Of course, I continued as last week, fishing over the same ground with much the same result: nothing! I was getting plenty of fish following the my plugs right to the kayak but no takers. But still I persisted with the hard plastics thinking that my luck would change. The conditions were better than last week, with a bit more cloud cover and cloudy water to match. But all the same the bass weren't having any of what I was throwing at them. After I had thrown baby Zonks, full size Gatarides, IMA Susukes, Feed Shallows and even the humble but generally reliable Xraps at my favourite marks for over 4 hours, I eventually gave up and stopped for a bite to eat. Those damn fish could stay there!
But then I remembered Robalo's comments, decided I had nothing to lose, and dug deep into a forgotten corner of my tackle box to find a 160mm, 42g Savage Gear Sandeel in sandeel colour. What really impressed me about the lure was that despite it feeling really soft with a nice wobbly action, it was actually very resistant to both casting and fish mouths. At the end of the day, the lure showed no ill effects whatsoever of its day's work. The photo below shows the 42g model at the top, followed by the much smaller 25g and a spare tail. There seems to be a big jump in size between the two - I'd love Savage Gear to release a 30-35g model that would still cast well but appeal to a broader range of fish.
A couple more casts, and then I tried a steady retrieve. Again I thought I'd hit bottom as I was pretty close in, and the takes are quite gentle on soft plastics. But sure enough the rod bent and bucked over, this time it was a better fish and after a few minutes in she came: