Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

When every bass feels like a monster and you can’t stop laughing

I grant you that most of us would dearly love to be hooking monster bass all the time, but the reality is that we aren’t - tall stories and wild speculation aside of course. How about catching a heap of fish that never went more than say 6.5lbs yet in my opinion gives one about as much sheer fishing pleasure as this sport can possibly give? A snorting run of current, everything from ridiculous amounts of rain to blazing sunshine, plenty of feeding bass over a few days, and a bunch of anglers laughing away and revelling in the glorious act of hooking fish that feel like at least double their weight in that fast moving water. It’s awesome.

I absolutely love it, and I have done since I first went lure fishing like this. Of course bass fishing is so much about bouncy conditions on the rocks and fizzed up fish, but a big part of what draws me so much to these special fish is how much more there is to them than I ever could have imagined. If I fished for bass in only one way I think my interest would have waned pretty quickly, indeed my ignorance of these fish and how varied their habits are is something that continues to fascinate me. Never for one second did I imagine that I could let soft plastics do their own thing in a strong run of current moving over shallow sandy water and hammer bass - Czech-nymphing of the lure world if you like.

It’s the hit and the scrap, and because that current is running so fast, a 3lb bass feels like something very special indeed. Cast out, snap the bale arm over straight away because the water is so shallow, simply hold the rod and really feel the lure trundling away, and then concentrate on something different happening. Either the bass jumps on the end and the rod tip slams over because it’s impaled itself in that fast water, or else you get a few taps and you follow the fish around and wait for that hard hit to then strike the hook home.

Most of the fish we caught have been on that MegaBass XLayer rigged on around 18g jig heads, a weight of head that seems to work in that particular current - but because XLayers today seem not to be so well made as they once were and the rattles in them keep smashing or falling out, I had a think and came up with an alternative soft plastic lure via cutting things up, adding a rattle, and then putting bits back together with Mend-It. When it went and worked I think I nearly jumped for joy with excitement!! It’s nothing remotely complicated or secretive, just that we are off out fishing again and I will get back to it another time. There are no doubt any number of different lures that would work in those rather specialist conditions, but there does seem to be something to a clicking rattle clicking away as the lure trundles on down the current. What a blast. Around the wild fluctuations in weather on this trip, we’ve caught a bunch of bass and had an absolute giggle. I haven’t said anything about the white senkos on a clean beach in the middle of the night yet - crumbs………