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Great post, Mark, let me try and answer your question!

I would arrive in the late in the afternoon to coincide with the bottom of the tide (as you did suggest). Like you, I would sit down first, away from the water, and have a look – probably because I had walked some distance and needed a drink to help cool off before doing anything else!

First... think! What is the food source? Where is it coming from? I am going to assume that we are talking about grubbing around for crabs, prawns, wrasse, blennies and butterfish while taking advantage of any free swimming snacks that might happen along. Then, time on my side, I’d walk around the bay, look for the features; gullies, ledges, boulders, weed banks, sandy patches, try to work out where any currents are likely to form and I WOULD PHOTOGRAPH OR FILM IT - even adding a commentary! (I have got into the habit of taking a pocket cam with me but you can do the same thing on your mobile). If there is a significant feature I want to be sure of picking out later, say, a collection of weed covered rocks on an otherwise flat ledge, I would pick up a can, bottle or something off the shoreline and put in line with that feature above the high water mark so that I have a datum, a point of reference, because it’s not so easy to pick out covered in water!

Now, the fishing..... Mike Ladle wrote of an experiment tracking the movements of bass and mullet over a known location and in it he says that the bass, and mullet, moved in AS SOON AS THE WATER WAS DEEP ENOUGH – 6 to 9 inches!! I have to say that I concur with this and, anyway, who am I to argue with the Great Man? As the tide just starts to move, on with a small Sammy; it’s unlikely that any bass moving in with the tide is going to expect to find the biggest of meals just yet. Bright day, dull colour; dull day, dull colour – I only have one of the small ones and it ain’t bright, but it does catch!! (Mental note: must get another!).Cover as many of the gaps in the weed, flows between rocks and filling gullies as you can – the tide is only just starting to move, so it does not matter where you start (imo) because there is no significant lateral movement yet to influence the direction of the arrival of any fish. Cast.Twitch, twitch! There could be fish moving into any one of the gullies or holes that are starting to fill and they will be waiting to get into that weed bed, to try and catch anything that has taken cover, just as soon as they can! Look very closely for any signs of movement. Get that lure over, and between, as many of the features as possible - as soon as they are covered with enough water to allow a fish in (I’ve seen enough bassies moving along the tide line with their fins poking out of the water and tails stuck up into the air to know that they will work right at the very edge in the shallowest of water). Don’t forget stealth!!! Keep a low profile and don’t scrunch on any shingle.

The beauty of a surface lure is that not only can I see the take, I can also see the missed ones as well, the sun is still up, don’t forget, and there is no quicker way of working out if there is something around in shallow water than a Sammy. Sub –surface lures do not often let me know when a fish has declined my offering and it can be difficult to know if that ‘knock’ is a fish or a rock. There is no better way to stoke up my enthusiasm than seeing a great splash or swirl of a fish alongside my surface lure (other than catching it, of course). Subs also get stuck and junking twenty quid’s worth of lure on each of my first couple of casts is going to put a black cloud over this trip! If I do not see any interest in the first 3 or 4 casts, I’ll move on to my next spot and try again. Using this method I can cover the whole bay, point to point. When I reach the end of the bay, I’ll turn round, go back the other way and fish the old ground and the new areas that are being covered by the, now flooding, tide. I reckon I could pick up a fish, or two, with this approach.

I will have been fishing for an hour or more now, time for the next stage....The tide is flooding properly and there is a significant amount of lateral movement, the sun is lower in the sky and the little breeze there was has started to drop off. Change the little Sammy for a shallow diver, something like an SS Minnow or a Komomo. Cast out, hold the rod up and bring the lure back slowly, ‘waking’ across the surface. Work the bay and points round, and back, again. Hopefully, I would see a bit of action using this approach.
Another hour, or more, has gone. The tide is ramping through now, so back to Sammy - a bigger one this time which casts further, a 115 in a sandy finish (I don’t know the colour code, I’m afraid). I go to the right and get as far out on the rocks as I can, then blast the lure as far out to sea as I am able to! Let it settle. As it starts to drift outside the bay just twitch the lure. Twitch, leave five seconds, twitch, leave five seconds. Cover the fIow at the head of the bay letting the Sammy drift around and into the calmer waters of the bay. I can cover a huge amount of water using this method and any fish will very soon make it’s presence known. As soon as I see any interest, I start working that lure to try and provoke a take. It could be worth hanging around on this point for a while waiting to ambush any fish moving in. If there is no interest, I’d then move closer inshore and repeat the exercise.
Eventually, I will work my way back to the shoreline – which will now be closer to the land because of the flooding tide, don’t forget. Remember those photos? Time to get out the pocket cam and identify my ‘underwater’ marks. Cast that Sammy out and start walking it over these areas. Work my way around the bay, back out to the furthest possible point on the opposite side, using a mixture of WTD and twitching over the marks I have identified. Remember bass sit in front of ledges and weed banks, as well as behind, so try all options.
If the conditions are a bit breezy, I may use a Gunfish or, better still, perhaps, a Chug bug because they make more of a disturbance to attract the fish.

Time for a break..... a drink and a sarnie.:icecream:

The tide is now high and the sun is low. Right, where is that marker that I left on the beach? Time for another change; off with the Sammy and on with the killer lure, the X-RAP!!! My favourite lure is a black and silvery brown XR 10 – I got it in America and have not found one quite the same in the UK. It’s a bit second hand now, and I have replaced the split rings and trebles with smaller, much finer versions – barbless as well, dare I say! (Yeah, I know, I’m a heretic! They always fall out, lose fish, head shakes, blah, blah! Don’t agree, but I am quite willing to climb down on this one if I can stick my barbless treble in somebody’s finger while they jump into the water to show me how they can simply shake it out as I try and keep a taught line:bleh::bleh:). These mods, with the rod held high, allow the little Rap to swim that bit higher in the water helping avoid the snags. Cast beyond that mark I had identified, and work that lure back across: a steady retrieve, maybe a few snaps and jerks –I am full of anticipation now and if there’s something around it shouldn’t take too long to find out!
A word of advice...never overfish the same bit of ground. I believe that bass quickly wise up to seeing the same bit of plastic swimming past so keep your efforts limited to a dozen, or so, casts at any one of the chosen spots and move on. Obviously, if you are lucky enough to locate a big shoal of fish then stick around (it probably won’t happen, though!).

Work the bay, using the film and markers, through the dusk - and keep looking!! Cover any movement you see. I would be disappointed not to get a pull or two now (and I’m often disappointed!).

The tide has topped, is starting to drop and I think back to the Mike Ladle reference – the fish moved on as soon as the tide began to ebb – and I’m off.

Bit of a different approach than yours, Mark, and I would admit to a lack of experience using the many different types of lure that are available, but keeping it simple suits me!

As I said, great post and let’s hope that a cross-fertilisation of ideas takes us all a little bit further down the right road.

Cheers,


Kes
Wow, great post:clap:
 

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Hi,
Being a relative beginner at lure fishing i must say that this post is the best yet i have seen on this forum, fishing the shallow bays with large tidal changes as we have here in west Dorset am able to relate it to the areas i fish.
Thanks to all. John.
:fishing1:
 

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Excellent read, i usually post in the south east forum and have only seen the lure forum today, wish i had found it sooner! Just started bass plugging/spinning this summer, and all this advice/knowledge is greatly appreciated to anyone like myself...great stuff matey!
 
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Birds

Watch them and learn

Birds : On the water, settled, are usually waiting for the action to start

: Reeling high, these are the spotters

: One or two diving, they are the impatient ones

: Actively plunging, you can start fishing now

Watch the Water

: Dimples, small fish there feeding - but not stressed

: Nervous water, you'll know it when you see it

: Eddies and boils, these confuse light bodied prey, bass are drawn

: Edge of dirty water, going clean, great ambush point for bass.

If you can't see features, try the above

Finally, go for anywhere the tide is moving fastest.

swf
 

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great posts lads top class stuff
for me i aways start with the weedless soft plastics nice and quite
if the current is going right to left i go as far right as i can and let the sp drift around nice and slow with the current 2 or 3 cast then walk down about 10 - 20 foot each time till i fished the whole bay
time for red bulls as i walk back to the right then its a free for all shallow divers, more sps, surface lures,if still no fish on second pass time for change of venue:help:
 

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To much good info in this one to let it fall down the pages.
Thread made a sticky
Well done mate for making this thread a sticky. If you hadn't then this new boy to lure fishing would have missed it.

An excellent thread. Many thanks to you experts for sharing your knowledge with us beginners/improvers, it is very, very much appreciated.

Keith.
 
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hi guys ,
i went out last night for the first time fishing with a dexter, please look on south east forum, samphire rocks,
i really dont understand lure fishing , but i enjoyed the experience and defo will be trying again and again,
with lures there are so many, but the basic principles are lost with me,
do i use the lure to basically just skim through the water .
if so how do you do it,
any advice would be appreciated,
i am now thinking of looking at some sandeels, but to be honest i am not sure,
the local tackle shop owner is a miserable git ,and not at all helpful,even tho i have used the shop for centurys, to be honest i now use three shops to meet my requirments,
thanks in advance:help::help:
 

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Discussion Starter #30
hi guys ,
i went out last night for the first time fishing with a dexter, please look on south east forum, samphire rocks,
i really dont understand lure fishing , but i enjoyed the experience and defo will be trying again and again,
with lures there are so many, but the basic principles are lost with me,
do i use the lure to basically just skim through the water .
if so how do you do it,
any advice would be appreciated,
i am now thinking of looking at some sandeels, but to be honest i am not sure,
the local tackle shop owner is a miserable git ,and not at all helpful,even tho i have used the shop for centurys, to be honest i now use three shops to meet my requirments,
thanks in advance:help::help:


A few shallow running lures , will suit you sir ,
A feed shallow in a mullet colour , does very well ,
a sandborer colour susuke , as you say so many to choose from , can be a mind field , lots of posts in the lure forum , telling you peoples favs , should save you a few pound , from buying duffers

skimming through the water at different speed , is a good way of putting it , throw in some pauses , stops , darts, fast slow , mix it up , and your about there ,
lots of plugs need to be worked very differently , thats the biggest problem , working out what needs what action , that can take a while , or longer :doh::drunk:
 

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Discussion Starter #31
as this has been made a sticky , it might be a good place for people to say how they fish other marks .





This is how i would attack an estuary .




Now i firmly believe that fish enter an estuary ,on one side , and leave it , via the other side ,

Bass have patrol routes and like to stick to them , now for sure small fish will enter any way they like , but most ,(not all ) better fish , will side up ..

Now im not sure how well the rest of you do , but Every estuary i fish , fishes ten times better on the ebb ,

The flood tide , only works for me , right at the very beginning , first hr at most , thats as the tide starts to move slowly , and the fish start to enter , , this can be a very good time at the entrance , as the fish are queuing up to make there move ,.

When the tide gets going , the fish i think , just get there heads down to get to the best feeding grounds as fast as they can , im sure , and i HOPE some one will come on , and say they have done very well on the hard flood , i just know i have not .

Now top of the tide , as its beginning to slow , is another good time , so long as you have found the feeding grounds , a lot further up , these fish have headed for .

Then its good over high and the slow drop off ,
But again i dont do brill on the first couple hrs of the drop , ok , but not brill .

A few hrs down , and they seem to be really on the feed , i like to find a spot where a small spit , may stick out , the flow will divert here , and the bass , should /may sit just behind , out the flow , waiting to pounce .

Remember , bait fish , sometimes , dont stand a chance , in big flow , and sometimes swim , but go no where , then have to drop back , i have seen this many times ,

So heres a great tip , instead of just reeling in ,again and again , why not act like the bait , toss a lure , down tide , then hold it in the flow doing nothing , lure will work on its own if flow is strong enough ,
slowly reel , so it seems the bait is making slow progress , say a few inches, or a few feet , then drop the rod back , to make it look like the flow has beat it , and repeat , it can take an age to get a lure back , but its a deadly method , (great way for surface lures to . )

softs are great xslayers , although i prefer and do better on sluggos , trot them down , i am no expert on these , have caught , do catch , but will let pros explain the methods , fake prawns , ragworm softs , all do well , fish it right down to the bottom of the tide , by this time i would normally make my way back to the entrance , and i find the last couple hrs as the ebb flow has slowed right down to be my main surface work , , hope again this is of some help , not the right or wrong way , just my way , good luck all ,

cheers , :drunk:

MARK
 

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cheers mark food for thought there try 2down2up now, I dont rate the flood either, best time on my local estuary is start of the ebb with lures as all the crap starts to get washed out, sticking lures around and under it all, get a lot of snags and the best fishing, also when the macky shoals head back out too.
 

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Good morning Mark333,

Your thread is a very interesting and informative read.

Does the "volume" (height) of the tide play any part in your calculations and logic? Here in South Wales, we have to contend with the second highest tidal rise and fall in the world, and the extent of the ebb into the Bristol Channel, a result of the adjoining shallow shelving beaches, has to be seen to be believed.

Personally, I prefer the smallest of tides, the smaller the better as the flood into the river flows between narrow banks which contains the dispersal of the incoming fish. On the big springs. the "volume" of water on the flood is such that it spreads a considerable distance out from the core channel, allowing the fish a greater area in which to manoeuvre, making it difficult for lure or fly angler to ascertain their routes or even to reach the fish.

I was wondering if you have to contend with a similar, extreme ebb and flow from neaps to springs.

I have had a thread titled "Artificials and the Bristol Channel, Wales" running on the "South and West Wales" forum for some months now, which has been well supported by some of the top fly/lurist anglers in the region, to the tune of 287 posts and at the moment, 15600 hits which demonstrates the level of interest in this aspect of the sport.

May I respectfully invite you to visit the "Artificials" thread which will give you a better understanding of the difficulties encounterd due to the wide spectrum of tidal range.

Any suggestions or advice you may be able to offer on the basis of the information in the thread would be most welcome.

Added to the vagaries of the large tidal variance, is the condition of the upper Bristol Channel water which is perpetually "cloudy", and heavily populated with "solids in suspension"

Thank you in anticipation that you will be able to find time to browse the "Artificial" thread, and for any advice you may be able to offer.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek Townsend)
 

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Great post again Mark, very helpfull :clap3:. A few tips in there I'll be giving a try :punk:.
For me, first thing I'll look at is if it's been raining heavy around there lately, or further inland. If it has I won't go :thumbdown (sea trout excepted).

I find like you say, 1st hr of flood is good after fish start moving up.
Then as tide flows harder, all maner of nasty cack can arrive, clouding the water :yucky:. 'Solids in suspension' is a nice way to put it :yucky:, so I'm off!

Hope you guys rinse your gear after :D ;).
 

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Good morning Mark333,

Your thread is a very interesting and informative read.

Does the "volume" (height) of the tide play any part in your calculations and logic? Here in South Wales, we have to contend with the second highest tidal rise and fall in the world, and the extent of the ebb into the Bristol Channel, a result of the adjoining shallow shelving beaches, has to be seen to be believed.

Personally, I prefer the smallest of tides, the smaller the better as the flood into the river flows between narrow banks which contains the dispersal of the incoming fish. On the big springs. the "volume" of water on the flood is such that it spreads a considerable distance out from the core channel, allowing the fish a greater area in which to manoeuvre, making it difficult for lure or fly angler to ascertain their routes or even to reach the fish.

I was wondering if you have to contend with a similar, extreme ebb and flow from neaps to springs.

I have had a thread titled "Artificials and the Bristol Channel, Wales" running on the "South and West Wales" forum for some months now, which has been well supported by some of the top fly/lurist anglers in the region, to the tune of 287 posts and at the moment, 15600 hits which demonstrates the level of interest in this aspect of the sport.

May I respectfully invite you to visit the "Artificials" thread which will give you a better understanding of the difficulties encounterd due to the wide spectrum of tidal range.

Any suggestions or advice you may be able to offer on the basis of the information in the thread would be most welcome.

Added to the vagaries of the large tidal variance, is the condition of the upper Bristol Channel water which is perpetually "cloudy", and heavily populated with "solids in suspension"

Thank you in anticipation that you will be able to find time to browse the "Artificial" thread, and for any advice you may be able to offer.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek Townsend)
What a great post ,

Derek , im not sure just how to answer that one , im lucky as here in dorset , colour is never to much of an issue , and there is always somewhere to go ..

Also i find the biggest spring tides , terrible for fishing , to much weed , to much flow , big bass are lazy , and not going to sit in a lot of flow , without places to hide , out of it , find these hiding places , and spring tides can be ok ish.

When weed , and bits are every where , i like to fish , softs on the deck , and use a longer trace , maybe with a swivel , and a long tag end , that way the weed will hit the swivel , yet the soft can still fish ,
but its terrible , when you reel in against the tide , with 2 ton of weed on , have to walk down level , or break your rod , but it does work , and does catch fish,.

Orange ,orange , a bit of white , and orange , for me , in cloudy , coloured water , and a large noisey lure , like the maria lasugunda can be very good reeled slowly ,

hope some of this helps

cheers
Mark
 

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I am at heart a bait fisherman but will fish for whatever is around at the time. My lure fishing has been mainly pollack off the rocks in deep-water with softies.
One advantage bait fishers have over many lure anglers is there are long periods when we just sit and take it all in, observe patterns and movement.
In my local estuary the last hour down to low, slack and then the first hour of the rise seems to be the most active. As you said in earlier posts the bass come in so close that their dorsals are sticking out of the water as they hunt among the newly exposed boulders.
In one particular spot a large very deep scour in the sand has formed and the bass lay along the 'uptide' edge of this waiting for sandeel to wash over them on the ebb. They do not change sides when the tide turn but move out down tide amongst the rocks and kelp.
A little further in-land there is a stone pier with a very deep channel running in to this. As with most marks of its type it is swarming with mullet and baitfish but the bass do not wait down tide as I expected them to, they wait in ambush on the uptide side of the mark and seem to use the current to strike into any straying baitfish.
Reading your post on how to attack marks I think I may have been approaching things at slightly the wrong direction. any new mark I fish is always from low tide up. My reasoning for this is that I can see the fish holding features and work to where I think the baitfish will hold or the bass will hunt. I also start with a surface lure and work my way down through the layers of water until I have success. If the 'Terns' are feeding I will start with something sandeely, if the gannets are feeding at the mouth of the estuary something resembling mackerel colour will be my first choice. Around the pier it will be something with a grey or green tinge to resemble mullet or pollack.
As much as I dont want to use them when all else fails metal lures such as the kilty, German sprat or dexters often produce when nothing else will.
We are blessed with crystal clear water but any rise in colour seems to kill the lure work off until it starts fining down again.
I would agree about the spring tides. On the big tides a six ounce lead will only hold bottom for around twenty minutes each side of low water and this strong current also pushes the bass off their normal spots. Whether or not they move further in land or out past the sand bar I haven't had time to find out yet but with large rafts of weed travelling at great speed on both the ebb and rise I tend to give the estuaries a miss for a few days.
 

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Very good thread fella,i would do the same especially regarding the time and state of the tide,you know your stuff for sure,i think alot of the people taking up bass dangling expect to just turn up at a mark chuck out a plug and get instant results regardless of as you said times/tide and conditions. I will be out cheating(boat) for bass later with a couple of devils own plugs later,if these fail then am sure the redgills/sidewinders may winkle one or two out.:fishing:
what do you think of those devil's own? i am looking to get some to start me off, being cheap and all that, lol. i asked on another forum and got mixed reviews. some said they were ok, some others said they were weak and broke easily. i was thinking of maybe trying to strengthen them a bit with epoxy glue or something. i was also told it would be an idea to change the hooks too.

anyone else used them?
 

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What a great thread, fantastic reading thanks. Ive been out lately around my local coastline looking at the different types of rock and beach layouts ect and wondering how or where to even start and this has helped alot in my thinking.

I was just thinking of maybe putting up a couple of pictures of one of the bays i looked at and maybe you good people could tell me how you would fish it, and what with, how....why...ect or maybe not even bother. Just to see how your minds work. Might make a good thread.:clap:cheers.stinky
 

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Brilliant thread, wish I saw it sooner, just statred lure fishing and this tread has given me so much to think about, thanks to all contributors.

Ian
 
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