Wild Aussie Bass by Kayak
There is no better way to target wild Australian Bass than by kayak. A kayak will get you to places no land-based fishermen has ever stood foot before. There is nothing I like more than drifting down a creek with one of my mates hooking into a few Aussie battlers! I still remember when I first started chasing Bass from my kayak. I had no real idea of what I was doing, where to fish or what lures to use, I’d only ever land-based in the skinny water and surface lures was all I knew at the time but after much trial and error and loads of trips to some amazing places I’ve got to know a few lures and techniques that will help you score some awesome fish.
Firstly and most importantly is finding systems that hold Bass. Most river systems along the coast have a healthy population of Bass. It’s finding launch spots for your kayak far enough upstream that can be tricky. Bass can be caught in the salt/brackish but are generally in bigger numbers in the fresh. If you can figure out where in the river the tidal flow reaches its limit and the system is no longer effected by a rising/falling tide this is a great place to start. A good Bass creek should have flowing, clean water with a mixture of bigger deep pools and shallow runs. Plenty of snags and ledges and trees along the bank to provide shade. Google maps is your best friend here. Go explore! Half the fun of Bass fishing is the adventure and excitement of fishing new systems, the anticipation every cast just waiting for that hit! The harder or further the spot is to get to the more rewarding it usually is!
Once you found your location to fish you’ve got to make sure you are casting at structure. Bass will hold tight to fallen trees, grassy edges, undercut banks, eddies in flowing water or anywhere they can ambush prey. If you catch a fish be sure to put a few more casts at the same structure because there’s bound to be a few more feisty Bass in there.
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When it comes to lures there is an endless selection to choose from which can be daunting when you are first starting out. I have 100’s of “Bass lures” but after lots of time chasing these fish I find myself using the same few lures all the time!
The most exciting way to target bass is with surface lures. I’ll always start out throwing surface first thing in the morning and last bit of the afternoon it’s a great way to end the session. Sometimes when they are going off its all I throw. Cultiva Zip n Ziggys, Mazzy poppers, Live Target Frog pop’s and any cicada imitations are the lures I prefer. A constant slow retrieve will nearly always work but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to throw in a pause or two.
When the surface bite slows right down there is a couple different lures I go to. Zman Minnowz rigged on a 1/8, 3/0 weedless jig head so you can get it deep into the structure where the fish are hiding. Two colours I tend to go for are “Gold Rush” and “Pearl Blue Glimmer” they have been stand outs for me.
Also spinnerbaits, there are a million different sizes and colours to choose from but I always seem to have my best luck on bright colours (chartreuse) being my “go to”. The TT Vortex and Keitech custom Minispin range are both favourites of mine. I use the same technique with both these lures, let the lure sink for a couple seconds and then just a steady slow retrieve all the way back to your kayak. Remember to always pepper each snag with a few cast as they can be difficult to get to bite at times and often it takes a number of casts to annoy the fish enough to come out and slam your lure!
Another great way to catch Aussie Bass is on hard body diving lures. Two of my favourites are the Ecogear sx60’s and Jackall Squirrel 67’s. Two retrieves I use are a simple slow roll and the other is to crank the lure down with a couple winds, pause and give a couple twitches followed by another pause. This is a great way to irritate bass when they are shut down and the hit is usually brutal leaving you stumped!
The gear I use when targeting Bass may be considered on the heavier side but when you hook a 50cm fish in heavy cover you’ll know why, they hit and pull extremely hard and can have you bricked in a matter of seconds. When choosing your gear to use its wise to consider what by catch you may run into. The creeks I fish have a few other species and this is one reason I fish a little heavier. I run two setups usually, one with a surface lure and one with sub surface. I choose to use baitcast gear because I find it much more accurate to cast and more comfortable but that is totally up to personal preference. My setups consist of a 4-7kg and 3-6kg 6.2ft rods and I run 20lb braid through to 16lb leader (I use the same reels for Mangrove Jack fishing, hence the 20lb) you can run lighter but that’s just what works for me in the areas I fish. I find creek bass aren’t leader shy and it’s definitely safer to go heavy rather than losing fish because you’re going too light. I’ve been busted off countless times on this gear.
Just remember to make sure you pack sufficient water, food, mozzie repellent and even some medical supplies (bandages, band aids/patches, antiseptic creams and pain killers) when planning a big Australian Bass yak adventure, better safe than sorry! All that’s left to do is grab a mate, load your kayaks up and go get amongst it!
The author of this article is Shane Adam – Expert yak fisho! Go follow him here! www.instagram.com/shanebadam/
Targeting wild Aussie Bass by Kayak is fun and exciting! Shane tells you how to do it, from scratch!