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The wild Cornish Coast

The wild Cornish Coast

At sunset Dicentrachus labrax trolls the shoreline at high and low tide for crabs, worms and any unsuspecting fish to fulfill its hunger and hunting instinct.

The bass prized as one of the foremost gamefish of the sea, it is wily, powerful, awesomely fast and when hooked has unparalleled aggression. The fact that this fish can be found along some of the wildest, unspoilt coastline around the British Isles means it holds such allure for game fishers and sport anglers.

A selection of bass lures

A selection of bass lures

Without question you are more likely to catch a bass on bait, crabs, mackerel, lug or ragworm and something that never seems to fail to get their attention is squid.

During the month of September I will fish in a bass competition to be held in Brighton. It never ceases to amaze me how well Brighton and Shoreham fish for these predators of the sea. Their bright silver flanks, sharp dorsal fin and razor-sharp gill plates are their dominant features.

Catching bass becomes a passion, another fish I target is sea bream. For me catching a bass in the rolling surf is what it’s about but over the years some have fallen to baits cast from boats off known marks. Bass off the Cornish Coast seem to hang around for longer but head out into the Atlantic by mid January. I have heard of good-sized bass being caught off the Sussex beaches over the Christmas break and New Year.

Lures for natural born killers

Lures for natural born killers

Bass are opportunist feeders usually feeding in loose packs covering the seabed with speed, they will chase sand eels, baitfish, crabs, juvenile mackerel and any edible molluscs. So make sure you have a good range of lures and spinners and always travel light.

We started bass fishing at Seaford Head a few years ago when we met a group of ‘old salts‘ who were fishing off a slip way and over an outflow pipe…there is another story but I’ll write this up another day. Well baited hooks of lugworm, mackerel and squid were order of the day but after several hours fishing and a few  losses of end tackle none were to be caught. However that day we made some new friends and they embraced the enthusiasm of my young son.

There is a  great book on bass fishing by John Darling printed by The Crowood Press, I can recommend this as an essential addition to any fisherman’s library.

I will add other posts on bass fishing over the next few weeks but if you haven’t tried it give it a go as you will get hooked.

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