August Bank Holiday…

Last weekend I had the chance to return to Cornwall for a spot of fly fishing and plugging, with a good bass being the intended target for both me and Graham.
We set off around 4.30am and after a short stop at a supermarket we were fishing by 7.30ish. The tide was going out but we found ourselves at a deep water mark. We both opted for the fly and had a few taps and follows from greedy pollack but we couldn’t hook one! We stayed probably a bit longer than we intended as neither of us wanted to blank and we had our heart set on a low water mark that Graham had fished the weekend before. I ended up with one small pollack once I convinced them that my fly was tastier than my braided loop! We walked back up the steep cliff, to the car and then set our tents up at the campsite.
There was little time for a break as we set off again for the low water mark that had shown so much promise the weekend before! After a medium walk down an even bigger and steeper hill we arrived at a sandy channel covered either side by bladderack. It looked sublime and we quickly set up eager to fish. The wind, on the other hand had other ideas. Out of nowhere the wind picked up and was blowing straight at us, casting a fly to the channel was impossible. We changed to the plugging rods and after a little perseverance we gave up, it wasn’t pleasant in the strong cold winds.
We moved a little further round to a sheltered edge with more deep water, we tried the fly and various plugs and spinners but the only luck we had was a bass around 3lb that came up to look at my plug as it was stationary on the surface right in front of me. Once again we moved further round to a lovely sandy bay. With the wind now behind us, I could easily cast to the opposite side of the bay with my popper. I slowly worked it back when a good fish began to follow it alongside before launching itself at the lure, it missed and never came back. Gutted.
I worked the cove a little more while Graham was still using the fly. Again a fish appeared following the plug and this one really wanted it! It hit about 6 times, each time more aggressively but each time failing to hook itself just as much as the last! Fantastic to see but very frustrating. That was it for me but shortly after, Graham managed a nice schoolie on the fly!

We began the long walk uphill to the car and decided we were deserved of sausage and chips for tea! After our sustenance, we went back out. We arrived at another deep water mark and both had pollack on the fly although again they were more interested in my braided loop! I saw a mackerel jump 3-4 feet vertically out of the water a little further out than I could cast but there was nothing out there to be had on the plug. Darkness fell and after more Pollack we headed back to our tents determined to fish high water at dawn.

I awoke Sunday morning feeling surprisingly awake although not having heard my alarm. Graham was snoring still – I checked my clock and sure enough we’d overslept by an hour. It was now high water and we were still in bed! I awoke Graham and we headed straight down to the sea. Perhaps we should have stayed in bed as the morning was rather fruitless, I think Graham managed one small pollack to his standard sand eel pattern although may have been little consolation for the unscheduled ‘swim’ he had!

Come low water we fished a small creek, crawling with mullet and usually home to a number of small bass. We fished for a couple of hours and whereas I could only get bass to follow the fly, stop, follow it again, stop and then turn away (much the same as Perch do), Graham managed I think his smallest ever bass on a ‘Gammarus’ pattern.

We stopped for food and then headed to a beach we both know very well for high tide. I stopped at a rock mark that runs out into a gully that runs diagonally across the beach. I cast my fly to the gully let it sink, one strip and a fish was on! I was hoping it was going to be a bass but it soon became evident that it was not, a nice 1lb+ pollack came to hand before going back. The early mornings and all the hauling had made my arm ache so I switched to the plug, once again the popper being my choice. It wasn’t long before I had interest, a number of splashy takes but no hook ups. I cast again, this time with a slower and more ‘angry’ retrieve. From nowhere a bass launched itself at the lure from the side, being out of the water for about two feet before actually reaching it. I was in shock but the fish was on. A number of runs and lunges later and Graham handed the fish in and placed it in a shallow rockpool where we unhooked measured and photographed the fish. At 50cm it was my PB lure caught bass.

Grinning from ear to ear I released the fish and quickly cast out again, but there was no more interest. We moved to the other side of the bay, by this time the tide was well on the ebb, 2 or 3 hours after high and the light was starting to drop. We both used the fly and Graham had a number of good pollack and I managed a mackerel on the popper.
We returned to our tents and planned an early get up for our last day. This time we both awoke on time and decided to fish the same area we had the evening before. The sun was lighting up the horizon and this time I made my first cast with the popper. Straight away I was getting takes and I had pollack both first and second cast, as the light crept up the sport died. We moved to a deeper water mark and Graham had a couple more pollack. That was it, the weekend had gone and it was time to go home. 
As I write this I’m already itching to have another go at the bass but I fear my opportunities may have gone. Until next time…

Adam Rawson
Dad, husband, maker of split cane fishing rods and lover of the great outdoors.

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