Sea Bass – The Aggressive Marine Predator
Foraging for food: Plenty of predatory fish in the sea…
A little about sea bass…
Although there are plenty of fish available to both the occasional, casual sea fisherman and the hardcore dedicated angler, the sea bass is considered by many to be the most coveted of all sea fish. And with good reason, too. Costing upwards of £20 at most restaurants due to their divine taste, catching one for the dinner table can save anyone a considerable amount of money. But that’s not the main benefit. Catching a sea bass can give any sea angler an immense sense of satisfaction as they are incredibly aggressive creatures and make for a challenging catch. These predatory fish like to feast on sand eels, mackerel and almost any other sea creature smaller than themselves.
Once used regularly, my fishing rods had begun gathering dust. Partially because I wasn’t making the time to get out and try my luck, and partly because after all the times I had been out, I had never caught anything other than a foul-hooked weever fish.
That’s right – I had never legitimately caught a fish.
For someone that lives right next to the ocean and regularly went out to try his luck on the shore, my best result was accidentally hooking a weever fish by its belly. I’d say it was a poor sod, but weevers are basically the wasps of the sea, so I don’t feel too bad about it.
Thankfully, though, that all changed on a lovely and sunny May weekend. My partner and I decided to take the rods out as she had never been fishing before. Despite a fruitless first attempt, she was hooked (pun intended…), and we vowed we would get out on the beach to try to catch ourselves a fishy feast as often as possible.
As the weather was forecast to be fantastic that weekend, my sister came to visit. She hadn’t ever been fishing either, but instead of trying out with my rod, she and my partner went out and bought their own rods. Turned out to be their best decision ever.
That same day, my partner accidently hooked a prawn (what were the chances?) and a species we couldn’t identify before it wriggled back into the estuary, and I caught a greater sand eel which we used as bait to try to catch some shore crabs that I wanted to use to make shore crab bisque. Although my sister wasn’t as lucky, she was still enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to get out fishing the next day.
While my partner was working, my sister and I ventured to the other side of the estuary, found a nice sheltered spot, and set up camp.
After about an hour of idly flicking our spinners out into the water, my sister began shouting hysterically – “I’ve caught something”, and its variants. On her second day of fishing ever, she had caught a sea bass of all things. Unfortunately it was too small – about half the minimum landing size – so it had to go back (We later found out we couldn’t have kept it anyway as sea bass are strictly catch-and-release between January and June in the UK).
The next evening, I was just as lucky, and the evening after, so was my partner. Over the course of a long weekend fishing, we all caught our first sea bass. Needless to say, we’re all hooked now (overused pun intended).
After a flurry of Googling I discovered that most sea bass are juveniles around this time of year, which would explain why all of our catches were undersized.
Either way, a fun weekend of fishing was ended with a barbecue on the beach before my sister returned home. Nothing foraged, unfortunately…
Verdict: None of our catches were legal to keep due to both their sizes and the catch-and-release law, so no verdict on taste. But, the sense of achievement after landing a bass (even if they were small) was amazing.
Have you ever caught sea bass when out fishing or foraging for food? Share your experiences in the comments section below!