How to Catch More Bass

What is the best time of year for Bass fishing?

In Devon and Cornwall, Bass can be caught all year round, but April to November will see Bass in higher numbers around our shores. Due to the lower water temperatures, Bass are most scarce around February.

Where are the best Bass fishing spots?

How long have you got? It’s impossible to talk specifics here since there are so many excellent Bass marks in Devon and Cornwall but, generally speaking, there are certain types of ground which hold Bass in greater number than others.

Surf Beaches Check out the Guide to Bass fishing in surf

Estuaries Check out the Guide to estuary Bass fishing

Harbours & Marinas Check out the Guide to harbour Bass fishing

What are the best baits for Bass?

Bass baits fall into 3 main categories: Live baits, dead baits and Lures.

 

Since Bass are out and out predators many are taken on live baits and lures, but they are also opportunists, never rule out dead baits since they too can be extremely effective on their day. When fishing for Bass, just like most other types of sea fishing, match your bait to the conditions and the environment. For example, during a storm – when the sea is about as clear as custard – a dead bait with a good scent trail may out fish every lure in your box. However, from the same mark on a clear sunny day, with bait fish jumping all around, lures may do the business whereas to the cautious Bass the same dead bait, sitting on the bottom and looking a touch out of place, may look a bit, well, fishy.

 

Popular baits are as follows:-

Live Baits – Ragworm, Lugworm, Sand Eel, Prawn, baitfish, mini-species (Blennies/Gobies etc). For more in depth info, check out our guide to Livebaiting for Bass.

Dead Baits – Peeler crab (green shore peelers or velvet swimmers if you can get hold of them), Softies, Mackerel, Squid and Prawn.

Lures – All manner of lures will work on their day (even feathers!), but particular styles of popper, plug and spinner are time-honoured favourites. Dexter wedges, Tobys, certain Rapalas and small jelly/sand eel lures regularly do the business. Again, match the lure to the environment. For more in-depth info, check out our guide to Spinning for Bass.

 

When is the best time to fish for Bass?

Time of Day – You can fish anytime, particularly if the sea is coloured by day, but first and last light are definitely the best times with good Bass also being taken at night. The problem with night fishing for Bass are the limitations: safety will become even more of an issue if you’re thinking of rock hopping, and low light may hinder lure fishing in general. That said, at night, an illuminated patch of swim (from pier lighting, for example, or your own) will bring in the Bass since they use the light to hunt for bait fish/other small species. You may or may not see Bass in the illuminated swim, but you can guarantee that they will be lurking in the shadows waiting for their next meal to swim by!

Night Bass

Weather – During or directly after a patch of bad weather is a good time to fish for Bass. A rough sea is a productive one. Close to the shore, rougher seas will give the sea bed a hearty makeover and dislodge/uncover food. This new abundance of food will encourage the Bass to work further inshore instead of feeding off the sandbanks and offshore reefs. Naturally, in these conditions, safety can be an issue and commonsense prevails.Fishing just after a storm (particularly if its bean an easterly blowing and the fish have been off the feed) can be just as good and it makes for a safer and more comfortable day out. This suits me just fine since one for ‘manning it out’.

Tides – Tides are a key factor when it comes to Bass fishing. Neaps aren’t so good since less food will be dislodged during weaker tidal flows, though in the main channels of estuaries this is less of an issue. By that rationale, you’d think that ripping spring tides are the best times to shore fish for Bass, but that’s not the case. Moderate tides following the neaps are widely recognised as the most productive and best time to fish for Bass.

What is the killer Bass rig?

It all depends on where you choose to fish. Among other things, your choice of rig will depend on both the location and conditions. Check out the individual Bass fishing guides for more information on Bass fishing rigs.

What rod and reel do I need?

Again, it depends on where you are fishing but to cover most of the bases a supple rod around 10 – 12 ft (with a sensitive tip but power enough in the mid section to take charge of a hard fighting Bass). Also, remember you will be working the rod all the time, so something lightweight will make life easier. Generally speaking, look for a rod capable of casting anything between a free lined bait and 3 oz – this sounds a tall order, but some carp rods and larger spinning rods will do this. As a rough guide, a rod with a 2-3oz casting weight should do the job unless you’ve got a penchant for fishing uber-light.

More often than not, Bass will be within easy flicking range (and sometimes right under your nose!) so big leads and manly beach/surfcasters are not always necessary. However, fishing over snaggy ground, or over a sandbar where surf is breaking a long way out, may call for the heavier artillery.

When it comes to the choice of reel and line, fish as light as you can get away with. Not only will it be more fun when you connect with a Bass – or when a Bass connects with YOU in some cases – but you’ll have more of getting into one of these wily, easily spooked creatures. In calmer weather, a light spinning rod with a fixed spool reel loaded with 10lb mono, with 1 or 2oz of lead (max), will provide hours of fun – and the lighter line will open up more swim for your lure. However, as an all rounder and certainly for rougher conditions, a carp rod/heavier spinning rod and medium sized baitcaster reel with 15lb mono, or an Abu 6500 sized multiplier with 10-20lb braid (with shock leader), will hold you in good stead.

Balance your rod and reel and consider where and when you will be fishing. For example, braided line or lighter mono will be more manageable from a beach in ripping currents or at distance, but will not fare as well over rough ground or in gullies where the potential for snagging and abrasion is considerable.

 

And remember: if you’re fishing ridiculously light but haven’t got easy access to the water’s edge, avert the ‘one that got away’ story with a landing net!

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