It’s a love affair that Hollywood would be proud of ‘The Bass and the Green Eyed Sandeel’ they proper love them! I can honestly say that I choose one of these inexpensive sandeel soft plastic lures over any of my very expensive Japanese crank baits when targeting bass. Why? Well the answer is very simple…they catch bass.
So it should be no surprise that on a recent fishing trip to the Yorkshire coast that the GE Sandeel was the first (and last) lure to be clipped on. The rest of my kit was as follows:
- Rod – 8ft Tenryu Super Distance 10-30g casting weight
- Reel – Shimano Stella 2500
- Line – 16lb Super PE braid
- Lures – Green Eyed Sandeel in Pink Sparkle and Silver Sparkle
The Yorkshire coast is a seriously large expanse of water but with some prior planning I had located a likely looking spot which screamed bass. It was a new mark so it was likely to throw up a blank. I have spent many hours stood on rocks casting and retrieving in search of this incredible species and none of the fishless hours have been wasted. The brain records it all and when you look at a new mark and the conditions are right everything clicks into place…you just know.
When I reached the mark the fishing gods were smiling down on me. The water was holding a little bit of colour, the swell was perfect, it was over cast and best of all it was warm. I was happy and my senses were tingling. It was time to get fishing.
I scrambled over the remaining 20m of rough ground and perched on a large flat rock which was not too high as to spook any fish. I quickly set up my rod and clipped on the new Green Eyed Sandeel in Pink Sparkle. This looked the business. I’ve never understood why bass will nail a pink lure but they certainly love the Green Eyed Sandeel in Pink Sparkle
With a deep breath I sent out the first cast and began the retrieve. I started by retrieving quickly within the top 2 ft of water. With the GE Sandeel the speed is irrelevant because it is perfectly balanced and doesn’t spin. It soon came into sight and it looked amazing. The tail was wiggling beautifully and the body was wagging seductively from side to side.
I cast out again, this time along the shore line. I was getting in as many casts as I could to cover the water and check if any bass were already there prowling in front of me. 20 minutes later and nothing was interested. I’m a firm believer that if they are there they will show themselves. That could be a follow, a swirl or best of all a hit. If they are not there you can’t catch them but just keep casting and hopefully they will turn up!
I noticed as the tide flooded that the colour was clearing and I was soon looking into tap water, at least the cloud cover was holding. I continued to fan cast around the water in front of me. The GE Sandeel was casting like a dream. 40m+ on every cast but 90% of my bass have come from less than 10ft from the bank, why do we do that?! After 1.5 hours I started to question the mark and my ability to catch a fish. It was time for a lure change
I quickly snapped on the GE in Silver Sparkle, the logic was simple…it looked nice. Out she went to the 40m mark and it was soon back within my sights and just like the Pinkie it looked amazing. That’s another thing with the GE sandeel they are reliable. I can name a few very expensive lures that cast well on only 6 out of 10 casts. Not great odds if you see a fish of a life time, cast and get the horrible duff cast…fish gone.
I was starting to drift into the cast, retrieve, cast, retrieve trance of bass fishing not really in the real world but mostly deep in thought about something like ‘how do airplanes stay in the air’ as I watched my lure work its way up a large submerged rock not 5ft from the bank. It was covered by less than 8 inches of water when BIG BANG!!!! Rock on…Errr the rock is now moving. FISH ON!!! My head spun big time as an angry fish tore off to the right. The rod buckled over but I couldn’t stop it. Line zinged from the real. I was dumbfounded. The fish kept going but was now heading for some seriously nasty ‘game over’ rocks. I had to stop it. I cupped the spool with my hand but it kept pulling. I had a choice; chance it with the rocks…BAD idea…or chance it with my tackle…Slightly better idea.
I clamped down hard on the drag and held on for dear life. The fish slowed and after what seemed like an eternity turned and made for deeper water. My nerves were shredded but it hadn’t finished with me yet. He swam directly for a huge rock plateau directly in front of me. My braid was whistling in the breeze. The barnacles were waiting like razor blades to cut it to shreds. I clamped down hard on the drag and stopped him dead in his tracks. That was a game changer and I was now in control for the first time. It was then I saw it for the first time, a bar of silver with the GE sandeel perfectly in the corner of his mouth. I love signal hooks!
After a few minutes of bobbing and weaving he was done. I guided him towards me using a well timed wave and it was over. He was mine!! What a buzz!! I took a quick measurement and a few photos later I carefully returned him to the sea. At 59cm (approx 6lb) I was totally over the moon.
With shaking hands I examined the GE Sandeel. Despite the massive strain on the hook it was in perfect shape. In fact I continued to fish with it for the rest of the afternoon. In case you were wondering I had two more follows, right to the bank, but they turned at the last moment! Would they have taken the Pink Sandeel?….who knows, maybe next time I’ll find out!