Beware the netters!
Does Shore Netting Affect Bass Fishing? When it comes to shore netting, we lure anglers, or in fact, any shore anglers are going to get the hump if we get snagged on their nets.
I can honestly say I see the best of both worlds. When it comes down to who has the right, or who is right or wrong there is an argument for both sides. Personally, having worked on the fishing boats and being an all-round fisherman I see both sides of the fence.
Stuck on a net
How annoying is this? One night whilst fishing down one of our local fishing marks, we were chasing down the dropping tide. Now as soon as the rocks started to uncover we started catching fish. This wasn’t without its hiccups though, the odd freak wave could knock you off guard if you didn’t have your wits about you. Luckily, I never got knocked over this time which made a change. There is nothing worse than taking a plunge and getting wet. This is by far not the most comfortable fishing but there you go.
All of a sudden I hooked into a bass that instantly started to strip line of the reel, it was screaming. I knew this was a good fish. However, suddenly I was hanging on to a dead weight. I was snagged. Even though I could still feel that there was a fish on the end. As I pulled the line and let it slack I could tell that something wasn’t right.
Bass can be unstoppable
Sometimes, when a bass swims around a rock or boulder, or even get stuck in the kelp, you can try this simple tactic. Simply let the line go completely slack, let out some more line, then see if the fish manages to swim out of the snag. In my scenario, I could feel it was stuck but it was still moving if I pulled tight on the line. Ultimately, in the end, I just kept walking until eventually, the line snapped. Amazingly, that was the end of another IMA Joker, yes another one.
Only Try to earn a living
So for us lure fisherman, nets can really be a pain in the arse. But the netters, realistically, are only out there trying to earn a living. No different to us going to work and earning our wages.
Way back in the eighties I was working in a radiator factory called ‘Stelrads’. I had worked there for about 10 years then suddenly I had an offer to work on the fishing boats down Broadstairs harbour. So basically, I left and lost out on about 10,000 in redundancy money. Amazingly, the factory closed down about a year after I left so I missed out on the money. All this to work on the fishing boats for absolute bugger all. The factory had even offered me my job back but no, I was staying on the fishing boats getting a tan (but no money) and not stuck in that noisy stinking factory.
Trammel nets along the low tide mark
The type of fishing from the boats that we did was static nets. The type of nets we used was Trammel nets that we shot these close to the shoreline. The process was simple, you would throw out the Dan and then the anchor. The Dan was a flag on a long wooden pole that indicated where the net had been set. For our type of shore netting, you didn’t need a GPS or navigator to find your nets because we were so close to the shoreline. As for the anchor, this would hold the net in place because you wouldn’t want the net moving around in that strong tide.
Shooting the nets
As the anchor was thrown out, the boat would be moving along so the net would shoot until the whole thing had left the boat. As for the other end other the net, this would be exactly the same as the beginning of the net. A dan and an Anchor. However, it is vital that you shoot the net along with the tide run otherwise everything that moved with the tide would fill up the net. What a mess. If ever an anchor drifted in the tide for some reason, the result would be horrendous, resulting in hours of untangling and cleaning net. Sometimes drift nets can be hundreds of yards and if they get caught on the bottom this can be a disaster.
There were no guarantees we would earn
As for catching fish, well that was a joke and there was no way I was making living fishing on the boats, well on that boat anyway. Later down the line, I did end up working on another boat that went miles out to sea and would fish for Dover soles and that was better money. But there were no guarantees there would always be a problem like the weather or the boat breaking down. This boat had a hydraulic hauler to winch those nets in. On the first boat, I work on we would haul in those heavy trammel nets by hand.
A wide variety of Species
There would be all sorts of creatures turning up in the nets. Lobsters, spider crabs, squid, cuttlefish and thousands of crabs, literally thousand. And you used to have to pick them out one by one, right from start to finish. Some of the netters would just mallet them out but the mess was horrendous. We did it the hard way.
Not very productive
As for catching our beloved bass. We hardly ever had any. In all that time on the fishing boats, I could probably count the amount of bass on two hand and that is no word of a lie. Could this have been down to the net being shot along with the tide and the bass would either be swimming with the tide or against it?
One day, we had shot a net along the coast of North Foreland right close to the low tide mark. However, the wind had kicked up brutal North Easterly, so it was way to rough for us to go back and try and haul the nets. Therefore, we had to leave them for yet another day. This is not good. When we returned the net had come fast (stuck) on the bottom amongst the rocks. This was due to the battering it had taken from the rough sea.
Our Net was stuck on the sea bed
Amazingly, we managed to get some of the net free and started to hand haul it in. To our utter disbelief, there was bass after bass coming up from the seabed but just as we thought we had won the lottery the net was stuck yet again. Only this time it was stuck good and proper and we had to let our pot of gold go. We cut the net.
So why do they put their nets so close to the shoreline?
Technically, unless you want to swim out there and check those nets, I think you could be in for a surprise. Obviously, we can see those flags or dans. But what we think are nets could actually be lobsters pots. Still, a pain in the arse if they are close in because you can still get snagged on the ropes and pots. However, there is an even more productive way to catch those bass and that is drift netting.
The difference between static nets and drift netting is simple. Drift nets are shot in deeper water, so not as close as those trammel nets that I think are a waste of time if your trying to catch bass. I know from personal experience. Drift nets are shot across the tide, so no anchors. So drift nets will take everything in their path, including bass. You wouldn’t want your drift net to catch the sea bed this would be an absolute disaster. Another thing about drift netting is you have to stay with the nets all the time. Unlike static nets where they can be left to do their thing, in my experience…nothing.
Lack of Fish
So why are drift nets a problem to us lure fisherman? The answer is simple. They annihilate the bass. Recenctely (May 2020) we had fished one of our local fishing marks and for once, everything was perfect. Crystal clear water, no wind and a great set of tides. But no fish. Normally, you would expect to catch something. But four sessions and only two fish this was a joke. However, around the corner from us they have been cleaning up as far as catching bass goes. Why don’t you go there then, you’re probably asking yourself?
After the lockdown fishing ban 2020, my very first outing was cut short when I turned up at the place I wanted to fish. I pulled up in the park car on the esplanade and saw just past the low tide mark a mile of nets. Great start to the fishing but like I said earlier, they are only trying to earn a living it’s that simple.
Ultimately, one of the main problems a minority of anglers are making is posting their fish and location on social media. Realistically, what’s wrong with that? The answer is simple: They are letting those shore netters know where they are catching the fish.
Now really, I am no expert when it comes to bass fishing or netting come to think of it. But it’s not rocket science, just don’t give away where you are fishing. The netters want those bass as much as you want to catch them. Bass, can be a creature of habit and come back to where they have been hunting. From my personal experience, I have fished on a number of occasions the sea has been alive with bass where I’ve been fishing. Let’s keep it that way.