Sea Fishing – Tips and Advice
With your ordinary float fishing tackle, carp and pike gear, you can actually have a great deal of fun sea fishing, especially with bass, mullet, flat fish and wrasse. If you find that you enjoy this style of fishing, then you will probably want to take sea fishing a step further and buy all the necessary equipment. You will also find that if you do go out on boats, the skippers will generally look after you, and teach you the rudimentaries of sea fishing very quickly indeed.
Sea sport doesn't come much more, exciting than bass fishing. Bass are spread pretty widely around the shores of the Northern Hemisphere, and you can pursue them on most types of beaches, especially in and around harbours, piers and jetties.
Bass come inshore during the spring and early summer, departing for warmer waters in the later autumn. Very occasionally, if the early winter is particularly mild, a few will remain.
Spinning for Bass
Bass are predators, primarily, feeding on any small fish that they can find, and also on marine worms. It makes sense, therefore, to pursue them with either bait or with spinners.
Spinning is an active and exciting way of fishing. Choose something silver and about 3, or at the most 4, inches (7-10cm) long.
Travel light and try to cover as much of the shoreline as you can. Don't worry too much about long casting, because you will often find bass feeding amidst the breakers. If the sea is very calm, watch out for bass chasing small fry in the surface regions and aim for these patches of activity Also, look out for seabirds attacking small fish from the air; you can guarantee that the bass will be there too, attacking from beneath.
Fishing with Light Gear
Failing that, you can always hunt bass on the bottom with strong carp tackle and a couple of lugworms on, say, a size 2 hook.
Once again, very heavy weights and long casting aren't particularly important, especially if you're out early or late, and the sea is comparatively calm. Again, you will find the bass hunting for food where the waves churn the sand.
In fact, a heavy weight can sometimes be something of a disadvantage, and a light lead does allow those lugworms to drift along with the tide and cover more ground. Of course, you may come across such minor irritations as floating weed and crabs but, believe me, the thrill of a plunging bass on comparatively light gear is certainly one that you will savour.
Like bass, grey mullet come northwards during the warmer months of the year and generally arrive around our south coast sometime in May or June, and then spill further north, east and west. In fact, mullet are found in most estuaries and harbours from early summer onwards.
Mullet live and travel in large shoals, often numbering hundreds of fish. They feed on minute organisms in the mud, and you will often see them scraping their lips along the slimy bottom of estuaries. This can mean that bait presentation is a bit of a problem... there simply isn't a hook small enough to take the type of minute foodstuffs that the mullet are foraging for.
Don't despair, however. Mullet quickly become aware of other foodstuffs, especially if they are around human beings for any length of time. This is why harbours can be such excellent places to hunt mullet; the shoals tend to follow the tide and they come in looking for any food scraps that yachtsmen, picnickers and day trippers have left behind.
This is where your float fishing tackle comes in. A 4 or 5 pound line, a size 8 hook, with a lump of breadflake on, can prove irresistible in these circumstances.
I remember having great success fishing for mullet in an East Anglian harbour. There was a food canning factory nearby, discarding waste peas and carrots into the water. Guess what bait I used there with great success!?
Fishing In Open Creeks
Mullet out on the open creeks are more difficult, and it often pays to either spin for them with tiny silver spoons, or to use small ragworm on a size 10 hook with a small lead. Once again, try to get to a proven mullet mark as the tide is coming in, and you'll often see the fish working in just 6 or 7 inches (15—17cm) of water. It's exciting stuff indeed. If you find one particular bay that attracts mullet, you can actually put some groundbait in. Place mashed bread in the mud and the mullet will find it as soon as there is water cover. Then, simply use bread on the hook with a float as an indicator. Once again, prepare for fireworks.
There's probably no more exciting way of using your freshwater tackle on sea fish than to hunt wrasse amongst the rocks. Wrasse rarely venture far out from rocky outcrops, where they both shelter and feed. These are colorful, hard-fighting fish that will accept lugworm, ragworm, small soft crabs and even take smallish spinners. Fish the bait in mid water, and let it drift around with the swell. Bites are very decisive but put pressure on the wrasse to keep it away from its rocky hideout. Do take care on those rocks; they can be very slippery, especially if they've been covered by the tide and there is a covering of slimy, green weed. It certainly pays to wear a life jacket and fish in couples or threesomes. Some people also tie themselves to the rock as an added precaution. Don't take any risks -not even for a wrasse!
Some of my most enjoyable days have been spent around the coastline. Dawn is my favourite time, when the world is absolutely quiet and an early tide is oozing in through the marshes bringing with it all manner of feeding fish. You leave for home as the first of the holiday- makers are beginning to arrive... knowing that your day is already complete.
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