Another bass and foraging season has come to a close for me.
Already I cannot wait until 2014
The end of August and into the middle of September have again been tough on the bass fishing front.
There are plenty of decent sized fish about, plenty of follows for the lures from bigger fish, although trying to get the fish to take has been a different story.
Patterns seem to emerge after long hours spent fishing from the shore and then something unusual happens and makes you think is there really such thing as a pattern of fish movement, tide height, wind direction or is it sometimes more about chance?
Surely nothing should be left to chance?
Guests are all catching though so that is a good thing.
Dave (above) who joined me along with Chris from Doncaster, both extremely passionate anglers and a laugh a minute. On the Saturday morning we came across some small bait-balls not far off shore and hit into a shoal of bass nothing big but great fun with surface lures and extremely shallow diving lures.
Dave even took a garfish off the surface and just as I got my camera out to take a photo off the fish came, damn never mind at least we got to see it.
Chris lost a really nice fish which looked to be around about 7lb to 8lbs right by his feet on the Sunday before they returned home.
The chaps are now completely addicted to lure angling for bass and this part of the Welsh coast. So much so they are coming to join me again at the end of this month so fingers crossed we will get into some bigger fish.
Away from guests when I don’t have bookings I am busy fishing myself. Constantly learning more and more all fuel for the knowledge fire inside me.
I fish with my friend Martin Corbett, Martin has fished the Pembrokeshire coast since he was a young boy. He has been a mentor to me over the past two seasons.
He has given me knowledge that could of taken me years to figure out.
I will always be thankful to my friend and we sometimes talk about the old days when there were even more bass around.
We watch the gannets, the curlews and the grebes that come here to winter.
We talk about lures, tides, wind and bait-fish behaviour.
The questions sometimes seem endless the coastline unforgiving a constant struggle with natures wild elements.
Although there is always a glimmer of hope, and of course there is always…..always tomorrow.
Away from the shore it’s great to get out into the woodlands and gather the ingredients I need for the winter to come, Porcini and other woodland fungi are dried out for use in my foraging and food days.
All the best for now :)…..
There is no denying it the Pembrokeshire coast from the shore is a tough place to fish.
Wild, rugged, and most of the time completly unpredictable.
With around 180 miles of just coastal trail -Perseverance, commitment and devotion are needed to crack catching bass from the shore.
Over the last few weeks I have been flat out with bookings and we have had fish each day, but still the fishing is tough.
I must admit though if it wasn’t this tough then I probably would not choose to target bass along such unforgiving territory.
Martin Allison joined me from Scotland last week and although the fishing was tough Martin showed all of the attributes needed to fish this wild coastline and landed fish on a daily basis.
Isaac Shamli joined me the week previously and we had a good time together, Isaac wanted to learn everything from start to finish and I hope to see my new found friend visit from Israel again in the near future.
He experienced fun with soft plastics and surface lures.
Fish up to 3 – 4lbs have been the biggest landed with smaller schoolies in between.
Both Martin and Isaac joined me in one of the Soulpad tents which I reside in over the summer months and they had a real taste of being completly exposed to the elements.
On both Isaac and Martins visits all the fish we landed were released. Except for a few mackerel, that myself and Isaac landed. We happily enjoyed the mackerel over the barbecue as the sun went down over the field we were pitched in.
Note the launce I kept, I was curious to try this fish as I know they eat them on the Mediterannean. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavour of this fish.
I leave this blog post now after having a busy weekend of foraging and food days and will leave the foragers out there with a lovely photo of some shoreline edibles.
Happy fishing – Matt
These last few weeks have been a real eye opener for me on the South Wales coast.
Away from taking clients out, meeting my local M.P about conservation and trying to fish myself where I can, I have been snorkelling with my good friend David Miller.
This kind of knowledge is priceless – And until now, if there was a day where I have come away not catching a bass then my eyes have been truly opened to know that even though I was thinking there were no fish, then I was wrong and there were actually a lot of bass looking at my lure.
We even videoed one 2lb wrasse sucking in my lure and then immediately spitting it out and darting off to safety.
Seeing the species I love so much in their own marine environment has been a dream come true.
The bass as if by magic seem to just appear from nowhere and then vanish like ghosts into the kelp and the darkness of the deeper sea further out.
As I knew before, but I am now seeing first hand these fish are so inquisitive and are the kings of their environment they do not really fear anything and will come close (please read the post at the bottom of this post).
Getting out on the kayak has also been a real joy especially when the sea has been so calm that the bigger fish are reluctant to come closer in.
Fish of 3lb to 4lb provide great sport.
Sometimes you have to get through the smaller bass to get to the bigger ones but these little ones have so much attitude.
Although sport from the shore is still here for clients, I have had to look at the activities underneath the surface.
The other knowledge building activities (above) are purely to help me with my business and the understanding of what goes on underneath the surface.
Good sized wrasse make for great sport in the middle of the day after an early morning bass session and are not to be sniffed at.
Anyway stay posted and I hope everyone’s fishing is good from here on in.
All the best for now.
*Note – I can now see how spear-fishermen that are trigger happy can easily take these fish with real ease, which is a real shame considering how long it takes these magnificent creatures so long to grow and become sexually mature.
With no bag limits and an MLS of 37.5cm that is to small and should now be set at a size of at least of 45cm.
I know this is not a law yet in place, but everyone, anglers, spear-fishermen and anyone taking fish for the table need to take full responsibility and be respective of our quarry and only “Take what you need”.
These inshore stocks of fish have made it through the nets and are precious to our beautiful coastline and the economy of Wales and the U.K.
Realistically in this day and age one fish is enough, two at the very most, but 5 – 10 or more is really “unsustainable” and basically a silly amount to take.
People in power also need to take full responsibility of proper management of our inshore waters now before it is too late.
“Respect your quarry and respect for your coastline, think of the future and not just today”
The story so far on the Welsh coast this season has been a good one, the sea temperature is nearly hitting 18 Celsius and I am landing fish on a daily basis and so are my clients.
We have landed some truly awesome fish from 3lb up to 8lb.
Sport like this in this day and age with commercial pressure and people off the shore not taking a sensible amount of fish is not to be sniffed at.
Long hours and complete dedication are what is needed and still the fish will not come easy.
“Time on the Water and technique are everything”
The end of June ended on a high and conditions were perfect.
I am not complaining at all about the weather at the moment as it is warming the water to where it should be, but some swell and some nice onshore blows would be great now to give the bigger bass a bit of confidence to start feeding voraciously again.
August, September and October look set to be electric if the conditions are perfect. I am relishing the fact that this season could get even better.
Although the calm weather has given me time to keep chasing some decent sized wrasse during the day in such bright conditions.
All the fish I have landed since June have been landed on the Tulala Glissando 72 and I have not blanked yet on this rod.
I love the Tulala rod, it is feather weight but still holds some power and bigger bass up to 7 and 1/2lb and wrasse from 2lb up to 4lb have been landed on this fine piece of equipment.
This rod brings great pleasure when fighting bass and wrasse around difficult ground.
The rod is absolutely perfect for soft plastic work and my work with the chaps from Tulala continues.
I will leave this post for now and wish everyone good fishing.
I am very much looking forward to working closely with Tulala.
Tulala, by the Way translated from Japanese means the Icicle (Seen here at the end of the squirrels rod).
So far this week I have been using the Tulala Glissando 72 to see what this rod is really all about.
The Glissando 72 rod is extremely light – And when I say extremely light I mean almost featherweight.
Although at the same time the rod has plenty of power, so this allows larger fish to be landed with surprising ease without taking away the fun of our chosen sport.
This rod is perfect for the techniques I use for my soft plastic fishing. It is an absolute pleasure to use and I am preferring it to my other high end rods.
As far as the fishing is concerned the bass keep on coming here in Wales, fish of all sizes are being landed daily and the biggest two so far this week have been a seven and a half pound specimen landed by my very good friend Steven Neely and a six and a half pound beauty this morning by myself.
My season is just getting better and better by the day.
The weather is still not perfect and on most days, this is proving very difficult.
The sea temperature was looking great and went up to 13 celsius and then after last weekends blowing winds and rain this peak was kicked right down to 11.6 celsius.
Although I am not complaining about the weather, after all this is Wales and there is absolutely nothing I or anyone else can do about it.
I just have to get on with it and keep pushing, this attitude certainly is paying off and I am relishing every moment and every cast.
My good friend Steve Neely the Rookie bass angler has joined me for some guided fun this last week gone, his company and again his enthusiasm is great. Good sized fish have been hitting his and my soft plastics and to date I have only landed two fish on hard lures so far this year.
His support for my business is very much appreciated, and I wish more people would work together for the future of the bass as a sportfish in Wales and the rest of the U.K
Fish from about 2lb – 4 and a half pound are becoming a more regular occurrence, and I am more than happy with this especially after last years inconsistencies.
Matching the hatch with slug-gos and trying out new soft plastics such as the Illex I Shad are proving deadly.
Although I feel we are still a good month behind with the state of the weather, Sand-eels are emerging and the fishing I feel is just about to explode any day shortly – with bigger bass following very soon.
Less Is More
There is a simple but deadly way of hooking into the larger bass that we all crave or want to see.
Click the image above to view my video
Large bass are, in my eyes quite lazy and they use water to lift their heavy weight into prime feeding grounds in as simple a way as possible. They will wait until a specific time of tide and current to move in.
This can take years of getting to know your marks like the back of your hand and it is also to this point I have to say that putting in long hours is another necessity.
Initially when bigger bass hit your soft plastic lure you will not feel the take, the fish slowly moves in behind the lure and engulfs it tail first. It is only as you raise your rod using the extremely slow sink and draw and on the drop technique that you the angler will know you have a fish on the end of your line.
Then it really is a case of holding onto the fish that you have hooked, and what a fight your in for once the fish realises that something is stopping it going back down to the depth it wants too.
What I mean by the above sentence is that the fish is fighting for it’s life by the only way it knows how. Look closer, open your eyes – there is a hidden clue, just look at the colour of the backs and the underbelly of the fish all pictured here.
Bigger bass have adapted and perfected ambush tactics, easy meals are what they want – thus meaning less exersion of their most precious energy that they need to stay alive.
Stay posted – Matt
I have had a rare few hours spare to write a blog post and get some photos up too let people who follow my blog about what is going on with fishing and foraging Wales.
Things are looking up for the beginning of June on the bass lure angling front.
Catching decent sized bass on soft plastic lures is very satisfying indeed, this 4 and a half pound fish fell on a weedless set up.
I really love catching bass this way and the technique could not be simpler and it is deadly when the fish are about.
I did get a client onto a smaller school bass yesterday using the same technique as well. Bradley’s enthusiasm was inspiring and he was totally committed to what I was teaching him. It is always a pleasure showing someone so enthusiastic a new method and technique and then showing them that it actually works.
Bradley and Graham of Planet Prints joined me on an afternoon out and they enjoyed every minute of it.
Obviously not a huge fish but with a bit of work I have no doubt Bradley will perfect the technique and one day get into and catch bigger bass.
I hope too see Bradley joining me again in September when he returns to Wales.
Waiting and in preparation
Whilst waiting for the bass shoals and the morels to turn up. I am out and busy gathering all I can for the next foraging and food guests.
The next few weeks of April will see another string of guests arriving to learn about foraging for wild edibles and to experience my food.
Foraging can sometimes be a laborious task and there is no task more laborious than the picking of the new spring gorse flowers. I use these flowers to flavour, aerated parfaits, set creams, syrups for granite or sorbet and also for making vinegar.
The smell of the gorse that fresh banana come coconut fragrance that is quite unique, is what I get in return for the time taken to pick the flowers.