23/09/2022 - Bass from the back garden

Couldn't find the time or inclination to get out on the rivers after returning from Wales and before I knew it my week with the lads down in Cornwall had come around. After spending a very relaxing week on the Roseland peninsular this time last year we decided to return, this time to a cottage near St Mawes overlooking the Percuil River, an off-shoot of the Fal estuary. 

Headed down on the Saturday and a couple of delays on the M5 meant that I was cutting it fine when I pulled into the Roseland Plant Centre to get some bait. Turned out to be fortuitous in that they were going to be shut until Tuesday, but disappointing in that they no longer stocked live worm and only had a small selection of frozen bait to choose from. Therefore had to make do with the last wrap of black lug, some razors and a pack of squid. 
However, despite taking enough tackle to cover all eventualities, it was the lure rod that was used the most during the week anyway. 

The actual location of the cottage was amazing  - hidden in woodland overlooking the river. No access by car meant that all our gear had to be rowed the short distance over from the boatyard opposite. Saw herons, egrets and kingfishers before I'd even got out the boat! Happened to arrive at low tide and was able to survey the ground immediately around the property, which consisted of rocky, weedy fringes giving way to clean silt and patches of shingle. However, two spots looked particularly good. 

The first I had already spotted on Google Maps - just down from the cottage the river made a 90 degree turn around a headland and on the inside of the bend a shingle bar formed a natural bottle-neck for anything travelling up or down on the tide. The second was the gently shelving and weedy bay right next to the garden of the cottage itself, which was alive with small fry and the odd mullet. The following morning the river was like glass as I headed down to the headland at first light, the silence only broken by the occasional call of a sandpiper. The tide had just started to flood as I started casting my favourite combo of a shallow-diving Megabass X-120 with a sandeel fly teaser upstream of the bar. 

Allowed it to drift over the top before starting the retrieve in the hope that a bass would be satthere there waiting for an easy breakfast. However, when I was pushed off the bar by the rising tide an hour and a half later I had only one small schoolie to my name. The next morning I returned and added a couple more schoolies to the tally. However, before adjourning to the cottage for breakfast I decided to have a few casts in the bay. Second cast out between the moored boats the lure was taken with a bang by a fin perfect bass of 44 cm. Over the following mornings I continued to fish the bay, initially during the first couple of hours of the flood but then as the week and tides progressed over last couple of hours of the ebb. 

Picked up at least one or two fish a day, including three between 45 - 50 cm, with the light appearing to be the limiting factor. 

Whilst we were lucky to have clear blue skies and flat calm conditions all week it did seem to knock the bass fishing on the head when the sun was fully on the water. All fish took the X-120 apart from single schoolie on the last morning, which took a sandeel fly fished with a bombarda float just for a change. 

Did get the bait rods out a couple of times in the hope of a gilthead bream, supplementing the frozen razors with some freshly foraged mussels. However, apart from snagging a spider crab that was ornately decorated with spones and seaweed, I blanked spectacularly. The only other fish and fluke of the week went to my mate Stuart who, fishing from the boat just off the steps up to the cottage, managed to hook and land a bull huss of about 7 - 8lb on a squid strip on a size 6 hook! Needless to say we didn't hear the last of it all week. Filled in the rest of the days with walking, swimming and paddle boarding, never really feeling the need to venture far from the cottage and just drinking in the scenery (and a few glasses of red wine!). 

All put back into perspective by the drive back up the M5, which included an encounter with a twat in a Mercedes SUV with blacked out windows and number plate "N9RCO". Oh well, won't be long before we'll be back down to Devon for the weekend!