Well June is here and I have just returned from the Eastern Seaboard having been invited to experience the squid run for a few days for the Striped Bass so I thought i'd pen a few thoughts on the season so far.
April in the UK was extremely clement and yielded a few Sea Bass in the latter part of the month. May experienced good weather but the prevailing winds failed to materialise and offshore breezes continued for a few weeks which may have kept plankton and forage bait offside to the coast, this coupled up with a very poor cuttlefish season has kept Bass offside to the coastal fly rodder and the results from wading forays has been extremely challenging whilst drift fishing has yielded much better results - with food being off the intertidal zone we have had to go searching further a field and a good example of "find food - find fish".
Most of the Bass we are catching are between 2-3 lbs with a few larger fish in the 6lbs range. This class of fish were hatched in 2004/2005 which was a very big year for me and yielded over 2500 during that season's guiding, a lot of the immature stock from that year are now coming of sexual age (45-47cms) which bodes well as the winter during 2004/5 was mild and wet. The interesting or worrying aspect to this season has been the distinct lack of very young stock. If we consider that the last few winters have been extremely harsh and extended, this may have caused a natural cull so 2016/17 may be short of Y7 brood stock. We will have a better gauge on this season when August is here so let's keep our fingers crossed.
June has been windy and the drift fishing has yielded some good results but my underlying feeling is the harbour is not yet heavily populated so we've concentrated outside when the wind allows. Once again it's too early to draw a conclusion on the levels of stock in Chichester's Bass Nursery but I'd be interested to hear if Langstone/Portsmouth or Poole are seeing similar trends.
The forage food around the inshore fishery has been small sandeels and I've noticed that the Bass are almost "sipping" these small eels off the top layers. Heavily preoccupied with a food source which is unable to escape from both the tide and the predator, these Bass have been falling to very small Clouser minnows (Grey & White no.6's), worked slowly through the shoals and from below them on a sinking line - we have experienced the same feeding in Connecticut in the salt ponds which is where we learnt the technique - remember small bait can't swim against tide so just keep the tension on the line and there?s no need to strip quickly as this may look unnatural.
"Hitting Bass feeding over 1 inch sandeels worked steady but not fast"
The early season foray to Connecticut was temperamental on weather with the first day offering monsoon black rain and a stiff breeze. The second day was settled and hot which I have been told is the norm for that time of year and the third and fourth days being windy but warmer - the wind just seems to follow me around the globe!. The fishing was hard but yielded 21 Bass and all good quality fish taken to squid patterns whilst busting food on the surface, sight fishing at its best.
I am keen to take clients to experience the squid run for the better sized Bass at that time of year and will be putting a party together for early to mid June 2012 on top of the Sept/October trips. If you are interested in either trips please let me know as Guides/boats need to be booked well in advance - the June trip is specifically targeting big Bass but remember there is very little else in the water at that time of year as the Tuna and Albacore arrive from mid August onwards.
"Seawolf 10 weight getting a work out"
"36 inches plus of pure power house"
The new website has been well received and thank you for your comments which have been very positive, especially regarding kit. I will continue to produce Saltwater Fly fishing equipment at the highest quality the price affords - there will be more lines coming through over the next few weeks which I am testing as we speak so hopefully these will be ready by the time the CLA Gamefair is upon us in late July (22-24th Inc).
For now that's all, so let's hope the weather stabilises and fish continue to play - keep in touch and email any information as I'm always interested in how you all get on.