Sea Angler (UK) - - SEA SCHOOL -

Q: I want to try bar­b­less hooks for bass fish­ing, but will I lose fish? GE­ORGE LLOYD, SALTBURN, NORTH YORKS

HG says: In my opin­ion, cat­e­gor­i­cally not, but only if you tighten your drag prop­erly and fight fish hard by ac­tu­ally bend­ing your rod into them and not be­ing afraid to do so.

I have fished with only bar­b­less tre­ble and sin­gle hooks for my lure fish­ing for years now. I can’t re­call any in­ci­dent in the past when I’ve lost a bass where I was at fault be­cause I had crushed the barbs on my lures.

Q: If you could only carry one sur­face lure, what would it be? SA­MUEL DIXON, BEL­TON, NOR­FOLK

HG says: I guess I need to think back to the one sur­face lure that has con­sis­tently pro­duced bass for me from the very first time I used it.

The sur­face lure I would sim­ply not go bass fish­ing with­out is the IMA Salt Skim­mer. This vesatile long-cast­ing pat­tern is the one I turn to for all man­ner of con­di­tions.

Q: At what time of the year should I stop try­ing to catch bass on lures?


HG says: I think it de­pends on where you live in the UK and also the weather and sea con­di­tions we get as we move into win­ter. For ex­am­ple, I know an­glers who live in Sus­sex and want flat-calm sea con­di­tions to keep the water clear.

I get the im­pres­sion their bass sea­son comes to an end around, say, Oc­to­ber, whereas, in my part of Corn­wall, if we get favourable con­di­tions then I have had re­ally good shore fish­ing for bass right into Jan­uary.

Q: I’ve just picked up shore fish­ing. I’ve tried fish-like lures, such as sandeels, white ones mostly, with a fast and slow re­trieve, up and down jig, and near the bot­tom. I’m think­ing of try­ing sur­face lures. Where do I start?


HG says: I would urge you to go through a num­ber of back is­sues of Sea An­gler mag­a­zine be­cause there is a hell of a lot of bass fish­ing in­for­ma­tion con­tained in them.

I would sug­gest you book a few days of guided bass fish­ing with some­body rep­utable and pro­fes­sional like Marc Cowl­ing, the South Devon Bass Guide.

With­out a doubt, that time and money will be a huge short­cut to get­ting your­self on the right path to­wards reg­u­larly catch­ing bass.

Q: Can you tell me if the var­i­ous sea­sons have a bear­ing on lure se­lec­tion? P THOMAS, WHITCHURCH, SHROP­SHIRE

HG says: There is a the­ory that bass are mov­ing around a bit more slug­gishly at the start of the sea­son when the water is

cold, hence the bet­ter ap­proach is to slow right down our­selves and fish soft plas­tics es­pe­cially. This makes a lot of sense to me, but there are no hard and fast rules here.

Rightly or wrongly, I tend to base my lure se­lec­tions on a com­bi­na­tion of lo­ca­tion, con­di­tions, and what bait I think is most likely to be around for the bass to feed on – which, of course, de­pends on the time of year.

Q: Should I be cast­ing bass lures as hard as I can to ob­tain the max­i­mum dis­tance? NOR­MAN SAGE, IP­SWICH, SUF­FOLK

HG says: Cer­tainly not. You will learn over

time that some bass lures should be cast at full power if you are want­ing to cover a lot of water. On the other hand, a num­ber of them work bet­ter when you con­cen­trate on your drop length and keep every­thing nice and smooth at, say, 75 per cent of your usual cast­ing power. A smooth cast­ing style is es­sen­tial – work with the rod.

Q: It seems log­i­cal that bass will feed the hard­est when the tide is flood­ing. Is this al­ways the case? MAX SUL­LI­VAN, LU­TON, BEDS

HG says: This logic is very much us hu­man be­ings ap­ply­ing on the nat­u­ral world what makes the most sense to us, whereas it’s not the case at all.

If I were to write down all the dif­fer­ent bass marks I might fish over a year then I reckon I am fish­ing var­i­ous parts of the ebb tide more than I am fish­ing parts of the flood tide. I find that this ap­plies very much to es­tu­ar­ies, es­pe­cially when it of­ten seems to be the case that those last two or three hours of the ebb tide pro­duce the best bass fish­ing.

Dis­cover Henry’s top 5 soft plas­tics - see page 94

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