Young angler’s verdict on plight of species.
F rom the moment I picked up a rod and set off with a mate to a local pier in the hope of catching anything that would bite, there has been one elusive fish that has captured my imagination.
On first hearing of the bass caught locally by fellow surfers that I looked up to, it started my, so far, seven-year quest to catch these magnificent silver bars.
Having fished for bass since the age of 13, I remember the struggles and many fruitless trips. Heading out with a head full of information gleaned online or passed on by other anglers, and tactics conjured up in my head, I sought out areas where bass should be located.
Spending many hours trying to catch them, one thing that became clear was hooking bass wasn’t the hard bit, finding them was.
Eventually, I concluded from my surfing background that mixed or rocky ground venues that I surfed over would, under the right conditions, be bass marks. Having knowledge of the ground from surfing over it, I was already at an advantage.
There is no doubt that there are not as many bass about as there once were. The tales of old catches, from some of the areas I fish, are, at times, enough to make your jaw drop. Now a six-pounder is enough to make a season, with half-a-dozen 2-3lb fish making it a successful session, but it falls short when you compare this to catches of the past.
Are we becoming satisfied and openly accepting catching fewer and smaller bass, while the sport of bass fishing grows and is becoming an increasing source of angling revenue?
It wasn’t long into my bass fishing exploits before I became aware of BASS, the organisation that represents bass anglers in the UK. I had taken great interest in the organisation’s blogs and, coincidently, this page in Sea Angler. The work of BASS inspired me.
It wasn’t until 2015, though, with the imposition of bass bag limits and the increased minimum size, that I decided I needed to support BASS by becoming a member.
Since joining I’ve had access to a wealth of knowledge on its forum, interesting and inspiring reads in the members’ magazine, along with meeting other like-minded bass anglers. There is a strong unity of trust within the society and, once a member, it opens doors with other bass anglers. You get a sense of pride as to what it means to be involved and share a passion to see these amazing fish protected and flourish to become the wonderful fishery it once was and could be.
To revisit my point that the hardest part is finding bass, I have visited marks that were the location of tales of the past and extraordinary catches, only to find it a struggle and that these places now hold very few bass.
With the work of BASS and its campaign to see bass stocks increase, I hope there is a chance for some of these locations to recover and that, hopefully, with some regularity, my generation can experience the fishing of the past that we hear about. This cannot be done without support, though; BASS needs anglers like you.
My knowledge of surfing helps me locate bass
Hopefully, with the help of BASS, my generation can experience the fishing of the past