My rules for fish­ing in­shore

Sea Angler (UK) - - Boat Angler - If you’d like a trip with Tim aboard his Chee­tah cat called 3 Fishes out of New Quay, West Wales, call 07989 496526 or visit his web­site: www.bass­fish­ingtrips.co.uk

Tak­ing your boat in­shore brings new boat­ing pres­sures. Con­trol­ling the drift of a boat in breeze and tide among rocks and swell within casting dis­tance of the shore is a chal­lenge. It’s one that needs to be thor­oughly thought through and prac­ticed. Here’s my ad­vice:

My first piece of ad­vice is to pay a skip­per or guide to con­trol the boat. In my opin­ion, it is im­pos­si­ble to ef­fec­tively fish with lures while safely con­trol­ling a drift­ing boat close to the shore.

If you are about to set sail along an ex­posed coast­line within casting dis­tance of the shore in or­der to hunt bass, then agree a plan of ac­tion. That plan should in­clude one per­son driv­ing while oth­ers fish. Keep some­one on the helm the whole time.

The coastal en­vi­ron­ment changes sub­tly, con­stantly. The pace of tide will change through­out the tidal se­quence. The ve­loc­ity of tide will also change de­pend­ing on depth and land struc­ture.

Wind speed is never con­stant; it lifts and drops, gusts and some­times seems to dis­ap­pear al­to­gether. Some­times wind phys­i­cally changes, and some­times the to­pog­ra­phy of the land ashore can cre­ate all sorts of wind con­di­tions. Of course, learn­ing your patch and ex­pe­ri­ence of the area will help you to un­der­stand what wind might do on any given day.

Both wind and tide will af­fect the drift of a boat, and con­stant al­ter­ations are some­times re­quired to keep those do­ing the casting in the right zone. I have the ben­e­fit of two quiet en­gines spread across 3 Fishes beam, which al­low me to split them (one astern and the other ahead). By do­ing so I can bet­ter con­trol her drift in most con­di­tions. Never be afraid of en­gine noise when bass fish­ing. It seems that bass have no fear of en­gine noise.

Once you have learnt to con­trol your boat and es­tab­lish nice long drifts, the next es­sen­tial step is to learn your ground. It is fool­hardy to fish close to the shore with­out learn­ing ex­actly what might lie hid­den just un­der the sur­face. My key haz­ards are rocks and reefs but, de­pend­ing on where you fish, the haz­ards could be wrecks, pil­ings or sea de­fences. You need to learn where they are lo­cated.

Check out a piece of in­shore ground, which is new to you, at low water on a big spring tide, in clear water and still con­di­tions, armed not with fish­ing kit, but with a dig­i­tal cam­era. This was some­thing that I did when I started the process of learn­ing my ground.

Choose those spe­cial, still and calm days to have a good look around and note any changes. It is re­mark­able just how dif­fer­ent the en­vi­ron­ment can look in dif­fer­ent light and tide con­di­tions. Some­times a rock can look far away, and on an­other day it can look way too close.

Keep in mind ac­tual phys­i­cal changes to a par­tic­u­lar spot. Storms can change ar­eas of this coast com­pletely, and in some lo­ca­tions I was forced to learn my drift lines all over again. Lost com­mer­cial fish­ing gear can ap­pear overnight in any lo­ca­tion.

Tak­ing photographs from the shore can be re­ally use­ful too. The change of per­spec­tive can help lo­cate hid­den dan­gers. There are some shal­low tidal reefs that I have walked and pho­tographed time and time again in de­cid­ing where I can po­si­tion 3 Fishes best to achieve the goal of get­ting a client a bass. There is no sub­sti­tute for tak­ing time to learn your ground, it will keep you and your boat safe and it will find you more bass.

There are al­ways days when it is too dif­fi­cult to fish in close, and this is when ex­pe­ri­ence re­ally counts; not just when to get close to shore, but also when to avoid it. When the time is not right, when the wind blows or the tide pulls or swell thunders in, then I sug­gest you move away from the coast and tar­get the off­shore reefs.

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