Thursday, 18 December 2008

Winter bass fishing - what do we do ?

  • Now that we are properly into winter, what does the bass junkie do ? On a personal level, I used to spend virtually all my fishing time in the winter chasing cod - collecting bait, fishing, surviving on very little sleep, fishing again, crabbing at strange hours, and trying a few rigs up. And then fishing again - a lot !! Times have changed though. But what are our options if we want to carry on chasing bass through the colder months ?

  • Well, to be perfectly honest, I am not completely sure of all our options - there always seem to be bass around somewhere in the south west, and especially up the estuaries (bear in mind I am talking about shore fishing here). We used to sometimes catch schoolie bass in almost plague proportions when we were cod fishing in very rough seas just inside the Camel estuary (and especially off Flat Rock and Stepper Point), and I know of some really big bass caught when guys are flounder fishing. So it is not as if every single bass does a disappearing act until later on in the spring !!

  • So we know that bass are a distinct possibility when fishing with baits, and I know guys who love this time of year for going after big bass. But what about on the lures ? A tougher time without question, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is worth a few attempts with these soft plastics that you can fish on jigs, bouncing them along the bottom. It is not going to be a bumper time of year on them, but I would guess that a few of us might get the odd surprise from time to time.............

  • The most famous place for "depths of winter" bass fishing has to be the south west of Ireland (and specifically Kerry and Dingle), where the local bass freaks can experience some staggeringly good fishing on the right conditions. All the tourists and visiting anglers have long gone home, but when they get the correct onshore conditions into January and February especially, I know of a few guys who do really well when bait fishing for the bass - the Irish strands are of course the stuff of bass fishing legend, and sometime soon I simply have to get myself over to the south west to experience it. I reckon that classic fishing could look very cool in black and white as well.

  • It is a real punt to go that far for winter bass fishing, for you are gambling with the weather in a big way, but it has to be worth it just for the chance to stand thigh deep in surf, waiting for a bite, and with nobody else around. If you are interested, the person I would contact can be found right here - Kevin is a professional shore fishing guide in Kerry, and he just happens to be a serious bass junkie. Check out some photos of him fishing right here. We never hear about a lot of their Irish winter bass fishing, but it can be very good.

  • As for the south east coast of Ireland that I am head over heels in love with (the country as whole in fact), well it does seem that they can catch bass all year round, depending on conditions of course - on baits and on lures. I am sure you can sense from this post that I have a lifetime of information still to absorb on bass fishing, and then I could probably live again and still be left with more to learn. But isn't that what makes fishing such a profoundly absorbing sport ? I stand by what I have always said - walk away from the angler who professes to know it all.......

  • I hope you like the two black and white bass photos here - they are such a magnificent species and in my view they deserve to be shown off in glorious colour. But I have stumbled on the odd shot in my (vast and ever growing !!) photo library that has jumped at me with my black and white eyes on. The tail shot especially is one I really like far more in black and white than in colour.

9 comments:

Kevin said...

Love the two B&W Bass photos Henry, though I agree that the one of the tail looks better, I liked it as soon as I saw it - lovely tones and it really works.

I think some B&W shots of the Kerry Strands would look awesome, memories of the heydays when we used to see photos in the mags of Des Brennan, John Darling, Kevin Linnane, the great Clive Gammon et al standing in the surf hooked up to Bass in the most wild and beautiful place one could wish to go fishing!! Maybe you could write a magazine article about those heydays and the great Surf fishing pioneers? That would give you a great excuse to try out your B&W experiment on those magazine editors!! Would love to see it.

By the way Henry, thanks again for your nice comments about my artwork, any feedback is always very much appreciated. Regards ... Kevin

Anonymous said...

Hi Henry I am going fishing off my kayak tomorrow (fri) just trolling a Rapala behind on the off chance of a really big Bass. You never know. If i get anything i will let you know. (near plymouth) I didnt get a reply about my daughters Bass and Ray but never mind i know your busy. Ok the black and white sky and panoramic views are very moody which i like but not the close ups of fish and objects. Cheers for now. Alan

Henry Gilbey said...

Kevin - thanks for that, really kind. One day I will shoot some of that "classic" bassing in the depths of winter (with a quick trip to the Seychelles afterwards to warm up !!).....got some stuff here on file that I shot in Kerry a couple of years ago, looks pretty cool in black and white. In due course I will create a black and white gallery online. Your artwork is awesome.

Alan - best of luck on the kayak. Really sorry, was sure I had replied to that email, but I do also know that I miss a few and at times I get really hectic or spend a lot of time away and can't deal with them as I would like.

Wes said...

winter can be a very tough time to fish. To be honest some of the biggest fish I have ever caught were in the winter months. I hate being out there all day freezing my butt off to just get a bite or two (maybe). But when nobody else is out there gettin em, I guess I might as well try. Happy Huntin...

marc32marc said...

Hi Henry,

I met you once up at Battery Point about 5 years ago. Im in the RAF and was about to go to The Gulf. I asked you if you had your camera crew with you!! haha

Anyway, love the website and blogs, very informative. Im glad that you have discovered the joys of catching Bass with the plugs and poppers and I was particularly interested in the comments about catching Bass in the depths of Winter. I have taken small Bass around the Xmas period for the past three years on plugs fishing rocky bays and the like. I am going to be doing alot of plugging around South Devon during the next few months as Im not expecting to be in this country over the Summer and Im keen to try out some new spots for the Autumn. I shall let you know how I get on.

Maybe I will see you about

Cheers

Marc

kingosullivan said...

when cod and bass fishing when the line goes slack i cant seem to hook the fish any tips on hitting the fish on slack line

clark.gower said...

hi kingo,
check your hooks for sharpness every cast. fish are generally hooked against the sinker. if you have a slack liner, lower your rod taking up the slack line on the reel quickly. when you start to feel tension, begin raising your rod. hopefully your fish wouldn't have spat the hook

kingosullivan said...

must u tie a stop not on ur pulley rig so the fish wont feel the resistence

Anonymous said...

Hi Henry
I am new to shore fishing and live in Seaton, Devon. I would like to try winter bass fishing but I am put off because when I think it would be good to fish(low tide, clear water) there is no one else fishing. Am I right not to be there on my own or should I go for broke?