SURFACE LURES FOR LANDING AUSTRALIAN BASS
I love impressive surface strikes. It is what drew me to the sport originally and what keeps me returning to my kayak before dawn. Aussie Bass are the dream species for surface strikes. It isn’t difficult to land a Bass with a good jitterbug but refining the technique and reading the elements and conditions is what takes time. This is what I have learnt from chasing Australian Bass on surface lures in a variety of locations and conditions.
Bass are often more reluctant to strike the surface in warmer water. There is less soluble oxygen in warmer water and the Bass will look to find some shaded area to get out of the heat. In the summer months, only those fishos willing to brave the graveyard shift will get the Bass. They will hunt between 3am and dawn to escape the worst heat of the day, then retreat to deeper holes during the day to hide out in the cooler water.
I’ve heard mumblings in the fisho community that Bass don’t like taking surface lures in murky water but have found this to be untrue in my experience. Bass embrace floods. They need it to navigate the rivers for their natural breeding cycle and are accustomed to hunting prey in water with poor visibility. In low visibility and high water, Bass often stick to shallower water and areas of slack. One year, when the Clarence River flooded, I enjoyed success in pretty much every area of slack I cast at.
Bass in different locations respond to moonlight differently. I have fished some locations where Bass are easily spooked by swathes of light falling on the water and other locations where they are totally unphased. To err on the side of caution, I usually don’t fish when the moon is reflecting light. The new moon gives total darkness which means the fish aren’t alerted to your presence and you can take them from right up to the side of the kayak. But fishing these conditions, you’ll need something with a little more movement to get their attention, I like using a jitterbug at night. Nothing with a soft landing on the surface. You want your lure to make an entrance and let the fish know it’s there.
I usually cast my lure out and let it sit on the surface for around 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, I give it a little twitch to generate some interest. From there I will start the retrieve. The retrieve varies depending on the conditions. Sometimes I will give it a full retrieve. Other days I retrieve part-way, give it another twitch and let it sit, then retrieve a little further and repeat the process.
GREAT LURES TO FISH WITH
Bass are aggressive and will take almost anything. My go-to lure is a jitterbug, around 3/8oz. But I usually keep a walk-the-dog style lure to mimic injured baitfish, a shallow diver (for later in the day), a buzzbait and a spinnerbait in my tackle box when fishing for Bass. If I’m not getting a hit, I’ll go ahead and change the lure to try my luck with something else.
Bass fishing for me delivers everything a fisho could want. Cinematic strikes, with a hard fight. Every Bass gives a fight well above what its weight would indicate. A lure fisho’s dream species.
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