The Brittany holiday cottage with pool is just a short drive from some lovely beaches to fish from, as an aid Ive enclosed information on the fish you may come across and give tips on how to catch them.
The first species in this series is the Bass, its great to eat and a great fighting fish.
One of our most adaptable species. Found offshore over reefs, uplifting sand banks, inshore wrecks, along rough ground and surf beaches, inside harbours, and will feed to the highest reaches of an estuary and is often taken by salmon anglers fishing the junction of fresh and saltwater.
Enjoys a varied diet and is an opportunist feeder taking advantage of what ever is easily available at the time.
Crab, prawns and small rough ground living fish like gobies and rockling are found most frequently in fish feeding over rocky ground. Estuary fish take mainly crab and sandeel, but also small flatfish. Offshore reef fish get preoccupied with sandeels or small joey mackerel. Very large adult fish are true cannibals and occasionally contain small school bass, also whiting, eels, pipefish etc.
MARKS AND FEATURE:
On the rough ground beaches, the bigger and more ill fitting the boulders are, the better the bass will work the area. Food washed down by the tide will fall in between the rocks and boulders and lodge where the bass can pick it up. Even on less rough marks where the rocks are smaller and tight fitting, if you walk the beach you will find areas where the boulders are larger than normal. These are the places to concentrate on.
Also look to weed beds, anywhere a small stream or river flows across the beach, finger like reefs that work seawards, and definite deeper gullies that come inshore from the low water line that fish will follow.
On surf beaches bass can sometimes follow a route along the slightly deeper gullies that run parallel with the beach. But they will also be side tracked by areas of boulders and weed growth, shingle banks, and again areas where a stream flows into the sea. On smaller beaches flanked by rocky cliffs it's always wise to start fishing at each end of the beach near the rocks, rather than in the middle of the beach.
Inside estuaries, bass travel as the new flood tide starts to push over the estuary bar. They will work reefy ground and the sandbanks around the bar, then use the main channel to push far up the estuary. They investigate the sides of the estuary where the weed is thick and the crabs in numbers. Also, smaller side creeks which hold sandeels and flatfish.
Harbours, piers, breakwaters and marina's all hold bass. They come in to feed on the smaller pout etc, that are feeding on the rubbish and old bait that commercial fisherman and anglers throw over the side. Also, anglers leave a trail of small pout, rockling, poor cod etc, that expire after unhooking which the bass mop up with glee.
If you would like to find out how to present Sandeel then click here.
Bass will work estuaries even on the smallest tides. This is because of the continued tidal run through the main channel that always displaces food items. Over the rough ground and surf beaches bass numbers will decline as the neap tides reach their lowest peak. This is because the lack of tide fails to disturb enough food forms for the bass to fill their bellies.
On the beaches the best tides are the middle sized ones and those just prior to the very biggest springs. The biggest springs themselves can be disappointing, though odd fish can still be caught.
Bass like rough weather. Not full blown gales, but those days when the wind comes off the sea at a steady force 3 to 6 creating a series of rollers that push across the sand and rocks and again expose food. Winds off the land that clear the water push the bass out to deeper water where they feed on the reef sandeels etc.
The other good time is just after a strong gale when the sea has been really rough and the surf is full of weed. Bass will work within a few yards of shore in these conditions.
Bass will feed by day if the sea is coloured or carrying a good surf. Generally, the fishing is best at night, especially dusk and dawn, but bass respond more to the state of the tide than the darkness of the hour.
ROUGH GROUND BEACHES:
Bass show over these beaches only at set times. It's usually low water and the first two hours of the flood, then the hour either side of high water. Outside the� periods bites are few and far between.
Long casts are not necessary. Dropping a large crab bait at about 40-metres or less will usually find the fish. But you need to hold the rod at all times and feel for the bites being transmitted through the rod. Bass mostly register on the rod tip initially with a couple of gentle knocks, then pull the rod tip hard over. You need to strike as the rod is pulled away from you.
In rough weather and heavy surf's, use a wired lead to anchor the bait in position, but again hold the rod and feel for bites. Start by casting out to medium range, then if no bites are forthcoming shorten the casts until you're working only 40-metres out, and if this fails to produce fish do not hesitate to put a bait as far as you can. It's a mistake to believe the books and articles that suggest bass are always close to shore. The truth is that the bass are where the food is, and this may beyond even the best casters at times.
In less rough seas and steady surf's, it pays to use a plain lead and let this roll with the tidal pressure on the line in a downtide and inward arc. The bait and lead then find all the depressions and gutters that the bass are likely to be feeding in.
These require a mix of the latter two techniques. The bar and main channel of the estuary may need to be fished with wired leads on a flooding tide, though if you pick a place just off the main current you can choose a plain lead and let the bait move across the seabed, again finding out and resting in the food holding depressions.
The creek and estuary sides need very short casts, often less than 20-metres and putting the crab bait down into the weed and rocks where the bass are hunting. Cast beyond these edges and you'll only catch flatfish.
Bass working the rough ground beaches, estuary bars and creeks will just as readily hit an artificial lure. The best are the ABU Toby spoon, the Dexter Wedge and the Redgill artificial sandeel.
Simply casting and retrieving the lure over the rough ground will catch bass, though you'll find that more fish are concentrated for this type of fishing around the river mouths and streams. Also try working the lure along the small finger reefs. Plugs work well, too, especially the slimmer bodied floating ones in silver and jointed ones that give off vibrations.
Inside the estuaries, aim to fish where the main channel has a bottleneck that forces the water through a narrow gap quickly. Bass will herd up the sandeel shoals against this passing current with three or four fish making charging runs into the sandeel to feed. A white or black Redgill can be deadly at this time.
There is a spare beach caster with reel at the Brittany holiday cottage with pool which is available for guest to use. If you would like someone to fish with I'd be more than happy to join you.