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The countdown begins
  |  First Published: August 2011



If you love your river bass fishing as much as I do, you will be counting down the days until the season starts on September 1. So what do you do until then?

I get out the bag (or bags!) of bass lures and check the hooks and replace bent, blunt and rusty hooks with new ones and then I generally crush down the barbs.

The reason behind the crushed barbs is to help release the fish in good condition. Of course we want to be able to return to our favourite fishing spots time and again to catch healthy, thriving fish.

After the lures have been refurbished with new hooks and split rings, I then break out my bass rods and reels.

I give the rods a good clean with warm, soapy water. I like to get a soft cloth and give the guides on the rods a bit of a scrub with the warm soapy water to remove any residue from last season.

That way the line will flow through the guides smoothly, giving you longer casts.

The warm soapy water is also great for cleaning the cork grips on your favourite rods, it brings them up like new.

After my rods are cleaned I move onto the reels. I strip old line off reels if it’s looking worn or low on the spool and replace it with fresh line.

If any of my reels sound a bit dry, I strip them down and give them a grease and oil change.

Almost done now! All that’s left is to replace all the leaders with new ones and I’m ready for action.

CASTING PRACTICE

When all the gear is ready, I spend a couple of hours out in the yard practising my accuracy by casting at some home-made targets. You don’t need to go out and make targets – a bucket will do the job just fine.

Why bother with casting practice? Add up how many lures you lose in a season from casting high into the overhanging trees or dead timber.

I very rarely lose lures to bad casts; I lose lures to fish and the occasional underwater snag.

If you practise your casting, your catch rate will increase because you will hit your mark more often.

GOLDENS

This month I often head west to Windamere Dam to chase some early season golden perch. The water is starting to warm and the fish are becoming more active and looking for food.

Some good spots to start are along rocky shorelines, shallow bays and steep grassy points. The goldens tend to hang in these areas because there is an abundance of food such as small gudgeons, shrimp and yabbies.

Suspending lures work really well at this time of year because they stay in the strike zone longer and a lethargic fish will often hit a suspending lure because it represents an injured or sick creature – easy meal.

Lipless crankbaits also favourites because they can be retrieved slowly along the bottom with short pauses. I have had plenty of fish pick the lure up when it has just been sitting on the bottom.

A key thing to remember is to ensure the retrieve rate is slow. Soft plastics and flies also work well this month because of their ability to be fished slowly.

I tend to use lighter, natural colours like transparent green and brown.

If the natural colours don’t work I try darker lures and they if they fail, I go to the fluoro and metallic lures.

I use my bass outfits for the goldens; it’s a good way to test them before the season starts.

Baitcasters are my weapons of choice when fishing for bass and goldens. I load them with 15lb to 20lb braid and 12lb to 14lb fluorocarbon leaders.

I use spin rods with 6lb to 10lb line for soft plastics and smaller crankbaits.

In between outings I am busy running beginner fishing classes around Sydney and the Blue Mountains, so if you are new to the sport and want to learn from a proud member of the Professional Fishing Instructors and Guides Association check www.younggunsfishing.com.au. We cater for beginners and experienced anglers who want to learn a technique.

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