IF it’s a double-figure bass you’re looking for, then
this is the stretch of coastline to head to. There’s always a good number of doubles reported here, as well as loads that are kept a secret.
The north Cumbrian coast conceals a host of secret marks known only to local anglers. The only way to discover these hidden hotspots is to spend a season or three fishing the area regularly, taking good care the tides don’t catch you out.
The essential ingredients to success are in order of importance: a local tide table; a bucketful of fresh bait (which means peeler crab, blow lugworm or ragworm); and last but not least plenty of energy – as the tide goes out for miles!
Many anglers who visit the area do so as part of a family holiday and there are plenty of good-quality B&Bs, caravan sites and hotels available close to the marks.
West Silloth (Tommy Legs)
The navigational light marking the main shipping channel in the Solway Firth is affectionately known as the ‘Tommy Legs’ and is a superb low-water mark. During the warmer months of the year bass are caught in good numbers with fish to double figures a real possibility. Flounders are also ‘thick on the ground’ and at times can become a nuisance when bass are the target species. Fresh peeler crab is the premier bait. During the autumn and winter this mark is rarely fished but, given an onshore wind, codling and whiting will show plus the occasional bass. As with all marks along the Solway Firth, the tides can be dangerous and low-water marks should be vacated in good time, before the water covers the sandbanks.
Fishing at Beckfoot at low water can prove difficult as the water disappears to the horizon, so small tides are much preferred. The long walk can turn out to be very productive, with plaice and bass the main quarry during the early spring and summer period. The most popular time to test these marks is over high water when flounders can be landed in huge numbers, often accompanied by shoals of school bass. Peeler crab is the most consistent bait with ragworm, and with lugworm also worth using when bass are about. The marks are backed by a series of sand dunes and this is a very popular holiday beach. In the winter, this mark will produce good bags of codling especially when the sea is rough and the water is dirty.
Tucked between Beckfoot and Dubmill Point are the sandbanks and gullies at Mawbray. These deep gullies are generally fished as the flood tide starts to push the fish inshore, and as they hungrily search out any tasty morsels of food.
These marks are very highly rated by local match anglers and in recent years large bags of bass have been landed with fish to 15lb. The top bait for bass are locally-dug blow lugworm closely followed by fresh peeler crab. It’s worth experimenting with a second rod and a livebait if you can manage walking back with two rods!
Dubmill Point is synonymous with bass and can produce some of the finest, quality fishing in the country. Low-water fishing will produce a good mixture of plaice, flounders, dabs, bass and occasionally lesser-spotted dogfish. The bass fishing improves dramatically if an onshore wind is blowing.
At high tide bass are the main quarry with fish to double figures taken most seasons. Although fresh peeler crab is excellent bass bait, many local anglers swear by blow lugworm – often tipped off with a ragworm.
The marks in Allonby Bay can produce a wide selection of species, including flounders, bass, lesser-spotted dogfish and freshwater eels, with fresh peeler crab the top bait. The beach is a popular family picnic location and during the school holidays can become quite crowded, so evening sessions are often the best option. During the autumn and winter months codling can be landed in good numbers at night when an onshore wind is blowing, with lugworm the best bait.
These marks are usually fished during the autumn and winter, producing tremendous bags of codling – especially during the hours of darkness. In recent years, club matches fished along this stretch of the beach have resulted in individual catches in excess of 30lb, especially when a good sea was running. The top bait for this mark is locally-dug lugworm often tipped with small, white ragworm. I’m sure that frozen lugworm and frozen peeler will take fish when there is plenty of colour in the water. I’m also sure that these marks will give good sport for flounder and the occasional bass during the warmer months, although they are rarely fished in the summer.
Reel-Em-In, Curzon Street, Maryport, Tel: 01900 810968.
Eddie’s Fishing Tackle, 70 Shaddongate, Carlisle, Tel: 01228 810744.
Geoff Wilson’s Tackle Shop, 36 Portland Place, Carlisle, Tel: 01228 531542.
McHardy Tackle, South Henry Street, Carlisle, Tel: 01228 523988.
Graham’s Guns and Tackle, South William Street, Workington, CA14 2ED, Tel: 01900 605093.
TF Top Tip
Make sure you’ve got some strong, sharp hooks with you if you’re after a big bass. You wouldn’t want to lose out, would you? Try adding a slice of squid to your peeler crab baits for added scent and visual attraction. This works really well if the water is dirty.