(Dicentrarchus Labrax)

Also known as Sea Bass or European Bass to distinguish it from the other varieties of Bass found worldwide, Bass is one of the UK's most popular and sought after salt water fish and is found predominately along the south and west coasts of the UK and Ireland. Bass have two dorsal fins, the first showing sharp spines and it is capable of growing to over 1 m in length and weighing in excess of 15 kg. Bass have small, silvery-blue scales, which give it a beautiful shimmering appearance. Their body is muscular and streamlined and they can reach very high speeds when chasing prey. Smaller bass vary in colour and bear a slight resemblance to the mullet. Bass are opportunist feeders and will eat a varied diet including crab and prawns and other small fish such as flatfish and whiting and feed mostly at night or when bad weather has made the water murky and dark.

Where To Find Them

Generally more common around the south-east and west coasts of Britain and Ireland, smaller school bass, are often found in estuaries and will even make their way right up into freshwater margins, on a rising tide. Once the tide starts to go out, they follow the tide back towards the sea and feed on food caught in the rush. From time to time bigger specimens do get caught from the shore, but anglers seeking a good specimen bass are more likely to be successful from a boat. Larger bass tend to be lone fish and during stormy weather will move inshore to feed over rocky gullies and around storm beaches. The rough weather and pounding surf will have the bass searching for razor fish and crabs flushed out of their homes by the rough sea. The Thames Estuary and Bristol Channel consistently produce large bass.

When To Find Them

May through to October During the spring and summer months, small bass move inshore to feed in the warmer waters and can be found in good numbers on the south and west coasts of Britain. In the West Country, bass have been known to be caught all year round if the winter is mild.

Natural Food and Best Baits

Sandeels, crustaceans, small shrimps. Larger bass are predators and will feed on sprats, squid, crab, mackerel and occasionally sea trout.

Tips and Tactics

Fish with a sandeel using a split shot or drilled bullet lead. This will give the sandeel a more natural appearance and presentation.

UK Records

Shore: 19lb

Boat: 19lb 9oz 2 drm