Recently as part of my how to sea fishing guide I was writing about reconnaissance, ie checking marks out and looking for tell tale signs of where fish might be from reading the shoreline.
Today I went to a local surf beach for a session on my surf board only to discover exactly what I had been talking about. I decided not to go surfing (it was messy anyway) but to capture some images to show you some good Indicators for good Beach casting, Spinning and Kayak fishing, with regard to targeting primarily the Bass.
On arriving at the beach I could see loads of decaying weed piled up, in fact to be truthful I could smell the weed before I could see it!! I had my trusty camera phone and I started rummaging through the bio mass. The weed had started to rot and was a sticky, smelly mess. I had lots of onlookers as I did a David Bellamy searching for critters. You should be looking and thinking like this when you go sea fishing.
The first thing of note I found was a starfish. Now I do not know if many UK sea fish eat star fish or even scavenge on starfish but it was proof that this mass of weed held secrets and things of interest. Any dead beasts were being held in the weed, this could just of easily been a small pouting or sand eel. The fact here is not that starfish were in the weed but carrion was certainly on the menu.
I was hunting for the seaweed fly larva that I had mentioned before, but alas there were none. There were plenty of adult flies but for some reason no larva. I will have to research this and see if there was a logical reason why. Many species you will target while sea fishing will eat seaweed fly.
Turning over large clumps of the seaweed produced a little beast that I know as “Sand Hoppers” (Talitrus saltator). These wee beasts live on rotting vegetation and they use powerful muscles in their abdomen to hop. I often see them while sea fishing on harbor walls and rocks. These creatures spend much of their lives buried in the sand and are generally nocturnal, but the can be found under the weed in the moist, dark environment this creates. They can grow to about 2.5 cm in length. Many sea fish love them.
As the surging tide engulfed the rotting weed you could see these beasts trying to escape, but many were being washed in. I could imagine the sea fish loving these protein packed snacks. They look like freshwater shrimp (Gammarus pulex) and there are a few fly patterns here that would suite the salt water fly fisherman.
I carried on checking the beach for signs of life and ideas to prove to me that there were more tasty morsels here. I could see a lot of holes on the high tide mark, but digging them out by hand proved fruitless. I really tried hard to find you some seaweed flies, but still nothing, however another sign that the beach contained a sound food source was that of sea birds foot imprints. Now I know that we don’t go to the beach to catch Gulls and waders ( I have caught a few while sea fishing by accident ), but its another part of the picture. The beach was littered with imprints of bird feet, meaning that either they roosted there over night or they were feeding heavily on a rich food source. By the way that I could follow imprints from one bunch of weed to another was a sure indicator that these birds were feeding, not resting. This was yet another sign that what was on the beach was well worth hanging around for and feeding on. Now I am sure that what the birds found tasty and worth hunting out; the local sea fish population would also agree. Just to confirm, this beach is not a dumping ground for “fish and Chips” or half eaten sandwiches so I am sure they were browsing on quality, organic, local marine produce. Do you spend time when you go sea fishing to look for these signs and signals?
I am sure you do this already, but when you go to the beach, especially when learning how to sea fish, look, smell and investigate to find out what it has to offer and what sea fish might be “looking for” to eat that evening during the time you are sea fishing. If there were Bass there you could be landing your rapala on there nose cast after cast, but if they are anything like trout, because they are feeding on thousands of sand hoppers they could not care less about your lure. Just a thought anyway!!!
Never give up. Just keep trying different different ideas, variations and baits. You never know your next idea could turn the tables.
You can clearly see here how the seaweed is being taken out washing the creatures and carrion from it. Beach casting in these conditions can be hard as you catch alot of weed, so you need to fish the edge. Fishing from your Kayak off the back, in the clear water just might produce fish. Cunning eh!
I would be delighted to hear you opinion on this post.