QUICK GUIDE TO BASS FISHING IN AUSTRALIA
Bass fishing is a thriving sport in Australia. Because of the new lure designs, large tournament trails and nationally-covered competitions, more and more Aussies are getting into Bass fishing. The main difference between American and Australian Bass fishing comes down to the fish itself. The Australian Bass is a unique species found only in this continent. Aussie anglers love the aggressiveness and toughness of Australian Bass, making it the most popular freshwater sports fish in the country.
Catching Bass isn’t that difficult provided you have the right gear. Another great thing about Bass fishing is that it isn’t exclusive only to the elite with the best fishing tackle or the most experienced anglers. All budding Australian Bass anglers can have a crack as this species too. If you’re one of the beginner Australia Bass anglers, here are a few my tips to help you catch more prize fish.
WHERE TO FISH
Australian Bass can be found mainly in the upper reaches of the coastal rivers and lakes between the Sunshine Coast of Queensland right down to south of Wilsons Promontory, in Victoria. Most of the year, Australian Bass will spend their time in the freshwater but will move down into the estuaries during the winter to breed. When chasing Bass, look for fallen trees, rock bars, deep pools adjacent to the deeper edge of the river and close to thick vegetation.
HOW TO CATCH
The three most effective ways to target Australian Bass are throwing sub-surface lures around the structure, surface luring and fishing with well-presented live baits. You can catch Australian Bass with a variety of live baits, but the most sporting and popular way to target Australian Bass is with artificial lures.
It doesn’t matter if you are Bass fishing by foot or by watercraft. Look for a promising piece of structure and make sure to maintain a stealthy approach. Get yourself within casting distance, without getting too close to the structure. Cast directly into those areas of structure and work your lure away from it on the retrieve.
If you get a bite, go hard on your retrieve and make sure to keep the head of the fish moving in your direction or you could soon lose control of the fish and bust of your rig to structure. Because the Australian Bass is aggressive by nature, reaction baits, lures that vibrate or create some other action to entice the fish, are the often considered the best choice. A fast retrieve is recommended to after these feisty creatures attack. And when they bite, attack is exactly what they do.
ROD AND REEL
Baitcast and spin outfits are the most common arsenal of Bass anglers. Because of an increase in reel quality, spin outfits have become much more popular in recent years. Another reason is its ability to handle lighter lures as compared to a baitcaster. Baitcast reels are harder to use because they require delicate thumb pressure to prevent the spool of the reel from spinning faster than the lure as it moves through the air. I suggest that most beginner Bass anglers should go with a spin reel using light lures of around 50mm.
Baitcasting, on the other hand, is a skill that is acquired with practice and bait caster reward anglers with the ability to cast with precise accuracy. Nothing beats the challenge of making a cast into a tight snag and then hooking a fish. The great thing about baitcasters is that they can handle heavier line than a spin reel. This comes in handy if you’re chasing larger Nass in thick submerged structure.
WHAT LURES TO USE
It’s important to know a variety of styles to best deal with the varied situations when Bass fishing. Popular Bass lures include hard-bodied divers in the 40–65 mm lengths, especially those with rounded bodies. The idea is to cast the lure tightly against any possible Bass-holding structure and then wind it back.
Straight winds or more popularly known as slow-rolling retrieves work quite well. A slow but erratic retrieve is the best method. One that’s punctuated with flicks of the rod tip and generous pauses because so the lure will mimic baitfish of similar appearance. Medium-depth divers also work well in timbered rivers, while deep divers are best used in deeper waters of rocky gorges and dams.
Bass fishing with surface lures is probably the most exciting and fast-action Bass fishing of all. In low light conditions, go with larger black lures, while smaller and more natural imitations are suitable for daytime work. With surface lures, the trick is to land them in right in the target zone and pause for a generous, and nerve racking 20-30 seconds. After pausing for as long as you can hold onto, give the lure a quick jerk and you can expect an explosive hit from a fish lying in wait. It’s quite a thrilling way to fish for Australian Bass.
Once you catch a Bass, place your hand directly beneath the fish and carefully lift it onto the boat or shore. Keep the fish under control as Bass tend to flip about when held to remove a hook. You can also use a landing net for better handling. Pliers are always good to have handy so that you can remove the hook gently and with precision from the mouth. Make sure to hold the fish by getting a good grip on the lower lip with one hand and supporting the belly with the other hand.
Are you ready to start your Australian Bass fishing journey? Because this species is so popular, you will have no problem finding the right fishing outfit and tackle suited to fishing for Australian Bass on popular fishing tackle retail stores.
Can you add some extra tips for anglers just getting started in Bass fishing? Share your experience in the comments section below.