Seabass Fishing Methods: Boat Fishing
The great majority of bass are taken from the shore, but superlative fishing can be had at times from boats. Large estuaries are best commanded from boats in mid-stream. Drift-lifting with a live sand-eel can be recommended, especially in sandy bar-estuaries, while in others ‘whiffing’, that is to say trailing a sand-eel, brings good results (Salcombe in South Devon is a centre for this kind of sport).
Sometimes bass shoal off shore in large numbers, and then lightfrom a boat can be magnificent. The real secret of this kind of fishing is to get a good boatman who will work hard getting you up-tide of the fish, cutting the engine and drifting into them, then repeating the process as the fish scatter and re-form, their whereabouts being revealed by the shrieking terns, the ‘fowl on the water’.
In British waters, bass may be said to occur south of a line drawn between Anglesea and the Wash, though of course occasional fish are taken north of these limits. On the west coast of Ireland, Connemara is the northernmost limit of consistent bass fishing, and on the east of the Boyne estuary. If we are talking in terms of most favoured areas, the following list covers the best fishing: Devon and Cornwall; the Gower coast of Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, and Cardiganshire in west Wales; the south coast of Ireland from Wexford to Kerry and north to Co Clare. The English Channel is patchy; parts of the Sussex coast have a good run of bass early in the season, the long reefs off Beachy Head being one obvious attraction.
Fringe areas include the Suffolk coast and North Wales and the coasts of Co Down and Antrim. The curious thing about these places is that although the arrival of bass is spasmodic and the fish do not occur in the very large shoals that sometimes assemble in the south-west, the average size is high.
The best bass fishing is undoubtedly to be found where fishing pressure is light or non-existent. Very little rod fishing for example has been done in the west of Ireland and splendid fishing may be had, particularly in the autumn, in Cos Kerry and Clare.