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Posted on 15 August 2012 by Vincent

Seabass has been a popular fish to target by European salt sports fisherman for a quite some years. In recent years fly fishing for European Seabass has become more and more popular. Time for 0031Flyfishing to find out what the fuzz is all about!

We don’t fish the salts a lot. With the exception of a couple of tropical fly fishing trips and some sea trout fishing, we don’t have any saltwater experience. But the salty waters were lurking…

Probably the most popular saltwater fish to target with a flyrod here in the Netherlands is the European Seabass. Some of our buddies fish for seabass regularly. Time to find out what the fuzz is all about.


Seabass can be found all along the Dutch coast. A lot of fly fishing however is done in or near the Rotterdam harbor. The biggest port in Europe. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world’s busiest port. Not your typical fly fishing location. But seabass like this spot, there’s a lot of seabass around. Another advantage of this location is the fact that Lake Oostvoorne is a few km’s away. So if seabass fishing is tough, or the tide isn’t any good, you can always escape to Lake Oostvoorne. Not a bad place to spend a few off-hours of seabass fishing.

Strange surroundings…

The fishing & seabass flies

Seabass feed primarily on small baitfish and crustaceans. So most fishing is done using streamers. We use a lot of EP-streamers, and so do our buddies who catch these fish regularly. So we use them for seabass as well. Streamers of about 8-12cm. Because of the depths of the Rotterdam harbor fly fishing is mainly done using sinking lines. We’ve used Di3-Di5 lines (3 to 5 inch per second sinking rate). Once every few casts you get stuck on the bottom, so you’ll lose a lot of flies, but that’s where the bass are feeding. So when you are losing flies, you at least know you are fishing at the right depth…

Be prepared to lose a lot these

For some spots it’s also possible to use a floating line, especially when the tide is low. We use 8-weight rods and good saltwater resistant reels. Also, a line tray is very handy because of the sharp edges and mussels on most rocks near the coast. You’ll destroy your running line within a few trips if you don’t use one.

First attempt

Because of the close proximity to Lake Oostvoorne, which we visit regularly, I’ve been to some seabass spots in the pasts. I even had a try or two, but no serious attempts for some bass action. It’s about time that would change!

Yesterday we got in our car and drove to the Rotterdam harbor. Our 8-weight rods where hoping for some serious action! Fly fishing for seabass isn’t always a sure way of catching lots of fish, so we where prepared for disappointing results. After arriving at our first spot we can immediately see a lot of big mullet feeding in the vegetation near the shoreline. Big fish! I know mullet aren’t really known for their apetite for streamers, but what the hell, I’ll give it a go! Immediately a mullet shows interest in my fly, but swims away after a couple of seconds.

After a couple of minutes I hear Boy yelling: “Fish on!”. After only 3 casts Boy caught his first seabass ever! That’s an encouraging catch! We hope there’s more to come!

Within 3 casts Boy caught his first seabass ever

Of course he was very pleased with his catch…

Half an hour went by and then Ricardo gets his first fish. A nice bass. Pics will follow later. A few more casts went by and Ricardo caught another bass. This time it’s a little bit bigger, and suddenly a lot stronger than his first fish.

Time goes by, and we see a lot of fish jumping and feeding in the surface. Most fish are mullet, and maybe a couple of seatrout out of casting range. Suddenly I see a couple of mullet cruising in the surface. Again, I casted my streamer towards one of the fish. About a meter ahead of the fish. As soon as my streamer crosses it’s path, the mullet speeds up and slams my fly! Woah!!! Very strong fish these mullet! Sadly it manages to free itself from the fly after only a couple seconds.

After about an hour suddenly there’s the first pull on the end of my line. Yes! My first (very small) seabass! It was only about 35cm…

Time for a bigger one! About 15 minutes later there’s another pull on the end of my line. This time there’s a bit more resistance. This could be a bigger one. And yes, it was bigger! A nice bass landed in my net. We haven’t measured the fish, so I’ll let you guys be the judge of that. But I was happy! Five fish for our very first serious seabass attempt. Not bad! Time to go home and tie some more streamers for our next attempt.

My second seabass ever! Luckily a bit bigger than my first one

Another pic of my second bass

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