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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
To be clear, I don’t mean your angling skills.
I’m talking about a lack of fish showing at what WERE traditionally productive marks.
Even after eleven years of targeting ONLY Bass on lures, I still consider myself to be a relative newcomer to this form of angling.
The first five years was a massive learning curve and my fishing trips fewer and far between compared to now so, it’s not surprising that I wasn’t catching lots of fish.
But, in the last six years my learning and angling skills have grown considerably and my fishing effort ramped up dramatically from about 12 days per year up to as many as 48 days in 2019.
Keeping all that in mind, you would think that I should be catching more and more bass year on year but, NO!!
Here’s a basic snap shot of my fishing return/effort over the last 4 years.
Handwriting Rectangle Font Pattern Number


As you can see, 2020 was dire, with only 40
Bass coming from 35 days of fishing effort.
Seeing my figures laid bare like this makes me feel pretty sick to be quite honest.

Considering all the travelling I’ve done for my fishing in those four years, not to mention the £1000’s I’ve spent on fishing gear, plus the money I’ve spent while visiting the various coastal areas, I think there should be more a lot more Bass around to be caught than there currently is but, in my experience they often just aren’t there to be caught.
Or, am I just becoming worse at lure fishing for Bass? I suspect not!

But remember, where anglers go, Gill Netters, often follow, especially after marks are getting blown on social media.
I’ve also noticed that even a certain South Devon Bass guide sometimes gives away enough clues for all and sundry to take advantage of.

Also, I should mention that after cutting my teeth schoolie bashing for the first 5 years, the last 6 years have largely been spent avoiding the known schoolie spots in order to target a better stamp of Bass.
Anyone can hit the schoolie marks to rack up big totals if the want to but, what’s the point in that, unless you are using Lrfing gear! Plus the little uns need to be protected and not fed Patch 135’s with 3 big trebles.
I had about five fish of 60cm plus last year and maybe the same the year before.
Is that all I’ve got to look forward to next year or, maybe less the year after that?

I want more Big fish but, there just don’t seem to be that many around.

Would be interesting to hear which way other anglers Bass fishing is going!
 

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I’m still only in my 3rd year so I’m definitely still on the “ I’m getting better at it “ upward curve . I’m fishing lots more days , averaging at least twice a week . On my Estuary I would say I have not caught less fish this year but the average fish is def smaller , plenty of time for improvement yet though . Hope we can have a beer soon Greig if we get a meet sorted .
 

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An interesting discussion Greig.
The past 3/4 of what we would call “season’s” experienced down here are long gone,totally blown away, along with our supposed preconceived notions of the winter lull into spring.
My best landings to date currently coincide around the cooler temps - Dec, through till March. Strange times my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m still only in my 3rd year so I’m definitely still on the “ I’m getting better at it “ upward curve . I’m fishing lots more days , averaging at least twice a week . On my Estuary I would say I have not caught less fish this year but the average fish is def smaller , plenty of time for improvement yet though . Hope we can have a beer soon Greig if we get a meet sorted .
Thanks for your input Ian.
I’m sure a Meet will be set up before the Summer passes and looking forward to catching up over a pint or two.
 

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To be clear, I don’t mean your angling skills.
I’m talking about a lack of fish showing at what WERE traditionally productive marks.
Even after eleven years of targeting ONLY Bass on lures, I still consider myself to be a relative newcomer to this form of angling.
The first five years was a massive learning curve and my fishing trips fewer and far between compared to now so, it’s not surprising that I wasn’t catching lots of fish.
But, in the last six years my learning and angling skills have grown considerably and my fishing effort ramped up dramatically from about 12 days per year up to as many as 48 days in 2019.
Keeping all that in mind, you would think that I should be catching more and more bass year on year but, NO!!
Here’s a basic snap shot of my fishing return/effort over the last 4 years.
View attachment 1390710

As you can see, 2020 was dire, with only 40
Bass coming from 35 days of fishing effort.
Seeing my figures laid bare like this makes me feel pretty sick to be quite honest.

Considering all the travelling I’ve done for my fishing in those four years, not to mention the £1000’s I’ve spent on fishing gear, plus the money I’ve spent while visiting the various coastal areas, I think there should be more a lot more Bass around to be caught than there currently is but, in my experience they often just aren’t there to be caught.
Or, am I just becoming worse at lure fishing for Bass? I suspect not!

But remember, where anglers go, Gill Netters, often follow, especially after marks are getting blown on social media.
I’ve also noticed that even a certain South Devon Bass guide sometimes gives away enough clues for all and sundry to take advantage of.

Also, I should mention that after cutting my teeth schoolie bashing for the first 5 years, the last 6 years have largely been spent avoiding the known schoolie spots in order to target a better stamp of Bass.
Anyone can hit the schoolie marks to rack up big totals if the want to but, what’s the point in that, unless you are using Lrfing gear! Plus the little uns need to be protected and not fed Patch 135’s with 3 big trebles.
I had about five fish of 60cm plus last year and maybe the same the year before.
Is that all I’ve got to look forward to next year or, maybe less the year after that?

I want more Big fish but, there just don’t seem to be that many around.

Would be interesting to hear which way other anglers Bass fishing is going!
I wouldn't say the bass getting worst but another factor you need to take into account is the condition of the sea on the day you go fishing. I have been to marks one session I caught at least 10 but the next session when to the same place and caught zero. Having said that I have known some people trying for bass almost at least few days a week because they live near to sea. These people really contributed to the fishing stock in the UK but you cannot stop them.
 

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OTT has been crap for me this year and only good at the end of last year. When I have hit schoolies they are smaller this year I don't target them I try to target larger solitary fish. I don't know if they learn the lures we throw so I try to mix it up nowadays with different lures doing different things and I know I don't always go when the conditions are great so it doesn't help with catches, but when conditions have been really good and I have managed to get out I have still managed to find fish. I'm going this evening just because I want to get out but the conditions are crap so I am not expecting much. Good thread will interesting to see what people are experiencing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
An interesting discussion Greig.
The past 3/4 of what we would call “season’s” experienced down here are long gone,totally blown away, along with our supposed preconceived notions of the winter lull into spring.
My best landings to date currently coincide around the cooler temps - Dec, through till March. Strange times my friend.
Strange times indeed and thanks for the feedback Elliott.
So, over the course of each year are your numbers a bit up and down (generally decreasing) like mine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wouldn't say the bass getting worst but another factor you need to take into account is the condition of the sea on the day you go fishing. I have been to marks one session I caught at least 10 but the next session when to the same place and caught zero. Having said that I have known some people trying for bass almost at least few days a week because they live near to sea. These people really contributed to the fishing stock in the UK but you cannot stop them.
Thanks Martin.
I get what you’re saying re: conditions but, living in Bristol, I’ve learned to be quite selective about conditions when I shoot off for some fishing as I have a 2 hour minimum drive to my nearest marks.
I know conditions can never be guaranteed but, I’ve had a good education from some far more experienced anglers than me and thanks to that and my own learning I mostly get it right these days.
After a lot of wasted journeys in the early years I’d often arrive at a mark to find the water chocolate brown or, blown out and unfishable.
 

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Strange times indeed and thanks for the feedback Elliott.
So, over the course of each year are your numbers a bit up and down (generally decreasing) like mine?
Anticapating another Autumanal/late season lull again! ….Due to the current high temps of late.
Season’s best/ PB’s all landed over the winter down here.
Water Fin Underwater Fish Marine biology


Fin Fish Marine biology Fishing Recreation
 

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Thanks Martin.
I get what you’re saying re: conditions but, living in Bristol, I’ve learned to be quite selective about conditions when I shoot off for some fishing as I have a 2 hour minimum drive to my nearest marks.
I know conditions can never be guaranteed but, I’ve had a good education from some far more experienced anglers than me and thanks to that and my own learning I mostly get it right these days.
After a lot of wasted journeys in the early years I’d often arrive at a mark to find the water chocolate brown or, blown out and unfishable.
Hi Banksea, I have never done lure fishing, most time I do night fishing with the right live bait. I am the same like yours, I live in central London, the nearest mark to me is at least 2 hours drive, so most of my favourite marks would take about over 3 hours drive. If I am being honest I have spent at least 300 days a year researching and studying about fishing, learning when to go. And yes, some marks I went with perfect conditions like the wind, tide, moon...but zero fish, but another day I went which seemed to be a bad day to go fishing but I caught a few. Also some places I went I caught most schoolie but the next session I caught few big ones. This is why I love shore fishing rather boat because you don't know what you get. Having said that I have countless of blank sessions in the last few years, considering all the research, driving distance, cost involved...you can understand how I felt with those sessions.
 

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I'm out at the moment, 8 days trip and struggling.
Had 4 last night but only one even semi decent. The take was awesome off the top but the size was only around 50cm.
The others were micro sized.

All on my traditional marks, sometimes it's as if the water is empty of fish, even brown fish, no wrasse chasing lures anymore either.

Strange days definitely.
 

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Larger fish are not solitary, granted not big shoals but definitely not solitary
I agree with you when I boat fished and fished off shore banks I have caught plenty of large bass 6lb + but I have not encountered it since I have fished the shallows from the shore with lures. Obviously you get large fish together when they spawn and I don't fish estuaries where they will congregate.
 

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Hi Grieg
I have been lure fishing for probably 10 years , there are far less bass around especially on the coast around Plymouth, hardly any wrasse or pollack as a by catch , mackerel scarce . I have struggled this year up to now , with only about 6 caught , dispite going 2-3 times a week . As usual we suspect netters , but looking back at records etc it’s always slow this time of year , the better times with 50cm plus fish come in the autumn. When I first started with Shane the fish , we used to catch bass just about every time or did we , the bait fishing used to be a lot better , roll on autumn
Cheers John
 

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I agree with you when I boat fished and fished off shore banks I have caught plenty of large bass 6lb + but I have not encountered it since I have fished the shallows from the shore with lures. Obviously you get large fish together when they spawn and I don't fish estuaries where they will congregate.
6lb isn't what I would call large being that it's only a third of its potential size
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm out at the moment, 8 days trip and struggling.
Had 4 last night but only one even semi decent. The take was awesome off the top but the size was only around 50cm.
The others were micro sized.

All on my traditional marks, sometimes it's as if the water is empty of fish, even brown fish, no wrasse chasing lures anymore either.

Strange days definitely.
Thanks for your input Nick.
At the recent Pembrokeshire tournament there were a fair number of anglers out of the 105 that blanked.
Also some catches of numerous small fish by some and a good number like me that only caught a couple or, so.
I reckon there should be far more fish and more widely dispersed all over the uk coast at this time of year.
Also noticeable is the lack of Sand eel showing up in numbers and widespread these days.
No doubt they’re being fished out for animal feed/fish meal . Meanwhile Puffins and other bird life is dying off as a result.
There’s an imbalance in the marine ecosystem, as a result I reckon.
Somethings not right there!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Lots of big fish aggregating off Cornwall coast every autumn and all being illegally targeted by netters then claiming it’s by catch ffs.
Good luck to Cornish bass anglers looking for specimen fish in five years time.
They’re gonna need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Hi Grieg
I have been lure fishing for probably 10 years , there are far less bass around especially on the coast around Plymouth, hardly any wrasse or pollack as a by catch , mackerel scarce . I have struggled this year up to now , with only about 6 caught , dispite going 2-3 times a week . As usual we suspect netters , but looking back at records etc it’s always slow this time of year , the better times with 50cm plus fish come in the autumn. When I first started with Shane the fish , we used to catch bass just about every time or did we , the bait fishing used to be a lot better , roll on autumn
Cheers John
John, I only fished in Devon twice last year and blanked both times on a Sand eel dependant mark, but there were no sand eels.
I kept bugging a mate who lives down that way as to whether the sand eels have turned up yet. Kept being told no, so I kept going to Dorset instead.
The year before that, I caught 67 & 70cm bass in one night and a 59 and 62cm bass on two other separate occasions at the same mark, same tide and conditions, same time of year.
Only difference was there were lots of sand eels present.
I’d be interested to know if it was slow this time of year (June/July) 20 years ago, or even 12 years ago ?
 

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John, I only fished in Devon twice last year and blanked both times on a Sand eel dependant mark, but there were no sand eels.
I kept bugging a mate who lives down that way as to whether the sand eels have turned up yet. Kept being told no, so I kept going to Dorset instead.
The year before that, I caught 67 & 70cm bass in one night and a 59 and 62cm bass on two other separate occasions at the same mark, same tide and conditions, same time of year.
Only difference was there were lots of sand eels present.
I’d be interested to know if it was slow this time of year (June/July) 20 years ago, or even 12 years ago ?
You are certainly right about lack of Sandeels/ white bait hardly any around yet , the Mackreel I have taken eat have had no eels or white bait in them as was the 49cm bass I caught , so what are they eating .
 

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so far, I will not complain,
the more I practice and the more I learn, I fish less than twenty sessions from mid-May to November 1, with an effective duration of 6 to 12 or even 15 hours maximum (it still took me 2 seasons to draw my conclusions)
as far as I'm concerned, the conditions must be very specific to make a success of my outings, but I still manage to make pretty fish on "bad days" (sun, no wind, calm sea, little current...), I do everything in my power to capture them (material side, nothing is left to chance),
I walk on the beach (in the same direction as the current, until I meet them) and go from post to post (five different over more than 2.5 km): they are never twice on the same spot
I do not rely on luck although it certainly exists but with a very small percentage.

it's true that many fishermen complain about bad sessions: fewer fish, smaller... but when I meet them, I always notice the same thing: they haven't changed anything in their habits/approach/technique and it's the same on the river !

I have already seen trawlers less than 200 m from the beach ! it should be forbidden ! they kill everything with their nets ,it's not good for the future...
 
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