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A record client bass with Alan

Written by Robin Howard

With Alan due down later in the day, I got out early, before the wind forecast arrived, to check out the open beach marks. Not so good up my end, with colour, and as the wind arrived, swells creating even more colour. A day to focus on rivers. 

A beautiful start to the day...and what a day!

And here we hit another problem. Our first choice venue was awash with combined rescue services practising a river evacuation. I reckon they should get paid a lot more for what they do. Even at this time of year, the temperature of the water in the rivers at low isn’t so hot. They were plunging in with all their kit on. I guess it inspires confidence in them for the real thing. Certainly inspires confidence in me knowing they are around. Great job guys.  Although, if you could go another six hundred yards or so downstream next time...

We gave it a go above the disturbance, but I am starting to wonder if these fish don’t quite often move into the pools on the last of the ebb, i.e . from the sea as the river drains. Whatever the reason, we didn’t get a sniff, and I don’t think the disturbance helped. But, everything happens for a reason it seems...

I decided to think way outside the box, and visited a stretch I have never really done much for, other than maddie raids. But I had seen bass on those maddie raids. I wasn’t expecting great things, but happily for Alan, great things were about to unfold. 

Another knock me down with a schoolie moment

His YOKOZUNA HIROSHI LEE MINNOW in that annoying green colour was arrested in its tracks as it was pulled down slightly faster than the ebbing tide. The rod slammed and the reel SCREAMED. And the fish was running upstream. The rod was hard round as well, the clutch set perhaps slightly firmer than I was comfortable with. Eventually, the combined pressure of the drag and the steely carbon of the Hart Bloody Offshore 265 slowed the fish in its desperate push upstream, and then the line was being frantically wound back on as the fish turned and decided to go with the more normal tactic of running downstream. Another powerful run which Alan patiently allowed to happen, and then the fish turned to head into the current again. This was a less good manoeuvre, as it allowed Alan to bring the fish into a back eddy, and bring it towards my feet. I simply steered the fish using its own momentum, and slid it on to the river bank. She was huge, and she was knackered. 

On the scales she weighed 12lb 1oz. A big fish, with a big head, although looking a little skinny as the river residents often do. I think the first words out of my mouth when it was landed were 

"You know you have to put that back...". 

A bond is formed

Alan is a keen hobby chef, and I could almost hear him counting how many portions would be there to feed his family even before it was landed. But he softened as I explained she was likely to be older than his grown up kids. And then ,a special moment. I asked Alan to hold the clearly exhausted old girl head into the current. As he watched his very special prize kick back into life, I do believe he fell a little in love with the lovely lady. The mouth first, resuming a gasping motion. Then the gills, stutteringly initially, as they expelled air and silt from the system, then into a shallow but regular rhythm. As this action propelled water across the gills, so the pectoral fins twitched, then came proud. And then, the first strokes of the tail. Weak at first, getting stronger as more oxygen exchanged into the blood stream. Then, firm kicks, of a fish wanting to be off. 

My lady, what a big head you've got

As she kicked again, Alan simply released his grip and she headed out into the flow. Dorsal sticking proud of the water, she seemed unable to submerge, but as she reached the faster water, she down angled and kicked strongly. She was gone. And a contented glow descended upon Alan. First bass on a lure, and it’s the fish of a lifetime.  Simply incredible. We fished on for a while, but couldn’t settle. Anything else would seem a bit of an anti-climax. Well done Alan, on a truly awesome fish.

I'll be back

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