I set myself a target this year of a 100 bass on the fly before my bass guiding got busy from mid June,& going fairly well to plan but was on a bit of a downer after fishing hard on a mark that threw up a lot of decent fish on the full moon tide last year in May with the very same conditions as this year only to land a single schoolie after flogging the fly for 4 hours, not to mention a single handed commando type boat launching which took a lot of heave hoing, & tug o war testing every muscle in my arms, legs, & back… Anyways I made plans to hit a sandy beach mark that always threw up a few decent fish with the conditions forecast, I started the long trek towards the spots the backs of my legs creaked from the big effort the evening previous as my footsteps sank into the soft sand, & shingle, after walking for about 15 minutes roughly halfway I spotted a large, light brown oval shape close to the surface about 8x3m up ahead about 50m out making slight headway into the running tide, drifting slowly toward the shoreline, “hhuumm Bass, or Mullet, has to be bass there’s nothing here for Mullet”, I thought to myself, my pace quickened to find out for sure. I got into position straightened up my stripping tray, pulled some line off the reel, & waded as deep as I dared, on the third cast the Deceiver landed about a metre into the shape as the drag gave a creek indicating everything went right with the cast a couple of quick turns on the drag to tighten it before I would start stripping it back, barely half a strip, & everything locked up solid as the bass darted, & flashed from side to side violently shaking its head to rid itself of the fly it greedily grabbed before any of its comrades could do likewise, as it thrashed around on the surface I applied pressure to get it away from the shoal as not to spook them too much I’d get it halfway to the shore, & 3 times it would make very determined runs back to the shoal but after 7-8 mins it slid ashore, a lean 50cm. If you look very closely at the pic you can see the dark patch in the water from the rest of the shoal. Measured, tagged, pic, & released back to it’s comrades, next cast landed perfectly, & was seized straight away, a sluggish, lean 60cm was landed, measured, tagged, & released, after rinsing my hands looked up to see the shoal had moved out of my reach, I hung around for 10 mins to see them go out of sight, “ah well can’t win um all” I thought, & proceeded to make my way up to the usual spots along the beach without any sign of a fish, as I made my way back along I could see those white angels of the bass angler Tern’s, screeching as they looped, & loped without touching the water, I’ve seen this many times as they follow bass in the hope of some easy pickings, being flushed to the surface. Sure enough after 20 mins it all kicked off about 60m out. I watched in anticipation that they might come within range, & sure enough they did. In the next 45 mins another 13 bass between 45-60cm were met, it was absolute carnage during that 3/4 of an hour which ended up in me breaking my Scierra Blue water 9′ fly rod (which has served me well since 2003) while beaching a bass, & getting distracted looking out at the Melee when a back wave carried the fish rapidly back down the strand whilst I held the rod at a bad angle, CRACK…. All lean fish post spawning it would be reasonable to assume, but what were such numbers feeding on? A group of Black headed gulls gave the game away as the squabbled on the shingle over the bounty drove aground in the Melee.
Sandeel most around 2″ in length, must admit I’ve never seen anything like it in May before, but everyday is a school day when it comes to fish behavior, & its just that, fish behavior that intrigues me the most. Up to 85 bass now on the Fly at the time of writing well on course for the 100 before mid June. As for carnage, a broken rod, shredded hands, Sandeel driven aground gasping, birds screeching, squabbling, all in a small area, yep, I’d call it carnage….