IFD: Roger Bayzand was one of the top UK charter skippers ever in the business, running his boat Sundance out of Lymington. Roger packed it all in and moved to Australia where he continues to fish and is also making quite a name as an artist. We are delighted to have Roger back on Ireland Fishing Diaries for some advice for catching bass from a boat…
Bass fishing by Roger Bayzand
Can you think of a sea fishing bait that bass won’t eat? Even oddities like bacon rind, turkey windpipes and sausage rolls can do it now and again but if I had to choose one it would be livebait every time.
Sand eels have been the gun bait for many years but they are not always easy to get, their big cousins the launce were our bait of choice in the Channel Islands as they we easily caught using sabiki rigs. Around the Isle of Wight mackerel became the most popular, really because they were plentiful through the summer months.
Keeping baits alive requires plenty of seawater, I used a 45 gallon plastic drum fed by a constantly running Par Max 3.5 gpm pump. These pumps are quite and long lasting and do not burn out if the feed is blocked. The critical thing is not to overload the tank, 200 sandeels, 100 launce or 30 mackerel was about the limit.
We found that fishing as light as possible produced the best results and super sharp hooks like Sakuma from Veals improve catch rates. Sandeels were rigged by passing the hook through the thin membrane in the bottom jaw then nicking the hook through the belly. A 2 hook fixed pennel rig worked best for launce with the top hook in the upper jaw and the 2nd hooked nicked through the body, match the hook size to the bait, with launce we used up to a 6/0.
With all live bait the trick is to give the bass time to eat, my tactic was fish with my rod tip up when I felt a bite I lowered the rod giving the fish a bit of slack then lifted up to feel for the fish. All our bassing was done on the drift mostly over sand or gravel banks, keeping the gear on the bottom is essential and the advent of superbraid proved to be a real asset to keep in contact with what is happening and to feel faint bites.
Bass love fast running water and our best catches were always on the biggest tides with currents of 4 to 5 knots and in one spot 8 knots. Weather has a bearing on the feeding and it always seemed the rougher the day the better the fishing, sometimes you could not buy a bite on flat calm sunny day in August