After 2 failed attempts I finally managed to get in the guided boat trip I booked last summer. The trip was arranged at short notice after a window in the weather appeared along with some promising tides. It was late in the season for Bass but the fishing in Cornwall in Jan can be exceptional with Cod, Pollack and Wrasse as viable alternatives should the Bass fail to show.I was to be fishing with another chap, Marc Westward, who had also bid for the day kindly donated to charity by Austen Goldsmith (Oz), professional bass guide and skipper of the fantastic Zen2.
We met up at 7am, the day had dawned mild with a few showers forecast and a lightish SW wind and by 7:30 the boat was launched and we were away, belting it across Falmouth bay at 25 knots.
The first stop was at a reef system, there were a couple of commercial boats already working the area as is normal at this spot. The commercial boats tend to motor round the reef trolling but we fished savagear sandeels, drifting in the tide and casting at structures in 20-50ft of water. Oz was first in with a small Pollack and I followed up with an equally small Bass.
We fished on for another half an hour trying different spots on the reef then Oz called it to move on to another part of the coastline (the commercial boats had also moved on so no-one was having much luck!). The next hour was fishless as we hunted bass in around the shallow reefs close to shore before Oz moved us out to slightly deeper water. Fishing vertical was the technique here, again with Savagear eels, bumping the bottom. The was plenty of activity on the fish finder and from the off here we hit into fish, Wrasse were the first to come aboard, Mark nailing a really nice one before I hit into a bigger fish that put a real bend in the short Tenryu jigging rod I was using (Zen 2 standard issue!) and after a dogged fight pulled a nice cod around 10lbs.
This proved to be the pattern for the rest of the day, with the drifts in deeper water producing more Cod, a number of nice Pollack and Wrasse and Oz winkled out a better Bass, but the shallower ground proved to be Bassless despite our best efforts flogging the water with both topwaters and divers.
We called it a day at around 2pm and headed inwards pretty happy with the day and all having caught a number of decent fish.
I have to say the trip was a real eye opener to me and it was amazing the quality of fishing you can get on light tackle and in inshore waters during January. Many of the fish were taken within casting distance of the shore although getting access safely on this rugged coastline and effectively targeting them in the rough tidal ground could be tricky to say the least!
Oz was fantastic though and being primarily a Bass guide tried really hard to find us a few more of these and on another day I’m sure he would of. Today though it seemed the local shoals had moved off. I would thoroughly recommend him however to anyone wanting to sample this fantastic style of fishing for themselves. Oz takes a real “sportfishing” approach to guiding, far more reminiscent of what you might get overseas than traditional UK chartering…to see here for a link to his blog.