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?
DAI WILLIAMS, CEREDIGION
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?
PAUL BRADLEY, JERSEY, CHANNEL ISLANDS.
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