Although the last session had been prolific with the worms, one hang up I had was the hook holds - the bass seemed to really swallow the hook resulting in some deep hooking and although I managed to get all the hooks out without any damage, it made me wonder if there was an alternative that would result in better hooking. After some searching, I remembered that 'drop shotting' was a perfect technique for predators but would it work for bass and would the hook holds be better?
I've used the drop shotting set up a couple of times in the UK for perch with limited success, the main problem being access - it never felt like I was fishing vertically enough for it to be effective. But in this scenario I was fishing from a kayak directly over fish - you can't get much more vertical than that!
There seems to be a load of different ways out there to set up the rig but I went for around a metre or so of fluorocarbon leader and a size 8 baitholder hook tied with the following knot:
The great thing about this knot is that it's incredibly easy to tie and makes sure that the hook sticks out at a 90 degree angle from the line. This gives the bait a fantastic presentation and pushes the hook away from the line meaning it's virtually tangle free.
But would the bass go for it?!
As todays session was going to be short (I was off on a motorcamping adventure later in the day and the weather was also set to turn around 12ish...) I wasted no time in heading straight up the lake to 'Toga Point' only this time, I was determined to fish further out in the deep water. The wind however had other ideas... I knew it was going to be windy this morning but far out, could I keep the kayak still for longer than 30 seconds?! It didn't matter how far out from the bank I paddled, within 2 casts I was literally meters away from the edge...
Not that it mattered as on the 3rd or so cast the drop shot worm rod hooped round and it was fish on! Amazingly, this one really took off and it was quite a tussle getting it in - but what a fish! And most importantly, hooked right on the lip - the plan had worked, the drop shot presentation resulted in a good hook hold and the bass were clearly on the worms like a shot.
I was convinced there'd be more fish around but finding the spot where I'd picked up the last one was a virtual impossibility... The wind was literally spinning me in circles. I did persevere and was rewarded with another bass, this time on the lure but after 20 minutes or so I'd had enough and it was time to move on.
My plan was to follow the same route as last time so I headed straight across the lake with the aim of drifting down the margin into 'Stag Bay'. Sadly on this occasion the wind literally hurled me along and after a minute or so's drift, I was in the bay and pretty much into the bank. Not ideal, but I stuck with it as it's such a perfect spot!
It was pretty quiet though, right up until the drop shot worm rod twitched and I struck into what I though was going to be another massive bass. So it was a real surprise when a huge eel surfaced next to the kayak! Far out, eels are amazing creatures but an absolute nightmare if you're not sure what to do with them - and this thing was a beast, I defo did not want it to end up in the kayak with me...
After a lot of messing around I managed to wear it out sufficiently to get a pair of forceps on the hook and free the slimy wriggling thing. Luckily for me, it was hooked very lightly on the lip (the drop shot rig really was working!) and after an incredibly powerful flick of it's tail, I got the hook out and it was on it's merry way. Not surprisingly, the rig was a complete mess: slime all up the leader, the hook mangled and split shot gone... So a fresh rig was tied and I set about trying to find the fish again.
I guess when fishing with worms there's always the risk of hooking an eel! Blugh, they are foul!
By this time the predicted weather had begun to close in and looking up the lake I could see a wall of water slowly marching towards me... I had a few more casts, doing my wrap up on the video just as the rain started and amazingly got a fish on the lure rod whilst I was talking! Only a small one, but it's always good to finish on a fish.
The rain hammered down but was short lived but the wind would just not let up. I spent another 20 minutes drifting down the central deep water and managed to pick up another couple of fish on the lure and on with the worms but by this point it was getting on to around 11am and I really needed to head for home if I was going to have enough time to get the bike together.
They say one decent fish can make a session and that first bass had certainly made my day - what a donkey! And I was made up that the drop shot rig had worked so well, despite the tough conditions.
I will be back this coming Friday (when the weather is supposed to be better!), armed again with a pot of worms, the 'elvis' v-blade and who knows... Maybe I'll find some more monsters?! But no eels thank you...