When you think of bass fishing from the shore, there is one thing that you want to bear firmly in mind, which is stealth. Bass are a cautious fish and can, on occasion, be easily alarmed, which means that a low key approach may ultimately put more fish in the net.
When you are fishing headlands, don't be afraid to fish close in. One spot I fish I don't bother to cast at all; I simply lower the tackle into the water on a multiplier set to free spool but with the tension turned up fairly high. The bait is right in among the rocks at my feet but, because it is fairly deep, this is exactly where the bass will be cruising, searching for their favourite meals.
Because of their caution, the successful bass angler will usually be targeting his or her quarry with simple tackle and a quiet, unhurried approach in which stealth plays a major part. It is the kind of fishing where you leave the radio at home and whisper, instead of shouting, to your friends.
Your tackle, under these circumstances, needs to be as simple as possible. The more gear that you put near your bait, the more there is to frighten or alarm the fish.
It is better, when bass fishing, to stick to a few simple tackles. Leger is one, but you will increase your chances with a long trace, putting distance between your bait and the lead. (I never use less than seven feet.) Float tackle is another, but you want to forget west country sliding rigs and use simple self-weighted floats like the bubble one illustrated here, which you partially fill with sea water before casting. Once again, as with leger, a long trace to the hook is essential.
Bait for bass varies around the coast but you won’t go far wrong with live sandeels, live prawns, peeler crab (on leger) or live pout (or poor cod). Cast out and then sit back and be prepared to wait, disregarding most of the feelings that you will get to check your bait and recast. (After all the more noise you make – and a lead hitting the surface of the water makes a great deal of noise - the more chance that you will disturb the very fish that you are after.) You are going to have to do it sometimes but you need to keep it to an efficient minimum, which you can do by adjusting your tackle to the mark that you are intending to fish.
One of the beauties of bass fishing is that you catch them from a variety of marks. Personally I have always had a great fondness for fishing from rocky headlands, which I approach with either light float tackle or plugging using chugbugs, thundersticks or similar. I also use livebait on float and have even caught them on a 5 metre pole.
Bass Fishing from Shore