End of Season Newsletter 2014
"To All those caught by the fly"
A very successful year all round in terms of numbers of Bass in the year class 7,8 and 9 range. Certain areas produced consistently whilst some blew hot and cold but the common denominator was definitely the size, generally between 2-3lbs with some up to 5lbs. The worry however was that the normal areas did not produce the better quality fish and even in September and October these fish were no where to be found. The tally for 2014 was a shade under 3000 fish and for a period we were consistently getting 50 a session which on the fly is cracking fun.
“Anthony Tabor with a mid-season Bass”
The prognosis is poor however if you project this nationwide using my coding area as a benchmark.
The question therefore is "Why can we have such a great season but poor future ahead of us"?
Answer. "Understanding and measuring fecundity is important because it is the starting point for recruitment (how many individuals come into a population). The recruitment and then growth and survival of those recruits are what determine how many fish you can take out of the population. The factors that affect growth, condition, maturation and fecundity (egg production rates) are all critical to determining the level of fishing a population can sustain and in determining the length of time it will take depleted populations to recover. The starting point of all this is finding out how many eggs are produced and that's what fecundity is all about".
This is a major issue as a complete lack of brood stock (quality Bass from 5lbs and upwards) means that recruitment drops very rapidly. We have therefore been enjoying past year classes of Bass whilst failing to protect the baseline for breeding.
Even as I write this note to you the European Parliament is still playing politics with this species. It is not rocket science to understand that ANY species (Bass or otherwise) cannot survive unless the Minimum Landing Size (applicable to both the commercial and sport fishing sectors) reflects a size limit which allows the species to reproduce at least once and in my opinion this should be put in place to allow at least two seasons worth of spawn - simply put, if you can legally bring to port any fish which has an MLS less than it's maturity size you will extinct the species.
What can be done is simple, take a Bass for supper if that's what you want but ignore the very low and existing MLS size even if it's legal to take the fish, set your own MLS size above the legal limit and in my book that's between two limits, namely 45 cms to 47cms. This way the Bass are mature, have spawned at least once and probably twice and more importantly they will be just as likely to be male fish.....remember, Bass above 5lbs are more than likely female and the foundation for brood stock, don't cull the Goose that lays the golden egg.
I hope this helps but I feel it is an honest reflection of previous seasons' observations ( see previous newsletter for continuity http://www.bass-fishing.co.uk/en/info/NovemberNewsletter2013)
New for 2015
You will have noticed that the Bass-fishing.co.uk home page has changed slightly as I am happy to welcome John George into the fold. John is a professional guide who works in the Pembrokeshire and Gower area and has done for over four decades. He is someone I have got to know through guiding and regard him as a dedicated professional who I am more than happy to endorse - he knows his patch so if you are planning to go west please look him up.( http://www.bass-fishing.co.uk/en/)
“John George from Pembrokeshire”
Apart from the rant, Connecticut this year saw some pretty good average size of Bass to the boat from Paul Drake, but they too are suffering from a numbers decline. What made the trip this season was very aggressive False Albacore sport (both vessels this year saw multiples of F/albacore arriving to the net and in one day I think the tally was over 40!... that is pretty tough work, period!).
“Tripling up on False Albacore”
Blue fish too were around and I witnessed the largest Blues in 8 years come to the net which were a shade over 14 lbs & 16 lbs respectively, congratulations to Pat Muir and Pete Simpson for working in the most aggressive conditions I have seen for many seasons. The F/Albacore were plentiful and maybe last year's lack of Albies was a reflection of the very cold start we had and low corresponding water temperatures - this year the temperatures were steady and high.
“Pete Simpson with a monster Blue”
“Pat Muir with another monster Blue”
Next season Connecticut is scheduled for the same week (September 21st -27th 2015) with both vessels running for the week - please let me know if you are interested in joining us (see USA CT).
In April next year I am flying off to the South of France to experiment with Blue Fin Tuna on the fly so I will be reporting back to clients in the Spring as to how I got on - New "Hatch 11's" have already been ordered as have Mick Bell 13 wt fly rods. I hope the trip is successful as I have heard great reports of the Mediterranean fishery vastly improving over the last decade which will offer us a more local destination in the years to come.
Sales of rods are proving very steady as are reels and lines which I know is reflective of their quality and value for money so thank you for supporting the "Seawolf" brand. If interested I have a number of 10 weights in old colours looking for a home which I would happily do a deal on - see link: http://www.bass-fishing.co.uk/en/beulahguideseries10weighttheyahoo-p-8983.html
Next Season 2015
The book will be open for dates in the next few weeks and I will be approaching next years early season dates in April and May with specific reference to putting time into particular areas which have yielded very good quality Bass in previous years. Due to the nature of the weather and wind which is nearly always transient at this early time of year we will be trying any method to hook up; the ground is not necessarily deep but the tidal flow even on the Neap cycle is aggressive for the fly so pray for a North wind and a flat sea state.
For now I wish you a good run up to Christmas and a great new year, thank you for all your support and I look forward to hooking up with you again in the Spring.