This is all stuff that is learnt over time, and believe me lots of blanks contributed to the learning. As time goes on I am starting to figure out marks a little quicker through learning from my previous experiences.
With rock marks the first thing I try and do is get a look at the mark at low water and take a picture. This is hard to explain but I try and pick out the places where I think bass would move through or the spots where bass would lie up waiting to ambush. These places are the gullies , points , places with kelp and cover, boulders and basically all the spots where I think a bass might be moving through or where they can ambush their prey.
The next step for me would be to fish the spot on a rising tide ( right up to high water ). Now of course conditions need to be right , for us here that would be south or south westerly moderate wind. Also I would first try and approach a new mark on a decent tide 3.8 upwards. The next is water clarity , a few years ago I would have said water would have had to be extremely clean but these days I don't mind fishing murky water at all ( but filthy water makes things difficult ).
Yes this is a lot to ask to get all of these conditions at the same time. I also fish in all conditions and catch but when checking out a new mark I try to maximise my chances.
Now I fish the mark on the rise, remembering all those features I spotted at low water and targeting these areas with a few lures which I have confidence in and are proven fish catchers. Hopefully things go well and it produces , if not I will go back and repeat the whole process on a dropping tide. Sometimes this works sometimes it does not and if I still have a good feeling and I think this is a spot that has to hold fish I will keep trying and hopefully figure it out.
In my experience most rock marks have a certain hour when it kicks off ( the hour of power ) and finding this hour can be gold because it means in the future you are maximising your fishing time and arriving at marks for the prime time. We have noticed it so much that bass are creatures of habit and quite often you will catch fish next to the same rock or in the same gully at the same state of tide over and over again.
Another few things to look for are
2. Where can I land a fish safely
3. Am I going to get cut off by the tide
4. Do I have phone reception. If not let someone know where you are going. ( of course someone who will keep your mark top secret )
Hopefully this helps someone... or does it just show how obsessed I am with fishing.