East Cork bass in the surf on a sunny Sunday afternoon
March 29th, 2012 | by Myles Kelly
As Sunday was a lovely sunny day I headed to the coast for some daytime bass fishing. There was a strong southeasterly wind which had blown up a big surf so I was going to have to stick to bait fishing. I got to the shore just as the tide was beginning to push in. There was a lot of kelp at my preferred mark so I moved about 200 m further down the beach until I was clear of the weed, set up two rods with 4/0 pennel pulleys baited with fresh peeler crab on one and lug on the other as usual.
I had a couple of strong tugs but nothing was hooked, then as the tide began to push in more strongly I had another strong tug on the rod baited with lug, This time the fish was well hooked. From the fight it felt to be a small bass and a minute or two later I eased a 36 cm fish on to the sand.
Shortly afterwards I spotted a small knock on the rod with the crab. The line went slack as I lifted the rod, I reeled in the slack and connected with the fish, again it did not feel to be big. It was another small bass, similar in size at 36 cm.
It looked like a shoal of small bass was moving in. Shortly afterwards I had a strong bite. This felt to be a better fish, but then the line went slack – the fish was gone!! A few minutes I spotted a large seal in a breaking wave just at the distance I was casting. It is possible that it had snatched the bass off my hook. The seal worked its way up and down a 250 m section of coastline right in front of me for about two hours. It was probably chasing the bass shoal. During that time I did not have another bite.
Eventually the seal moved on. A little later, just as the sun was sinking below the cliffs behind me, I had another bass, this time on lug. This one was bigger, a 46 cm fish.
Following that I had two small flounder close to high tide, the first was about 34 cm, the second barely 25 cm long. Then over high tide as the light was beginning to fade I had a fourth small bass, again on lug. This gave the rod a mighty whack and I initially though it was going to be a good size fish. It did put up a spirited fight but I could feel that it was not big. It was another 36 cm bass.
I fished on for about another hour but there were no more bites, the fish had moved on as the tide began to drop. I was happy enough with the result of 4 bass and 2 flounder for a daytime session with a southeasterly wind but reckon I would have done a lot better if the seal had not been there.