OVER the past couple of years we’ve been using more and more soft plastics when fishing for bass and estuary perch.
Since we have learned how to fish with these lures we are catching more estuary perch than bass on most outings in the tidal areas of the river.
I was in the Australian Bass angler in Penrith the other day listening to a couple of young anglers saying how they found it more difficult to catch bass than EPs. I asked what lures they used and where and how they fished.
They were using soft plastics and had their boat about 15 to 20 metres off the bank, casting close to the shore and working the lures all the way back, keeping in contact with the bottom. I told them this method was great for estuary perch but if they wanted to catch more bass they should fish tighter to the cover, where bass tend to hang.
In years gone by we used only hard-bodied divers, surface lures and spinnerbaits and we caught mostly bass and only the odd estuary perch
Estuary perch tend to hold wide and deeper than bass so when we us soft plastics we keep them deep in the water close to the bottom and fish them all the way back to the boat. Most of the estuary perch hooked up are wider and deeper than the bass.
Using hard-bodies, most hook-ups were bass that came in the first couple metres of our retrieve. Bass also live a lot tighter to the bank and will hold up in small holes and crevices in the rocks along the river. These areas are best fished with hard-bodied lures because lead jigs sink and are the right shape to wedge themselves into cracks and holes.
Bass also tend to eyeball a lure before eating it so if it floats, it can be kept in the strike zone longer.
Often when using hard-bodied divers and surface lures I will cast into a hole, let it sit a few seconds before moving it, and then I will give it a twitch before winding it back. Often bass will hit the lure when it’s sitting there, or just after the twitch .
If you wish to use only soft plastics for bass, up-size your plastics and work them parallel to the bank or add one of those Beetle Spins. Cast to the bank and swim the lure all the way back to the boat.
Another method is to use one of the floating Wiggle Fin jig heads and the action discs put out by Shipton Trading. These can be cast with light spin gear and are deadly on bass.
It’s got to the stage where some new anglers don’t even have hard-bodied lures in their tackle boxes.
Some of the crankbaits we use to target bass include Taylor Made Nuggets, Baby Feralcatts, Knol’s Natives and East Coast Lures surface lures.
Mick Munns of East Coast Lures and I have brought out a new range of surface lures that we have been developing over the past year.
At this stage we have four different sizes and models which cover dam bass, river bass, most other Australian natives, bream, barra and bonito, salmon, tailor and small kings. These lures are poppers, fizzers and spooks and we have combined them together in some of our models, so some pop and fizz and others spook and fizz
These will be sold under the East Coast Lures label in selected stores in the Sydney area at this stage.
I have also had the pleasure of using Some Strudwick SicStik Pro rods over the past few months . I’ve found them to be great for all my sportfishing needs from bream to kings. Check out the seven-foot 1kg to 3kg for Bream and Bass especially rack fishing for bream, it’s got a light tip with plenty of guts down low to turn their heads Also the seven-foot 4kg for tossing Slug-Gos for bonito, salmon and kings.
For anyone wishing to learn more about sport fishing around the Sydney area, I am running on- water fishing schools on salt and freshwater species in July. Mick Munns and I also are offering on- water fly-fishing schools for Winter bass and estuary perch.Reads: 1532