at it, work out how to get in and out of there, and proven to myself that it was going to be worth coming back when the conditions for bass are somewhat more favourable. And like we sometimes do, I have worked through what I did wrong in my head to the point that I now blame the bass and not myself!! Anyway, back to the beach, the egg sarnies and my family. What a fantastic day.