Stocking the Box for Bass Season
The iconic Australian bass truly is one of the most readily accessible sportfish available to the ever-growing kayaking community. Whether it’s paddling one of the stocked impoundments or stalking them in the smallest of creeks and pools the Aussie bass never disappoints with its explosive surface hits, freight-train belting of suspending lures or the gentle pick of blade. Bass are a superb sportfish for everyone and perfect for kayak anglers.
For my money Surface fishing is the ultimate method for catching bass. Throw a popper, a walker, fizzer, a creature bait, even floating plastics close enough to a bass’s home and feel the excitement and anticipation of that forthcoming hit. At times the hit will be instantaneous and at other times you’ll need to watch the water behind your lure, watching for the tell-tale swirls and disturbance that tells you a bass is eyeballing your offering. A pause here or a twitch can often be all it takes to ignite the bass to smash your lure. Yep it really is that good!
|Favourites: mimix chipmom, river2sea bubblepop, 70mm sugapen, berkley scumdog, megabass dog-x, mimix grasshopper, atomic k9, ecogear PX55, Taylormade fat banger, basscada & fizzbanger, heddon torpedo, berkley prawn dog, lucky craft Sammy.|
Vibes are a fantastic tool for prospecting the larger or deeper areas of dams and creeks and also for fishing the weed edges in dams. Soft and hard every bass angler should have a few vibes in the box for different circumstances, times of year and time of day that they experience.
|Favourites: Jackall Gene vibe, Jackall mask vibe, Jackall TN60, Samaki vibelicious, Mimix Vib-King, Lucky craft LV RTO|
Fishing blades was somewhat of an eye opener for me to seeing how truly effective they can be. Far from being just a lure you throw out and lift then let it fall and lift again. Blading technique is so varied and it pays to explore every retrieve method; subtle, aggressive, small hops, high lifts, fast, slow and every combination of them will work on the right day. It’s your job to play and explore to find your pattern on the water. A good tip is always fish as light a blade as the depth and conditions allow. And finally a slightly heavier stiffer blank in the 3-5kg range will make a world of difference to your blading success by offering greater sensitivity and feel through the rod.
Favourites: Ecogear VX40, Ecogear ZX40, Little max, berkley big eye
Creature baits have really been a hit on our local waters with grasshoppers, mice, cicadas, frogs, beetles and everything else all accounting for good fish. Some of these lures may appear to be a bit gimmicky but the results speak for themselves. Certainly in summer when the cicadas are deafening the cicada patterns come into their own as do frog patterns in early summer. If anything they offer something slightly different and some can be very versatile with mixed retrieves. I’m certainly a fan.
|Favourites: Jackall mask frog, Mimix mangabee, Megabass siglet, Tiemco soft shell cicada, Mimix chipmom|
Jerk and crankbaits have a very important place in the bass angler’s box and it pays to have suspending, floating, sinking lures that cover a range of depths and in a range of colours and sizes. Suspending lures are great casting into snags and along weed edges where once down to their working depth will suspend and often be belted on the pause. Both sinking and floating baits are useful depending on your local waters. Think steep banks and a sinking lure that drops to the require depth against the wall may be what you’re after. If you are fishing in snaggy country a floating lure that will bounce and float over some obstructions is a good option.
|Favourites: Daiwa spike, Nories laydown minnow, Ecogear SX60, Ecogear SX48, tilsan bass, Atomic cranks 38, Rapala CD|
Soft Plastics are so many and varied it’s mind boggling. Two things I look for are built in action and size. I find the enticing flutter of the wriggler patterns and the vibration of the paddle tails best for weedless presentation in the snags or weed or on a standard jig head in dams or open country. The ability of the plastic to send out vibration, flash and flutter on the free fall against the snag or weed edge is important to maximise your time in the strike zone. Most commonly lures are in the 2-3in size. The best bet is talk with your local tackle store to see what’s working in your local waters.
|Favourites: Ecogear grass minnow, ecogear powershad, squidgy wrigger, squidgy fish, Berkley nemesis, dragon maggot, Berkley grub, Zman grubz, Zman slim swimz, Zman Minnowz|
Spinnerbaits come into their own in the weed edges and snaggy areas in the warmer months and are a great way of prospecting an area and enticing shut down fish. Walk into any tackle shop that stocks them and you will be wondering where start with the variation in colours, blade types and blade combination. Here again you can’t beat local knowledge so talk to your local store.
|Favourites: Bassman, Nories, Smak|
A good friend and great fisherman said of my love for surface fishing, “surface is great but don’t become a one-trick pony. You need to read and adapt on the day”. He showed me in one session how he progressed through the day from early morning surface to jerkbaits, to weedless grass minnows to vibing the deeper holes. His lesson was priceless to my own fishing and has made me a better fisherman.
So stock the box with the right tools for your local water and find what works for you. Be adaptable, experiment and learn from your locals.
Post your lure and bass pics to the author’s facebook page – Sportfishing Adventures
(Opens in a new window)
Sometimes the best bass lures depend on time of day, environment, etc.