With a few days left of my trip I had enjoyed excellent fishing and managed to land some nice bass. Portugal can really be a hit and miss affair, but this trip had proven one of my most successful in recent years. It just needed some real monster bass to top it off.
The following day the swell was set to drop below the 2 metre mark, but would be increasing again the following day. I would need to quickly make the most of the favourable conditions! It’s common in Portugal for large swells to last for weeks during the winter months. Once they were in, they’d likely be there for the rest of my trip.
This means fishing the west coast can be very limited, but with the south coast at hand there’s generally always somewhere to fish! Every coast has the chance of these monster bass, but as with many anglers, I have my favourites. So, I set off before sun rise to the west coast to another old favourite spot.
After around 15 minutes casting to a nice section with waves breaking over rocks into a deeper channel, I got that feeling you get when you sense the conditions are just right! Moving further down to the next spot I had my eye on, I used the rocks as stepping stones to make my way out as far as possible, casting out to an exposed reef and a nice channel. Closer in was a nice ledge leading to a very rocky inside section.
This is right where it had looked good. So, when I saw a big bass chasing down my lure and then the rod bend over just as I was bringing it over the ledge, I thought yes they’re here!
I knew it was big, and my first thoughts were I hope it stays on! The difficult part was negotiating it around a minefield of rocks. I was making sure the waves didn’t wrap the line around one, which would cause an instant ping off.
It was only once I got him out the water that I realised what a great capture it was. Over 16lbs of solid monster bass! A quick photo and I was back out for more! This time hooking a small schoolie (they all count!).
I was keen to get the lure back out again and concentrated most of my casts over the same section of reef. Around 10 minutes later and I got another take right over the very same ledge the first bass had hit! This one wasn’t as big as the other but was a beautiful long slender bass. It was just hooked on the lip too!
This was turning out to be a dream fishing trip with so many quality fish coming out and finally the monster bass I had been after on this trip. These are the moments I fish for, and definitely makes up for the quiet sessions experienced by all us lure anglers. But it wasn’t over yet! The biggest fish of the session was still to come!
15 minutes later and from the same mark I had hooked the other bass, boom a solid take!
I knew this was another whopper and was pleased when I felt him wasting most if his energy thrashing around trying to shake the hook. With plenty of shallow rocks around I made sure I kept the rod tip high and drag tight doing my best to keep its head turned towards me.
As with many big fish the first moments are possibly the most important as the fish has full power and at this moment has the best opportunity to break you up in the rocks.Working the bass towards the shore I had to be careful with a set of strong waves passing through. Keeping the line tight and rod tip high I managed to use the swell to land the bass over some shallow rocks. Another monster bass at my feet!
As the tide changed and sun got high I felt the fishing switch off and it was time to go.I had just experienced one of the best bass sessions in a long while, so With 2 bass over 16lbs, a nice long slender best plus a schoolie mixed in I was on a real high! Unfortunately the bigger swells set to come in over the next few days would make this spot un-fishable.
The following day, still keen to stay fishing on the west coast, I decided to go to a high tide spot I had managed to hook a 13lb bass on a previous trip. I knew it could handle swell, and so long as the water clarity was ok, I knew I could be in with a chance of more monster bass!
I cast some lures out from the same mark,. Only this year much of the cliff had fallen away. Where once you could get right down to the water, now a large section of clay had disappeared into the water. I was hoping if I had a take, it would come from my left side. This would increase my chances of landing one. Out straight ahead and to my right was a large chunk of reef that could cause a few problems getting a fish around.
Whilst sending the lure right out as far as I could towards the other side, and retrieving it over some shallow rocks I got the take! There was no room for manoeuvre here. It was vital I didn’t let this bass get the wrong side of the large rock out in front. Last year I would have been able to climb down and land it. This time I would need to carefully make my way down the crumbling rocks and slide it up with a wave. From there it was a case of reaching down and grabbing the leader.
A nice sized bass, and fortunately not a monster bass, or getting it up may not have been possible. With just 2 sessions left and being fortunate to catch every day so far, I was keen to keep the roll going.
With swells still strong I opted for a spot with waves breaking a long way out and rolling nicely along a fairly deep inside channel. This was the type of spot I could see bass moving up through on an a rising tide. Half an hour from dark and I got a hard take right on literally the last turn of the handle!
With big rocks all around I held firmly onto the bass not allowing it to dive down into the rocks. Using a big wave to bring it up along some reef, I climbed down to pick up yet another chunky double figure monster bass. With the sun on its way down, it was time to take the long walk back and day dream about returning tomorrow for some more action!
During the morning session I watched as big waves broke a few hundred meters out! With the rough conditions and windy conditions, I decided a 90g Enticer Minnow Topwater/Sub would be my best bet. I obviously needed something to punch through the wind, but also make some splash on the whitewater left by the big breaking waves.
Launching the lure as far as I could out to each direction, I was rewarded with another nice bass to start the day off with. I think this bass had moved in with the incoming tide and made it worth sticking it out!
The next day I was flying home. But I couldn’t resist a quick early morning session before I made my way back to the airport. The allure of not knowing what’s out there always keeps me fishing up to the last moment possible. Although I only managed to hook a small bass I was happy to keep the roll going and it was a nice end to a wonderful weeks bass fishing!
As usual I left myself a hectic time packing and putting my things away. I was soon rushing to Faro airport in time to drop my car off and catch my flight! Once on the flight I could relax and reflect on a truly blessed weeks fishing. Where by no planning from my side, I had managed to hit it at just the right time for some true monster bass!