I’ve decided to do a lot more lure fishing for bass this year. This will mostly be here in Wales on my local patch, but I’m also looking forward to a fishing exchange with Sylvain Legendre, a French lure specialist working for Pure Fishing, and comparing “bass on lure” techniques both in France and the UK.
As I’m writing I’m surrounded by the tackle I’ll be using. My personal choice of rod will be the ABU Revo Bass 802 which I’ll be using for most of my shore and boat fishing. This rod is so light in weight and perfectly balanced with the reel on you can fish all day without fatigue. It can also cast with exceptional accuracy which is essential when pitching plugs tight in amongst surface breaking rocks. But it has the tensile fast taper action to set hooks in fish at long range, and the power in the butt to land that hoped for monster.
For the highly effective vertical jig fishing, drop shot fishing and general spinning I’ll be using the longer 9ft ABU Revo Bass 902. This has the necessary tip action to work vertically fished lures, but also to cast spinners to maximum range and to bully big bass when needed due to the power in the lower mid section and butt. I also use this rod for much of my rock fishing for pollack on lures too.
My reel choice, to go with both these rods, will be the ABU Soron STX40 fixed spool for its super smooth drag, tough gears and long casting ability. I’ll load with 20lb Fireline braid, Whiplash Crystal or Spiderwire Stealth, all three lines that I did well with last year.
For some boat and shore fishing I’ll also be using the ABU Revo Bass 742, a 7ft 4in rod designed primarily for use with a small low profile multiplier reel. I use the ABU Revo Inshore, again loaded with 20lb braid. This is the perfect rod and reel combo for pitching plugs in tight underneath man made structure and for working lures through wrecks and reef ground offshore.
The plugs I use are many and varied. I’ve always done well on the ABU Tormentor Floating Jointed, especially the Perch, BB and Blue Mack colours, with the BB and Tiger type becoming some of my best sinking plugs. I also had a fair few bass last year on the Rocket Popper in Mackerel and Pearl White colours too.
Some news for the plug officiado’s amongst you is that Pure Fishing who own the brands ABU, Penn, Shakespeare, Berkley etc, have now bought Sebile, the famous lure company. Sebile plugs have become very popular with UK bass anglers over the past couple of years and having these plugs in the Pure Fishing range is a major advantage regarding plug types and general availability in the future.
Those of you not familiar yet with Sebile lures should look at the Magic Swimmer Sinking plug, also the Splasher Shad which is a surface popper and the Koolie Minnow Splasher, another surface popper in the 120 size. Re soft baits then it has to be the Magic Swimmer Soft 105 Bluegill. All top saltwater bass catchers!
In addition my soft lures will be taken from the Berkley Gulp Alive range and also from the Ripple Shad and Ripple Grub series of soft lures. I discussed these in a recent blog and also showed how I rig them for bass and other species, so take a peek at my recent blogs if you’re unsure on basic rigging techniques.
I’m often asked how I choose a plug colour to start with on the day. I’ve found through experience that generally, on darker days, go with a darker colour to give the lure an easy to see hard silhouette. This also applies to early morning and late evening when the sun is low in the sky and less light is penetrating through the water column.
The eyes on bass can cover pretty much every angle in relation to the bass’s body, so when working deep they can still scan everything swimming above and this is why dark silhouettes work so well.
On very bright days bright colours can be more effective, especially when the bass are working deeper as they draw the eye of the fish as they hunt, especially silver and metallic which reflect light well.
I only use deep diving plugs in deep water over rough ground fairly early in the season when bass are mostly hunting crab on the seabed. It’s interesting that these plugs are often attacked from the side, less so from below and behind indicating this tactic of deep fishing tight to the seabed is the correct one.
Colours for soft plastics are not so easy to choose, but again darker days see darker colours work well, with brighter colours preferred in more coloured or deep water. In my opinion though, the movement put in to the lure by the angler and the tackle is often far more important than colour anyway, but always experiment with colour as it can make a difference.
Here are a few other top tips that will help you put a few more fish on the bank. Use a short 2-metre section of Fluorocarbon line as a leader so that the fish do not see the braid. This needs to be about the same breaking strain as the braid. Always try to keep a low body profile when fishing off the shore. Wear sensibly drab colours and try to put yourself against a higher background where possible to blend in better. I also like to wear a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses. These not only protect your eyes but also enable you to spot fish moving in the water and to see fish as they attack your lure just a fraction of a second before they hit.
I’ll keep you up-to-date how my bass fishing goes as the year progresses.