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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.