Bass fishing is one of the most exciting parts of the fishing game, the thrill you get when a bass goes for a lure and then runs with it, is something rather special. Bass are a very tough species with very strong predatorily instincts, and are a prize catch for an sea fishing angler. Anglesey is one of the best spots in Europe for bass fishing and you can land yourself a double figure catch here if you know what your doing.
Bass fishing however is not for the smash and grab style of angler, it takes many years of patient practice to get really good. I know some guys in there late 70’s who are what I would call masters of their craft, they are also masters of conservation returning between 95-100% of their seasons catch. but they have put their time in to cultivating excellence in their sport.
Anglesey has a varied coastline with plenty of hotspots for bass, with a little knowledge and know how, you’ll land your first bass. The tips below should give you some valuable knowledge to begin with that will edge you towards success..
1. Go light with the kit
The right weight kits is of the utmost importance, choose your bass fishing kit carefully, Find a rod and reel that is balanced well for lure fishing. My choice is a Savage Bushwhacker and a Abu Soron 40 reel. Having the correct weight kit will save you back problems and enable you to move fast an efficiently whilst on the hunt.
2. Choose the right set up
As I mentioned above you have to decide what constitutes the right out fit for your needs. Considerations should be as follows : Length and weight of rod for the areas and you want to fish, Glass fibre or carbon, size and weight of reel. This will determine, your casting range and comfort which will ultimately have an impact on your enjoyment and therefore your success- in my experience.
3. Lures, pick them carefully
There are thousands of lures to choose from, most of them are crap. A few work, the more simple the better. There is no one size firs all function as I have hundreds of types and some work better than others, at different locations in different seasons..Keep it simple. Eddy stone eels in black an white, Savage lead heads work form me and my friends well, in bright colours (orange, white and greens).
4.Speak to locals
There is a massive short cut you can make, and I mean massive. Go find local anglers and talk to them enthusiastically. Ask them questions, tell them you are learning, look at their set up, look at their kit, where they are fishing, what lures they’re are using.. Ask them some detailed questions and tell them how you have been getting on, create a dialog. Don’t go straight for the information jugular and ask how many vast they have had and when, they wont tell you. We are a secretive bunch of people who guard our spots with great care because of a vast majority of greedy anglers who exploit resources. Instead, be friend local anglers and offer your knowledge in turn for theirs.
5. Where do you go
Ah yes the most sort after question that I get.. Almost daily now I get Questions on where do I catch … there is honestly no fixed answer to this. One of my mentors who taught me to bass fish Richard, showed me the type of seabed and seaweed that bass like to inhabit and then my pool of knowledge grew from there. Estuaries, brackish water and powerful currently are where bass lie. Most all beaches with rocky coves and reefs will hold them. West coast reigins on Anglesey work well.. Look for Big boulders that are scattered across the shore that have weed around them.
6. What time to fish
Dusk and Dawn and night……These are the most productive times that I have most of my catches. Time these with a rising tide and you are onto a winner.
7.Daylight and tides
So as the sun rises and sun sets most predatory fish are hunting, you need to fit in with their time table if you are serious about bagging descent bass. Middle of the day in bring sunlight when all chaos on the after is braking out is no good, think like a fish! Tides : Simple .. Rising tides work best, as the bass are moving up the beach with the tide looking for crab and fish
8.So lunar theory
So lunar theory is the combination of the suns and moons magnetic effect on the feeding habits of fish. It is outstanding for predicting feeding habits of bigger predatory fish. The relation of the suns positon and the moons positon in the sky will determine some of your success, I can grantee that. Look for Sun setting on the horizon and moon rising on the other. That is a killer combination magnetically that gets the fish feeding hard. Think of the moon and sun in their four cardinal positions. 12,3,6,9 o’clock. Then also experiment and notice when your fishing and what is going on above you..
Fluro carbon is an almost invisible line that we use for tying the lure, via snap link to the swivel which connects through to the braided line. Success rates have drastically improved by using this line and its quite an advancement in tech. Try it and see if your catch rates increase. I like to use 20ld plus in breaking strain.
10. Choose your lure weight correctly
So the type of lures that I use are at the moment weighted lead heads, if the wind is blowing inshore then you have to increase the weight of your lures accordingly to get the distance you need to cast out. I use 3oz lead heads upto 15mph in wind. I will also use 18-30gram lures sometimes 40g if the wind is blowing. Im not saying the fish are always far out, but you sill have to cast beyond the rocky shelfs..
Summer lure fishing (which is what this blog is based on ) is best on calmer days when the evening wind drops and water becomes clear. So calm days in summer over rocky outcrops work well for me, if there is a little wind, it also works, if the temperature drops below 10c however the feeding cycles get disrupted and I find my catch rates drop with change in weather.
Sustained high pressure seems to be a winner for me, I cant vouvh for everyone else, but there is a certainly a correlation between calm waters, visibility, and catch rates..Sunny with calm waters as mentioned above.
Summer Bass fishing starts actually in spring and runs through to Autumn, however small bass stay to over winter here in north wales while the bigger bass head out to sea on their migratory routes. So April through to October works well for me in north wales.
14. Move don’t stay static
When targeting bass the best thing is to move and not keep so static, try one area for fifteen minutes, if doesn’t work, move and test another area, keep testing and trying until you find where they are, don’t stay static..
15. What is nature doing around you?
One of the most important tips I can give is to open your eyes to what’s going on around you.. Watch what the birds are doing up above you and in the water. They have an advantage.. A birds eye view! Turns will dive for sand eel, which are being pushed to the surface by mackerel and bass, Cormorants are doing the same but from the surface level and seagulls will linger watching for a scavenge. But all of them will tell you what’s going un beneath the surface of the water.
16. Find the edge
Look for patterns in the water where back eddies and rip currents lie, on these you will see a boundary between two layers of water, which creates a shear zone where fish lie in ait to ambush smaller predators for food. Take advantage of these zones and fish the edge always should one present itself.
17. Be patient
A very good adage for all types of angling. Results come with practice and knowledge. Knowledge comes with time and effort. If you don’t catch the first few times even few months, do not loose hope, keep up the chase and you will be rewarded with your prize.
18. Look that the area at low water
Half of your game plan should be finding 5 spots that you can fish on Anglesey or north wales in different wind conditions.. That means going out at low water and exploring the low tide marks to see what the sea bed topography holds. Look at rocks, weed, food and seabed style. They all will give a good indication that bass will or will not show. You also can see classic areas that will be tackle graveyards and
19. Flooding tides from shore locations
Simple really this one, fish a flooding tide on most locations from the shore. Fish need water on their backs to feel confident, otherwise they will hang back in deeper waters. When the tide rolls in twice daily the fish come in also in tow. So don’t waster your time lure fishing on a dropping tide with lures for bass unless you know specifically that they have been caught on a dropping tide. You want to maximise your fish time efficiently.
20. (80/20) rules
Parablo’s law dictates the 20% of your actions creates 80% of your results. This is true in so many aspects of business and nature. We want to be efficient with our fish time which means distilling down all of the above points to maximise our chances of a catch right? That means having the right rod reel and line, right lure, fishing the right size tide, on the right weather conditions at the right state of tide at the right location using the right tactics at the right tie of day.. get my drift? big tides, evening or mornings, june, july and August, rising tides, 2 hours up, using right lure, at a great location that you already know works from chatting to locals who know ..
21. Short cut
Get tuition.. Yes that’s right, learn from people who already do what you want to do and learn from their 20-30 years of fishing experience before you. Sit, listen, watch and learn. Then apply that knowledge with disciplined dedication, over and over until you succeed. I run courses a few times a year when im back on the island 1-1 with clients ..email me here if you want to improve your catch rates massively!
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Front cover image courtesy of : Me featuring Mr Digby Neill