Excuse the semi-cryptic title. I’ll start with the Bass fishing and it’s been quite something of late. Now, every dog has its day and where Bass fishing is concerned it’s not unheard of to stumble upon some good fish once a year, maybe twice and as they are a species that can pop up anywhere provided you have a line in the water you have a chance of a proper fish, the 7lb’s, 8’s and above are what I’d say are ‘proper’ fish, potentially PB’s for a lot of anglers. My best is 9lb-12oz and although I can’t join the double figure club I can join the waiting list but while I may dream of that being a topwater caught fish in 18″ of water at dawn it was caught on a tiny strip of Mackerel designed for Bream and this proves that even this old dog can have his day. What’s tough is to catch by design, on lures, consistently. Well something has dropped into place recently. We (Adam K and Chris W) have been putting more effort into finding these bigger Bass that we know occupy our patch but we needed several things to drop into place.
- Hours in. Being prepared to blank and go several hours without a touch is all part of learning. No different in any fishing except boat fishing is easily defeated by tide and weather so every cast is precious. The more time there is a lure in the water the more will be caught.
- Tech. Having the right electronics to see what’s going on and set up drifts is adding fish to the net, no doubt and while the tech on our boat Drifter is in a state of flux the gear on Adams boat is up to date and frankly superb. I feel I’ve been fishing with one eye shut for years when I watch the screens on a drift now.
- The right tools for the job. Committing to the right tackle is hard. Stuff isn’t cheap if available at all and if you’re fishing big (which we are) then heavy rods, reels, braid and jigheads all have to match and that’s just for soft plastics, slow jigging requires its own set of gear.
There are of course many more factors involved but those are some of the main points that I feel have given results. Having the numbers of reefs, wrecks and drop-offs is obviously helpful but we’ve had these for years for the most part we just haven’t acted on them. Adam has added several new ones to the mix and he’s good enough to show us what he’s found when we jump on board.
So what’s changed then? Well after some initial results on Slow Jigs it was clear that we couldn’t fish too big and this is where this post becomes relevant (about time!) The ZMan Magswimz have proved themselves time and time again. I cannot take any credit for this as it was none of my doing other than getting some a while ago and it switched a light on in my co-anglers heads. Lo and behold they worked and how they worked! On the past two trips I’ve been on the Magswimz have caught the best fish and that’s not forgetting when I’ve not been on board and the results are the same. These 8″ swim baits are super size Shads that have all the ZMan characteristics in super size form. Rigged on 8/0 TT Headlockz jigheads in various weights they are killing it at the moment. These big Bass want big baits and the Magswimz are doing what livebaits do and that’s to offer a big target without any of the hassle of getting and subsequently keeping alive live Pout, Scad or Mackerel. Way more effective and efficient than livebaiting with a better hook up rate. Yes we lose a few but that’s the nature of the beast and while there are well known weedless systems on the market they cannot keep up with the Magswimz, we know because we’ve tried and unlike other well known articulated weedless baits they are not ruined with one fish. If they can be kept out of the rough stuff then they will last forever. Colour-wise the pearl White is winning so far but that can change. If you’re into your boat Bass fishing then you would not go wrong in having some big baits on board, makes livebaiting look like the preserve of the caveman.
Not to be a one trick pony I have been putting some effort into understanding slow jigging this summer and with a new rod and reel to play with I tried the new Damiki Backdrop SJ‘s on a recent trip and they didn’t disappoint. And they needed to as the lovely new box of Magswimz and TT heads I had ready to fish with was left in the garage! So after I’d used and lost a couple of soft plastics that my buddies were good enough to lend me (cheers fellas) I had to switch to metal so as to not ruin friendships. The 100g Damikis are, its fair to say not cheap but I find that I can keep them out of the rough stuff easier. Fishing with a multiplier helps with this and once I’d got into a pattern I caught a few fish. Pout, Scad and Poor cod (maybe a slow jig first) are welcome as is the occasional Wrasse hit but Bass were the order of the day and although I couldn’t find the real bigguns I did get my fair share of Bass. A few fish up to 6lb made for some really enjoyable sport on a flat calm September day. Fishing in 120ft of water means the jigs capability of reaching the kill zone quicker and then being able to stay in that zone on a drift that may only last 2-3mins is a real boon for the boat angler.. In years past we would have to start our drift way, way uptide in order to get flying collar rigs or running ledgers down to the bottom this isn’t the case now. More fishing time, more fish.
Along with my Team Wet Bream partner Adam Kirby we recently had a little dabble for a Perch just to see if we could still do it. We can as it turns out and proves that the Bass fishing hasn’t tainted our love of the stripy predators that we will spend the winter chasing. This comp was all about finding some of the better Perch and smashing 50X10cm fish just wasn’t gonna help us. So we came up with a plan to stay in one place and rinse it dry and this meant being adaptable on the day as casting the same plastic constantly would maybe only account for a couple of the fish that we knew sat in our swims. Water was murky, 6″ vis meant we fished white lures for 90% of the day. Slim Swimz got me started with a few quick fish on the bank and then when they dried up I’d switch to different patterns. White AX Craw caught a few as the Black Flagg big butt micro in pumpkin. We were constantly switching to make it have it and tempt those 30cm plus fish we needed. Tough day in the rain but very satisfying and to take 1st place was a bonus. Maybe I won’t hang up my Perch gear just yet…..
Both Adam and Chris’s Bass taken on Magswimz. Chris’s magnificent fish went 9lb 11oz, Adams went a shade over 6lb.