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BASSIN' AMONGST THE WEED

David Brace

In an earlier article I wrote about a variety of tactics for locating and targeting Australian bass in our local impoundments throughout winter. Now with summer upon us and water levels in my local impoundments receding rather quickly, due to the lack of rain in Queensland's South East, locating the fish that can be found in these bodies of water has been challenging.

In summer Australian bass tend not to school, like they do in the cooler months, creating an extra challenge to the angler, as they scatter throughout the impoundments finding refuge in less than open water. Australian bass seek comfort within the snags of lay down trees that have fallen victim to years of erosion along the lake banks, along with rocky outcrops. However as water levels drop, these fishy havens are often left high and dry. Another lake structure then provides contentment for these native fish, however casting and trolling lures through this thick weed can be somewhat frustrating to the angler, as the weed constantly fouls the sharp, pointy hooks of most lures.

Targeting Australian bass, within these shallow weed beds during summer, is best attempted either very early in the morning or late in the afternoon and into the evening. During these periods, bass search for an easy feast of gudgeons and shrimps amongst the strands of weed. It's also advantageous if you can locate a weed bed that is shadowed from the sun, as bass aren't particularly fond of light. As the sun reaches its heights during the day, these weed beds will become too heated and the bass will retreat to deeper water, where sometimes no structure will be visible.

The two lures that I have personally found to be most effective when chasing these feisty fish in and around the weed are the TT Lures Striker range of spinnerbaits and a lure that is made up of several components. Using TT Lures range of HeadlockZ HD jigheads as a base, I attach TT Lures Colorado bladed Jig Spinners, along with a ZMan Lures 3" MinnowZ soft plastic to create a deadly presentation.

What type and how thick the weed is that you'll be casting or trolling these effective lures in, will determine what weight spinnerbait or HeadlockZ HD jighead to use. The Jig Spinner and the frame of the spinnerbait act as fantastic weed guards, preventing the hook from being fouled by the weed as easily. The blades of both lures also send vibrations through the upper layers of the water column, attracting fish.

It may be a case of trial and error as to what colour and weight lure will work on the day, so mix it up and see what will trigger a bite. Trialing and varying your techniques, whether you are casting or trolling, to determine what depth and speed the lure will be swimming at, will also be beneficial to a successful day on the water. Increasing your leader size to 15lb will also give you the confidence to pull these hard fighting fish back up through the thick weed, as they are likely to dive deep within this structure once they knew they have been hooked.

Recently I had an opportunity to fish these lures using varying techniques, fishing my local in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. After an hour of targeting the weed edges and only catching smaller bass of around 20cm in length, a change of tactics was needed. I started fishing in the thick of it all, on top and in the middle of these weed beds, using the aforementioned lures. Within an hour a golden perch found itself being photographed, before its release, along with four good-size bass, three of which averaged 45cm in length and one which tipped the 50cm mark. This was reward for being persistent and approaching a challenge with a different mindset.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017