At this time of year you mind starts to think about the season ahead. Holidays start to be put in at work and you start dreaming of warm sessions with plenty of fish. Often these plans are to head to new places in search of fish.
As Bass fishing gets more popular, we are seeing more and more of it in the angling press and online. Often there are articles focusing on particular areas in the UK and Ireland, generating a buzz. These places look far more exciting than your home marks, the terrain looks much more varied and ‘fishy’ and the catches are bigger and more abundant than you can manage on your home turf. As a result, more and more anglers are travelling far and wide in search of great fishing.
Be very aware though, that a lot of these photos you see in magazines and online are taken by people being shown around the very best marks, at exactly the right times, by the very best local fishermen. When you are there, you may well struggle to hit the right places in the right way and you will be very lucky to match the catches you are seeing.
There is a certain amount of glamour needed in these articles to make them interesting, although some may be true, get your expectations in check before you go. You will be fishing areas that are completely new, in waters that may have very different characteristics than you are used to. Travelling is not a fast ticket to big fish, it is actually much more difficult than fishing your local marks that you are familiar with. However you may well strike it lucky and manage to catch something unachievable in your local area.
What I enjoy most about traveling, is the chance to fish new and different areas. My local coast has a quite particular set of features and many of the styles of fishing you see elsewhere, just are not possible locally. Going away lets you try different things, new techniques, as well as taking what you have in your locker and trying to make it work somewhere new. It can be extremely rewarding taking something you have learned at home and applying it somewhere different but familiar.
I myself have done plenty of travelling in search of fish and my experiences have taught me a few things that can be useful. Firstly, before you go, you need to do as much research as possible to make the most out of your trip. The best possible help you can get is a local angler to take you out and show you a few marks and how to fish them. The likelihood of this happening is pretty slim. Imagine the roles reversed, and would you show a stranger around your best marks? However some people can be very generous and their information is worth its weight in gold. Make sure you listen very carefully to these people, they have often had a great deal of experience and there is always something to learn.
If you are lucky enough to get some assistance from local, be sure to respect the help you are given. Treat all information in confidence, keep it that way. Be careful with the photos that you are taking and be careful where you show them. When you come home, remember to keep what you have been given quiet and don’t go freely posting that information all over the internet. If you manage a fish that you want to tell the world about, take a photo with the camera facing out to sea, where no features can be seen.
If you are not lucky enough to have someone giving you direct help, the next place to look is online. Have a look through local fishing forums. Nearly all areas have a local forum and a lot of very helpful information can be found on what works in the area with regards to location, tackle and technique. Look for fishing reports and look for those pictures where people are not being careful. The odd feature in the background of a photo can very quickly lead you to exactly where the photo was taken with a bit of help from Google maps. It feels unethical and a bit dirty to do this, but it is valuable information.
Even without direct help, a catch report can tell you little bits of information, like this area fishes well with a bit of swell, or it needs flat calm seas and offshore winds, or whatever. There is plenty to get a leg up with before you go.
However, what you can always fall back on is your own knowledge gained from experience. Look at marks in a new area and try to relate them to marks you have on your own turf. Look at a feature and try to imagine something similar back home and try what you would normally. But also remember to take advantage of this new ground and try something new. You might find a deep fast flowing estuary bounce soft plastics in, you might find a deep water mark to fish heavy sinking divers in. Always try to take something away from a trip that you have learned and try to apply that at home.
For me a trip away is not really a chance to catch massive fish after massive fish, it is about applying what I have learned in a new environment and a chance to learn new things to take home. I have also had the chance to meet some great people along the way, who have helped make these trips so much more enjoyable.