Today I was fishing with another Fiiish ambassador, my partner in crime and the other half of team Fin & Tide – Dan Euston. The plan of the day was to get on the boat at first light and hit the edge of a reef system in 12-20ft of water.
As we approached the spot, the fish finder started marking Bass right away…although these did look like ‘dinks’ aka schoolies.
Past experience told me that we were going to be hounded by dinks throughout the day, so our challenge was to get through to the bigger fish, even though they are massively outnumbered at this time of year.
The edge of the reef is surrounded by big boulders, caves and kelp beds. I knew the bigger fish would be holding tight to these structures and below the schools of smaller fish looking for a tasty meal.
The tide was not yet pumping so it made sense to start with a lighter 12g head and search the water columns for some feisty fish. Within the first few casts, we were getting hit hard by small fish in the 1-2lb range. Dink after Dink continued to follow, but as the tide picked up, we started to turn our full attention to find a better fish. Upsizing the lure from 120 to a 140 would generally be one of the first changes to make, but with the large amount of small bait in the water at the moment, I made the decision to stick with 120 bodies, but go onto the heavier 25g heads, and keep the lure tight to the bottom, bouncing the lures with the occasional larger sweep.
After missing a couple of plucks as the lure dropped back to the bottom, my confidence grew in finding a bigger fish now the tide was at its strongest. The next small pluck was hit with a firm strike and the rod bent into a solid fish. Several good runs in the tide, and a few minutes later, a much better bass glided over the net. At 70cm and over 7lb, it was nice to know our tactics worked to pick up a chunky bar of Silver. Over the next hour we continued to bounce the bottom and find more solid Bass, which made for a successful day. As the Summer nears the Autumn, we are hoping these fish continue to get bigger and we can upsize our lures to find a really big girl!
Period: August summer fishing – Fishing the ebb tide at first light
Location: Sussex, UK
Target species: Seabass
Number of hours at the water’s edge: 6 hours
Fishing conditions: Flat calm seas, and bright sunny conditions
Water temp : 20.1 degrees
Water colour: Very clear
Water Depth: 8-20ft
Lures Used: Black Minnow 12g and 18g Search head & 25g 120 bodies in Kaki, and Wine Glitter
Favourite lure this session: 25g, 120 body in Kaki
Type of animation: Bouncing the bottom