Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

What on earth is it about coloured water ?

OK, so it may only be a small bass, but I reckon Mark did well to get catch this the other day - all along the coastline we could see masses of churned up coloured water, but with a few cleaner patches dotted around in amongst it all. I did think that the sea might be in a slightly better state after those winds on Monday, but I suppose as fast as a coastline can clear it can also be blown out. The spot we fished had a big clearish patch in front of us that Mark took this fish from before the whole area then became extremely coloured as the water shallowed off on the ebb tide. Mark nailed this bass on a lure that I see him using a lot, and I know he does very well on it - a kind of sandeel coloured DUO Tide Minnow 145 SLD-F. I got hit pretty hard close in on a lure that I am becoming increasingly enamoured with - the IMA Hound 125F Glide. There are some awesome casting lures out there, but I have personally not come across a 125mm size lure that flies quite like this thing, and I can't tell you hard it almost seems to "grip" the sea when it's humping in. And the action...........

Anyway, it got me thinking yet again about the whole coloured water issue when it comes to lure fishing for bass. I am not saying that there were hundreds of bass lining up to hit our lures, but there was not a hint of a fish once the area in front of us coloured up badly - and I have seen this happen plenty of times before - as perhaps you have. Surely fish are so well adapted that they can just as easily "feel" a lure (or prey) in the water, or am I way off the mark here ? It begs the question as to what fish bass actually use to hunt. I keep thinking about almost stupidly coloured water in the Bristol Channel where you might hammer cod on bait, but then you can catch them on lures say in a crystal clear Norwegian fjord. What senses are the fish really using ?

But as much as I think that too much colour or murk in the water can kill bass fishing on the open coast (perhaps depending on where you fish of course), I can think of one spot in particular at the back of Dungarvan Bay for example that is always coloured, and from time to time we hammer fish there. So why are the bass there seemingly perfectly happy to move around and feed in such coloured water ? Are they used to it or do they alter something within themselves to almost acclimatise to this water ? And when we talk about colour in the water, are there in fact different kinds of colour that have been caused by different means ?

An estuary mark might tend to be coloured because of murky freshwater pouring into it that for the most part actually sits on top of the saltwater, whereas a shallow open coast location might colour up via the sand, mud and weed becoming dislodged in rougher weather and then mixing with the water. Does this affect how the fish hit lures, because a part of me thinks that perhaps a bass finds it almost uncomfortable to feed in water that has lots of sand, weed and mud churning around, but then the other part of me thinks that this has to be garbage because of how awesome bait fishing for bass can be in the surf - where it's all churned up of course. I guess that because I am a human being I would like there to be some cut and dried reason as to why coloured water can mess the fishing up, but I just don't think there is a definitive "this is exactly why" here, and I bet that some of you reading this are wondering what on earth I am on about because you catch bass all the time on the open coast in coloured water. Help !!