Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Exploring the fish's larder

Imagine if they emptied the swim you fancy could do a few fish every day so you could walk along the bottom and inspect all its little nooks and crannies. This is one of the more interesting parts of fishing most of the beaches around Mussel Bay - when the tide's out just about everywhere within casting range and far beyond is high and dry, meaning you can take a leisurely look-see.

You can see straight away why this few furlongs of the foreshore draws in the bass. In between the sprawl of boulders, from football-sized rocks to shed-sized lumps, a maze of gullies runs seawards.

The rocks are covered in silkweed and fronds of wrack. Little pools which remain after the ebb teem with shrimps and small crabs. Blennies dart for cover when you peer into their little world. As the bottom turns from coarse sand to mud, worm casts erupt like acne.

There must be rich pickings as the tide returns and wafts anything rash enough to leave its hidey hole into the bass's sights. By the time it's starting to cover the rocks, there'll be two or three feet of water surging through the gullies.

I try to mentally map the gullies, using one or two distinctive rocks above the high tide mark to work out where I'd have to stand to cast to them. But one gully looks pretty much like another and I'd never be able to get the lure down in the narrow gap even before you factor wind and current into the equation.

That's when the tide's in, of course. I wonder about getting down two hours before high water and fishing a rearguard action among the rocks, retreating up the beach as the sea rises. I've never seen anyone doing that before.  So maybe it's worth a try.

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