After the disaster of last weekend comprising on venues and still no fish. The confidence factor had taken a bit of a knock. I don’t know if I’m alone, but sometimes when you have good bait, a proven venue and good tides you get a certain gut feeling. Maybe it’s confidence through experience but sometimes you have a feeling when all the parts of the puzzle have come together you feel lucky and a suspicion your going to have a good session. This weekend was one such occasion!! Well two as I will explain!
After I had heard of reports that good bass were being caught along the coast. It was time to employ the fishing tails motto. WHERE,HOW, WHEN!
WHERE: I was looking for a venue that was a little off the beaten track. One that may not have been fished lately for bass and possibly not since last summer and most likely I would have all to myself?
I chose Chapmans Pool, situated geographically the next bay along from Kimmeridge.
Chapmans Pool can be reached by driving through Corfe village and up the hill to Kingston. From there head to the Square and Compass pub. Turning right at the pub and past the duck pond, head for St Albans Head car park. From here chapmans pool is signposted. The path from the carparkdown the huge hill to the bay is not too bad going down. But coming back it’s a killer!! It is steep. Very Very steep! Almost vertical. Also it’s very very long!
HOW: Due to the remote nature of the venue it pays to travel light. For this type of bass fishing I chose a light carp/spinning rod and a fixed spool reel loaded with braid. A handful of 2 or 3 ounce weights and a few traces and Im ready to go.
The ground consists of boulders and slate rock ledges. So you can lose gear. But you got to be in it to win it!
Around now we are in the middle of the main crab moult so it made sense to me that peeler was the main bait this time of year. That said I have caught bass here on ragworm, makrel, pout and lures.
I had frozen down popping peelers from a previous session. So I knew I had good bait when I fished on Thursday evening. We arrived at the venue at 7pm just in time to catch the last few hours of the flood to coincide with dusk.
I have found dusk and Dawn the best times to fish for bass as they are looking to ambush daytime creatures going to bed and catch those nocturnal creatures just emerging from their lairs!!
There is no need for distance casting here as the bottom drops away to deep water quickly. I have literally caught bass at my feet casting no more than a few feet out!!
This type of fishing does require a certain amount of stealth. Flashing headlights, crunching around on the shingle and bonfires will have the bass running out to sea.
With an old log as a rod rest I lobbed out a peeler on a pulley rig with 4/0 hooks. Almost straight away the rod bent double with a corking bite that I missed. Fiddlestix!!
Spurred on, out went another peeler only to be grabbed again almost straight away! This time I was ready to pounce! Reeling in slack line told me the culprit could be a nice bass. Reeling like mad and lifting into the thump! thump! of a good fish restored my fishing competence and confidence!
From then on it didn’t matter if I lost or landed the fish. I had done what I had set out out to do.
Get the bait right! Get the venue right! Get the timing right! Last hours of the flood on dusk!
The bass wasn’t a record breaker or even one of the biggest I had caught . But for me it was pure beauty!! Everything a bass should be. Brilliant silver bar. Thick shouldered,strong and bristling with all its fins up in fighting mode!!!
And so the stage was set we didn’t catch any more fish but missed a least three more proper bass bites. We just couldn’t get to the rod in time.
WHEN: After my session on Thursday we decided to head back on Saturday and have another go.
What a difference a day makes! We fished from 5pm and had nothing but wrasse. Nice and as pretty and colourful as they were. They weren’t bass.
It wasn’t until after dark at around 10 pm that I had rod bending bite. The result was another bass almost a carbon copy of the one I had on Thursday.
Afterwards I checked my little black book and found that both fish came on more or less the same part of the flood. Approximately two hours before high water!!
Coincidence maybe! but bass can really be that predictable. They feed in cycles. Catch one on a particular tide and place and you can almost guarantee you will catch one around the same time the following year!!
I have caught bass at chapmans pool nearly all year round. But it is autumn you may find the really bigger ones around. Feeding heavily in preparation for the winter.
Chapmans pool is a fantastic venue. But as with all Purbeck marks it’s not without its dangers.
Landsides are a natural part of life here and it’s not uncommon to be fishing and small sections of cliff fall around you. Commonsense needs to be applied!
Never set up camp close to the cliff. face
Make sure you don’t get cut off by the tide.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
No bonfires! The whole area can get tinder dry and one spark could be devastating.
Most importantly there is no mobile phone signal! Don’t rely on your phone to get you out of trouble. Coupled with that the beach is miles away from any land lines. When visiting here make sure you have a plan B in case of an emergency.
As a fishing tails guide I will be offering evening guides around the local area. Covering bass, mullet, flatfish,lure fishing and heavy rock fishing from the purbecks.
Saturdays can be planned for any fishing of the above with any other fishing catered for by prior arrangement.