Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Bass streamers

Friday, 23 July 2021 at 10:18

Deceivers I suspect that in the past I've used streamers for bass which were rather diminutive (the streamers, not the bass). Bottom right, for example, is a sandeel-suggesting pattern tied on a size 6 saltwater hook. This pattern has worked perfectly well but for boat fishing on the local estuaries it's a touch small. Around it are some Deceiver-style baitfish patterns I tied up last night on size 2/0 Mustad hooks. The combination of white and green (or green/yellow) isn't only representative of baitfish colours (white bellies, darker backs) but the white and the touch of flash makes it easier for me to sight the fly as it comes back on the retrieve. It's amazing how often the fly is followed, or is quickly annexed, by a hungry bass.

Blackwater bass

Wednesday, 21 July 2021 at 21:27

Deceiver Just back from an enjoyable, interesting and even prolific bass session on the estuary. We were fishing streamers from a drifting boat. The trick was to approach the bass quietly, arranging the drift in the wind and tide so that the boat intersected the area of sea being worked by gulls and terns. The birds were really good diagnostics of the presence of bass: bass or birds alike were feeding on whitebait (herring fry). The fishing was tough and very, very intense: over a couple of hours we must have moved two dozen bass across six or seven drifts. None of the bass were big but we did release schoolies up to 1½lb. on the fly-rods, with two or three slightly bigger fish (up to 2lb.) coming to weighted hokkai-type lures during a coda to the main session. The best action was prompted by a biggish, highly visible streamer such as a size 2 chartreuse and white Deceiver (see image), which both I and the bass could sight very well as it was retrieved at speed.

'A fair feld, ful of folk...'

Sunday, 18 July 2021 at 20:44

North Essex working tests ...wrote William Langland in the 14th century, at the beginning of Piers Plowman. Langland's setting was the Malvern hills. Our 'fair field full of folk' was in north Essex, where working tests were being run for two groups of gundogs, a novice class and an open (= more experienced) class. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day despite the heat. Fortunately some of the tests were held in the shade and there was a pond, too, so the dogs could cool off. Our Poppy isn't yet experienced enough to enter even the novice tests but she came along and remained steady and relaxed despite meeting a stream of new dogs and hearing shot (starting pistols) continually. It won't be long before she can enter these tests, enjoy them and do creditably.

Thanks to all - organisers, caterers, judges, fellow marshals, other dog people - for a grand day.


Three days in the Dales

Monday, 12 July 2021 at 08:53

Wild trout I was three days in the Dales last week. A small flood on 6th July ran off quickly and the fishing thereafter was tough, but careful work with sedges did produce some fish, including this wild trout of 18 inches - about 2½lb., I thought. (The fish was leaner than this image makes it look.) Of the fish I caught and released, a third were wild fish, so that was both promising and reassuring.

Wild flowers of the Dales

Monday, 12 July 2021 at 08:49

Clover As well as fishing I spent a good deal of time finding and photographing wild flowers. Even the commonest wild flowers - clover, ragwort, lady's mantle, lady's bedstraw, cranesbill, campion, harebell, wild thyme - are a delight and of course they provide food for insects. As well as the forms and colours of the plants, the names, too, are a source of fascination...and I may well do some work on those names when I eventually retire. What (if anything) has the harebell got to do with hares, or the cranesbill with cranes?

  Many thanks to Richard Benwell for good company and botanical expertise.


Small but perfectly formed

Monday, 5 July 2021 at 19:57

Little bass Nine inches of pure aggression and a giant in its own world. This tiny bass took a 20g silver and white Toby worked at speed just below the surface of the estuary. I reflected as I slipped it back on the miracle of co-ordination this basslet performed in order to take the lure. It was a strangely indifferent after-work session and I packed up after just a couple of hours; this was the only fish that moved to the lures despite other signs (such as the presence of a seal) auguring well. Still, it was good to be out.

Chug Bug blank

Friday, 2 July 2021 at 10:35

Chug Bug As so often, the theory was good - a shelving beach, an outgoing tide, and what by Essex estuary standards was remarkably clear water - but the bass were either absent or indifferent. I fished for a couple of hours over the top of the tide and the first of the ebb. There was just the big sky, the water sliding past, and behind my head, skylarks aloft at the edge of the meadow. Some tiny mullet fiddled about in inches of water as the tide ebbed. I changed from a 20g silver Toby to a Chug Bug and worked it winningly (as I thought) over the surface of the estuary. It was so calm that anything within twenty yards of the working lure would have seen or heard it. After a while I got stalled with the game. It may be that this mark is configured so that it needs the cover of night for the bass to feel they have security in such shallow water. So next time: dusk, and a making tide.

  In a saltwater context a single hook picks up less weed than the treble(s) found on the original lure, which is another advantage of re-fitting your lures with in-line singles.


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