Can it be too rough for bass lure fishing?

Have you ever been in a situation where the sea has just been too rough to lure fish for bass? In the winter the answer is probably yes and the sensible ones amongst us have just accepted that but what about a glorious May Bank Holiday?

I fished this weekend in the estuary early mornings and evenings but there was so much weed around it was almost impossible to fish and the water clarity was crystal clear. What I was really looking forward to was getting out to the beach with that big rolling surf as I adore it so much on the Cornish Coast.

Ill set the scene...

It was the weekend just gone and I knew it was going to be a lovely weekend for fishing but I had a very close eye on the surf as I knew it was big but i didn't realise how big until I drove out to the beach and saw all the surf wagons parked literally on every bank everywhere and it seemed that I was going to struggle to find a parking space let alone find anywhere to fish but I knew surfers don’t like rocks for obvious reasons. As i got down to the beach I wasn't disappointed. There was one older gentleman sat on the rocks fishing with bait (one crab) holding his beach caster sat on the rocks to the left of me but apart from that it was all mine for the taking. Below was the turn of the tide and it was amazing fishing metals in the surf and the tide pushed in "very" quickly.

As it was a strong powerful tide I was pushed up onto the rocks very quickly where i switched to a weedless weighted soft plastic and really struggled to get much fishing done as the sea was so powerful. I powered through but the strong current, wind and tide was very quickly getting the better of me. This was now 3 hours after low and i thought I might be in for a chance for something but the force of the sea and swell took over. 

So, I was now in a dilemma where to go next. I had two choices, either go high up and dry or go home. If I decided to go high and dry I knew I would have to wait after hide tide as this location cuts you off from escaping. I thought about it for a few minutes. Do I cut my losses or fish through it? I made the decision to stay as it was such a lovely day and I had lots of time after high before it got dark. 

So below was my spot. I set up my stall and realised very quickly that I was going to be here for a while, so I tried to enjoy it but more importantly be safe.

As the water was deeper now I switched to several larger weighted sandeel shaped lures as they are starting to show here in Cornwall then finally to a 178mm Red Gill V8 and thought they would work lovely in all this crystal clear but powerful water but never did I think what was going to happen next actually happen. 


Second cast went into the water, and everything went solid instantly. I knew this was a big fish and hadn't even contemplated how I would land any fish let alone this solid lump that was attached to my line. It skirted left and then right, and I was struggling to keep hold of it, so I tightened my drag to get a firm grip of it. I did have a net, but I wasn't sure if it would reach being so high up on the rocks and I knew these next few minutes would be sketchy. Eventually the bass surfaced and all I could see was her silver dark black back, and it was wide, and it was long. I gasped "Oh Shit”.

A few minutes had passed now, and I was getting a firm grip of the fish but for the life of me I didn't know how this was going to play out. I've been in similar situations to this before where I have lost fish because it’s been just too rough and as soon as the braid or fluorocarbon meet any sharp rock its game over. This was a very similar situation and I tried to keep calm. Long story short I got it in, big rollers came in wave after wave and i could not get it to my net. The 21lb braid touched a rock under tension and everything went light. GUTTED!!!

The reason for this blog is to share my experience with you all and talk about anything i would have done differently next time because it’s always good to reflect. 

Q1. Should I have moved back onto the rocks knowing that this situation might happen? 

A: I wouldn't change it for the world but what I will do next time is look around if there is a good place to land anything I caught. If not then maybe it’s not a good idea after all we don't want to catch fish and not be able to land them. 

Q2. Could I have done anything differently where I was? 

A: I could have played it and looked up at the swell and used that when there was a quiet spell in the swell. Maybe I could have landed it after all I did have a net. Top tip do not rush and take in the surrounds which is easier said than done.

 Q3. How big was big?

A: If I was to put a length on it I would have said 70+cm. Is that too big to land on the rocks? Probably yes if I am honest but how likely do these situations come about? 

I have learnt lots of lessons from this situation and wanted to share them with you, so you don't make the same mistakes as I did. 

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