The sun is out, the fish are in shore… grab your rod and get out there. Here are my top tips to catching a sea bass.
GO LIGHT: Use light tackle, you will be able to feel the lure working much more effectively. Also means you can cover more ground and move easily.
WATCH THE WATER: watch bursts of action from bait fish breaking the surface or seagulls diving on the bait fish.
WHAT TO CATCH: If there are Mackerel, Whitebait and Gars about then you can be sure that the Bass are not far behind.
STRUCTURES: Bass like to hunt in beach surf, so you do not need to cast far. They also like to hang around structures and ambush their Prey. Try fishing rocky marks, piers and groins for Bass using a variety of lures.
CHECK OUT YOUR MARK: Check out the areas you intend to fish on really low tides, to spot potential fish holding features such as gullies or ambush points for bass.
REEL SPEED: Vary your retrieve rates when lure fishing, also change the action when twitching the rod tip.
LURE TYPE: Match the lure/spinner to what the main bait of the area – sand eel, mackerel and red heads are all round winners.
New electronic lure may catch too many fish; one state bans it.
A new fishing technology that set a record for catching bass in the U. S. It has out-fished shrimp bait in Washington State and beat top-selling U. S. lures three to one in Florida. The new technology is so effective one state, Wyoming, has banned its use.
The break-through is a tiny, battery-powered electrical system that flashes a blood-red light down a lure’s tail when it moved in water This creates the appearance of a live, bleeding prey and triggers a genetic strike response in fish. Some fishing authorities, like those in Wyoming, think that gives fishermen too much of an advantage.
Three fishermen using a flashing lure in New Mexico caught 650 large-mouth bass in just 25 hours. That’s a bass every seven minutes for each person, and a record for the lake they were fishing. They said the bass struck with such ferocity they hardly lost a strike. In Florida two professionals fished for four hours from the same boat. One used a flashing-red lure; the other used some top-selling U. S. lures. The new, “bleeding” lure caught three times as many fish.
Matthew Butler, Ichthyologist
“Predators – lions, sharks will always go for the most vulnerable prey. Fish are predators, so if a fish sees a smaller fish bleeding, it knows it’s weakened and will strike. There’s a survival program built into predators that says, grab a meal when you can.’
The best way to catch big perch is using small lures or swimbaits. Anything that is about 2” (50mm) long and silver or bright coloured. A small 5 or 6 ft rod is perfect for the confined spaces, coupled with a medium sized real, loaded with 4 to 6 lb line. I always add a wire trace; the amount of times I have been after perch and seen a pike cruise out and engulf my bait or lure, make it worth while.
You are looking to imitate the roach fry (perch’s favorite snack), so cast into sheltered areas. A top spot for perch hang outs is always under over hanging trees. Natural food falls from the trees, the branches give cover from birds and the small bait fish hide out in the roots. Look out for schools of perch herding the bait fish and the fry breaking / scattering onto the surface.
Perch eat all year round but feed less in the Winter, however the clear waters help them spot your lure. Early morning Spring and Autumn are great times but the best is a warm Summers evening, just before dark.
Check out this clip from Underwater Ireland for perch on small lures.
MOST dedicated pikers only target pike from October to March, this being the traditional pike season. This gives the pike a break for spawning but also reduces the stress to fish, which soon become stressed and gassed up after a hard fight in warm water where oxygen levels are reduced.
Pike are more active in the warmer months and when they decide to feed they often go into a frenzie and snaffle down baits very quickly.
For this reason we do not recommend the use of dead baits until the winter months. This will inevitably result in deeply hooked and often damaged fish.
Pike are perceived to be tough, hardy predators but they do not cope very well with being hooked deeply or kept out of the water for too long.
If targeting pike at this time of year, use lures, but ensure that you are using adequate tackle – they will fight hard. Mono should be at least 12lb and braid 40lb breaking strains and always use a quality wire trace of min. 26lb breaking strain and at least 18 inches long.
Get the fish in quickly, unhook with forceps and release the pike as soon as possible.
Where appropriate, unhook the fish in the water without re-locating to the unhooking mat.
Following a few simple rules will ensure the pike will be returned unharmed to be caught another day.
Lure in the pike
Lure fishing is the only accepted method of piking during the warmer months. This is a much more pike-friendly method at this time of year when fish are more actively feeding in warmer water where oxygen levels are reduced.
Lure fishing for pike using spinners, plugs and spoons is a great, exciting way of catching pike. In summer they will hit lures very hard and give a fantastic fight right to the net.
Lure in the pike
When choosing lures you need to determine the pattern, type and size to suit the water you’re fishing. You’ll need to consider the presence of snags, weed beds and rocks to ensure you avoid snagging up.
When casting always cover an area in a systematic manner so you don’t miss those idle fish laying in wait. In deeper water you’ll need to cover all the depths too. Cover all features whether above or below the water line, reed beds, lily pads, drop-offs, ledges, sunken trees and over-hanging trees & hedge lines. Always cover the shallow areas; it’s surprising how many fish will sit in water barely deep enough to cover their backs.
The market is flooded with lures of all colours and pattern designs, some no doubt designed to catch the angler and not necessarily the fish.
I prefer to use natural colours and patterns to mimic the pike’s usual diet of roach, bream, perch and their favourite food, pike. That said, if not successful after covering an area it often pays to use different colours as a change-bait.
It’s surprising how often a naturally coloured lure will be ignored and a lure, which doesn’t seem to resemble a fish at all, will be taken. Perhaps these get the attention of the inquisitive fish that can’t resist the action of the lure regardless of what it looks like.
Jointed shallow diving plugs are most commonly used locally with waters down to max 10ft. The plug will float when at rest and dive when wound in, covering depths to around 6ft. These are ideal for covering a large area above the weed line. Pike will happily come up from deeper water to hit lures on or near the surface.
Spinners are also commonly used, available in weights and sizes to suit all waters but make sure you use a quality spinner or you’ll find the hooks are not up to the job. Remember, even when targeting perch on small spinners, you’re likely to hook a pike in the process so the choice of lure & quality of hooks has to reflect this. Large spoons are surprisingly versatile and are very effective in all water depths and types.
For lures with natural colours and movement – click the link below.