Fishing is in the blood in West Cornwall. This community has relied on fishing for thousands of years. But it is not all beam trawlers and lobster pots. Many a family still supplements its table with sea fishing for mackerel, pilchards and sea bass.
The bass is a particular favourite because it is a beautiful fish, tasty and found in wonderful places. Like Porthcurno, a shelving sandy surf beach bordered on both sides by cliffs and rocks outcrops. There are fewer prettier places and in winter its isolation makes it very special. The sea bass is a special fish, too. Its sleek silver body and two dorsal fins, including usually eight sharp spines, make it distinct and desirable.
Known as the sea salmon in Cornwall, catching one gives the same sort of satisfaction. You can catch smaller bass here most of the year, with adults from April to October although now and again you will find decent sized fish in November and December.
Sea bass are taken best at night, even better at dusk and dawn. They are numerous close to shore after a gale, when large amounts of torn up weed in create their favourite stir-about.
You are going to want a rod of 15ozs max because you will be holding it all night, with line from 18lb to an ultra safe 30lb if you are worried about catching on weed or rocks. Most angler fish pulley rigs or clipped down one-hook (say a 3/0) rigs, from which bass take lug, rag or crab, and even squid later in the year. The record for shore bass is reckoned to be about 18lb but there are those that will tell they have had 20lb plus off here. This will surprise those from the north who see 4lb or 5lb sea bass. To be fair the 20lb fish are usually caught by anglers fishing alone who are then accosted by piskeys and robbed of their catch before they can get it witnessed.
There is a lot of fishing in Derbyshire and a lot of beautiful countryside to do it in,especially in the Peak District. The Derwent, the Dove, the Lathkill and the Wye are known throughout the world for their fishing.
The Derwent was particularly popularised by Izzac Walton whose skill with a pen matched his subtlety with hook and fly, and served to make fly fishing the sport of the lone gentleman. It flows south from the Ladybower reservoir towards Derby, through some of the most wonderfully rugged limestone hill farmland and its upper reaches offer prime marks for trout and grayling. But as you travel south down the Derwent its lower reaches offer an abundance of sport for the coarse fisherman, with barbel and chub prime targets.
Coarse fishing may not have the literary appeal but its, the artistic resonance of the fly, but there is no greater joy than striding out to an isolated Peak District angling spot, dropping your net in the water and casting out under overhanging branches. You will find a remarkable variety of marks, with the most breathtaking scenery, and fish that want to bite but will not bore with their over-eagerness. Much of the area is tied up either by the Chatsworth or other great estates or the likes of the Darley Dale fishing club, the Derwent Fly Fishers and the Sheffield Waltonians.
There is apparently a nice stretch available to members of the Police Federation near Calver. A secret gem packed with barbel and grayling is the River Noe which rises on Mam Tor and flows through the Hope Valley.