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Pre-spawn bass
  |  First Published: March 2003



It’s that time of year when the bass and estuary perch are starting to school up for their run down to the saltwater to breed.

It’s also a great time of year to target these fish, because they will take most lures that you throw at them. Most people believe that all the bass and perch move downstream at the same time. I think that bass move down in different schools any time from April through to late October and even early November.

I have caught fish that have spent their eggs as early as June and fish still in roe as late as November.

We start to target the bass and perch in the deeper water at this time of the year with soft plastics and deep-water fly. It’s not uncommon to catch and release 20 to 30 fish a day when you find these fish schooled up

This is where a good sounder and knowing how to read it really pays off. I find my Humminbird 3D works the best for me because it has a six-beam transducer that gives me 53% side coverage than the 16° transducer that most other sounders have. This allows me to quickly look over an area for fish and move on to the next if there is none in that area.

The areas where we find these fish in the colder months are in the backwaters and eddies near a drop-off after a corner or near a structure that is out of the flow, in water up to 15 metres deep.

I find most fish hang around the three metres to seven metres range. Sometimes the best of these fish will hang out in the running water as the tide slows.

Tackle

We use light spin and baitcaster outfits from 1kg to 3kg. Over the past couple of years we have been mainly using longer spinning rods to cast light lures and soft plastics.

Most of the baitcasters were too short and stiff to cast and/or feel the plastic working. Over the past three months I have been trying the new Strudwick SPS 6’6” baitcaster on soft plastics and small crankbaits. This is one baitcaster that casts and works small crankbaits and plastics really well. It casts small bream hard-body lures as well as most spin tackle. And there is nothing like using a baitcaster, especially when you hook up with a monster bream, bass or E.P.

I have also been using some new line on both my spin and baitcasters for bass and estuary perch. Its called Tuff Braid and it works well on my Shimano Stradics and Chronarch SF. It has stood up to a lot of work without any fluffing or visible wear

I use the 6kg and 7kg in yellow so I can see when my lure reaches the bottom or when a fish moves off with my plastic.

CAPTIONS

1

The author with a solid Autumn bass. Look for them in deeper water around drop-offs and eddies.

2

Tony Divine with a 42cm estuary perch. They should be schooling up in pre-spawn mode from now on.

3

Estuary perch are particularly fond of soft plastics.

4

Heeler Jigs work effectively on estuary perch.

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