Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bass PB smashed by Slug-Go!

Scott and I both had an afternoon to spare yesterday so we elected to head down the coast in search of bass. The easterly wind had dropped off a bit and as we drove past Portobello beach the sea was quite calm, this boded well for an ultra light approach. When we got to our mark the sea however had other ideas! A combination of the days of onshore winds, currents, the reef and ebbing tide had created some big, grey, angry North Sea waves. The previous few sessions at this mark had also been conducted in rough conditions and Slug-Gos had been working so I planned to continue with the same approach. Scott had been keen to experiment with Slug-Gos fished weightless and as he had just had his beloved Nories Rockfish Bottom Ultra Light with him decided to stick with this LRF approach. I had my newly repaired Graphiteleader Corto EX LRF set up so started alongside Scott except instead of a Slug-Go I was using a Small Power Isome on a 2.3g Shirasu fine jig head. 

After a few minutes it quickly became apparent that the conditions were stacked against LRF bass fishing so we decided to change tactics. I geared up my heavier rod with a 4.5" Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner, mounted on a AGM 10.5g #2/0 Football jighead and began to work the lure in the strong surf and currents. I was experimenting with a minimalist retrieve, this was just a case of casting up tide and allowing the lure to sink slowly with the current whilst retrieving just enough to maintain contact with the lure. As I feel the lure tapping the bottom I would give a couple of twitches up and then allow the lure to fall back. After about 20 minutes of fishing, pausing briefly to educate some anglers on the minimum size bass regulations, I had my first bite. The fish attacked as the lure swung around in the current and did its best to use the big waves to escape. Soon it was up on the surface and ready to be landed. It was just a small bass and it wallowed below me as I waited for a wave to help me land it. The bass took full advantage of the pause and shook its head, spat the lure and was gone. I wasn't too disappointed as I was sure there would be more around so continued to fish on. A few minutes later I hooked and lost another small bass in a similar way to the first fish. Slightly frustrated but pleased by the action i carried on working the Slug-Go. Third times a charm and a few casts later another small schoolie was brought to my feet only this time a large wave helped out and it was soon at my feet. I had a hold of the leader and Scott laughed and told me to get a hold of the fish before I lost it! It did spit the lure as I grabbed it but was going nowhere this time!

Third time lucky.

Scott meanwhile had been working a weightless Slug-go in the current but the conditions were proving too rough to work the lure properly and he was struggling to get the lure down to any depth. He then rigged up a 3" Jewel Bait Sculpin Hypertail lure in Rootbeer Pepper on an AGM 3.5g #2 Finesse jighead and began casting up the current and working it back, twitching it along the sea bed. It wasn't long before Scott's rod hooped over and his first bass of the session was hooked! The bass, all be it a small, put up a good fight on his light gear which brought a big smile to Scott's face. Soon the fish was below him but again while waiting for a wave to help land it the fish shook its head and spat the lure! Scott was far from being disappointed though and found it hilarious that the cute blenny imitation had caught a bass and fished on.

About 20 minutes later I had a gentle bite and struck into a much heavier fish! The Rod hooped over and the fish started to strip some line kiting away in the current. Then after a couple more runs the fish started to come to the surface. This was proving quite a tricky fish to land and it used the receding swell to try to dive back to cover. The fish came into view and it was apparent that it was a really good fish. Soon it was beaten and lay below me in the swell. Eventually after a couple of aborted attempts a wave lifted the fish up over the ledge and there in my hands lay a beautiful silver dream! A new PB Bass of 59.5cm and weighing 4lb 12oz! After a few photos I released the fish and watched as she swam strongly away into the churning water.

Big Barry. Caught at last!
The bass recovers slightly in a shallow pool.
A final trophy shot before releasing the fish.

I was blown away by it and really happy to break my PB so early in the year! It was also extremely satisfying to get it on a Slug-Go as I had been convinced this would sort out the bigger fish eventually and it's always good when a plan comes together! Scott had switched back over to a Slug-Go this time rigged on an AGM 7g #3/0 Shaky jighead and after trying a few different ways of working it was soon into a bass! Again the schoolie fought like a tiger on the light gear but was soon landed with the help of a wave and there lay Scott's first bass on a Slug-Go!

Scott's third fish on a Slug-Go in a week. He's cracked it!

Another target achieved Scott's blenny sense started tingling and off he went to the nearby rockpools to offer them some Power Isome, quickly racking up twelve blennies and a long spined scorpion in the process.

Scott loves blennies. He just can't resist them!
Blennies love Power Isome! Even tiny ones can't resist it!
The odd long spined scorpion manages to muscle in amongst all the blennies!

Soon it was time to head home and as we headed back to the car we discussed my new bass PB and Scott hooking a bass on the blenny like Sculpin Hypertail lure and the need to try them again, perhaps getting a larger size and fishing them on heavier jigheads. I couldn't help but feel that we had done very well to get any bass in the conditions let alone a new PB! But boy am i glad I did!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

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