So what actually happens to the bass ?
As saltwater anglers we do of course have no choice but to accept that every single year is different, indeed if we could predict the weather, conditions and exact movements of fish then I doubt whether there would actually be any fish left in the sea. But what actually happens to a fish like the bass when you get an early year like we have had ? Where do they go or where do they stay when they are not coming inshore at the times we might "normally" expect them to ?
I don't know that much about what bass do when they aren't around here for example, but I have personally never subscribed to every single bass suddenly feeling the onset of winter and heading to the southwest approaches to spend the winter getting unceremoniously slaughtered by pair-trawlers. If all the bass go away, then how for example does one explain the fact that around here you can get some decent fishing into January if you get the right conditions ? How about the numbers of big bass they catch (slaughter ?) off the grounds known as the Sark reefs in winter ?
Take somewhere like Kerry in Ireland. Get the conditions right and they can get some incredible bait fishing for bass during the winter months, and I mean that horrible Xmas to say end of March period that I so despise. Conditions, conditions. I heard of some fishing over there early in the year and then like everywhere it died with those weeks and weeks of cold winds. Now the winds shift around and conditions become more favourable and guess what ? I am hearing of bass being caught again. But where were these fish and what were they doing when perhaps they would have more usually been inshore and feeding hard ?
It's been as tough on the south coast of Ireland where I go a lot. Again I heard of a bit of good bass fishing early on that then died with the weather, and like with Kerry I am now hearing of the bass starting to turn up again. If we accept that the start to this year was somewhat freaky and that like us the fish must have been a little "thrown", where do they go and what do they do when they find their "usual" plans interrupted ? Or do we as anglers read too much into patterns and sometimes forget that every year is different ?
I am not saying around where I live that you won't catch bass in say Feb and March if you really work at it and get the right conditions, but I sure would love to know just out of interest where "our" fish go to until they deem the time is right to head back inshore in numbers. Perhaps they are all in fact being scooped up down west and perhaps it's actually my own ignorance at not knowing where all these fish head for when we are not catching them, but a part of me can't help but wonder more about bass movements in general.
And in the shorter term as well. Let's say the bass fishing season a such is in full swing wherever you are and then the conditions suddenly go from awesome to pants and the fish essentially "disappear" - but where do they suddenly "disappear" to ? Where do they suddenly reappear from when the conditions kick up nice again ? One day you are fishing a coastline that seems to be a desert and the next you've got fish everywhere. Where did the bass go and how did they get inshore again so quickly ? You know when it feels like a switch has been flicked into the on position ? The eternal questions on an angler's mind..............