Totally addicted to bass

I need to start this post by admitting that until last Friday, I’d never caught an Australian bass. I’ve only had two sessions previously and came up blank both times. After a cracking little weekend at the south coast with Graz, I’m regretting all those times I’ve driven straight over bass rivers en route to the ‘greener’ pastures of the south coast’s many estuaries and other fishing options. For someone who loves fishing and has been fishing ‘seriously’ for about 15 years, this is clearly sacrilege!

The dam at sunrise
The dam at sunrise

Bass fishing is interesting because in most of the rivers and dams where they are found, they are the only real target species. This can make fishing tough at times: it seems that if they are on, they are on, but if they are off, you can throw lures around for hours without so much as a sniff. The estuaries and coast is a bit different, as there is usually something feeding, whether it’s flathead, whiting, bream, tailor, salmon and so on.

My first bass, just over 40cm!
My first bass, just over 40cm!

Despite never really fishing for bass, the techniques for predatory fish are generally the same across the board and I’ve done my fair share of reading, so getting the fish to eat didn’t prove too difficult on this occasion. The main lesson I learnt was that casting accuracy is probably the biggest factor to success. 30cm short of the snag is generally too much. 10cm or less and you’re in the game. I cast at numerous snags, numerous times, and the main action was when the lure landed right in the basses pretty little faces.

Nervous moments
Nervous moments
Graz and the bass in mutual admiration
Graz and the bass in mutual admiration

In saying that, I had a bit of success slow rolling spinnerbaits across weedbanks and down steep drop-offs, but couldn’t convert these hits into hookups. Whether they were small fish or were just being territorial, I don’t know.

Much pretty
Much pretty

The best lures this weekend were purple and yellow spinnerbaits, some little pencil lures and a nice bass-coloured Rapala Rippin Rap, which produced the best fish of the trip – Grazza’s 47cm horse.

Some of the environments in which bass live are truly stunning
Some of the environments in which bass live are truly stunning
Graz with the fish of the trip, a lovely 47cm of solid ambush machine
Graz with the fish of the trip, a lovely 47cm of solid ambush machine

One of the most memorable things about the weekend was the sort of country that bass live in. The environments were stunning. At times we were wading around in water up to our chests, carefully casting lures into tree-fern lined banks, with cicadas singing in the sheoaks and Eucalypts above. Kingfishers, eels, black snakes and tupong were other memorable encounters. Truly magic stuff.

Kingfisher
Kingfisher on bass habitat
Bass porn
Bass porn
Fishing gives you a great excuse to spend time in places like this
Fishing gives you a great excuse to spend time in places like this

All in all it was a brilliant weekend spent with a great mate in amazing country. Needless to say, I’m totally addicted to bass.

Lee

Released to fight another day
Released to fight another day

 

flickandflyjournal.com

Hamish Webb, Dan Firth, Graham Fifield and Lee Georgeson have been fishing the south-east Australian region since 1987. Since then they’ve become avid sportfishermen who are constantly looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They are all scientists and conservationists who are passionate about the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. They promote understanding and appreciation of the complex socio-political, economic and environmental issues surrounding fish, fishing and fisheries, while never losing sight of the various motivations that keep them coming back. In English, that means they love all things fishing and have a damn good time on the water, and that’s all that really counts in the end!

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