Sunday, October 20, 2013

First Cast Syndrome !!

Yesterday it happened to me again, in fact I've got to taking it as a bad sign if it doesn't happen. I'm talking about the number of occasions where we make contact with a fish on our first few casts bringing with it the hope of an epic session followed by nothing. The most recent of these occurred yesterday in conditions so wild I could hardly get my Duo Tide Minnow 145 SLD lure to hit the water at all let alone land where I wanted it to such where the howling side winds that also pushed up the surf right to the limit of my comfort zone for the location I was in, but sure enough it still happened first cast. 
I'd checked the lure mid flight reducing my casting distance but at least starting to deal with the massive wind induced bow in my line, got the road tip as low as I could, wound fast to get the lure to bite which was quite impressive considering the sea state and with the rod tip still dangerously close the rocks at my feet I slowly began my retrieve as the set waves paused temporarily, a few turns of the handle and BANG! fish on. The unhappy ending to this is that after a few seconds of the fight I felt the line make contact with the rocks and PING! it was all over and my brand new TM 145 would not be coming home. At least I could be confident of the fish quickly shedding the lure as I always crush the barbs on my trebles. I spent the next 100 or so casts trying to replicate what I'd done with the first without a sniff of fishy action :(

So how does happen so often that the one and only contact comes in the first few casts to be followed by nothing such as I've mentioned before. Plenty of theories abound on the subject such as arriving late as the the fish are moving out of the area but I don't personally subscribe to that because it happens too often and not in places that I would consider particularly timing critical. Another favourite is that the hooked fish spooked the others but having seen fish excitedly escort a hooked fish in the hope of having a go at the same lure and experiences of a fish coming off to be quickly replaced by another I'm not convinced about that explanation either. John Skinner in his book "A Season on the Edge" from the US striper world even has an interesting if humorous theory about "Sentry fish" fish that are detached from the main group to investigate an area for the good of the shoal. Looking on the positive side the possibility that the action can start so quickly can be a wonderful thing if it works and I'm so used to seeing it happen now to myself and others that my fishing heart sinks a little if nothing happens immediately on arrival at a location. I guess all we can do is keep casting and learning, and enjoy the fact that we'll never totally figure it all out when it comes to Bass behavior..