I had an entirely different blog post lined up for today. However it is fair to say that right now I am buzzing. The buzz that only fishing can give you. To be honest I really should have been sat at the fly tying vice sorting some sand eel patterns for James & Cian of Absolute Fishing … but instead I went fishing. Sorry guys!
Heading out to the North Devon coast with long time angling buddy Wayne Thomas the goal was to catch a Bass, not with flies, but with lures. It might seem like stepping backwards, using lure tactics when I have caught a stack load of Devon Bass with fly. But that’s not what this blog post is about. If you want to know my feelings on fly/lure crossover fishing then have a look here.
For this inaugural Devon lure outing I could not have been in better company. Wayne is a well known all round angler with a few books to his name and regular articles in the angling press. This guy knows his stuff, so much so that last week we aborted the trip because a strong North Westerly had “blown” the area we had hoped to fish. Believe me learning all about tides and weather systems is all important if you fancy tackling the salt; that is with fly or lure. So if you can find a sea fishing mate as knowledgeable as Wayne, hang on to their every word. There is a safety aspect too.
All that stood between the mouth watering looking ground and our lures was a pretty impressive near vertical climb over a series of jagged rocks. I followed Wayne very carefully! It was well worth it as he had dropped us right on to some of the ground that I have come to know as Bass country through my travels to Ireland with Henry Gilbey. This place looked just right!
Within 5 minutes Wayne had landed a Bass on an IMA Komomo SF-125 in the Plasma Candy colour. OK, so the lure was almost as big as the Bass, but it was a great start in my eyes! At least there were some fish around. And then he moved! Always willing to experiment Wayne had gone off to have a play with some soft plastics, so without any hesitation I jumped into his spot and gave the area a bit of a pasting with a Feed Shallow (or is that a Shallow Feed?!) No joy.
Looking into the depths of my new Shimano lure box (thanks to James Barry for the heads up on that) my eyes settled on the Megabass X-140 GG in what I think is the Inakko colour. Don’t ask me why it is called Inakko, it doesn’t matter. All I do know is that it reminds me of a Sandeel, has a really nice action and is easy to use for a lure beginner like me. There was a fair bit of water clarity too so I felt that something not too garish which I had confidence in would be worth a chuck. It was!
I am not too sure who was more surprised, me or the Bass! What I did know was that it was a good bit bigger than the lure as it stuck a lovely curve into my Mazzera 742, (just 7’ 4” and a dream to cast) an ultra lightweight rod that offers real sport with these fish. Making sure the fish did not dive and cut my braid I soon had it on the surface, caught a wave and it was mine! We reckoned it was 3lb, a school fish by most standards, especially Ireland. But I did not care one bit and the fish might even have been 2lb. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been even less although I had better get myself a new BogaGrip, just in case!
I will always remember that fish it because it was my first lure caught Bass, on the coast of Devon. The light was not great for pictures but I think the grin says it all, moments later the fish was back home possibly wondering how it had been so daft as to take an X140 dangled b y a newbie! For the rest of the session I kicked myself that living so close to our glorious coast line that I have not been out there pounding the mile upon mile of wonderful ground available. Our session did not start and finish there because we had some more follows and in one excellent spot where the water really came to life as the tide flooded we rapidly increased our tally to 4 fish apiece. These were small schoolies up to a pound and a half although I connect briefly with another half reasonable looking specimen that shook the lure and we had a real thrill seeing fish chase the lures to the rocks.
Could I have caught these fish with fly? Quite possibly and next time maybe I will give it a go especially as the long range casting qualities of the lure fishing gear had helped to show where the fish hang out. But I have to say that once again I cannot thank Wayne enough because it was his knowledge regarding where to find those fish that was so important, leading to my first Devon Bass on a lure. We must have been on the right track as we bumped into Joel Squires who has had some serious Bass this season and operates a lure guiding service. Anyway I had better shut up waffling and go and do some work … and tie those flies … although I might just sneak a look at the tides first. Er Houston “we have a problem”.