Friday, February 4, 2011

Night Lure Fishing - Targeting kelp banks.

Rotting kelp or rather the creatures in it , provide a banquet of food for fish and birds .
   Mike Ladle has written some excellent material on this subject and anyone who hasn't read his work is missing out and should buy his and Alan Vaughan's book "Hooked on Bass", it is perfect reading for this time of year and is a book you will keep on picking up.

To recap quickly, the kelp gets stranded on the shore on spring tides and is left high and dry. As it begins to decompose it attracts flies ,which lay their eggs ,which can quickly become a mass of maggots.  These larvae become the main course for species further up the food chain including mullet and bass.This happens when the weed gets lifted again at the beginning of the next spring tides .

                   I have also found that its not only maggots that are prey for bass around these areas.
     The main diet of  isopoda (slaters) and amphipods (sand hoppers) is also decomposing seaweed and plenty of these can  be found in the kelp area, especially at night!
            These little fellas are crustacea and are related to shrimp, crab, lobster and crayfish , and are definately on  bass's menu.

 The gut contents of bass that have been feeding on slaters and hoppers can be quite astonishing .
A big congealed mound , the size of an apple, can be found in the stomach with possibly 100-200 of them all digesting together. I hardly ever keep a fish nowadays so unfortunately have no photo to put up, but believe me at certain times they eat a lot of these creatures.
We sometimes fish around these areas in the darkness especially when there is a bit of swell to lift and give the kelp a good shake. It is easier to sneak up and start fishing in darkness especially when the water is clear. The added activity of the nocturnal creatures may also help to draw the bass in .
     Even though the bass are feeding on small items of food they will still take a fairly large lure in these situations. They probably pick off the odd small fish , or atleast keep an open mind as to attacking one when hunting around this food feast.
To fish into the floating kelp you need suitable weedless lures to avoid hooking heavy kelp stalks. Wading out a bit may help you avoid the worst of it.
 If you prefer using plugs or fly-fishing, concentrating down-tide of the kelp bank during the first hour of the ebb can be effective.The tide run carries suspended food towards patrolling fish , usually mullet and bass but sometimes decent pollack turn up and give you a suprise.
  At night time there are no birds around,..........if you approach these areas in daylight there are usually lots of birds feeding in amongst the waves and kelp. As you get closer they all fly off creating a bit of a commotion , I wonder can  bass pick-up on this simple action and possibly become more alert to the approaching danger?..........Who knows,maybe i think too much?.............I think i need to get out fishing!

1 comment:

  1. Very Helpful post Danny - will be looking at a local mark where there is some stinky kelp beds up to my knees whashed up on the shore line ;)