SUMMER NIGHTS

A gentle surf pushed into the beach as I strolled in the shallow water enjoying the coolness in the late afternoon heat. I searched the water for the fish I had been told would be there amongst the bathers. Amongst a slightly foamy coloured band of water, I found what I was looking for hundreds of mullet darting to and fro apparently feasting up on an algal feast.

I cast expectantly with a team of flies designed to attract the wily mullet. As the waves turned mullet could be seen in the small waves some of them a decent size. I suspected that many were golden greys though the size of some indicated that thick lips were amongst them.

A couple of times the line zipped tight but contact could not be made. As the tide started to flood the activity increased with swirling mullet all around. I cast repeatedly trying slow retrieves, quicker retrieves and static drifts. Frustration grew, the tide flooded and all of sudden they were gone.

The following night I stood upon a boulder strewn shoreline armed with a lure rod. A surface lure was cast out and worked back across the still water. The sun was descending as the day faded a golden glow of fiery light. A large swirl behind the lure gave hope. Hundreds of fish could be seen dimpling the surface. Mullet again! The fly rod was in the van but I was too lazy or too focussed on the bass to switch tactics. Another night I will return with a few bread flies and some floating crust to get them feeding. Some would say that’s cheating; but perhaps we sometimes make things too difficult for ourselves.

As the light faded expectation grew as the tide gently pushed in. An hour after dark I heard a swirl in the calm water. Next cast my soft plastic was seized, a welcome jolt of life through the line. A bass of a couple of pounds saved a blank.

The moon slowly rose above the hill, lights reflected in the mirror calm sea. The cool night air, the aroma of seaweed and fresh sea air. These summer nights are to be cherished for all too soon autumn and winter will descend bringing different challenges.

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Bass on the lure

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Gary Moore enjoyed a weeks holiday in Woolacombe and messaged me asking if I could give a few pointers as to where he might catch a few bass. I was delighted when Gary messaged me to say he had enjoyed success on several short sessions in area.

Lure Fishing Season Starting to Pick Up.

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General consensus is that the fishing year is running at least a month late with lure fishing for bass in particular only just starting to pick up. High Street Tackle in Ilfracombe is run by lure fishing enthusiast Danny Watson who tells me that interest in lure fishing is at an all time high. The shop stocks a vast range of lures from many major companies with hard plastics, soft plastics in every variation of weight size and colour. Advice is at hand as to how to rig and fish the lures. High Street tackle are sponsoring Combe Martin SAC,s annual lure fishing competition that runs from July 1st until September 5th. The competition is open to paid up club members with a first prize of up £200 of quality lure tackle with £100 for the runner up.

Danny Watson of High Street Tackle with the winners of last years Lure competition.

Sixty Perch four over 3lb – Roadford Bonanza

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Roadford Perch success for John Deprieelle with four fish over 3lbs!
“These were the best of the day. Only started late afternoon and ended up with 60 odd fish. Mostly up to a pound in weight but topped off with these 4 and lost an even bigger one close to the boat. Great sport on soft plastic lures fished at various depths. The key was to keep moving until you find them. If you’re not catching then don’t hang around.”

Luring An Evening brace

As autumn descends upon us the evenings draw in and it seems essential to try and fit in those short evening sessions with the lure rod before darkness descends and many of us turn to bait fishing. There is of course the opportunity to catch bass after dark with the lure but this is something I always intend to try but tend to shy away from as I feel slightly uncomfortable wading the boulder strewn marks I prefer whilst fishing alone.

This season I have fished far more using weedless soft plastics and have enjoyed some success using the Megabass spindle worms.  This 5.5 inch lure gives me confidence as it is retrieved sending a pleasing pulsing action back through the light braid to the rod. I love fishing really shallow water as the tide floods in and have discovered that the bass will move into water less than a foot deep.

Whilst I carry a selection of lures I only tend to alternate between half a dozen patterns.

I arrived at my chosen mark as the tide was starting to flood and searched the shallow boulder strewn foreshore after ten minutes a flash of silver appeared just a few feet from where I stood slamming into the lure with ferocity. After a spirited battle at close range the bass of around 3lb 8oz was beached.

I fished on confident of further success and twenty minutes later the lure was hit by a far bigger fish that made an impressive reel screaming dash for freedom in the shallow water. A handsome bass of around 6lb was admired and its image captured before release.

The autumn months can offer the best chance of the year to catch that elusive double figure bass. At one time I believed the best chance of a double lay with a big bait. Now I am not so sure and feel confident that persistence with the lure will pay dividends eventually.

Ross Stanway – Wins Lure Competition

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Danny Watson – High Street Tackle, Middle – Wayne Thomas, Right – Winner Ross Stanway

Ross Stanway (Right) has won this years Combe Martin SAC  Lure Fishing Competition sponsored by Ilfracombe’s High Street Tackle. Ross takes away a top of the range N- One lure fishing rod from Major Craft. The winning bass neared 70 cm and was calculated to weigh over 9lb. Wayne Thomas was Runner who won an impressive bundle of quality lures. (Middle) with a bass of 62cm estimated at 6lb.