The previous week I had a message from Tim Stratton, wanting to book a session for himself and three others with the aim of catching bass. A bit tricky to call the best location but I decided to take them to a channel near Holyhead where schoolies often congregate. While I couldn’t guarantee any sizeable fish, I felt at this location they would be able to use the tactics that I would use 90% of the time for bass, and see them working.
I met Tim, Tom, Mike and Tony at the car park where we had a quick look at their gear to see what was suitable to use. Their rods ranged between light spinning rods to standard beach casting gear so all more than capable of doing the job here. I think its better that guests use as much of their own equipment as possible, as it gives confidence that they are able to head out on their own and still catch. To begin with I rigged everyone up with a simple pennel sliding ledger, using up to 3oz weights. Despite the current being initially quite strong, the plain weights bounced along nicely until settling in little dips in the sea bed. The thought being that in the clear shallow water, the fish would be working these depressions looking for their next meal. Baits were lug and rag, with a few crab and razor to see what works, and enough of each bait to last the four hours.
All four of the guys had been fishing before so I was able to leave them to the casting, while I set about modifying a couple of rigs for later use. I wasn’t expecting much action in daylight with conditions being so calm and bright but Tom was retrieving and there was a bit of splashing on the surface. Evidently he was into something so I dashed over with the camera. It was a small bass, maybe 1/2lb, the expected size but mission accomplished. Next cast Tom was in again with another schoolie, so I gradually moved everyone further down the beach to see if the fish were holding out of the main channel.
While never hectic, bites came steady throughout the evening with a slight lull at slack water. I swapped Tim onto a 2-hook flapper with long snoods to try a mix of baits at the same time and maybe pick up a bonus better fish. He had a small flatties early on but into the flood he had a bite and this was clearly a better fish. It went off downstream causing quite a splash in the shallows. I thought he had got a decent bass but as it came alongside me I could see it was a smoothound. A bit of a surprise this late in the year, and on lugworm as well. A quick photo and it was back in the water, lovely fish which really added the gloss on the session.
By now we were being pushed back by the rapidly flooding tide and soon to be calling it a day, but not before Mike managed a plaice, with Tony and Tim adding a dogfish each to the growing species tally. By the end the guys had 6 bass, 2 flatfish, 2 dogfish and the smoothound between them. A very good return and a great laugh with a great bunch of guys on an almost perfect evening. Hopefully this session will help them for when they are fishing on their own and they can get into some better fish.